Devour: Art & Lit Canada is dedicated to the Canadian voice.
ISSN 2561-1321 Issue 003
Devour Art & Lit Canada
Photograph by Richard M. Grove
Find some of Canadaâ€™s finest authors, photographers and artists featured in every issue.
Photograph by Richard M. Grove
Devour: Art and Lit Canada
The mission of Devour Art and Lit Canada
is to promote Canadian culture by bringing world-wide readers some of the best Canadian literature, art and photography.
ISSN 2561-1321 Issue 003 Summer 2019 Devour: Art and Lit Canada 5 Greystone Walk Drive Unit 408 Toronto, Ontario M1K 5J5 DevourArtAndLitCanada@gmail.com Cover Photograph – Editor-in-Chief – Richard M. Grove Layout and Design – Richard M. Grove
Welcome to the 3rd issue of Devour: Art and Lit Canada. This issue we have three new poetry editors joining us for our three Poetry Sections: 1 – April Bulmer, for our “Open Mic Canada” section, 2 – Bradley McIlwain, for our “Devour Under 25” section, and 3 – Bruce Kauffman, for our “Quintessentially Canadian” section. We are proud to have such esteemed authors as editors for our three permanent sections. “Wildlife Canada” is our new photography section featuring Cindy Conlin written by Kimberley Grove. Stay tuned for other fine wildlife photographers in the future. The literary pièce de résistance for this issue is a 17 page feature interview with Canada’s very own Brian Way. The interview by Ona Gutauskas is entitled “Of Princes and Kings and Other Things – An Illustrated Interview with Brian T. W. Way”. Editor-in-chief Richard M. Grove
Photograph by Richard M. Grove
Devour Content Feature Profiles:
Our Three Poetry Editors – April Bulmer – p. 8 – Bradley McIlwain – p. 12 – Bruce Kauffman – p. 16
Open Mic Canada – p.20 Devour Under 25 – p. 29 Quintessentially Canadian – p. 37 The Prince of Leroy cover image – p. 58 Of Princes and Kings and Other Things An Illustrated Interview with Brian T. W. Way – p. 59 Other Books by Brian T. W. Way – p. 75
De v our: A rt a nd Lit Ca na da
April Bulmer “Open Mic Canada” Editor April Bulmer is an award-winning writer who has had over a dozen books of poetry and prose published. Her most recent collection of poetry is called Out of Darkness, Light (Hidden Brook Press, John B. Lee Signature Series, 2018) which was a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She holds Master’s degrees in creative writing, religious studies and theological studies. Some of her writing is known for its themes of feminist spirituality. Her work has appeared in such prestigious journals, magazines and newspapers as The Malahat Review, Arc, PRISM international, Contemporary Verse 2, The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, The Anglican Theological Review, Grand Magazine, Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. April is originally from Toronto, where she worked at Maclean’s magazine and TVOntario, but she has lived in Cambridge for almost 25 years. She is often employed as a poetry judge and editor and writes most days.
Tongues April Bulmer
I walk the Sioux with my little Shih Tzu and the late women of Buffalograss. They blow into me like a prairie breeze and speak the language of the land. It is lean and the shade of canola and corn. The women are tired for their spirits hauled water and bore sons and daughters. They built fires and smudged. They tell me of three loves. Two, touched by Moon and Sun, will beat my heart like a drum. Another, a man of the cloth, will empty himself into me and there will be children. The women are sudden and gone like a shiver at dawn. But their voices and lore sink like stones into the deep pond that is my mind. I will lift them to the light of the morning Sun.
Lake Grace April Bulmer
My brotherâ€™s pickup truck is blue. The Sun is an old soul guiding us like an elder. He wears paint on His face the shade of canola blooms. I empty my hurts into Lake Grace: a healing salt-water lake. I come to her on canes. The rheumatism of my heart, its ache. It is August. I bathe in the warm little waves. Wear one like a grey shroud. For a moment, I drown myself beneath the waters but rise again through a little door. Jesus and his crowd on the shore. My pain floats like a bloated fish. I imagine its pale bones. My brother and I sweep the road with the truckâ€™s exhaust. The engine groans.
End of the Journey April Bulmer
Tang, you meditated by the Sioux. Your body lean your posture straight as a heron. You told me one morning at Buffalograss CafĂŠ (where you took clear tea) that you captured thoughts like quick fish. How calm you were. I was nervous as a magpie in your presence. Your grandparents emigrated from China to lay the railroad through the west. They taught you to breathe like the Buddha and leave an offering of flowers and oranges candles and incense. You are a beautiful bird on the shore. I imagine you are free from suffering and are wise. So, I bow before you by the river. Later, a train pulls through the dark towards the end of the journey. For a moment the Universe quivers.
Bradley McIlwain “Devour Under 25” Editor Bradley McIlwain lives in Ontario, Canada where he is inspired by songs in nature, and examining our relationships within it. Bradley graduated from the University of Toronto’s iSchool, where he received his M.I. in Library and Information Science. Bradley is the editor of Buried Horror, a space for fresh voices in horror, speculative fiction, and poetry. Bradley’s latest collection of poems, Elementals (IOWI, 2015) is now available on Amazon and Indigo.
Wishing Stone Bradley McIlwain
There is a place I go where the reeds blow and the whip-poor-will sings in the willows Under a salmon sky i sit upon a wishing stone and cast my own into the dreaming stream as the water replies with a whisper Night falls the spirits of stars glisten over the tallest trees june bugs light the trail with a warm lantern glow
Trailhead Bradley McIlwain
Where do we go when the wind blows? abandoned leaves of autumn memories stir at my boots. Seasons colour the valley of fresh starts and forgotten narratives. Change begins not at the start of the trailhead but the woods within. I take a tree stick off the ground, a gift from the little green gods, and start walking. The horizon does the rest.
Reed Song Bradley McIlwain
There is a hole in the trunk of the world I carved my initials once splitting the bark
and found my way back north reborn in the bed of a pickup truck
between two rings: my self and the self of my shadow
the earth in my soles alive with wonder and wandering in the valley
one is deciduous: changing what I leave behind becomes colours on the wind
a song of reeds echoes in the setting sun and I am settledâ€Ś
the other is old growth: lines on my face and palms
I am one
show the path breaks in the road where I stumbled went west instead of east stopped down south to see the water
Bruce Kauffman â€œQuintesentially Canadianâ€? Editor
Bruce Kauffman lives in Kingston, Ontario and is a poet, editor, workshop facilitator, programmer/host of a spoken-word weekly radio show, and organizer of a monthly open mic poetry series. In addition to having appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, his published work includes 2 chapbooks, and 4 collection of poetry with his latest, an evening absence still waiting for moon, having launched in May 2019. He has edited 7 anthologies.
words Bruce Kauffman
i write the line of a poem on a page i do not own it the words own it the pen too owned it for an instant the page will for as long as it remains page the poem will own it as long as it is poem this all until the poem is lost the words forget themselves to become only occasional flicker in the tattered dark of memory
watchman Bruce Kauffman
the old watchmaker at the end of this narrow street this morning looking up from his own removes his loupe and glasses lays down his miniature tools slides back his trays of springs and gears metal arms and hands dots and numbers bands and chains crystals and pins as he gazes through his open door transfixed at a morning sky fields trees timeless beyond the desk sidewalk street and this late this morning after a full life of perfecting time realizes for the first time the full of the illusion of it
last whisper Bruce Kauffman
a whisper still resting on a tongue cold lips sealed rigid these last whispers we take with us as we leaveâ€Ś never settling on their intended ears these secrets only the embalmer then the mortician hears
Open Mic Canada Editor: April Bulmer
Introduction to “Open Mic Canada” I am pleased to be the new editor for the “Open Mic Canada” section of Devour: Art and Lit Canada. In this issue, I feature a variety of new and established voices of poets who reside in Ontario and Quebec. I welcome writers from all parts of Canada and encourage submissions. I celebrate all the poems in “Open Mic Canada.” Lisa Makarchuk’s “Farewell, Newfoundland and Labrador” is a poetic tour de force in which she paints the geography of eastern Canada with a detailed brush. Erin Boyce excavates the relics of the human heart in her piece “Archaeology.” Kathy Robertson digs deep to reflect on flowers transplanted form her mother’s garden to her own in “Just Like Mom.” Alyssa Cooper’s descriptions in her “Pomegranate Seeds” are ground breaking and mythically fruitful in their feminist re-visioning of Eve. In her “Massage at White Horse Ledge” Carolyne Van Der Meer massages language to render the intimate relationship between masseuse and client. Graham Ducker is lighthearted in his poem “The Dove” about birds who prefer nesting in artificial lodgings. “Late Light” by James Deahl, however, celebrates the natural world and a migrating egret in a poem for his daughter. Finally, Norma West Linder writes in her “Wine and Music Still” of a “Scotch-taped tattered textbook” of poetry written by a Victorian poet – James Elroy Flecker. In it he gives directives “To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence.” They are still relevant, says Norma, but technology has “opened wide/the windows of the world.” Through the technology of the Internet, I encourage you to open the panes of the poems here. They offer a spectacular view. April Bulmer 20
Lisa Makarchuk Toronto, ON firstname.lastname@example.org
Farewell, Newfoundland and Labrador big lands and headlands tablelands of earthâ€™s mantle taiga and tundra of Canadaâ€™s Shield bogs, barrens, stone slabs undulating dunes, beaches and crags scrub brush and tuckamore streams, bays and fields limestone hoodoos and quartz big rock extruded and spilt onto shore. thousand-year icebergs floating on abysses beside high cliffs as part of deep crevices whales breaching; humpbacks are blowing cod and halibut are again flowing. bright lady slippers, the iris and rose berries of partridge, bakeapple and crow potatoes and carrots squash, turnips in rows in small struggling gardens the lilacs still grow beside low-lying junipers and wind-crippled pine mist and fog rolling in you hear the wind whine quarrelsome plovers bald eagles fly on the horizon caribou and moose are etched on the sky
archaeological marks of the past of the Norse, Beothuks, and Moravians on high cliffs and shores with hiking trails are ghostly tracks of the Basques where the bayâ€™s waters ran red from their slaughter of whales an imperative smooch with a cod completed with screech and some brewis Atlantic lobster blushed on the plate scrunchions a side all deeply fried life flourishes vital and hard the north wind unfurled in its squalls whipping up frenzied storms yet luring us all heeding its call over and over to landscapes of mornes
Erin Boyce Kingston, ON
Archaeology To write is to engage in an archaeology of the heart. A carefully documented excavation of our most fragile histories. Perfect porcelain promises made and broken. Scraps and treasures scraped from layers of rich experience, buried in lost intentions and the fertile soil of our expectations. This scientific pursuit — crouched in dust on bloodied knees — is an examination of an immaterial material culture, built over time, by people lost to us long ago. Possibly even forgotten. Each poem uncovered an artifact of love’s objective truth. An ancient foundation upon which we dare to build anew. It’s a pit, this deep love. We fall in, build up, and fall apart again.
