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Devour: Art & Lit Canada is dedicated to the Canadian voice.

ISSN 2561-1321 Issue 002 November 2018


Devour Art & Lit Canada

Find some of Canada’s finest authors, photographers and artists featured in every issue.


Photograph by Laura Berman

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The mission of Devour Art and Lit Canada is to promote the Canadian art world by bringing world-wide readers some of the best Canadian literature, art and photography.

ISSN 2561-1321 Issue 002 November 2018 Devour: Art and Lit Canada 5 Greystone Walk Drive Unit 408 Toronto, Ontario M1K 5J5 DevourArtAndLitCanada@gmail.com Cover Photograph – Laura Berman Editor-in-Chief – Richard M. Grove Layout and Design – Richard M. Grove

Welcome to the 2nd issue of Devour: Art and Lit Canada. We are growing in directions we had not anticipated. We are pleased to bring you our new features “Quintessentially Canadian” and “Open Mic Canada”. Stay tuned for the next issue for an introduction to our two new editors for those sections – April Bulmer and Bruce Kauffman. Eventually we would like to include art, photography, poetry, prose, book reviews and music reviews from every province and territory. For our 3rd issue we will introduce another feature, “Wildlife Canada” where we will feature Canadian wildlife photographers. Get a sneak preview of our first Wildlife Canada feature, Cindy Conlin, on pages 37 and 40 of this issue. Editor-in-chief, Richard M. Grove


Photograph by Laura Berman

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Devour Content Feature Profiles: Laura Berman – The Inner Life of Animals – p. 9 A.T. Balsara – The Great & The Small – p. 16 Holly Briesmaster – Landscape into Art: A Meditation – p. 22 John B. Lee and Richard M. Grove – MMXVI: Two Thousand Seventeen – p. 28 Quintessentially Canadian – Poems and Photographs – p. 36 James Ronson – Power and Possessions – p. 42 Felicity Sidnell Reid and Jiřina Marton – Alone: a Winter in the Woods – p. 44 Open Mic Canada – Noteworthy poems by Canadians – p. 52 Marnie Hare Bickle – Native Born Son: The Journals of J. David Ford – p. 58 James Deahl – Tamaracks: Canadian poetry for the 21st century – p. 63 Shane Joseph – Writing Awards – p. 69 Richard M. Grove – This Old Geezer – p. 70

D evo u r : Ar t and Lit Canada


Photograph by Laura Berman

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Photograph by Laura Berman

The Inner Life of Animals Ph otog ra p h er Laura Be rman Out in the country, beyond the fences, through the fields, chickens are clucking around their coop, horses are herded in their corrals, and cows are grazing their pastures. These sentient beings, typically seen only for their product value, have lives of their own, families and friends that they care for, unique character traits, and genuine souls. Perhaps due to living proximity, people rarely take enough time to see or appreciate these qualities in farm animals the same way that they often do with their domestic pets like cats and dogs. Photographer, Laura Berman, began to see farm animals differently about ten years ago when she was on assignment photographing long horn cattle in Ontario for a magazine. Due to her landscape design background, her focus had long been capturing plants for garden magazines. And although she had photographed animals throughout her career, it was the first time that she had really been able to concentrate on them, and, through her lens, she saw the individual personalities of these farm animals for the first time. She noticed how the cows with their calves sounded Issue 02

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and acted like human mothers would act around their babies. She was captivated by their colours and markings, their obvious emo‐ tions, and the relationships they shared. Similarly to humans, the mother cows had a certain group of friends, while other cows kept more to themselves. Meanwhile, their children were sometimes playful, or stubborn, or energetic, or frustrating just like toddlers. During the next seven years, the photo session with the long horn cattle stayed in the back of Laura’s mind while she continued to focus on photographing plants and gardens profes‐ sionally. Having always felt a strong affinity for animals, and living in the country near her friends’ farms, Laura’s interest was naturally drawn back in by their unique personalities. So, three years ago she decided to change her focus and begin working more with animals as subjects in her photos. She was interested in concentrating on the animals as individuals with feelings, emotions, and an inner life. Because she had both lived and worked so closely with animals, she could recognize that they are more than just objects or food products. Part of her inspiration came from time she spent working with a

Photograph by Laura Berman

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Photograph by Laura Berman

veterinarian in the 1990s, whose whole life had been about animals. The woman, who had been working as a vet for forty years, really had the golden touch when it came to their care and nurturing. Her understanding of the animals’ feelings and reac‐ tions were innate and the animals, in turn, trusted her and felt safe in her care. By observing their interactions, Laura learned a lot about animals and about herself. She was really able to understand that, similar to the pets she had owned through the years, all animals had individual personalities and a deep range of emotions. Through her photography, Laura is trying to get the viewer to actually look past how they typically see farm animals. Using an interpretive style, Laura is elevating the images she takes of animals into actual portraits to highlight their being‐qualities as opposed to their product‐viability. Laura is happy to be working with a new subject matter and she finds that people are very responsive to her images. She thinks that people are affected more by a picture that has sentient life in it. She says, “Landscapes and florals are beautiful, but through photographing animals, I

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Photograph by Laura Berman

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find myself drawn to eyes that look back at you. People do form very strong attachments to animals, so naturally, it just pulls you in.” Using her self‐taught Photoshop skills, Laura is digitally removing the animal from its background which she finds too visually distracting, and then digitally painting the background that she wants to show them against. The painterly look is difficult to achieve so that the animal doesn’t look like it was simply stuck on a background, but instead has a natural feel to it. This skill draws on her love of painting from childhood and allows her to highlight the animals’ unique personalities. The use of Photoshop in her images has opened up a new world of exploration. Laura says that working with animals has been a process in that the more she photographs them, the more she actually sees them for who they are. She had always seen them as individuals, but the more time she spends with them and the more she captures them with her lens, the more easily she is able to recognize their unique traits. She said that some animals have easily discernible personalities, whereas others are a mystery that unfolds with time and patience. Especially with animals, it is

Photograph by Laura Berman

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Photograph by Laura Berman

impossible to tell them to hold a certain pose or move a certain way. So she said that often as she is going back over her images, things become more apparent to her and she is able to notice elements she hadn’t seen in the moment. The post‐photography interpretation allows her to re‐explore the animal, his tempera‐ ment, personality, and relationships. She finds that whether she is capturing chickens, goats, cows, dogs, or horses, she notices their uniqueness and their habits. As she reviews her images, she is looking for the shots that really bring out the animal’s personality. They experience a whole range of emotions from boredom, to curiosity, to nervousness, to pride. For example, some animals take an immediate interest in her while others are bored and could care less. Certain breeds also exhibit more qualities than others. Pigs, for example, are quite curious, whereas goats seem to all be very individual. However, every session is different and Laura doesn’t always know how the animals will react. One time, she was photographing cows by the roadside and she found that while most of the herd held back, there was one cow who seemed like the leader and went over to investigate the stranger at the gate.

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Because of her experience with animals over the years, Laura has developed the ability to earn the animals trust and get close enough to see the animals for who they are. Her images are reflective of that closeness and they have the ability to draw the viewer in and ask them to take a deeper look at the heart of the being. Her interpretive style highlights their expressions and emotions while showcasing each animal as unique and worthy. The overlays, rich textures, and colours bring to life the emotions and inner nature of these beautiful farm beings. By Krista Deverson Feature writer for Forum Magazine, Autostrada Magazine, and Provinz Magazine.

