Tag Archives: poetry

Katherena Vermette on the Wall

the breakKatherena Vermette came away from the Manitoba Book Awards with three prizes for her novel The Break.  She received the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award, the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction as well as the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award.  Although I would encourage you to buy her novel as well as her book of poetry North End Love Songs a taste of Katherena’s wordsmithing skill is available to everyone even if they can’t afford her published work. 

I pass one of Katherena’s poems almost everyday as I walk through Winnipeg’s downtown area.  It is called pieces and is inscribed on a wall at the north end of Portage Avenue flanked on either side by the work of local artists. 

pieces by katherena vermette

Other posts………..

Spring and Love

Fifteen Dogs and Writing Poetry

The Comfort of a Poem 

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He Watches. He Listens. He Thinks. He Writes.

Paterson is calm and thoughtful.  It is almost impossible to upset him.  He follows basically the same routine every day.  Gets up. Has cereal for breakfast. Drives his city bus route. Listens to his passengers talk to one another. Listens to his supervisor complain about his life. Goes home. Eats the supper his wife has prepared and listens to her tell him about her latest creative project- decorating cupcakes, making curtains or learning to play country music on the guitar.  Takes his wife’s dog Marvin for a walk. Stops at the local pub for one beer and a chat with the bartender.  Goes back home. Goes to bed.  

patersonBut while Paterson is doing all these seemingly routine things he is also intimately observing the world around him, carefully considering every little thing he sees and listening thoughtfully to what people say. And then he writes poetry about his observations and reflections in a small brown notebook he keeps with him almost all the time. He rarely shows his wife these poems, never shows them or reads them to anyone else, and despite his wife’s constant urging never makes copies of them.  

Paterson was the main character in a movie we saw last Sunday.  The film moves quite slowly but in doing so invites the viewer to become calm and watch the story unfolding on the screen in the careful, patient, observant way of the film’s protagonist. 

In  conversation with my brother who saw the film with me, I realized that although my personality is quite different from Paterson’s we have some similarities.  I also like to observe, listen, think and write about things I encounter each day. But unlike Paterson, who keeps his writing to himself, I have a need to share mine with others. Hence this blog.  

Other posts…………

Warms Your Heart and Makes You Laugh Out Loud

This is Just to Say

The Poetry of Boxing

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Filed under Movies, Poetry

The Comfort of A Poem

Today is World Poetry Day and so I offer you a poem from Madeleine L’Engle’s book A Ring of Endless Light.  This poem brought me immense comfort during perhaps the saddest time of my life when I experienced a series of pregnancy losses.  

The earth will never be the same again
Rock, water, tree, iron, share this grief
As distant stars participate in the pain.
A candle snuffed, a falling star or leaf,
……O this particular loss
is Heaven-mourned; for if no angel cried
when this small one was tossed away as dross,
The very galaxies would have lied.
How shall we sing our love’s song now
In this strange land where all are born to die?
Each tree and leaf and star show how
The universe is part of this one cry,
Every life is noted and is cherished,
and nothing loved is ever lost or perished.

What poems have made a difference in your life? 

each tree and leaf and star……….

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The Poetry of Boxing

Fifteen Dogs and Writing Poetry

Dancing in Shangri-La

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This is just to say….

wall in the hague william carlos williams creative commonsThis famous poem by William Carlos Williams is imprinted on a wall in The Hague. 

When I taught high school I used to ask my students to write their own poems using the Williams poem as inspiration. The Williams poem is said to be based on a note his wife left on the fridge for him. I asked my students to think of place where they might leave a note and what they would say. 

Here is a sample I wrote for my students about a note left by me on student work ………

This is just to say

the F

on your assignment

is for real

I’m sorry

you probably thought

I wouldn’t

figure it out

but you plagiarized

and I am

smarter

than you think

Other posts………

Fifteen Dogs and Writing Poetry

Dancing in Shangri-la

Poetry and Teenagers

 

 

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Fifteen Dogs and Writing Poetry

dave-hans-coconut

Two men siphoning sweet water

On a steaming Thai day vying to be the one

To suck the final dregs from nature’s cup.

I just finished reading the Giller Prize winning book Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis. The author traces the life and death experiences of fifteen dogs given human thought and speech capabilites by the gods Hermes and Apollo as a result of a bet the two mythical Greek brothers make in a modern bar in downtown Toronto.

15-dogs

Using the Caradec pattern Alexis writes poems where the name of the dog is not legible but can be heard when the poem is read aloud. For example here is Alexis’ poem for the dog Prince. 

Longing to be sprayed (the green snake writhing in his master’s hand)

Back and forth into that stream

Jump, rinse: coat slick with soap. 

If you read it out loud you will hear the dog Prince’s name at the end of the word jump connected to the next word rinse.  

The poem that starts this blog post is one I wrote for my husband Dave using the same  pattern. Can you find his name? He and his friend Hans were having a drink in Phuket Thailand.

Here’s a poem in the same pattern about me setting off on a motorcycle trip in Taiwan. riding-with-dirk-in-tawain

Putting my fate in the hands of my cousin Dirk

Will I be merry, lose my life

Will I be hurt, lose my inhibitions

I buckle my helmet and we fly.

Can you write a poem in the same form?  I’d love to hear it. Post it in the comment section below. 

Other posts…….

King David Was A Rapist

The Poetry of Boxing

 A New Poet

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A New Poet

I learned from my mother how to love the living.  That’s the first line in a beautiful poem by Julia Kasdorf.  I’ve just discovered Julia whose poetry seems to resonate with so much of my own life experience. the sleeping preacher kasdorf I bought one of her books The Sleeping Preacher and I’m savoring the poems, saving them, to enjoy one or two at a time.  

What I Learned From My Mother
by Julia Kasdorf
I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewings even if I didn’t know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another’s suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.

Other posts about poetry…..

I Believe

The Poetry of Boxing

Dancing in Shangri -La

 

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