Kathy Robertson Kitchener, ON email@example.com
Just Like Mom Just like Mom golden rudbeckias — transplanted with care from her garden into mine — emerge quietly without a fuss. A peaceful presence radiating her sunny spirit while breezes create rhythmic patterns that waltz in unison with the universe. When spring turns to summer summer to fall — winter’s advent awaiting — they’ll bow their heads with gratitude and return to the earth. Just like Mom.
Alyssa Cooper Kingston, ON firstname.lastname@example.org
Pomegranate Seeds The tree of knowledge did not breed apples, did not drop fruit to be consumed by thoughtless, gnashing teeth –– it bore pomegranates, to be opened by careful fingers, each red jewel to be plucked from its spider-web bed, gently, so as not to spill the blood of truth before it could reach our waiting tongues, and Eve still carries pomegranates in her purse — she hands out seeds to each of her daughters, so that we can crack them between our teeth.
Carolyne Van Der Meer Montreal, QC
Massage at White Horse Ledge She can manage six treatments a day tells me that sometimes, she acts as counsellor, absorbs negative energy of her clients then at each dayâ€™s end washes it away with sea salt I lie in nothing but a thong and blanket concentrate on holding the pieces together, keeping my sadness from dissipating into that saviourâ€™s hands She begins ritual pressing pulling and rolling I grunt and moan the pain sparks in remote places electric shock therapy through her fingertips The sensations galvanize as she digs and kneads gathers and blows apart I feel fragmented, exploded nerves jumping under my skin pressed back into place
Graham Ducker Oshawa, ON email@example.com
The Dove In my hanging plant So artificial A dove settled in. “It’s official. I’ve built a nest. I won’t bother you. While I’m brooding You can BBQ Your steaks and ham, Though I would appreciate Some consideration With the smoke you make. Year three this is With her and me Having nested first In a plastic tree Of wire branches And vinyl leaves Plunked on the balcony In one corner To break the monotony Of apartment space.”
James Deahl Sarnia, ON firstname.lastname@example.org
Late Light for Sarah on her birthday
With the sun down late light swells in Octoberâ€™s maples. Yesterday, walking at Lake Chipican a migrating egret turned its back to the north wind. Then a full moon rose in the east. Hard to realize you are forty-four, my wife is eighty-eight. Another autumn in your life and mine, our seasons turning like poplar leaves in wind. Their generous beauty resplendent.
Norma West Linder Sarnia, ON email@example.com
Wine and Music Still for James Elroy Flecker, 1884 1915
Dusting a bookshelf, I came across a poem optimistically entitled: To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence. I know I’ll keep this small anthology of “modern verse” whose dedication reads: To Thomas Hardy, Greatest of the Moderns. Your words, James, embracing beauty venerating life in simple phrases hopeful even in the face of illness must have made me save this Scotch-taped tattered textbook. I have but little knowledge of your life — you served as British Vice Consul for your Happy Realm admired French poetry, wrote plays enjoyed your dance on earth before consumption brought it to an early end. Years past my biblical three score and ten I do as you commanded long ago — intone your words at night, alone. Yes, we have “wine and music still and statues, and a brighteyed love and foolish thoughts of good and ill…” humankind hasn’t changed although our planet has for man has set his foot upon the moon computers opened wide the windows of the world. Now in this technological 21st Century I sense your spirit near your haunting lines filling my solitude.
Devour Under 25 Editor: Bradley McIlwain
Codrina Ibanescu firstname.lastname@example.org Etobicoke, Ontario
Grandma’s Girl “Fata lu Bunica” I see you in my dreams sometimes, And I feel you in my Heart. I come to remember memories Of my childhood spent together… Huddled, close, safe in embrace. Thank you for your guidance, Your presence Your grace. Your wisdom eternal, The Soul beneath your eyes— And for never, Never telling me lies. I know you couldn’t stay on Earth forever, But I do wish for you to know You taught me more, So much more than you will ever know. In your footsteps I walked, In your home I took haven, I looked up to you, And now, I awaken to–
Your guidance, Your presence Your grace. Your wisdom eternal, The Soul beneath your eyes And for never, never telling me lies. Anytime I found myself Alone, and in the dark… You were always there to remind me Of the God within my Heart. The wisdom to know, I am never alone… No matter that life is hard. The faith that you carried And your sweet and safe embrace… Your words, and comforting presence— Your philosophies, values and outlook on life. Teaching me never to quarrel Oh— How it is a waste of time. Teaching me the miracle that is existence, To appreciate simplicity— A flower on the ground, Your family, A sunset A tree. Thanks to you, I know what it means to be free. In thought, in heart, in body I feel now that I truly see… Beneath the surface Of what exists before me. 31
Antonio Vincenzo Lanni London, Ontario email@example.com
The Dove Behind the Glass Her purest of feathers shined as the summerâ€™s warmth danced upon them Her legs remained perched on the rich cherry oak This was all a familiar setting for her But nonetheless she cherished each time. She spread her wings to soar but paused She found she could not leave A thought that she could not conceive A pane of glass Entrapped with allure in which she stared It stood without reflection It stood flat no emotion But of a promise of what stood beyond its horizon The bloom of May shown before her A message conveyed by a silent whisperer Nature never betrayed the heart that loved her Her love was never broken. A pane of glass now shattered Broken before her What is trapped may never roam free She flew away with the answer To what this life was always meant to be Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia
Codrina Ibanescu firstname.lastname@example.org Etobicoke, Ontario
Simplicity Oh, The simplicityâ€” Of living a full life. Aiming to live without regret, Sorrow, And strife. The learning and unlearning Of who you convince yourself to be, Allowing yourself to feel all that you are, All, in simplicity. Oh, The simplicity Of living a full life. Full of good company, Plentiful meals, And dreams to be. Appreciating all that you have been given, All of the opportunitiesâ€Ś That have made you, who you are.
Calum Csunyoscka Toronto, Ontario email@example.com Instagram: @cellistrator
We hit the earth the west beat it Canada boiled it TV North discovered it and then pounded it’s south-east goddesses purple, black and red to drive whiteness into the world to crush our land with iron apparatus and rob our sea of blood and music man will trudge through a thousand gardens and shake a thousand homes for one lusty, diamond rock “it is not weak”
he says he is Canadian
after he is gone leaving shadow screams head-less mothers sing for a death wind singing across cultures for the gorgeous, bitter fall of power their chant those moans this music of aching tongue becoming everything and everyone men think they swim faster when a storm blows but this flood’s feet never stop
Quentin Kerr firstname.lastname@example.org Kingston, Ontario
This City Thin sun, through splattered grey, in the late afternoon. Shallow light, from off the bay spills towards this room, where it greets the incense of that life: Stale beer, sweat; Supermarket-spruce; Heinz Tomato Soup; And just a whiff Of brimstone. And later, outside the Seahorse, treading water above those lovely depths, spitting blue smoke and saltwater from burnt lungs, it rains, again — the pitter-patter like fingers through my hair. Grinning dog-eared drunks preach: “Ain’t no way to live That isn’t gonna kill you; Just gotta find The sweetest way to die.” In the hollow memory of that hollow morning, It rains, again. Dartmouth is gone, along with every other world across the bridges that lead to Halifax. And ancient in that old white wool, Knobbled stone streets sleep, Salt-slick and Tender. New York is the city that never sleeps, this is the city that never dries up
Quentin Kerr email@example.com Kingston, Ontario
At Least Convincingly I was trying very hard to remember what had been lost along the way // and what // if anything // had been gained // and to my surprise it became quickly clear that people were not repulsed by this but attracted and in fact even encouraging // of course at the same time I was living a life too // which is to say I was making some money and leasing a nice little waterfront apartment // and collecting novelty socks and subscribing to the Globe and Mail // and pursuing one or two girls although nothing as of yet was very serious // and developing an appreciation for Portuguese cuisine and getting really into trance music // and just generally keeping up appearances and all of this // alongside the remembering which you recall was the first thing and perhaps the most important // was enough to keep me very busy // or at least busy enough that if anyone ever asked // and someone always did // I would answer quite comfortably // or at least convincingly // saying yes yes // certainly yes // Iâ€™m doing very well myself and how are you?