You can contact the photographer, Laura Berman, at: www.Laurabermanphotography.com Laura@laurabermanphotography.com

Photograph by Laura Berman

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Title – The Great & The Small Written and illustrated by – A.T. Balsara Published by – Common Deer Press Paperback ISBN – 978‐1‐988761‐10‐7 Hardcover ISBN – 978‐1‐988761‐12‐1 Ebook ISBN – 978‐1‐988761‐11‐4

The Great & The Small

won a silver in the 2018 Moonbeam Book Awards YA fantasy/sci-fi category, a second place in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, and was a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards.

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The Great & The Small is a skillfully, cleverly woven story of rats and humans; of Fin and Papa, rats, with Ananda, her parents and school‐ mates, as conflicting two‐legs. It is a story, ultimately, of two clashing societies unable to conceive of how they could possibly live side by side, let alone on the same planet. Each divergent society has their own seemingly justifiable assumptions and insurmountable prej‐ udices. Like every good spy story and revolutionary tale the plot is multilayered including character development in the form of personal growth. Balsara even manages to fit a non‐risqué love story that develops between fellow rats, Fin and Zumi. Affections grow beyond political ideological tensions. This YA book ‘The Great & The Small’ is George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’ meets Hemingway’s ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls”. Because I am reading and reviewing this fine book while on holidays in Cuba I can’t help but compare the plight of the rat society with the struggle of the Cuban people and their eventual liberation from the Batista regime. My fancy sees Che Guevara and Josef Stalin sitting under a palm tree professing the revolutionary merits of this well‐written book. Even though ‘The Great & The Small’ is officially listed as a YA book it easily traverses the fine line that exists between young adult and adult fiction. If it were not for the Hollywood, teenage‐predictability of the ending I would have easily classified it as equal to Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’. I asked Balsara how she felt about her book being compared to George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and was it on her mind at all while writing ‘The Great and The Small’? Her reply was, “I read Animal Farm a long time ago, and so I can’t say that it was a huge influence

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on this book. I am honored, though, that ‘The Great & the Small’ has been compared to the book, as it was a masterpiece in decon‐ structing the mind of a dictator and the process of how dictatorships happen within societies.” There are two parallel and overlapping characters that advance the plots. I have to say that Balsara does not fall too deeply into the writer’s trap of creating totally predictable, one dimensional characters. Fin the young, naive rat, at the start of the book, is easily influenced by his rat uncle, Papa, the head of Council. Ananda, the rebellious high school student, saves a rat’s life while in the market one day and strongly disapproves of her father ’s lab‐rat experi‐ ments. She is not swayed by his defense of saving humanity. Despite her altruistic motives Ananda falls into the age‐old philosophical trap that, the end justifies the means, the way Papa rat justifies the way he influences the Council as he tries to save the rat society. Fin and Ananda both have character flaws that either get them or others in trouble. Balsara does a be‐ lievably good job of developing all of the characters including the sometimes loving and benevolent, Godfather figure, Papa. The Princess Leia type character, Zumi, grows to even love Fin as he is slowly, reluctantly, swayed to her point of view. In part, there are two Orwellian sub‐themes that Balsara explores that, hopefully, the young reader will grow to be keenly aware of. One is the rewriting of and reinterpreting history and the other is the suppression of a marginalized sector of society. The genocidal character flaw of Papa leads me, without too much of a stretch, to read between the lines and see a parallel with the history of the Hitler youth movement as part of Balsara’s not so hidden subplot.

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In chapter 22 we see a glimpse of the philosophical conflict that is growing within the ranks of the rat Council. Here is a wonderful passage that demonstrates Balsara’s skill as a writer. – The old rat’s sides began to heave. A small cry escaped him. When he spoke, his voice sounded thick. “Do not weep for the two‐legs. Do not think of their horror. After all, two‐ legs hearts are cut from stone. They do not feel as we feel. Or so says the council.” / Fin’s head jerked to attention. What had he said? Had Council told him to say that? Fin looked at Papa. Papa’s eyes bulged, his mouth opening and closing like a fish at the market. The other Councilors stared, speechless, at the former Chairman. / Balthazar was going against Council / Balthazar was a Wrecker. / The ancient rat raised his face, tears streaming from his eyes. “So much suffering for the Plague Rats, for the two‐legs!” he wailed. “So much! And Council wants to bring that doom again? I say NO!” / A sound rose up from the gathering, like a thousand hissing snakes. … / “Truth! Seek truth!” called Balthazar. / Fin’s fur stood on end. He stood frozen as the ARM surrounded the old rat. As Sergo lunged forward, his teeth bared, Bothwell leaped on Balthazar’s neck. / “…Council...Poison…Words are poison.” The old rat was struggling to be heard. “Do not believe their lie—!” Balthazar ’s voice stopped as rats swarmed over him. The plots and subplots about the rats and two‐legs are always subtle and skillfully intertwined through the story. This is just more proof that Balsara is a skilled writer. A contemporary social theme of bullying is palatably woven

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with Ananda’s development as she learns to stand up for her‐ self. Ananda and Fin, two‐leg and rat, are both given opportun‐ ities, metaphorically and directly, to learn and grow. I love Balsara’s imagination. It proves itself time and time again throughout the book. Even for me, the adult reader, I enjoyed the book from start to finish. I am sure the YA reader will appreciate it just the same. One scene that stands out to me is a dream sequence where Fin, the young hero rat, is scooped up into the sky by a rat that sprouts wings. The flying Papa rat turns into the old rat, Balthazar. This sequence starts in chapter 24 – The chairman turns. But it is not Papa anymore. It is Balthazar. He looks at Fin, his eyes marble‐white. “Come young master,” he croaks. “Do not be afraid.” Grabbing Fin by his scruff, he leaps into the sky. / “No!” shouts Fin. “We’ll fall!” / But the old rat sprouts wings, grey and sturdy like the wings of a pigeon, and climbs high into the sky, his now‐glossy fur fluttering in the wind. He holds Fin tight. Fin struggles, his legs thrashing, until he notices his back leg—the curl in his paw is gone! Stretching it, he wriggles his toes. There is no pain. Unafraid now, Fin gazes around. They are flying over the harbor. Seagulls wheel far below. He takes a gulp of air, and it is fresh and cold in his chest. Joy flashes through him like sunlight dancing on water. I asked Balsara, in chapter 45 you make reference to a library book that Ananda was reading about the Black Death but you don’t quote a title. Is there an actual title that you read that was part of the inspiration for this book. “Yes, there was. The primary book was The Black Death, translated and edited by Rosemary Horrox, published by Manchester University Press. There were other books, like The Great Mortality, by John Kelly, and From the Brink of the Apocalypse, by John Aberth, as well as a book on the terrifying flu

