Until the 19th century, given society’s agrarian base, there was a sense of certain natural rhythms in life. This sense disintegrated with the industrialization of society and World Wars I and II. Was Imagism, with its precise concreteness, an attempt to simplify and get hold of a disintegrating world?
If only because our poets travel in spirit as well as body, there is no approved “Canadian Style”. With arts travel grants, Writer‑in‑Residence programs, conferences, plain wanderlust, and now the Internet, we crisscross the nation. Reading each other’s books, literary journals, and e-zines published coast to coast,
If nouns and verbs have been likened to the meat and potatoes of poetry, why not pronouns to pasta? Adjectives to sauces. Adverbs to garnish, like parsley. Articles (indefinite) to herbs, and (definite) to salt and pepper. Prepositions to water. Conjunctions to wine. The challenge is in the selection, proportion,
Over many years, I led workshops for the University of Toronto, Ryerson Literary Society, and local writers’ groups. Closest to my heart was the 12-year, evening Poets’ Workshop for the Toronto Board of Education. Delving into the challenges of the art with others who took the pursuit seriously was inspiring.
The preceding Poetry Note on Carmen Starnino’s “Poetry & digital personhood” apparently struck a nerve and provoked some thoughtful responses from writers on Facebook about what poetry actually is or means for us. I was particularly reassured by a direct email from David Brayley, who can speak from professional and
Reading “Poetry & digital personhood: On artificial intelligence and creativity” (The New Criterion, Vol. 40, No. 9 / May 2022) brought to mind a famous essay from two hundred years ago. In his “Defence of Poetry” (1821), Percy Bysshe Shelley takes issue with friend Thomas Love Peacock’s suggesting that poetry was
Apart from the enjoyable observations they contain, what also delights me about the poems in Marvyne Jenoff’s Climbing the Rain (Silver Bow Publishing, 2021) is their deceptive easiness. Because the language appears so simple, even matter of fact, and moves on its own subtle rhythms, its refreshing twists are
· Orchestra (not flute solo) that combines, varies, and recombines tempo, melody line, instrumental tone, and volume into a rounded (not linear) pattern · Egg, not to tiptoe around, but to crack open and savour its yoke · Macramé, multiple strands twined around a continuing meaning · Gateway into deeper experience · Fist, one by
In literature there is no “progress”, no “moving forward”, no real “avant-garde” except in the ephemeral details of form or fashionable focus. Yet over the years, book reviews have abounded with metaphors of forward motion: “ahead of its time”, “taking risks”, “pushing back the boundaries”, “travelling unfamiliar territory”. The same