Quintessentially Canadian Poetry Editor: Bruce Kauffman Photo Editor: Richard Grove
This Summer Issueâ€™s Quintessentially Canadian section offers a diverse variety of image-laden poetry exploring not only place, event, idea, and thing, but ourselves within the Canadian landscape. These reflections and observations birthed here, become then again part of it, add to it. And in our land of seasons, these poems present themselves here as offerings centred around the current one, but also in their journey from the one just past, into reflected anticipation of those yet coming. Bruce Kauffman We hope you enjoy the poems and the photographs in this section called Quintessentially Canadian. As the Photo Editor I am always looking for fun, interesting, stimulating photographs by amateur and pro photographers that say something about Canada and what Canada is quintessentially all about. Some of the photographs are snapshots taken with the ubiquitous phone and some are taken with the high end camera. Pass the word to your Canadian pic-taker friends. Richard M. Grove
Norma West Linder Sarnia, ON firstname.lastname@example.org
Stratford, Ontario, a Century of Swans At the end of the Great War J.C. Garden, a Michigander Donated a mating pair of mute swans To decorate the sky-blue waters Of the Avon River To celebrate Canadaâ€™s Centennial Queen Elizabeth added Two Royal birds to the flotilla In the Shakespearean City Each year, on the first weekend in April Twenty-six of their progeny Led by a proud web-footed majorette Wave long necks on parade As thousands of spectators Line the roadway by the river Craning their own necks To watch the birds on their way to the water Accompanied by the sound of pipes & drums Nesting season begins
Cindy Conlin Mute Swans
Mori McCrae St. Catharines, Ontario email@example.com
Under the Magnolia Abandoned on his wet green arse who left him here to play and pluck at weeds an aged Buddhaâ€”Child, with tiny trowel and no newly bought books or false teeth to enunciate the word humiliate. Presently undone gumming the pablum of his words, wits stolen thus, where magnolia petals tongue the sidewalk and we pass-by quick, then wince his decline up for public viewing top of head infant-mussed, and all around Magnolia blossomâ€™s shower his lotus legs folded up among their pink brown stains.
Willow Schleich Rock Island off Kew Beach
Wally Keeler Cobourg, ON firstname.lastname@example.org
In Spring the wet wild world splurges a green multitude of metaphors Masses of muses descend from airy everywhere ambushing the insensibilities of poets and genitals; clothes thaw from flesh Grass greens for the turbulence of children and lovers Trees green for the refuge of students and birds Bring it on, I say, The same ole song The same ole sway All season long The same ole way Bring on the 72nd spring of my unrelenting life rinse me fresh with Essence of Innocence poemiscuous flowers in wide-on lust gardens full of fuck and fragrant delicto through the furious fuse and the sun delivers another unsafe landing of delirium. Bring it on I say
Kathryn MacDonald Belleville, ON
Casting Off (for Linda) When mist hangs thick as cloud blanketing the dark lake in translucent veil magical and mysterious walk the damp path beyond alizarin maples glistening birch-bark and hemlock soaring skyward rough bark breathing moss and fungi shallow roots clinging to ancient bedrock walk out onto the dock feel the quiver of your weight settle breathe wood smoke as the sun bursts through in topaz glow.
Debbie OkunHill Ice Twigs
Keith Inman Thorold, ON email@example.com
This Age In this age of light we are a choir singing of stained glass shadows
Willow Schleich Cottage Reflection
Linda Mussell Kingston, ON firstname.lastname@example.org The Otter In the Asia-Pacific gateway, Stillness and a reflection of the open sky grey, Awe of mountains juxtaposed with plants fairer, There was a twelve-day reign of terror. Madonna massacred in brevity, Orange-crowned perseverance and longevity, The oldest, the largest, and the most brilliant, Cultural icons eaten, yet resilient. Slinking along streets, walled gardens, traps multiple, Rascally anti-hero inexpugnable, De-storying and destroying at swift rate, What is invasive and deserving of its fate? There is history before this tale of tears, Neighbours watched them grow over the years, Weaving through the lily pads close to lingering feet, Loyally called by a gong to eat. The wily visitor snuck away in infamy, The neighbourhood continues with anxiety, Survivors are ethereal still, but mangled, When another villain will visit is unclear, and tangled.
Lesley Strutt Merrickville, ON email@example.com Arctic Tourist She dined on Franklin’s bones picked her teeth clean with the shards. Old bones are so white. And polished. Like stories told and retold. The sea ice shone with that kind of polish – a white table for a white bear’s devotions. Her tablecloth was white too. Arctic roses in each corner. They were pink prettily. So different from the red maw of the bear feasting outside her window. She didn’t look, didn’t see blood blooming on snow. She turned away, dabbed her lips with conversation, rubbed her fingers over satin, safely stitched cotton. Chewed on Franklin’s death certain it bore no relation to her own.
Debbie OkunHill Pink Blossoms
Frances Roberts Reilly Kitchener, ON. firstname.lastname@example.org
Red Red, the radiating leaf, the bright poppy glows, his burning bravery that accepts no defeat. Red, the blazoned leaf - a land strong and free. His arms, enfolding his love for our fine country. Red, the battle colours marched down the ranks, the piper’s swaying maple leaf kilt. Red, the ordinance flaming over the battlefield. The poppy-bruise on his battle-scarred face. Red, the trauma in blood and bone. The hot tears that open the heart. Red is the throat and the songbird’s song. The sun dipping onto the gloaming of his life. Red, for remembrance. The poppy flowers gravely clinging to stones. Red, the last crusader’s ageless cross, St. George’s cross of old. Red, the daring vision of our ancestors. The path of our First Nation’s people… Red, the fireworks celebrating our nation’s day. The kindling desire keeping freedom bright. Red, the pride that gladdens the heart. The true love for Canada, this land of ours. Red, the one leaf of the one people - Oh Canada A new dawn of a clear and bright day. The eternal flame burns.
Sean Arthur Joyce New Denver, BC Little Bear —New Denver, BC, August 2018 His eyes beg: Go away. Don’t want anyone to watch me die. The urge to avoid humans still feral. Yet he spends his final hours with us. Dragging one leg, he collapses on a withered lawn, a watch running down. Backed into a bushy corner, he tries to deflect the sadness in our gaze. A look that knows he’ll never know age beyond year two. A look that knows no one can save him.
Gail M. Murray Toronto, ON email@example.com
Summer’s Gone… Finally, I’m here at the cottage I’ve waited weeks for the annual invitation used to come up for the long weekend go boating, walk round the bay. Now the family has grown I have to wait until a bed is free Summer never lasts long. Curled up on the dock in a deck chair I gaze at restless waves Cool winds chill, sailboats a Monet print too rough to kayak. Towel wrapped round my legs fleece jacket about my shoulders I won’t relent. Still in her wet swimsuit, Rose gulps a cold Coke “I live in my bathing suit” she announces She was in the lake and hot tub this morning I sipped hot coffee, tried reading the paper wrapped in a blanket. I’d worried about sunburn packed aloe and flimsy summer things No jeans, sweaters, socks. My throat catches, not a cold? Wasn’t I just watering thirsty roses, seeking shade from scorching heat? Though cool temperatures and winds off the lake hint at autumn This first day of September We cling to sandals and capris.
Nathalie Sorensen Kingston, ON firstname.lastname@example.org
Waiting We are waiting, here at the end. Summer leaves, worn for so many days, still hang from the trees. We are aware of the dark. It lasts longer every night. Not yet, but soon, the riotous commotion of fall. Now for a moment we, too, hang on. Only a thin drone of crickets in the grass, a single blue jayâ€™s call, marks this pause.
Joan Rainey Kingston, ON
Red Maple Trees of flame Line The country lane. Behold! Arms laden with hues Of red yellow and gold Lift Natureâ€™s bounty on high Against the clear blue sky Bringing joy To the beholderâ€™s eye.