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outbreak of 1918, called The Great Influenza, for a relatively mod‐ ern take on what it was like to be in a ‘plague’.” The Great and The Small is divided into delightfully short chapters. There is nothing long and plodding about this book. Each chapter starts with an epigram. Considering the revolutionary theme that is the core of this book it is not surprising there were a few quotes by Josef Stalin and Vladimir Lenin. Each epigram helped to prime the reader, layering the story with historic context. One aspect of the book that I should not miss commenting on is the illustrations. I commented to Balsara that she is obviously a fine illustrator. I asked where did she study illustration / art? I was surprised by her answer. “Thank you. I am primarily self‐taught. I have taken numerous one‐off painting and drawing classes here and there, and took a correspondence course for cartooning, but my main instruction has come from reading how‐to art books, just like the character, Ananda, in the story. For illustrating, I use a digital tablet and Corel Painter, and watched online tutorials on how to use the program.” The character Ananda is also an artist and is found drawing a number of times throughout the book. I asked Balsara if there any auto‐ biographic parallels between her and Ananda? She explained by saying, “I thought it would be interesting to illustrate a character who is herself illustrating. I also chose to make Ananda an artist because it’s something that I know about. I find it very hard to write about something unless I have primary knowledge about it. In that sense, I am not very imaginative at all!” All in all I have to give this book ten out of ten. The conflict between the rats and the two legs is believable and the essential conflicts between characters are developed well. For me the story moved naturally and believably. Let me close by saying, run out and buy this book for any young adult you know but be sure to read it before you give it away. Review by Richard M. Grove Publisher, Editor, Author

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Athabaska River Cove by Holly Briesmaster

Landscape into Art: A Meditation By Holly Briesmaster hollybries@gmail.com I am an observer of earth, air and water — fundamental elements. My paintings are on birch panels and boards — mountains, peninsulas and islands. Earth upon earth — the ground we walk upon ─ not to be taken for granted. Here is the horizontal line — the reflective — the passive. And the pyramidal shape — both static and energized. The British Columbia interior — varied and constant, constant and varied. The peninsula — reclaiming land that could be lost. The Bruce Peninsula in Ontario reaching for the Gateway to the North. Owen

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Sound to Wiarton — escarpments and waterfalls leading the way. Would it be better to resist erosion or surrender to water? The island — a heightened state of existence. A place apart from elsewhere. Vancouver Island and Bowen Island, garden of forests ancient and regenerating. Willingly separate after land mass shifts. Manitoulin Island, self-contained between other cultures. The horizon — the meeting of air and earth. Endless possibilities of proportion. The meeting of earth and water. The meeting of two colours. Dark and light, cool and warm. Relationships of the heart — shifting and redefining themselves. Transparent and opaque. Then, there are my paintings on paper fans — handheld to wall-divider size. Air upon air. The fan as coloured wing in flight. The perpetual arc — extending, Near Pemberton curving. Organic painted shapes ─ foliage by Holly Briesmaster branching, spirals. Angular shapes — musical and architectural, building form in air. The geometric and arabesque, balanced in weight. The fan as shape of potential —the semi-circle — a different kind of continuum. And recently, my paintings on paper and linen scrolls. Water upon water. A hard rain, cascading waterfalls and rock cliffs

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shaped by moist air. What could be more affirming than flow? Vertical impulse, vertical momentum. The Vertical has its own heart and reason — and the scroll makes this declaration. As a young girl, a large influence was living near the ocean. For a few years building sandcastles and watching the tides. The sound of the ever faithful waves rolling onto the shore. One day, getting caught in the undertow when swimming too far out before a storm. Tumbling in a water tunnel formed by the ocean's movement. Learning respect for the elements early on. Water upon water. Inglis Falls by Holly Briesmaster

Water Rush by Holly Briesmaster

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What is to become of all of this? Painting is a kind of conservation, a kind of prayer to assure the habitat we call Earth its inalienable right. The cave painters believed that by painting a creature, an Auroch for instance, they would be successful in the hunt. In some ways, a contemporary painter can hope that what they paint will survive their own generation. Still using a brush and pigment — a sophisticated technology yet to be surpassed after thousands of years. Painting as mythical experience — finding and creating the stories that are buried in the land, air and water. That they will be successful in ‘the hunt’ for what endures.

To Bowen Island by Holly Briesmaster

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The Red�Green Hour by Holly Briesmaster

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Verte by Holly Briesmaster

Splitting of the Atom by Holly Briesmaster Find more work at: http://www.dragonwhistle.ca/artists.html

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This book, MMXVII: Two Thousand Seventeen (Sesquicentennial Poems) by John B. Lee and Richard M. Grove, is published by Sanbun Publishing out of New Delhi, India. It is 100% translated into Hindi.

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John B. Lee

Living at the Monk Motel I wake in the morning to the crimson hallelujah of divine sunrise burning off the last vestiges of vaporous darkness with the slow coming on of consciousness after dreaming only the visible spire and the white stone architecture of the Abbey’s clarified geometrics breaking through the pines with its bells calling out for the earth’s deep attention gonging through the groomed hills of Gethsemani over the grave thoughts of the dead in the yard as ghostly companions to the meditative garden only these human interruptions corrupting the wild insignificant and always worshipful chorus of cold-light cicadas sawing their wings into wilderness choirs, this and the irrepressible urgency of birdsong celebrates daylight and silence and that we are humans then comes true in the body as bones, locked in otherwise golden inches where pleasure pours dark honey of heart blush to the pulse points of temple and wrist, my words like cut grass falling at the meaningful edge of the meadow with its redolent fragrance of clover’s interweaving perfume unseen in tall timothy grown wishful of seeding

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John B. Lee

Mike Wilson’s Chestnut Mike Wilson speaks of a chestnet tree occupying the property line where he lives near the vanishing shores of the lake and he says he has overheard intentions to cut it down though it is redolent with lovely wind-scrap fragrant white blossoms littering the green life of early summer by autumn grown prickly with pericarps falling in spiked spheres it seems where the shade lies soothing the earth there’s a swath of sweet sorrow cooling the sand on the lawn light deep Mike swears the tree is moving his way its shadowline sidling closer like a widow slow dancing for grief

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Richard M. Grove

March 26th, 2016 for John B. Lee Dear John: A few days ago we experienced a winter storm. Everything was covered with an inch of ice. Shining branches bowed in submission, my car a glistening sculpture. Against my better judgment I went out for a walk on that day and slipped and fell hard. Picture this Blue Bear, as Adonay calls me, flying in the air winter boots three feet off the ground landing square on my back followed by my coconut head cracking the ice. I rolled to my side gasping. Ten seconds, fifteen, twenty seconds passed before I could haul a breath of life back into my collapsed lungs. In those twenty seconds I thought I was going to perish without saying good bye to you. My lungs billowed back to life as I lay on the frozen road. Kim paralyzed, helpless, praying. When you are trying to stand back up, after a sack-of-potatoes fall like this, in the middle of a frozen road there is nothing to grasp but God’s great wing. I shimmied, danced and skated myself erect back to my six feet, two inch view of the world. That is a long way for a bulk like me to land without a runway or parachute.

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In contrast, today, only one day later I am out working in the garden. I just came in from doing some winter clean up in the front flower bed – raking and pulling dead plants from the sun-bathed earth, ice still lingering in the shade, beneath the bushes, on the north side of the house. It is a sunny gorgeous fourteen degrees Celsius, iceless road, cloudless sky – tonight promises to be the beginning of spring. I’m working in short sleeves, wiping sweat from my brow as I dug. How wonderful it is to be digging. How wonderful to be able to dig.

