GOOD POEMS FOR HARD TIMES

  During the September 11th broadcast of “What to Read When the World Has Gone Mad” (on CBC’s Sunday Edition), Michael Enright mentioned Good Poems for Hard Times, a poetry anthology painstakingly put together by Garrison Keillor, consisting of poems previously read on his public radio show “The Writer’s Almanac”, and published in 2004.   It was one of only a couple of books that Enright personally recommended at the episode’s end, and I got the feeling that it was an important book in his life—maybe even a cherished book. It’s the one that I immediately looked up in the … Continue reading GOOD POEMS FOR HARD TIMES

FATHERS IN VERSE AND MEMORY

My offering of poems this year for Father’s Day explores the contours of fatherhood: Protection, dutiful service, stoicism, silence and sacrifice. These are verses about fathers and sons, and fathers and daughters. They’re about gratitude, tenderness and love. Can you choose a favourite? CARE, by Craig Santos Perez   My 16-month old daughter wakes from her nap and cries. I pick her up, press her against my chest and rub her back until my palm warms like an old family quilt. “Daddy’s here, daddy’s here,” I whisper. Here is the island of Oʻahu, 8,500 miles from Syria. But what if Pacific … Continue reading FATHERS IN VERSE AND MEMORY

POEMS OF THE SOUL AND THE STARS

Your response to the Poetry Corner has been wonderful, and as a result, I’ve found real pleasure in searching out the poets and their works that will bring you back to the Library’s Online Book Club again and again. There seems no reason why the lives of poets Claude McKay and Lola Ridge should have converged, and yet both found their way to early twentieth century New York City. Claude McKay arrived in the Big Apple from Jamaica, where he was born (in 1889) and where he wrote his first book of verse (in Jamaican dialect).  Lola Ridge’s journey began in … Continue reading POEMS OF THE SOUL AND THE STARS

WAXING POETIC

Life is mostly froth and bubble, Two things stand like stone. Kindness in another’s trouble, Courage in your own.  I stumbled upon this stanza by the 19th century poet Adam Lindsay Gordon a month or so ago, and put it up on my Facebook status one morning, as my inspiration for the day. The wonder of language is that though Gordon’s message could have been formulated in hundreds of different ways and still been understood, it’s how Gordon expressed his thoughts that allows us to find pleasure in them. He chose poetry, crafting his message in a playful, rhythmic form … Continue reading WAXING POETIC

AT THE TOUCH OF A LOVER, EVERYONE BECOMES A POET

I have spent this beautiful snowbound Valentine’s Day morning strolling among websites, in search of love poems to inspire me. At first glance, it seems that poetry, as a literary form, has been left in the shadows of the 21st century; the works of poets occupy such a shy and unobtrusive space in bookshops. But not so at Pointe-Claire Library, where a rapid search for “poems” yielded 777 hits! And not so online, where many collections of classic works of poetry are accessible to everyone. I wonder if the most quotable, well-known love poem isn’t Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet #43 … Continue reading AT THE TOUCH OF A LOVER, EVERYONE BECOMES A POET