MegFreer Winter Bridge, Ottawa
Meg Freer CN Tower
Jennie Marshall Kingston, ON email@example.com
Snowmageddon Healthy Perspective: Victoria B.C. Radiant Sunshine crisp aquatic air White-capped mountains Sweetly Slumbering Water taxis pedalling people Puppy walkers Harbour boats galore I wake up to Icy Trees Crying Cherry Blossoms Confused Crocuses Blanketed in snow Sidewalks slippery Travellers cautious Hooded heads bowed by wind In dismay I muster up
in disbelief some stoic acceptance
In the distance Some sunlight surrounds A childrenâ€™s playground It is debuting An unknown season Snowballs pelting snowman villages Swirling snow angels Euphoria My soul bubbles A flapjack flip
in juxtaposition to healthy perspective
And healthy perspective My friend is Everything
David Carnahan Robins
Lisa Makarchuk Toronto, ON firstname.lastname@example.org
Saskatchewan On My Mind a two-room house on the prairie helter-skelter roof replaced with shingles in summer, still let the rain in a towering spruce in front as sentinel spread its branches embracingly whenever my soul was bleeding my border collie disappeared and as I waited for him that night the wolvesâ€™ haunting howls mimicked the irregular throb of my aching heart multi-coloured aurora borealis encircled the skies when in reds, they say war will come when in greens, their pedestals of shimmer speak to you and the stars blink and wink at me as on sled or skis, we would speed down the hill behind the house, marching back up doggedly after the Christmas concert in my rural school two horses pulled home the big box sleigh over crisp, crackling flakes, as sparkles of moonlit diamonds crunched under my feet, running behind to keep up with the horses
Andrew Lafleche Eganville, ON www.AJLafleche.com
The White Speck Dancing by the Window reminds of snow when life was lived there. those cold winds forcing the collar tight the bears in the lightly dusted Boreal preparing the last of their supplies before the ground freezes over until spring children begging the sky for a storm to crown the water tower hill for sledding ahead of mothers calling them home the romantic, for a white Christmas. the young woman, to blanket herself with her lover by an open flame. for crisp star filled nights where the only clouds are of spoken words whispered in the knowledge of being heard. yes. yes. I miss the north on days like these. I miss home.
Bonnie Dewey Tamarack Lake, Haliburton County
Of Princes and Kings and Other Things Illustrated Interview with Brian T. W. WayÂ˛ (March 13 2019) Brian T. W. WayÂ˛Brian holds dHJUHHVIURP4XHHQÂśV%$+RQV%(d) and Western (MA; PhD) and worked as a professor at Western in the Departments of English and Education. He also taught English and Media Studies in various secondary schools across the province and at Loyalist College. He has served as a member of the Board of Governors for the Royal Military Colleges of Canada, the Al Purdy A-Frame Association, and the Prince Edward County Libraries and Archives. He is author of: The Prince of Leroy; redirection; County Time; Bee; and Print Preview in addition to poems and stories published in a variety of magazines over the years including, recently, The Ambassador.
Interviewed by Ona GutauskasÂ˛Ona holds an Honours degree in Music and English from Western University and a Master of Education from the University of Toronto, OISE. She has worked as a choral and instrumental music educator in the GTA for the past ten years, lectured at the Ontario 0XVLF(GXFDWRUVÂś$VVRFLDWLRQFRQIHUHQFH, and has been a guest conductor at the CIS Music Festival at Roy Thomson Hall. In addition to directing and singing in various music ensembles, she enjoys supporting the local arts scene and adventuring with her son, Hugh.
O: When did you know that you had stories inside you? B: I think really from early on as a child; I grew up on a small farm in Prince Edward County, south of Belleville, Ontario, and twice a week we used to get a newspaper called the Toronto Telegram. It had a cartoon section and I, for whatever reason, found a couple comic strips that I really liked and copied them out and had my parents explain to me ZKDWWKHÂľEXEEOHVÂśZHUHVD\LQJ,FDQUHPHPEHUZDLWLQJIRUWKH Tuesday/Thursday Telegram for that to happen; I was probably age three or four. O: I was going to VD\\RXZHUHQÂśWHYHQUHDGLQJ\HW B: No, never really learned to read until late Grade 1 or Grade 2 in those days. But I enjoyed stories. Both my mom and dad told me a lotÂ˛my dad was a natural story-teller, my grandfather Wes, too, once I got to know him. My mom often read folk and faery tales and those Little Golden Books to me. My dad loved to retell those old stories of bravado and empire, Sir Nigel, The White Company, Tarzan, Gunga Din (Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones before they
came to be) and retell the movies DQGKHURHVKHÂśGNQRZQ, Shane and High Noon, Gary Cooper and Jimmy Cagney and the like. And then my older brothers, who were in high school by the time I was three or four, instead of reading Silas Marner or Hamlet at school, they bought a series called Classics Illustrated, and I inherited those, so I sort of worked through +DPOHWÂśVÂľWREHRUQRWWR EHÂśFRQXQGUXP at an early age, I guess, and, along with Silas, learned that there are many different kinds of gold. O: Lucky younger brother. B: In many ways, yes. As a child I was alone a lot to revel in my imaginary worlds. I recall I had a set of toy astronauts and creatures from outer space, like those small green soldiers everyone had. I remember cutting up craftÂ˛my mother made glue for me from flour and water and I used that wide brown paper tape you had to lick which tasted like dead horsesÂ˛and I played with that space ship for hours on the living room floor inventing tale after tale. Like many kids in that era I was crazy about Space and Dinosaurs, chronological poles, I suppose [Left: Samples of %ULDQÂśVFKLOGKRRGERRNV]. Our house had no electricity for the first decade of my life, and thus no TV. I do remember listening to a large battery-operated radio but, mostly, you made your own fiction. By the age of eight or nine, I was drawing and writing little stories, my own comic books. And so to your question, I often did wonder why I seemed so compelled to make these stories, and the main GULYLQJWKLQJLQVLGHP\KHDGZDVWKHLGHDWKDWLI,GLGQÂśWGRLWLWZRXOGQHYHUJHW done. That these stories were worth being told and I was the one who had to do it. O: Like it was a mission. B: Almost like thatÂ˛maybe not quite as fervent. I mean, I also played football, baseball, lacrosse, and I was a pretty good student at school. O: Was it maybe the small town context that had any impact on the feeling that if \RXGLGQÂśWGRLWLWZDVQRWJRLQJWRHPHUJH" -XYHQLOLDÂł7KH9LNLQJVÂ´ front cover and an inside page opposite.
B: Perhaps rural isolation accounts for some of itÂ˛I mean, it doeVQÂśWVRXQGOLNHPXFKWRGD\ but we lived about 15 minutes south of Belleville and only went to town once a week. Now, people would go five times a dayEXWLQWKRVHGD\V\RXMXVWGLGQÂśW$QGLWZDVQÂśt as though \RXZHUHQÂśWDEOHZHKDGa car and a truck on the farm...a couple horses too.
O,WMXVWZDVQÂśWWKH lifestyle... B,WZDVQÂśWWKHOLIHVW\OHVXFKPRELOLW\Zas just not part of the zeitgeist:KHUH,ÂśYH found that since is in travelÂ˛say England and IrelandÂ˛ZKHUH\RXÂśOOJRLQWRDFRPPXQLW\WKDWZLOOEHOLWHUDOO\PLQXWHV away from DQRWKHURQHDQGWKH\ZRQÂśWNQRZDQ\WKLQJDERXWWKHP,WÂśVQRWDSK\VLFDOLVRODWLRQEXWPRUH of a cultural or psychological one.
O: And in your case, spending time in the mind with stories and in the kind of quiet time that a rural context provides, you had lots of time to think through all these ideas. B: Yeah, absolutely. $QGLWZDVQÂśWDVWKRXJK,GLGQÂśWKDYHDQ\IULHQGV,KDGORWVDV a kid, next door neighbours and so on, and we did the tobogganing thing on the hill on the winter weekends, played road hockey, explored all the farms and marshes and woods in the area, and all the rest, including chores around the farm. But then WKHUHZDVWKLVRWKHUDVSHFWWKDW,KDG,GRQÂśWNQRZZKDWP\IULHQGVGLGZKHQWKH\ were aloneÂ˛played with their race-car sets or dollhouses I suppose. O: And you were very much attracted, obviously, to literature and studying. B: Yes. As I said my parents read to me, and I always liked to receive books as gifts. You know, when I came home from school, my mom would often VLWGRZQZLWKDFKLOGUHQÂśVERRNDQGUHDGWKURXJKLW,GR remember being a monster of the book though in the sense that if she missed one word or mispronounced RQHZRUG,ZRXOGPDNHKHUJREDFNWRWKHEHJLQQLQJDQGVWDUWDJDLQ,GRQÂśWNQRZZK\WKDWZDV but it kept her on her toes! O<RXUSRRUPRWKHU,JXHVVVKHOHDUQHGIDVW<RXÂśYHDOZD\VEHHQD WHDFKHUHYHQZKHQ\RXGLGQÂśWNQRZLW B3HUKDSV\HVPD\EHWKHUHZDVWKDW,GRQÂśWNQRZ2USHUIHFWLRQLVWRU GHPRQ,ÂśPQRWVXUHBeyond reading and writing, of course, the world was full of magic to discover. ÂŤBack to friends, if I mayÂąAlan Revill was my next-door-neighbour and best-friend in those daysÂąwe were LQVHSDUDEOHLQRXUSOD\DQGH[SORUDWLRQV$QGLQUHWURVSHFW$OÂśVSDUHQWV were also great influences on meÂąthey kept English jumping horses and were university-educated people with habits and speech patterns quite different from the regular people of the County. While this sometimes cast them as outsiders in the rural environs, they were always more than kind to me and gave me a glimpse of a world beyond the local. Mrs. Revill took me along with her kids on picnics to secluded beaches and %LJ$ODV$OÂśVIDWKHUZDVDOZD\VNQRZQJDYHPHP\ILUVt paid job tending to the horses and building cedar fences. A buck an hour, I rememberÂąand hard work at times, but real cash.