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Richard M. Grove

Aching to be on the Water March 22 With morning blur I look past burgundy blooms of my re-flowering orchid to motionless grey branches. Red-winged blackbirds and Grackles arrived last week. As if in a panic, dogs barking at my heels, fire lapping, I rummage for my life jacket. With a shrill I blow the cobwebs from my emergency whistle, grab my toque and gloves and headed to wake my kayak from a five-month slumber. Scratching over winter’s dulled gravel shore, I slip her belly into freezing lake, skimming to freedom. Fluffy flakes parachute through sullen sky, freckling mirrored cove, melting on bobbing green prow. It is well past middle March but still there are crystals of ice on south shore hidden in deep shadow, death clinging to last year’s rushes. I paddle first into calm testing my steel. With confidence gained I head north past the tip of Salt Point into waves of east wind pushing quickening foam over bow. I zip my collar tight, snug the straps of my life jacket, tilting my strokes towards lighthouse.

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Gloved fingertips now wet and freezing, lap splashed, bobbing wildly in troughs of black. I swing east around Boulder Island, glide west surfing, south back into the leeside calm of cove. As I drag my kayak from lapping shore placed back into its bed of crunching leaves my spirit sings.

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Quintessentially Canadian April Bulmer Williamsburg Cemetery, Kitchener Cool October day, the language of breeze and trees and of tombstones and frost-bitten flowers. Below the bones of my father and others who were loved: Chitovas Vandergaag Steinhauser and Albert Cappelina: safe in the arms of Jesus.

Photograph by Tara Baxter

Graham Ducker A Northern Sight A loon splits the river. Its haunting laugh announces the accomplishment.

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The field beyond is the shade of autumn before the crops will be fallen. I wipe the small black plaque of Charles Robert Bulmer with a rag. Suddenly, a grey cat and the sun.

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Graham Ducker A Northern Manitoba Morning

Wally Keeler Winter Walk Poem

I scratched a hole in the frost-covered window. Suspended like an eerie gossamer curtain, an ice-mist stretched across the frozen landscape. Chimney smoke rose in thin straight lines. I knew it was a more-than-minus-thirtydegree morning. You learn to estimate the temperature by how the snow sounds under your boots. On such days, teachers did not allow pupils to play outside where exposed skin became frostbitten within minutes. Despite the numerous absentees, and the admonition: “Please play quietly”, indoor recesses seemed crowded and noisy. Only the occasional raven call breaks the silence.

A couple mouthfuls of Casal Mendes in our heads this girl and I walked into midnight mukluks and mitts long scarf over shoulder attached to a memorized summer day ... so it was like that as we walked down a residential street and stopped by a vacant lot – child-angel winged into the purely smooth snow “A beautiful mutilation,” she said. “... and the quarter moon is the glowing thumb nail of God pressing excellent approval onto a crisp clear sky…”

Photograph by Cindy Conlin

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David C. Brydges

Only in Canada Eh! —Gawker called the explosions the “most Canadian fireworks display of all time.”

This is no bull—a bull moose hit a truck carrying fireworks near Wawa Ontario. The driver escaped uninjured, but his truck was a six-hour steaming blaze, closing Highway 17S. Sayonara to that moose on the loose. Amid the pyrotechnical pandemonium electric sparklers prematurely startle the sky, illuminating a broad-shouldered question mark when the headlights hit first a moose on the loose. What happened as the “king of the forest” nobly strode its sovereign land, crossing the asphalt road for the last time? Not an international celebrity, just a moose on the loose. Did his blazing body burst into billions of bloody shooting stars dying in a shocked arc of northern night? The most spectacular roadkill ever for a king walking his kingdom. Our Technicolor moose no more on the loose at his fantastic fireworks finale.

Ruth E. Walker

Haiku for Canada Canoe bows break waves part pine limbs on portage trails carry our past home

Photograph by Reva Nelson

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David Pratt Tracks Freezing rain, all day, rain and regret for the disappearing winter, skiing among snow-loaded pines while she pointed out the tracks of moose and elk; I looked for those of wolf, but never saw them. She waited at the top of hills, face glowing at twenty below, until at last I could keep up with her. Later we drank hot wine by the fireplace in my isolated house among the birches by the frozen lake. The sound changes on the window. It's snowing, straight down like shredded cloth. The phone rings. An unfamiliar voice. It’s hers: ice and anger, something I've said or done, or not said, not done. They have come for me then, these ghosts, once more to prowl about my sleepless bed. In the blurred morning I go out, and see at once all round the house the deeply printed tracks of wolves.

Photograph by Marie-lynn Hammond

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Photograph by Cindy Conlin

K.V. Skene Salmon Run As summer ends the silver salmon run their urgent race, while north winds chop the strait. Each dawn I chase the Juan de Fuca sun to trace the tide. Each evening, anchored late, I recall blue eyes and other scuttled dreams sunk in one immemorial knockdown gust. I set my course and charted selfish schemes to ride the flood on my blue-water lust. Bold city lights seduce sea-weathered eyes – break off and run – ports spawn too foul a rest. Cold winds freshen and shake out salt-stained skies; against the wind, close hauled, I beat north-west. New moon, far stars, old phosphorescent sea, Pacific nights – forever pulling me.

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Anna Yin

Jane Tolmie

Halifax It was not far away that the airplane crashed. We felt we were poor hosts letting all our guests die like that. Many Swiss citizens sat by the shorelines full of angers and sorrows, everyone avoided restaurants knowing the lobsters were feasting most horribly on the sea bottom. Cannibalism was legal for weeks among the bad hosts. We all understood but could not say it was a false elegance to speak of ashes and dust.

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Power and Possessions by James Ronson Do crimes of power and possession always lead to deadly consequences? The author of Power and Possessions, James Ronson, seems to thinks so. This is an outstanding first novel that combines both romance and crime. It explores the worlds of gaming, art and archaeology through characters that are sometimes devious and always human in their struggle for love, power and possessions. A passion for work is one thing, crimes of passion quite another. Romance, drama and deep dark secrets are an integral part of this exciting novel that revolves around a romantic triangle which leads to death and destruction. In this stormy world of love, power and possessions the high stakes of the “computer gaming world” intersect with the “fine art world”, with murderous results. Frank Cullen has a passion for business and a passion for dominating his wife. Frank’s wife, Julie Cullen, a PhD archaeologist, meets an intriguing artist. Julie finds herself caught in a triangle dilemma; return to her husband or form an exciting yet dangerous relationship with this new artist man in her life. This entertaining novel will keep you on the edge of your seat. It fits the description of being an “exciting page turner”. Available on Amazon.ca and Amazone.com and other estores around the world.

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About the Author: Felicity Sidnell Reid is a writer, editor and broadcaster who lives in Northumberland County, ON. Her poems have been published in anthologies, on-line journals and newspapers. Her short stories and nonfiction have also been anthologized. She, with several colleagues from the Spirit of the Hills Writers’ Group, has edited two collections of writing by members of this group. The latest Hill Spirits II (Blue Denim Press) was released in 2015. She and Gwynn Scheltema co-host a radio series broadcast on Northumberland 89.7 called “Word on the Hills”. The programmes are archived on the website, www.wordonthehills.com. In these programmes the co-hosts give the local and regional writers interviewed an opportunity to discuss and read their work.

