March 21, 2018

Sweet Mouthful: World Poetry Day

To celebrate World Poetry Day, I asked friend and colleague Anna Lepine about her favorite poem. Here's what she chose and why.

I love “Goblin Market” because it can be understood on so many levels and because it is such a sweet mouthful to read out loud. It is a story about the dangers of excessive pleasures and consumption (“come buy, come buy,” say the goblin men), but it is also a forgiving look at desire. Laura, the “fallen” one, is redeemed, but not before her sister Lizzie has to get smeared all over with goblin juices. I also love how one of the things that was eerie about the poem initially was that the fruit was “all ripe together / in summer weather.” Our reliance on modern grocery stores removes the spookiness of the goblins’ tempting descriptions of fruit, but the Victorians would have been suspicious about strawberries being ripe at the same time as pears, not to mention their easy access to exotic pomegranates. The poem is absolutely “sweet to tongue and sound to eye,” and I can’t get tired of reading it.

Read Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market" here



Anna Lepine reads and writes from Hudson, Quebec.





March 7, 2018

FABULOUS CREATURES: MELT by PATRICIA YOUNG


Susie Osler, Traces series

Morning at the Cardinal Café, where a strong flat white and even a decaf can cause visions of bright chattering birds to enter a conversation

Conversation with potter, image-maker, and steward of the land Susie Osler (see also Fieldwork) this snowy spring morning about words, the wild, voice, material, now, then

Then this mirror-poem, "Melt" by Patricia Young, from 2008's Here Come the Moonbathers (first published on the Parliamentary Poet Laureate Poem of the Day website) -- here's a little bit:

Patricia Young
MELT

One morning they appear in nameless droves.
Fabulous creatures flicking their silver fins and ancient jewels.

A long lost mythology? Weird migration?
They lurched onto the tundra like bawling infants,

announced themselves with the subtlety of a brass band.
Wave upon wave, antlers vibrating, tails ablaze.

Who? we asked. Who are you?
One day they weren’t there and the next

they were traveling toward us
with the speed of a birchwood forest.

We gathered to mourn those passing
swiftly into memory, the polar bear and arctic seal.

Time cracked.
The century was thinner than ice.

We had 1200 words for reindeer but not one
for hornet, robin, elk, salmon, barn owl.

Try to understand: we had never seen a barn.
...

Read the whole of Patricia Young's "Melt"  here.

Image of Mars courtesy NASA/JPL/University of Arizona