Labelled Âł7R%ULDQIURP*UDQGPD Phill,Â´ my grandmother rarely wrapped Christmas gifts, a habit from days of poverty in North Hastings.
O: So, on the theme of teachingÂąyou have had a career in teaching literature, and that must have had a tremendous influence on the types of stories and ideas you encountered, and the kinds of things that fused in your brain in becoming an author and writer of your own stories. Did you ever want to have accomplished these stories to share with your students at the time, or was it always a later project in your mind?
1924 Andersen collection EHORQJLQJWR%ULDQÂśVIDWKHU
B: I was probably always more than a teacher of literature at whatever level I taughtÂą,ZDVDÂľOLYHU and breatherÂśRIOLWHUDWXUHÂą it was who I was as much as what I did, and that probably showed in my teaching whether I wanted it to or not. I have always read. I would often sit at home in the evening and read through pieces of literature aloudÂąstill do. I grew up in a world of
Brian carried this lunch box to school for eight years; echoes RIÂł+L<R6LlYHUÂ´DSSHDULQ The Prince of Leroy.
Once the educational world was filled with poetry of all kinds and intents; some like Paradise Lost have now been relegated to university study; others, for other reasons, relegated to the storerooms of time. Since the mid-1960s, anthologies of poems have virtually disappeared from schools and the teaching of poetry has slowly receded like the retreating glaciers; currently, it seems, WKHJHQHUDOSXEOLF¶VVensibility toward poetry stretches little beyond those sad travesties found in Hallmark greeting cards.
God save our gracious Queen Long live our noble Queen God save The Queen: Send her victorious, Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us: God save The Queen. Five days a week for thirteen years!
randomly esoteric books±a lot of poetry± and I still continue to surround myself with such texts. When anyone asks me how to become a writer, I say that the answer is simple: just read HYHU\WKLQJWKDW¶VEHHQZULWWHQAnd observe your world and write, write, write. As to teaching though, I never used my own material in class. Now ,¶YHVHHQVRPHWHDFKHUVwho did bring their own stuff in and have students work with it, but I never went there. I always thought that was putting students in an impossible position because, ZKDW¶VDVWXGHQWJRing to say where he/she would gain anything? So, I always thought that was kind of unfair. Though I did know one teacher who based an entire class in that territoryKH¶GZULWHOLWWOH essays about hot topics and have students respond to them. And to be
honest, it worked for him. But for me, no; now I was always writing while I worked as a teacherÂ²mostly poetry, because of its economy, I thinkÂ²but that was another world. I always assumed when I took a job WHDFKLQJWKDW,Â¶GKDYHORWVRIWLPHEXWDV\RXZHOONQRZVXGGHQO\WKHZHHNHQGFRPHVDURXQGDQGWKHUHÂ¶V PDUNLQJDQGWKHUHÂ¶s prepping and WKHUHÂ¶VMXVW trying to get some energy back. O<RXÂ¶UHGHDOLQJZLWKZRUGVLQWHDFKLQJDQGQRWQHFHVVDULO\WKHPRVWILQHO\FUDIWHGRQHV B<HVÂµZRUGVZRUGVZRUGVÂ¶DV+DPOHWVD\V$OZD\VWKHNH\WKHULJKWZRUGLQWKHULJKWSODFH*HWthat DQG\RXUVWXGHQWVZLOOH[SORGHKDQGVZLOOVKRRWXS6RPHWLPHVZKHQ\RXFDQÂ¶WILQGWKDWZRUG\RXKDYH to go to plan B. In teaching, you always need a lesson plan B. O7KDWNHHSV\RXFUHDWLYHRYHUWKHFRXUVHRI\RXUFDUHHUGRHVQÂ¶WLW" B: It should, certainly, teaching allows for a certain type of creativity, I think... a kind of creativity within chains. But yeah, that was another thing I always tried to do in my lessons, be creative. So I came up with some wacky ideas, and some worked well and some I left behind after one try. In teaching, as in writing, you need to be able to judge yourself and be prepared to experiment and also be prepared to set bad ideas aside. But never stop trying new and different thingsÂ²for the sake of the kids. And yourself. O: Well, you were highly influential with those it seems. You were well loved as a professor, as a teacher, over thirty awards and honors because people recognized that depth of care and creativity!
A few samples of numerous honours and awards.
B: It did seem to work out that way, at times. I know I had many really good teachers as modelsÂ²Hessie Giles and Fred Holmes in elementary school, Frank Buckley and Bruce Retallick in high school, Kerry McSweeney and Bert Hamilton come to mind as an undergraduate. Allan Gedalof and Joe Zezulka in graduate work$QG-DPHV5HDQH\RIFRXUVH,ZLOOVD\WKRXJKWKDWWHDFKLQJZDVQÂ¶WVRPHKXJHJRDO ,Â¶GVHWDKHDGIRUP\VHOIEXWFRPLQJRXWRIXQLYHUVLW\ZLWKDQ(QJOLVKGHJUHHWKHQDVQRZZKDW options do you have? Graduate in university English and you can go on to be a teacher, into graduate work, or you can do Law. I suppose there are some other communication-type things you can do, but the ones I mention DUHWKHWKUHHREYLRXVFDUHHUFKRLFHVVRWKDWÂ¶VZKDW,ZDs faced with. And I did two RIWKHWKUHH,KDYHQÂ¶WJRWDURXQGWR/DZÂ«\HW O: But you are making it back around to maybe the ideal for someone who graduates with an English degree of some sort, to write your own literature, be your own creator!
B: Yes, for some, creating. Poeta, a variant of the Greek poiein, meaning maker or composer, as in music. At its finest, poetry is akin to music; it works on the aural level, as well as the visual and cognitive. So does effective prose. Interestingly, the word can be traced as far back as the DQFLHQW6DQVNULWZKHUHLWPHDQVÂ³SLOLQJXSÂ´Â²WKDWÂ¶VZKDWSRHWVGRSLOe stuff up, shovel it higher. I like that image for the poet. Compiler of a heap of ruins. Shoveller of, well, you know! O: *laughing* Well, that might be a propos for Law, too. Though, as you say, \RXÂ¶YHQHYHUEHFRPHDODZ\HU\RXKDYHZRUNHGODZDQGRUGer into your most recent book, The Prince of Leroy0D\EHWKHUHÂ¶VDMXVWLFHFDUG to be served in your storiesÂ²tell me some of your inspiration behind how you developed the plot. B: Yes, The Prince of Leroy, literally, the Prince of the King, and other thingsÂ²the book really just grew, sort of like Topsy. Around about the millennium, I was teaching university and some spare time opened up. So ,WKRXJKW\RXNQRZ,Â¶YHZULWWHQORWVRIVKRUWVWRULHVDQGORWVRISRHPVEXW,Â¶YHQHYHUZULWWHQDQRYHOVR I thouJKW,Â¶GJLYHLWDVKRW$QGRQHLPDJHWKDWKDGEHHQLQP\KHDGIRUVHYHUDO\HDUVZDVDQROG dilapidated motel in Kingston that a number of us used to stay at for Homecoming Weekends. O$IWHU\RXUVWXGLHVDW4XHHQÂ¶V B<HVDIWHU,Â¶GJUDGXDWHGIRUWKree or four years a group of us went back for a silly weekend, and we VWD\HGDWWKH/H5RL0RWRU,QQZKLFKZHDOZD\VFDOOHGÂµWKH/HUR\Â¶6RWKH/HUR\KDGEHHQLQVLGHP\ head for twenty or thirty years. The actual motel has long since been leveled for some sort of strip mall. A fitness centre and a pancake house, I think, EXWRQFHLWZDVÂµWKH/HUR\Â¶SURXGDQGVKDEE\6R,WRRNWKDW QDPHDERXWDOO,UHDOO\XVHGRIWKHDFWXDO/HUR\DQG,WKRXJKWZRXOGQÂ¶WLWEHLQWHUHVWLQJWRZULWHDERXWD bunch of characters who live in and around and pass through the Leroy. The Roosevelt Dance Hall in the book is similarly based on a real structure near Tillsonburg. O:HOOLWÂ¶VORYHO\WKDW\RXSUHVHUYHGDOLWWOHELWRIWKHSDVWWKDWKDVVLQFH disappeared. B: Yes, a lot of writing, living, too, I suspect, has to do with interrogating RQHÂ¶V SDVWLQRUGHUWREHWWHUXQGHUVWDQGRQHÂ¶VSUHVHQWThere are those moments in your life that sometimes you revisit and only understand them in the revisiting Original Le Roi Motor Inn, Kingston because you were too busy living them at the time or too young to comprehend what they were all about. It was in that context that Shaw saiGÂµyouth is wasted on the young.