About the Illustrator:

Jiřina Marton

began her artistic career studying wood sculpture in her native Prague. She later moved to Paris to study painting and worked as a layout artist of children’s books at a large publishing house. Soon after she moved to Canada in 1985, she illustrated her first book, Nicole’s Boat, by Allen Morgan. Since then her medium has changed from oil pastel, to acrylic, to watercolour and her artwork has been exhibited throughout Europe, Canada and Japan. She was a finalist for the The Governor General’s Awards 2007 and a winner of the Governor General’s Award in the 2009. She has won many other awards, including the 1995 Grand Prize of the Itabashi Picture book Contest (Japan) and Japan Foundation Fellowship in 1998. Jirina Marton lives in Colborne, Ontario.

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A Story For All Ages A story for all ages, Alone: a Winter in the Woods quickly engages the reader in thirteen year-old John Turner’s adventures. Forced to grow up quickly, while left alone on the family’s land grant in a virtually unsettled township, in the winter of 1797, John has to overcome devastating isolation and loneliness. With only a couple of oxen, a pregnant cow, a handful of chickens and his dog to keep him company, everyday tasks become ten times more difficult than they were while Pa was still with him, building their tiny cabin. Meanwhile John’s mother has adopted the orphaned Joséphine, who keeps a journal recording the life of the Turners and her own experiences, while the family waits for Pa to return to Adolphustown to escort his wife and young children up the lake to the new settlement once spring allows water traffic to start up again. This tale explores the differences between family life and expectations in the eighteenth century and the present, as John and Joséphine reflect on what home, family, and friendship mean to them and struggle to find the courage, determination and faith needed to face the future.

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In the winter of 1797, John Turner and his father Elias, Loyalists originally from New York, arrive at their 200acre grant of land in Newcastle District in Upper Canada. They've travelled on foot through deep snow and over frozen bays and inlets to make the seventy-mile trek from Adolphustown.

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them on the journey are two oxen, hauling a sled laden with supplies; Milly, the cow; and in a coop buried deep in the bottom of the sled, a rooster and three hens. These will be the start of the farm the Turners plan to create, after they first clear some of the land and build a log cabin and a shelter for the animals. When the time comes for his father to return to Adolphustown to fetch the rest of the family, thirteen-year-old John will be left on his own to fend for himself in their little clearing in the wilderness. The adventure that follows illustrates the strength of the human spirit. Will John be up to the challenge? Does he have the courage and tenacity to survive alone for three months? It's a fearful proposition, but John recalls his grandfather's saying that if you've never been afraid, then you cannot be brave. Because the Turners' is the first land grant in the new township, there will be no neighbours for John to call on for assistance. He does meet one other traveller, a Methodist preacher named William Black, whose circuit is Quinte's Isle.

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The kindly circuit rider gives John a New Testament, a quill and a bottle of ink, and some paper that John folds into a small book. Here he will record the important events in his solitary life and keep a tally of the days until he is no longer alone. Best of all, Brother Black brings John a year-old pup he calls Bonnie. She is company for John, and they keep each other warm at night under the bear skin covering on the bed. From the time his father leaves at the end of February, John is responsible for keeping himself and the animals alive. “Depend on the Lord and rely on your good sense,� Pa tells the boy. Buoyed by his father's faith in him, John still has to face the fact that now, except for Pa and Brother Black, no one knows where he is, or even that he still exists. The book is filled with such vivid descriptions of the forest of Upper Canada, the rivers and marshes, the glimpses of Lake Ontario in the distance, and the changing seasons that the reader easily imagines sharing John's surroundings. Besides the daily routine of caring for the animals, collecting water for cooking and drinking, keeping the fire going that burns in a pit in the middle of the cabin's earth floor, and gathering moss to fill the cracks between the logs, John must use all his ingenuity to come up with solutions to the challenges he faces at every turn, and he has to make careful decisions.

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When Bonnie has a painful encounter with a porcupine John must extract the barbed quills from its face or risk losing his only companion. He helps birth Milly's calf and then keeps a vigil all night to protect the newborn from the hungry wolves that appear at the edge of the clearing. Felicity Sidnell Reid details many of the tasks John undertakes, making birch bark tiles for the cabin roof, preparing simple meals for himself from a few dried beans and ships biscuits, deciding how to tap the maple trees when the sap begins to run and fashion a bucket to collect it. There is so much information here that the book belongs in every Ontario classroom studying the lives of the Loyalist settlers. The author's use of actual place names adds authenticity to the story. Between some of the chapters in John Turner's narrative are diary excerpts written by Josephine Fontaine, a Frenchspeaking girl from Montreal who lives with the Turner family in Adolphustown These entries give the reader insight into what is happening back home, while the family awaits the father's return and then as they prepare for the journey to the new homestead. When spring finally comes to John's tiny clearing in the woods, and the ice leaves the creek, Bonnie unexpectedly runs away. Distraught, John ignores his father's warning not

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to go after her if this happens and thus neglect his responsibilities at the homestead. Eventually, he finds the dog stranded on the opposite side of the flooded river, and in his attempt to rescue her, comes close to drowning himself. While he struggles against the strong current he is struck by a large tree branch and dragged out into the deep water. With Alone, Canadian author Felicity Sidnell Reid delivers a compelling, at times harrowing, adventure story that will be enjoyed by readers of any age. Highly recommended. Reviewed by Peggy Dymond Leavey, author of Laura Secord, Mary Pickford, and nine novels for young readers.

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Alone: a Winter in the Woods ,

is a spell-binding tale, written in the spirit and quality of Fredrick Philip Grove’s, Governor General Award winning novel, Settlers of the Marsh. Felicity Sidnell Reid brings the young reader a spell-binding pioneer life story of survival. Girls and boys of any age will be captivated by vivid descriptions of the northern landscape and the historically accurate story of endurance.

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Open Mic Canada April Bulmer Rowell Jackman Hall I stay at the University of Toronto residence on my little trip. The woman in the room next to me snores loudly all night and I can hear her through the thin wall. The rain falls in sheets. I sleep fitfully and feel I am not alone in the bed, haunted by spirits who move in and out of me like the light breeze from the ivy-league window. On the bus home, I look forward to the view of Lake Ontario, but it is camouflaged in fog, a whole body of water is there and not– like a god. Poems excerpted from Creeds and Remedies (Serengeti Press, 2017)

Send us your poems and photographs for Quintessentially Canadian and poems for, Open Mic Canada, for the next issue. Email us for submission info at: DevourArtAndLitCanada@gmail.com

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Graham Ducker Ode to the Dandelion It is with eager anticipation I await thy emancipation in the spring. Though warm winds banish the snows, which vanish down the drains, winter is not gone, nor spring sun shone, until your happy face I see. My neighbours groan, and bend and moan to eradicate your essence. But thy head is multi-seeded to be scattered where needed in thy persistence. It is with a child’s eyes that you create a disguise as a natural toy, for making necklaces and ‘buttery’ faces on any girl and boy. To the consternation of the rest, I will persevere in my quest to keep my place an immune space for you little face.

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Graham Ducker

Monarch Butterfly Patience describes you while a miniature mitosis organizes the Orb, and a tiny creation dissolves a hole; emerges. Perseverance marks your progress with measured munching you expand inside a rippled flexible casing until food becomes pointless. Apprehension hides within your curved form; a zipper reveals the hidden chrysalis, while time changes, and rearranges, molecules. Exhilaration helps spindly legs drag your compact wings unfolding by hydraulics into black and orange brittle panes of splendor.