Â¶ Henry James talksÂ²Zola tooÂ²of germinal moments of our lives; ÂµVSRWVRIWLPHÂ¶ LV:RUGVZRUWKÂ¶VSKUDVHIRUit. For Joyce, these are epiphanies, and T. 6(OLRWFDOOHGVXFKPRPHQWVÂµLQFDUQDWLRQVÂ¶,RIWHQWKLQNRI(OLRWÂ¶VZRQGHUIXO phrasing in the Quartets Â³We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.Â´$ maturing writer, I think, spends a lot of time mining her or his own life to unearth the essence of what she or he has to say, to find those divine nuggets that were somehow vital in our creation and extract as much as she or he can from them. I The Roosevelt Dance Hall VXSSRVHWKDWÂ¶VDYHU\5RPDQWLFZD\RIORRNLQJDWWKHZULWLQJSURFHVV O<HV,Â¶YHKDGWKHVDPHH[SHULHQFHUHWXUQLQJWRP\DOPDPDWHUDQGZDQGHULQJWKURXJKDOOVRUWVRI
memories that come fl flooding backÂąyet you are a diff fferent personÂąZKHQ\RXÂśUHWKHUH \EHXQGHUVWDQGWK WKHÂłHYHQWVRIWKHQÂ´LQ B<HDK\HDKDQG\RXÂśUHDWDGLVWDQFHDSODFHZKHUH\RXFDQPD\E DGLII IIHUHQWZD\,GRQÂśWNQRZLI\RXFRQQTXHUWKHPDOZD\VEXWPD\EH\RXFRPHWRDUHFRQFLOLDWLRQZLWK them. And so literally, this Leroy germ m had been in my my head fo for several years. And then, literallly, one QLJKW,ZRNHXSDWRURÂśFORFNDQGWWKHUHZHUe two people walking down a cityy street. One was w a shorrtt guy, and he was thr hrowing his hands andd arm rms all over the place and talking nonstop; the otherr was w a giant off a man who never said anyt ything! O: Ahh, hence some off your main characters! B: Yes, and iff you were to read the original version of m and Deed, LeroyWKDWÂśVWKHRSHQLQJFKDSWHUÂ˛Dom walkin ng toward th the Leroy to get a decent nt cup off coffffee, Dom struggling s with th the dr dream m he has just has, that GUHDP PRIEHLQJGHDGÂł+RZGR\RXZDNHIU IURPEHLQJ GHDGÂ´Â´KHDVNV" Two early versions of the Leroy cover
O: Whhat made you change that opening? B: I fi finished the book k earlyy on. When I fi first wrote it, it was likke stream off consciousness. consciousness I just sat down everryy day y fo for about ten weeks and w wrrote, and it just fl flowed. Itt was like ry, had an imb mbeddedd fo folk tale waves hitting the shore. And it was veryy dense, veryy convoluted, veryy literary mund Spenser in it, from Th The Fairie Queene; all kinds off stuffff. And in it, had a long piece of poetryy byy Edm to this day, in some ways, I think that iWWÂśVWKHEHWWHUERRNWKDQWKHRQHWKDWÂśVRXWQRZ+RZHYHU,WKLQN e. for most people, it would be unreadable. Said Guyon, "See the mind of beastly man, That hath so soone fo forgot the e"cellence Of his creation, when he life began, That now he chooseth, with vile difffe erence, To be a beast, and lacke intelligence." To whom the Palmer thus, "The donghill kind Delights in filth and foule incontinence: Let Grill be Grill, and have his hoggish mind" But let us hence depart, whilest wether serves and wind." -Edm mu und Spenser Th The Faerie Queene Book 2 Caan nto 12
O: It was a passion proj oject? oject, PD\E \EH,WWRRNRQWK WKHDQG,ÂśP PQRWFRPSDULQJP\VHOIWR-R\FHRU B: Yeah, more passion than proj any ything, g, but it was like those dense modernist texts,, like a Finnega gans Wake or something. g Even Ulysses, y , which is unreadable by most people. O: Yes, yes, tth he esoteric nature of it fo for most readers... for ffo ourr or fi five years, then came back k to it when I was experimenting with th B: So, basically, I let it sit for writing some screen plays. I pulled the essence of the plot int nto those screenplays and later rewrote it as this storryy. I continually y tr tried to em mp phasize its narr rrative elements, and diminish that which was too descriptive, too imagistic, although a good story ry still needs both.
O: I agreeÂ˛it starts with a very descriptive
setting rather than action right away.
B: Well, while I suppose I should have known this, I found that in writing a novel considerable time and patience are required at the beginning to embed layers of setting and FKDUDFWHU+DYLQJVDLGWKDW,WKLQNWKHILUVWSDUDJUDSKLVRQHRIWKHEHVWWKLQJV,ÂśYHHYHU written! The diction, the wit, the irony, the satire, the mood, the voice of the narratorÂ˛a lot is packed away. O/HWÂśVUHDGVRPHRIWKDWILUVWFKDSWHUWKHQÂł7KHVXQLVVHDULQJWKHKRUL]RQ7KHODUJHZKLWHFURVVRQ top of the old department store begins to surrender to darkness, then suddenly staccatos into light under the command of its wary timerÂąthis light from above illuminates the ragged store front and a dilapidated parking lot beyond. Once a K-Mart, this old building is showing signs of wear and neglect, its vast space now only rented out to The Holy Shrine of the Simple Church of Bleeding Jesus the Almighty Provider. This is a religious splinter sect that formed a couple years ago when local Catholic and Anglican Church societies had mistakenly double booked Harris Thorn Park for their summer picnics. Churches always seem full of disgruntled people and so it came to pass that some of the unhappy ones from each congregation had met by accident over the bowl of heavenly hash potato salad and, in a stroke of divine iQWHUYHQWLRQRQHPLJKWVD\GHFLGHGWRIRUPWKHLURZQKRO\FRQFODYHÂ´,ÂśOOSDXVHWKHUH B: Incidentally, the silly name aside, that church was real, in Kingston again. The old K-Mart on Bath Road closed and part of it was rented out for a short time by a Christian organization that held their sermons and such there. It did not last too long but it was there for a while. O: Well, churches are great at splitting up and going their own ways, or fighting... B: Have beenÂ˛forever! But, again, most of what we create comes from what we know, or knew, from our own back yard. From under the verandah or out in the culvert that cuts under the road. We collect bits and pieces and weave them together over time into our stories. O: Yes. I very much enjoyed the short, kind of, flavour particles of chapters that you wroteÂ˛and all the titles are hilarious: lots of literary references, popular culture references. B: Yes, of course, I researched and taught a lot of Popular Culture and Media Literacy. And I also grew up in a remarkable era of rock and television and film, the sixties and the seventies. People like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are my heroes. And Springsteen and Etheridge and McLachlan and Prine and a host of others. And film directors like Ford and Peckinpah and Scott, Coppola and Scorcese and Tarantino. And the Coens. O: And so The Prince of Leroy is the end product of all of that, and it is highly readable by just, I would say, anyone in Western culture... B: Yes, and hopefully fun. That was a goal. Hopefully anyone could read it and people would see the fun in those chapter titles. And a degree of satire, humour but with a point. O: Yes, very playful. B: Absolutely. And technically, much of it takes on the form of Menippean satire. At least Northrop Frye would probably say so!