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Bruce Kauffman

on a morning walk early morning dead black squirrel on the side of this well traveled city street there is a long story about this street its history there are other stories related about rural migration urban growth a mobile society all stories but preface to this and none as important as that longer story in even just its last minute of a young animal’s life here this morning i lost in that minute in the hours before in the dark of night a black city street almost lifeless a black squirrel lifeless becoming both all of it and i here in it now nameless

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Bruce Kauffman

robotization it was inevitable it has been long becoming technology rules i stand at a red light on a crosswalk the big orange hand on the pole across the street telling me to wait i look no cars coming in any direction for blocks on any side i cross the street instead look back in disbelief at all those still standing there motionless staring at that big orange hand my fear less the robotization in and of workplace and home but more that in our encouraging and embracing of it all we become them

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Honey Novick

Raccoon on Spadina Road a raccoon stealthily waddles along Spadina Road 10:30 or so on a Wednesday night, hoping no human person sees him (I’m assuming it’s a him) encroaching the sidewalk paved by human hands and machines the raccoon never forgets this was his land and it was his territory, his land, encroached upon he is called “thief” for his masked face “robber” for taking food where he finds it “the clean one” for washing his paws “clever” for deciphering ways to open locked garbage cans I just call him “cousin of a bear” but I wouldn’t want to run him over nor live with him I know we all must share the land the raccoon ambling down Spadina Road is like creative writing in that creative writing seeks hope he, too, is seeking hope because hope reveals the self, costs nothing and leaves a legacy the raccoon, like creative writing, is undervalued and invaluable

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Marnie Hare Bickle’s

Native Born Son: The Journals of J. David Ford Native Born Son offers a clear, affectionate insight into everyday life in Canada’s eastern arctic in the early decades of the 20 th century – a time when human safety was achieved only by managing a merciless environment by dint of competence and collaboration. We are privileged to see this period through the perceptive eyes and unadorned words of trader and hunter David Ford. David was born at the Hudson’s Bay Company trading post in Fort Chimo (now Kuujjuaq) in 1910 when the Ungava Peninsula was divided between Canada’s Northwest Territories and the Dominion of Newfoundland. Marnie Hare Bickle has ably edited David’s reminiscences into a captivating account covering more than two decades. Michele E. Collins’ maps and illustrations are a welcome complement. The reminiscences begin in Wakeham Bay (now Kangiqsujuaq) and move on to Cape Wolstenholme and Coats Island. Then follow his six years of boarding school in St Johns and his return to join his parents on Southampton Island where his father had established a new trading post at Coral Harbour (now Salliq or Salliit). The editor’s introduction suggests that there was much, much more material to select from.

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The author who emerges from the selection of these journals is an observant, quietly self-confident individual with the capacity to reflect on and react with sensitivity to the daily life around him. The narrative is an account of the growing from childhood to manhood of an intelligent, reflective, articulate and empathetic individual, equally at home with the indigenous peoples of the north as with the Europeans who had lived and traded across the arctic for centuries seeking mutual advantage. David’s comfort is unsurprising since his blood-lines drew from both cultures. In the most profound sense, he was a native-born son who genuinely embraced the arctic as his home and native land. Multiple ingredients are woven seamlessly into the narrative: the bewitching landscape of which the weather is an integral part; all that it takes for a community to survive in that environment; David’s friendship and profound respect for the indigenous peoples; and the affection and esteem he is held in for his insight, compassion, dependability and leadership. The arctic presents many dangers – lasting storms, bitter cold, the volatile floe-edge, moving ice-pans that can outrun a kayak, the polar bear seeking prey. The best way to stay safe was not (and is not) to shun the dangers but to develop the capability to address them with skill. David learned early, on the trapline with his father and with his indigenous playmates. At eight, he enjoyed his first successful polar bear hunt. David’s candid accounts of the contest between man

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and his prey are vivid. Remember that this was a time when there was little or no option but to rely on skills and collaboration to find the means to survive. In one memorable exploit after another, the author encourages the reader to summon up the consciousness of the life of the tribe that hunts – a feeling lost in our age of processed meat so anonymous that we can ignore it comes from animals that lived. The tiny trading posts in the Canadian arctic are supplied annually with goods sought from Europe. The annual Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship, the Tyne-built Nascopie, braves the dangerous summer waters to replenish the essentials required by indigenous groups and traders and to return with furs, ivory and ambergris. One year, ice conditions make it impossible for the Nascopie to reach Coral Harbour. David, Nattakkok, Koosherak and Kowjakudluk set off in a whaleboat to pursue a Greenland whale that will guarantee enough meat for all for the entire winter. The expedition is successful though it takes them 28 days. Despite having now provided the community with the bare essentials, they refuse to revert to mere subsistence living, and so eight men with four dogsleds undertake a trek to the trading post at Repulse Bay (now Naujaat). Forty-seven days and 1500-miles later, they return to Coral Harbour with supplies of flour, tea, sugar, molasses, tobacco, coffee and the most coveted item of all – matches. David’s account of leading that expedition accompanied by seven Inuit friends offers an insight into the essential nature of such dangerous travel. Like hunting, long-distance travel is a social affair in which eight men and 33

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huskies working side by side, overcoming extreme challenges to demonstrate that man will not be subjected by nature. By exercising their ingenuity, collaboration, courage, mutual respect and judgement honed of centuries of experience, they surmount all that nature can throw at them. They earn the right to call themselves “pre-eminent men” — David’s rendering of how Inuit refer to themselves and a name they extend to the author who they acknowledge as a resourceful leader. This account of life in the arctic is neither romantic nor sentimental. The author carries within him two traditions at a time of mutual dependence on trade goods that include rifles, metal tools and matches. How the hunter-gatherer relates to animals can appear callous to those who know animals only as pets and hunting as a form of recreation. Just as a pack of wolves is innocent when it kills and devours a caribou, so David and his companions are free of guilt when they pursue the 45-ton whale or recentlycubbed adult polar bear that provide sustenance for the village. Each is acting out the biological imperative of the species; each is engaging in an essential form of social life. David recounts how hunters must tell, retell and act out every step of the hunt, as a traditional social ritual. Suc h p e o p l e a re con fi de n t i n the com pany of one

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another and are bound by a common endeavour which strengthens the wellbeing of their group. The immediacy of David Ford’s forthright and unselfconscious narratives may stir an atavistic longing for the apparently simple relations that all our primal ancestors once enjoyed. Nevertheless, upon reflection we are likely to feel grateful that no longer does the continuous survival of any Canadian depend exclusively upon hunting and the raw exchange of basics. Every Canadian should read Native Born Son in order to savour the past vicariously in the company of those who belong to the northern frontier, indigenous and settler alike, while appreciating from their comfortable, educated, secure and healthy vantage points, the progress that has been made and is now enjoyed by all. Despite the editor’s thumbnail portrait of David Ford in the introduction as a “character, eccentric, a teller of tall tales” his accounts of travels and of exploits, for this reviewer who frequently travelled to the Ungava and the Melville Peninsulas between the mid-1970s and the mid 1980s, possess the unmistakable voice of authenticity. My one wish was that the book had been longer. Reviewed by Ronald Mackay

Find book ordering info at: https://fordelm.com/nativebornson/

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Tamaracks: Canadian poetry for the 21st century Edited by James Deahl Review by William Oxley w w w. l u m mo x p res s .c o m/lc/can- ant ho- 2018/ The first generation of Canadian poets – known as the Confederation Poets – were parallel with, and influenced by, the English Victorian poets of significance like Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, etc. Additionally, the earlier generation of the British Romantics like Byron, Coleridge, Wordsworth, would also have been an influence. Then, the next generation of Canadian poets, generally born between 1912 and 1923, was known as the Great Generation and included significant figures like Al Purdy, Dorothy Livesay, Raymond Souster, Milton Acorn, Simcha (Sam) Simchovitch and others. Lastly, many of the poets in this anthology have been inspired by the poets of the Great Generation.

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However, as one reads through the poems contributed to this Tamaracks’ anthology it soon becomes clear that the source and influences of many of these poets encompasses much United States’ experience and literature, in addition to the more truly Canadian. It is clear that quite a few of the poets are American-born (as is the editor) even though they have become Canadian citizens: a situation that adds to the richness of the poetry. Overall, therefore, there are a number of general observations to be made about the achievement of this anthology. Obviously, the first is to say that it is a valuable and much-needed collection to present to the poetry world the latest representative gathering of contemporary Canadian poets and their poetry. It is an up-to-the-minute work of helpful reference. Next, it reveals two things. Firstly, a fine conspectus of the range of contemporary Canadian poetry: something the reader can ponder. Secondly, it presents the range of forms used by the various poets: a verse panorama stretching from the decidedly formal to the very free: at the latter end of which there are some prose poems: one of which ‘Poem for a Tall Woman’ this reviewer found overcame his prejudice against such ‘poems’. However, perhaps the most pleasing thing about this anthology is accessibility of the poems. Whether the poems are of a high seriousness, clever, witty, primarily reportage, or the ever uncertain merit of the decidedly personal, they are accessible. At no point did I, as reviewer, encounter the impenetrable experimental, or the obfuscated contempt for the reader. Some poems were too simply descriptive, where others transcended the obviously real, but they were all characterised by the ability to level with the reader and not write down to him or her. A good accessible pattern to communicate both the reason and imagination at work. Immediately, I was drawn to Robert S. Acorn’s poem ‘Passchendaele’; and not simply because it unifies threefold the tragedy of World War 1 for Britain, USA and Canada, but because it is a well-written poem about a dreadful incident in that war: ‘As the last man landed on the human stepping stone an arm wearing a German tunic surfaced waving them God’s speed.

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The passions of the recently dead were with the living things looking differently under the surface.’ Then soon, one encounters Sylvia Adams’ fine poem about Beethoven, the great deaf composer: ‘So what if the ladies snicker behind their fans – dutifully, to please their men — I know they love me, but husbands and fathers insist they taunt me, ugly boor half-crazy.’ The composer whose last words were reputed to be ‘In heaven I shall hear!’ is well-portrayed in this poem, appropriately entitled ‘No Pictures of Him Smiling’. Henry Beissel is a powerful poet at times. Part of a long sequence is here. This from the section ‘(spring)’: ‘The wind bends shadows and blows your hair into torrents of desire. Our moments of happiness are in the hands of clocks with nerves of steel.’ And from the same poet’s poem ‘Manifesto in Times of War’: ‘You can tear a person limb from limb but you cannot sever a song from the listening heart, and when your missiles long rust in scrapyards today’s tears will have watered the desert to make yesterday’s laughter blossom into tomorrow’s love. Another poet, Steven Michael Berzensky, a very good poet, if one may assume from his relatively modest contribution to the anthology. Says he: ‘Anything can be poured into a poem/ as long as it smells of life/ or reeks of death or stares down/ like the cold half moon’.

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Beginning with this quote: ‘A Persephone woman is susceptible to depression when she is dominated and limited by people who keep her bound to them’: a quote from a book Goddesses in Everywoman, Clara Blackwood gives us a fine reworking of myth entitled ‘Persephone Unbound’. Shelley would have approved of more than just the title, one feels sure. And from a different, more Eastern culture Allan Briesmaster is inspired by Tu Fu, or Du Fu as the Chinese poet is now called. ‘You/ who breathe improbable brotherhood/ past every mask of despair.’ Words Du Fu ‘you call far/ across the abysses’. So, by now, it is already clear that Tamaracks is living up to another of the essentials of a sound anthology, viz: range of sources. Away from Greek or Chinese mythological or historical origins, Ronnie R. Brown in the poem ‘For Keeps’ reflects on the Normandy invasion on its 50th anniversary, comparing ‘Children,/ donning uniforms, marching away’ then with ‘children’ now: ‘Upstairs…my own son sits, eyes focussed/ on the computer’s screen./ I try to convince myself he is safe/ will never wear a uniform, march off,/ gun in hand.’ But ‘a click/ away, television cameras are focused/ on other mothers’ children. Live/ via satellite they stand, winning smiles/ on their adolescent faces,/ holding guns/ that should be toys,/ acting all grown up,/ playing for keeps.’ Then, lastly, Ronnie R. Brown brings us right up-to-date with ‘Thoughts After The Carnage’, a fine poem about the shooting of a number of children in an American school. And while on the matter of contemporary evil (which war is, however necessary it may be), April Bulmer offers a short but very effective poem called ‘Buffalograss Jail’. A poem written from an almost maternal perspective that finishes with a fine couplet: ‘My men are now broken and free – Haunted and hunted like me.’ The editor of Tamaracks sensibly gives us three sample poems of his, so that the reader may see where he is coming from in terms of his own work. Something that is doubly important for a reviewer who needs every scrap of evidence to enable him or her to assess the worth of an anthology. And for a ‘foreign’ book reviewer such as myself, it is always helpful to encounter Stewart Donovan on the life of Seamus Heaney: a poet very familiar on the British side of the Atlantic. While still on matters literary, Gertrude Olga Down gives us a particularly fine poem on the Nazis’ mass, obnoxious book burning

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Editor: James Deahl

in the Berlin Babelplatz: ‘On this square roasted writing of/ the dangerous: Dostoevsky,/ Ben Franklin, Hegel and Mann…’And Blaine Marchand gives the reader two further poems inspired by modern but deceased poets, namely, Dylan Thomas and Delmore Schwartz; while I.B. Iskov has a fine poem dedicated to Earle Birney, a Canadian poet who had a good profile in Great Britain when he was alive. Nor are ekphrastic poems absent from the anthology, ‘La Dentellière’ inspired for Laurence Hutchman by a picture of Vermeer’s; and a poem inspired by a model of ‘Leonardo’s Flying Machine’ by Katherine L. Gordon.

Away now, however, from the historical, contemporary or otherwise, simple nature is the source of many poems. Two simple haikulike poems by Jennifer L. Foster, ‘Wild Apple Tree’ and ‘In Snug Harbour, Georgian Bay’, delight and uplift by close focus on the concrete image which strongly yields poetic effect, proving that now and then Pound could be vindicated in his emphasis on the concrete. The contrast between Foster’s ‘poetical nature’ and the opening lines of Wendy Visser’s retreat from ‘nature the fact’, in her poem ‘News Flash’ could not be sharper however: ‘Those who think hell is hot/ have never lived a Yukon winter/ where the only warmth/ is a sizzling fire, bottle of whisky,/ and vivid imagination…’ As expected there are fine poems on birds of North America that are noticeable in many ways of habit, as well as for sheer colourfulness (see Elana Wolff’s ‘Messenger Suite’, for example). There are death poems and love poems. It seems at times in our secular era there are more of the former than the latter, and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century certainly reflects this. But Luciano Iacobelli’s humorous ‘The Egg Poem’, and a poem like ‘Two Students on the College Lawn’ by Bruce Meyer, with its superb last three lines, make life worth living no matter other vicissitudes:

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‘Tomorrow, they will recall tonight as the time they made poetry out of life and spoke by heart until the heart stood still.’ In conclusion then, this anthology is both a delightful and intelligent survey of contemporary poetry in the Canada of today: a useful and pleasurable read.