O: But it has that dark, dark undercurrent, I mean, you have this pistol on the front cover, and the storm that comes at the end of the story... B/LJKWDQGGDUN/RYHDQGPDUULDJH&DQÂ¶WKDYHRQHZLWKRXWWKHRWKHU O: *laughter* Any closing thoughts on how the rest of Leroy turned out, in your opinion? B,WKLQNWKDWLWÂ¶VDYHU\JRRGERRNUHDGDEOHwith plenty of interesting characters and a compelling story. And an intriguing literary density as well, motifs and symbols and multiple plots. In terms of the layout and design, Hidden Book Press did a terrific jobÂ²a dramatic cover (thanks to tai)Â²and all the other technical stuff. It turned out fine. And I think in the end, it is as you say a dark world; there are dark things that happen. You NQRZWKHUHÂ¶VGUXJVWKHUHÂ¶VFULPHERVVHVWKHUHÂ¶VPXUGHUIRUKLUHDOONLQGVRINLGQDSLQJ chaos ensues; innocent people get victimized, mysteries abound. Sometimes innocents come out on topÂ±find a gun in a dresser drawer and achieve revenge! Early readers have given me a lot of positive reaction. O: I must say that while reading the novel, it reminded me a bit of the Coen brothers because of, I guess, its quirkiness and that kind of tucked-away, rural setting in which all these things happen... you know, all ORRVHHQGVZRQÂ¶WEHWLHG-XSLWÂ¶VQRWDVRUJDQL]HGWKHUHÂ¶VWKLVNLQGRIFKDRVLQWKHPLGGOHRIZKDWLV otherwise this kind of tidy and commonplace town, perhaps... B7KHHQGVJHWWLHG,WKLQNDVPXFKDVHQGVHYHUJHWWLHG7KHUHÂ¶VDQROGODG\ZKRWKLQNVVKHPD\KDYH been abducted by aliens, probably escaped from an old-age home; either way, escaped she hasÂ±she is free DWWKH/HUR\$QGWKHUHÂ¶VDSROLFHZRPDQZKRLVQÂ¶WSUHSDUHGWo be a police woman yet, trapped in a culture and a uniform; she too finds sanctuary at the Leroy. Henry escapes, of course, but such teflon characters always escape. And in the very end, great Deed speaksÂ±KHVD\VÂ³\HVÂ´ZKLFKLVSUREDEO\WKH most positive word we can speak in our language. Do we not cheer on some level? O<HVWKDWÂ¶VEHDXWLIXOHVSHFLDOO\VLQFH'HHGKDGEHHQVLOHQWIRUWKHHQWLUHERRN B: Yeah, so the lightning speaks in the end and what it has to say is positive...the dark is illuminated after all, but it can never be eradicated. Half the world is always dark. Human nature is human nature. The Prince rides off into the sunset but conclusions are uncertain. A stranger arrives in the dark. 7KHUHÂ¶OO always be another orphan with a gun. O: I suppose. I also like the tension between the new hotel and the change that representsÂ±the removal of the old world, as you say, the flattening of the Leroy that you knew as a real place. The inevitability of change and progress... B: Yes, DQGWKHQHZKRWHOÂ¶VQDPHLV9R\DJHUÂ¶V(QGPossibly a symbol of present and future development, but tKHUHÂ¶V still something somewhat foreboding about staying at a place that calls itself The 9R\DJHUÂ¶V(QG,WÂ¶VDNLQWRthe old-age home outside Thornton called The Last Resort. O: Hotel California... B<HDKLWÂ¶VWKDWNLQGRIWKLQJULJKW\RXFDQFKHFNRXWDQ\WLPHEXW\RXFDQQHYHUOHDYH O$QGLQGHHGVRPHRI\RXUFKDUDFWHUVGRQÂ¶W leaveÂ²KRSH,Â¶PQRWJLYLQJWRRPXFKDZD\ there...
B: No. Light and darkÂ²some characters do survivHVRPHGRQÂ¶W Lucky, of course, gets away. He leaves his buddy to take the bullets and he escapes. *DEHÂ¶VIDWHRQWKHRWKHUKDQGLVOHVVFHUWDLQ O: +DKD\HVWKDWÂ¶V/XFN\$KRND\VRWKHILUVWSXEOLFDWLRQRI\RXUV that I read was that first book of poetry that was published a few years ago, redirection. How many of the poems from when you first started writing made it into that compilation? All of them or just a few? B: Oh, I have easily DQRWKHUWZRERRNVÂ¶ZRUWKWKDWJRWZHDQHd out. At this point I have enough for another book, I think. Even with the prose projects, I am writing poems all the time. O: Is it too soon to ask after the prospective title of the next book? I really liked that redirection was based on that central poem... B: No, no title yet. I have a number of elegies, though, so maybe something playful with that. And actually, I have a collection of short stories also, many based on the Bay of Quinte. O: Beautiful bayÂ²very mysterious, too. B<HVOLWHUDOO\EHDXW\7KH&D\XJDFDOOHGLWÂ³EHDXW\Â´Ya yo da do kentheZKLFKPHDQVEHDXW\1RWÂ³LW LVEHDXWLIXOÂ´EXWWKDWLWLVEHDXW\LWVHOIDQWKURSRPRUSKL]HGLQVWURQJ&DQadian fashion as beauty and by the Cayuga Nation, probably, before European time began. So if you want to encounter beauty, this is the place you come. O: Well, I like the naming of the body of water out hereÂ²\RXÂ¶YH spoken before about the Moira River, too. And I think that it makes an appearance in some of your writing as well. B: Yes, it does. The Moira flows continually through my writing like blood in the veins. It flows through Thornton, the central city in The Prince of Leroy; which LVDOOWKHWRZQV,Â¶YHHYHUOLYHGLQEDVLFDOO\It is a town of thorns with SLHFHVRIHYHU\SODFHLQLW7KDWÂ¶VDOVRDPHWDSKRU for writingÂ²LWÂ¶VZKDW\RXDUHKRZ\RXÂ¶UHFRQVWUXFWHGULJKW"7LPHDQGSODFH is what sticks with you, sticks into you. ,WÂ¶VWKHPRWKHU-source.
Beauty, aka The Bay of Quinte
O,WÂ¶VZKDWPDNHVWhe novel, I think, so compelling. Shows us a real possibility of time-travel! B: Indeed! Time and place are always imaginary constructs, summoned like a djinn at the caress of a lamp, the spark of a neuron. Past and present events lay over the crafted ground we inhabit like the snow. And we are but the phantoms of the present. Our writings, a wintry palimpsest. Poetic, yes! O: So, speaking of which, tell me a bit about your inspiration for the historical prime PLQLVWHUVÂ¶VHFWLRQRI\RXUSRHWU\ERRN B: Well, I had played around with the ideaÂ²I had taught the sonnet many times. Obviously
the two primary forms of the sonnet are the Italian sonnet, which is an eight-six, you know, where a problem is presented in the first eight and a resolution in the six; and the English sonnet, which presents a problem in four lines, repeats it in four, repeats it againÂ˛sometimes there are variationsÂ˛DQGWKHQVROYHVLWLQDFRXSOHW6R,ÂśGRIWHQ joked about WKHLGHDLQFODVVZHOOKRZFRPHWKHUHLVQÂśWD&DQDGLDQVRQQHW"<RXKDYH an Italian sonnet, and English sonnet, why not Canadian? And so, I sat down and playfully developed this sonnet, and asked myself, first of all, what would a Canadian sonnet look like? Well, LWZRXOGSUREDEO\EHLQGHFLVLYHDWWKHHQGRIWKLQJVULJKW",WZRXOGQÂśWUHDOO\FRPH WRDFRQFOXVLRQRUUHVROXWLRQEHFDXVHWKDWÂśVWKHZD\ZHDUH O: Poor Canadians... a little apologetic or uncertain! B: As I say in redirection of CanadiDQVÂłZHDUHDSHRSOHZKRKDYHSHUIHFWHGWKH GHIHUHQWLDODUWRIUHDVRQHGLQGHFLVLRQÂ´,QWKLVFDVHWKH&DQDGLDQVRQQHWSUHVHQWVD problem in five, presents another problem in five, and then in the last section, it O: So then, what you said earlier about feeling this need to write, or else it might not get doneÂ˛this might be the realization of that with a Canadian sonnet! Well done. B: May be! As to subject matter, I was looking for, okay, how can I demonstrate this? And literally, believe it or not, I happen to have four or five books on the prime ministers... O: What else to do with them, right? B: Exactly, so I started reading the sources and doing some further research, and the sonnets started popping out one after another. Now, they are arcanHWKH\ÂśUHDOLWWOHREVFXUH in some of their references, but I think they can be read without all the background knowledgeÂ˛and proof of that, perhaps, is that a couple have been translated into Spanish for publication in the Cuban magazine, The Ambassador. So the editor there, who is also a writer himself, read them and liked them on face value, so to speak... O: And all of your poems have a narrative element to themÂ˛WKHUHÂśVDVWRU\LQVLGHHDFKRIWKHPDQG stories are pretty universally compelling. Some of your poems are of an experience of yours, others give more of an impression or a view of landscapesÂ˛I especially liked the poems about your context now, here on the bay. One of my favourites speaks about the pillars along the roadÂ˛you return again and again to these ideas of decay or rebirth, the changing and shaping of the land, reminders of our mortality... so many things that are beyond our control. B<HDKWKDWQRWLRQRIORVVLQHYLWDEOHORVV,VXSSRVHLWÂśVSDUWRIJURZLQJROGHU,GRQÂśWNQRZ2QO\ the URFNDQGWKHVQRZHQGXUH,ÂśPQRWVXUH O<RXÂśUHQRWVXUH" B: Never sure, never sure. I mean, it is in doubt, in the unending search into things that you find the writing that you do, right? The journey leads to the journey. One redirection to another. As one of my characters says in BeeÂł7KHTXHVWLVWKHTXHVWÂ´,ÂśYHDOZD\VIHOWWKDWWKHPRUH\RXNQRZWKHPRUH\RX UHDOL]HWKDW\RXGRQÂśWNQRZ3HRSOHZKRNQRZHYHU\WKLQJDOUHDG\ZK\ZRXOGWKH\ERWKHUdoing anything, especially writing a poem? In some sense, a poem is like a scientific experimentÂ˛LWÂśVDQ attempt to come to some understanding of the universe as it unfolds. O$QG\RXÂśYHKDGPDQ\Â˛well, the title of the book redirection, speaks to thisÂ˛\RXÂśYHKDGPDQ\