Published by Lummox Press w ww.lu mmoxpre ss. c om / lc / c an- ant ho- 2018/

William Oxley, published in The New York Times, The Observer, The Spectator, The Independent, Agenda, Acumen, The London Magazine and Poetry Ireland Review. His most recent volumes are ISCA – Exeter Moments (Ember Press, 2013) and Poems from the Divan of Hafez (Acumen Publications, 2013). His Collected and New Poems came from Rockingham Press in 2014, and Walking Sequence & Other Poems (Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2015). This Old Geezer – First and Last

It is about time a contemporary anthology of Canadian poetry was published for the U.S. market, and James Deahl of Sarnia, Ontario, is the perfect choice as editor. Deahl surely knows more about Canadian poetry than anyone else today. Tamaracks is a splendid collection, remarkable in its depth and breadth. [There are many poets we know, such as Lorna Crozier and Bruce Meyer, many we have published, such as Ellen Jaffe, John B. Lee, and Linda Rogers, but also many who are new to us, and that’s the joy of it!] Michael Wurster and Judith R. Robinson, co-editors, The Brentwood Anthology (Lummox Press, 2014)

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Shane Joseph

Writing Awards A writer named John F. tried for years to get noticed in the field of literature. Alas, there was so much content floating about in the literary world at the time that he could not attract anyone’s attention. So he went silent and dropped out of the scene, and the few readers who had read his work wondered about him; after all, he had written good stuff, just like everyone else, perhaps even better on occasion, so why had he given up the art? After a lapse of several years, news articles began to appear on the Internet: “John F nominated for the Barnabus Quigly award,” “John F shortlisted for the Zacharia Parsimonious award for literature,” “John F wins Maria Batholo literary award for fiction.” Success followed rapidly. Dueling publishers threw ridiculous sums of money to get their hands on manuscripts that he had toiled at for years and left to rot in filing cabinets. John F did not have to write a single word during this astronomical phase of his career for he had a lot of unpublished material to last for decades. When the last of these f o r g o t t e n m a n u s c r i p t s w a s p u b l i s h e d , J o h n F g r a n d l y announced his retirement; he was fearful that he would be called upon to write again, something he could not do any more as he had not exercised this talent for years, and had emptied his creative reservoir and neutered it with excessive drinking that had followed his success. Retirement brought more fame, for now his oeuvre was a finite rarity, and the highest literary honours in the world were piled upon him. Following John F’s literary coronation in a cold North European capital, an interviewer asked if his rise to immortality had been due to his winning those early literary awards. Being somewhat inebriated, anxious to unburden himself, and, frankly, not giving a damn anymore, John replied, “You mean Barnabus Quigly, Zachariah Parsi…parsimonius and that Maria woman? Oh, I just made those up.” Shane Joseph is the author of several novels and collections of short stories. His new novel, Milltown, will be released in the spring of 2019. For details visit www.shanejoseph.com

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Richard M. Grove

This Not So Old Geezer – First and Last Well, this not so old geezer abandoned the idea of going to McDonald's for a 7.5 out of 10 cup of coffee. I was in Toronto on Dupont, west of Spadina, and took advantage of a free parking spot, more scarce than finding a roll-up-the-rim free cup at Tim’s. I grabbed this rare twelve-foot curb-side realestate and went into a funky café called “First and Last”. A longhaired handsome fellow, Tyler, served me the best cappuccino I have had in a long, long time – decaf at my request. It and the raspberry Danish made my morning. Tyler had a Hank Williams – “The Very Best Of” playing. It sent a mellow mood through the hip plywood-tabled haven. Sunday morning spilled over the art filled windowsill to miss-matched chairs. This old geezer was sufficiently suffonsified. I give “First and Last” ten thumbs up for coffee and environment. If you have a couple of squealing children and you want to chill with a cup of pretty good coffee, go to McDonald’s. “First and Last” had eight or ten calm, dare I say, kind of hip looking adults reading, chatting or quietly thumbing their electronic devices – no rug rats or yard apes to be seen or heard. “First and Last” is not quite the cultural melting pot that McDonald’s is but you will find it a tranquil cultural respite from the zoom of the big city. Don’t forget to get your coffee card stamped. This old geezer is already on the way to getting his free cup of coffee. The metaphoric journey of filling your card for a free cup is well worth the experience. First and Last 346 Dupont St, Toronto 647-836-7427 https://www.facebook.com/firstandlastcoffee/ https://www.instagram.com/firstandlastcoffee/

Issue 02

Devour: Art and Lit Canada

70


Richard M. Grove

This Not So Old Geezer – Young and Productive I am sitting in McDonald’s having a ritual coffee and muffin. I seldom have more than that. McDonalds is for sure not making their billions off of me. I look around at the jubilant youth that spring past me with their ‘Happy Meals’ on their outstretched trays and I think that they for sure would all think of me as an old geezer. I turn 65 this year so sitting during the middle of the day with seemingly nothing better to do might very well make me look like an old geezer but little does anyone know, as I thumb tap my phone, that I actually just left my mechanic; new muffler, pipe, hanger clamps and flexhose, with tax $394.65. Let’s see if this new muffler will outlast Kim’s 20 year old car that we not so long ago put a new motor in. More money flung into these four wheels because I hate the ideas that pervade our through away society. I am heading back to my office soon to prove my value to society but for now I will enjoy my coffee and drag it out for as long as my waning, Protestant work ethic will let me. Well this not so old geezer with nothing better to do is sitting not very far away from two, handsome but teetering age-slimmed, older gentlemen that seem to have nothing to do but sit in McDonalds with a glazed smile of content. Between them they have six large coffees. Strange I think but soon after that observation four more octogenarians, pushing 90, wobble over and join them. Their combined ages must be almost 600 years making me feel like a spring chicken. They are all smiling and joyously gesticulating with arms and swinging canes. I smile at these jousting old timers and think that they may have 600 hairs between them. All six are bold with blue vanes worming across the tops of their heads. I see in the high gloss tiled reflection of the wall that I am not as thick haired as I used to be. All of a sudden this not so old geezer feels a bit younger than when I first sat down. I suck in my belly and smile at them with a nod of congeniality as I head to Kim's now quiet, new muffler car. I head back to the office to be young and productive.

Issue 02

Devour: Art and Lit Canada

71


Devour Art & Lit Canada

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ISSN 2561-1321 Issue 002 November 2018

Devour: Art and Lit Canada  

The mission of “Devour: Art and Lit Canada” is to promote the Canadian art world by bringing world-wide readers some of the best Canadian li...

Devour: Art and Lit Canada  

The mission of “Devour: Art and Lit Canada” is to promote the Canadian art world by bringing world-wide readers some of the best Canadian li...

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