changes throughout your life. :HÂśYHVSRNHQEHIRUHDERXWWKHDPRXQWRIWLPHWKDW\RXVSHQGLQDFHUWDLQ job or place, and you have this kind of seven-\HDUUXOH+RZÂśG\RXFRPHXSZLWKWKDW" B: Well, I think in my careerÂ˛and I think this is perhaps unusualÂ˛I taught at ten different institutions over the course of thirty years. And I never left any with animosity, never burned bridges. My leaving always had something to do with other opportunities, whether it had to do with advancement in terms of the system, or accommodation in moving WRDSODFH,QHHGHGWRPRYHWR,ÂśYHGRQHDORWRIWKDW,Q teaching, anyway, even if you do not move around, things move around you. A lot of people in your life change, colleagues move, classes end and students graduate, curriculum changes with each election. Teaching is a dance with the ephemeral. O: BrautiganÂ˛did he and others that you spent significant time reading and critiquing influence your writing? B: Absolutely. I greatly admire Richard Brautigan. As to ZK\ZHOOÂŤLQVRPHVHQVHZKR knows why any of us initially find a writer we like and are compelled to read again, but it KDSSHQV6RPHWLPHVLWÂśVDFRXUVHZHWDNHEXWPRVWRIWHQLWLVMXVW happenstance. Perhaps we like humorists, or mystery writers, or horror stories, or perhaps the check-out line at the local grocery store is slow and we pick something up. Suddenly a new voice that speaks to us. Brautigan is quirky and funny and ironic and brilliant in terms of the way he twists and redirects language and in the lightness of the prose he writes. His is a prose of air, of innocence and weightlessness and distilled humour. And humour 5LFKDUGÂśVUDQFKLQ0RQWDQD is certainly something that I lean to a lot in my writing, and my life. O: And some of the exchanges in the play, County Time, too... B: Oh, absolutely, yeah. The maniacal Teacher and her inattentive students. And in the subsections, the Glacial Rap, the Rum-UXQQHUVÂśEDQWHUDQGWKH/R\DOLVWVÂśORYHVWRU\&DQDGDLVDWRXJKFRXQWU\LQZKLFKWR live and our ancestors needed humour, I suspect, just to survive. Laughing at the world and your place in it is a good way of dealing with that world, at times the only way. I found myself reading Brautigan novels, laughing out loud; Vonnegut is another voice who is like that, and I suppose a satiric element connects both of them. I must admit, though, when it comes to reading, I have been cursed in that I like almost everything I have read. Poets are all admirable for one reason or another, even Browning, DQGWKDWÂśVSUHWW\PXFK true for prose as well. McGuane and Mason and Martin and Leacock and Davies and Cary and (Thomas) King and Bowering and Atwood and Kinsella and a host of others. Melville and Hawthorne and Twain and James are monumental. ,GRQÂśWWKLQNWKHUHLVDQ\OLWHUDWXUH,HQMR\HGUHDGLQJPRUH than that of the 18th-centuryÂ˛Swift and Fielding and Sterne, Richardson, too, and those off-the-wall Restoration ComediesÂ˛they have at their core a crisp sort of wit and satire, an inspection of human folly, and an introspection of the craft itself. Fools and their foolish things are never suffered kindly. O: Yes, a pointing out of societal ills with mockery... B<HDKDQG,VXSSRVH\RXÂśUHDOZD\VRQWKHHGJHRIIHHOLQJVXSHULRURU something, but you have to realize, I think, that NO, you too are part of that silly landscapeÂ˛and that the naive person on the other side of the
neighbourly fence looking over you is probably WKLQNLQJÂ³ZKDWDQDVVWKDWJX\LVÂ´And he may be right. What is PopeÂ¶VIDPRXVOLQHÂ³:KREUHDNVDEXWWHUIO\XSRQDZKHHOÂ´:H are all butterflies! And we can all be stretched on wheels, too. O: And I suppose that perspective speaks more to the different understandings of what is at the core of human natureÂ²what is essentially good or not... B: 3HUVSHFWLYHPD\EHDOO$QGDPRQJKXPDQVWKDWFDQEHVKDSHG7ULYLDOH[DPSOHVÂ« having read The Prince of Leroy, my neighbour was out at the mailbox the other day telling me he needed to go and get Â³DFXSRI5DLQ\Â¶VÂ´DQGP\QHSKHZJeff emailed me recently about traffic around the Quinte mall to remind me that Âµthere are no rules in parking lotsÂ¶, and that Leroy needed a sequel, so I guess some of it sticks! O: Ah, from the novel, yes, some of it sticks! B: But yes, certainly Brautigan is much admiredÂ²going further back, Melville; I did academic work on Herman Melville and you know, in terms of the interrogation of the universe, there is no book that does more or in so many ways than that put forth by Ishmael and Ahab. One is ranting and raving, and the other is quietly thinking, but each is tearing at a universal pasteboard mask. And of course, like Queequeg, Lucky in The Prince of Leroy shows up with all these tattoos that KHGRHVQÂ¶WXQGHUVWDQG7KDWÂ¶VDQRWKHUWKHPHLQWKHERRNÂ²WKHUHÂ¶VODQJXDJH HYHU\ZKHUHZULWWHQRQWKHERG\RQWKHZDOOVLQWKHVWDLQHGJODVV%ORZLQÂ¶LQWKH ZLQG,VXSSRVH,WÂ¶VDOORYHUWKHSODFH$VRQHFKDUDFWHUVD\VDWWKHHQGÂ³DJX\OLNH the Prince, he can read that, he is the only one that FDQUHDGWKDWODQJXDJHÂ´ %UDXWLJDQÂ¶Vmagazine
O: Yes, there is a lot of play with words!
B: And understandably so. Really, words may be all that we have. Whether itÂ¶s prehistoric times or our binary era. Words, in one encoded IRUPRUDQRWKHUDUHWKHPRUWDURIFLYLOL]DWLRQ$QGZKDWÂ¶VWUXHIRU /HUR\LVWUXHRIWKHSRHWU\WRR,WLVDV\RXVD\KXPRURXVEXWKRSHIXOO\WKHUHÂ¶VVRPHSRLJQDQWVWXIIWRR 7KHUHÂ¶VWKDWORQJZDUSRHPLQredirection about a great-uncle of mine killed in World War I, and a prayer IRUP\VWXGHQWVDQGP\JUHDWHVWPHGLWDWLYHSRHPÂ³SLHFHVRIDEXWWHUIO\Â´DQGVRRQ7U\LQJWRJHWDW some genuine understanding of the world in which we liveÂ²for instance, in the poem you cite, trying to understand what personal or cultural vanity goes into the construction of random driveway pillars; or trying to figure out, why a nineteen-year-old from Bancroft of all places, would want to go all the way overseas in 1914 and fight in some obscure war. And then take a bullet in the head for his gesture. O: For WKHPRGHUQPHQWDOLW\LWMXVWGRHVQÂ¶WPDNHPXFKVHQVH7KDWÂ¶VGHHSO\SDUWRI\RXUIDPLO\KLVWRU\ WRRDQGPD\EHWKDWÂ¶VZK\VRPHRIWKHHOHPHQWVLQFRQIOLFWHYHQDUHZRUNHGRXWLQ\RXUZULWLQJLQ various ways... the unpredictability of it... B<HDKWKHUHÂ¶VVRPHSRHPVWKDWJRLQWRWKDW0\KRPHZKHUHP\PRPÂ²she was Roman CatholicÂ² kept icons of Jesus and crosses and whatnot... I still have some of that stuffDQGWKHQ,Â¶YHJRWVRPHRIP\ IDWKHUÂ¶VLWHPVKHSLFNHGXSLQ World War II, a German bayonet and a cat-o-nine-tails and a slew of discarded SS swastikas. And so, religion-wise, I lived in a house that was a cross between Roman Catholicism and WWII-ism. Before the second world war, my brothers tell me, our family attended church regularly; after my father returned and I was born, never. I was never even baptized. O: Well, then how did you end up with your fascination with the gods and legends and many of those themes in your work?
B<HVIRUVRPHUHDVRQDVDNLG,ORYHGP\WKRORJ\0D\EHLWÂśVEHFDXVHP\OLIHODFNHGP\WKRORJ\ Lacked the illusory order that a mythology can bring. ,GRQÂśWNQRZ O: And it became a big part of your teaching career, too, I imagine? B: Yes. I just ate up mythologyÂ˛it used to fascinate me. It still does. Frye and Campbell and Graves and the like have only added to the fascination. And I loved to teach it. It always seemed to be a seminal platform on which so much of Western literature and culture was built. Just think of all the great paintings and sculptures and music and stories, really, right up until Postmodern times, that require some understanding of classical mythology; Christian mythology, too. It still seems unfortunate to me that the old Bible Stories that were a mainstay of public education have disappeared in the politics of our timeÂ˛ David, Goliath, Sarah, Rachel, Samson, Delilah, Noah, Job, Joshua, Moses, Esther, Susanna, etc.Â˛what great tales they were and most modern children have no inkling. Sad, I think. In general, regarding mythologyÂ˛simply put, if a piece of writing references Venus or Aphrodite, the reader needs to know something about Venus or Aphrodite. Our world sits atop this mythic rubble, surely it is wise to know something about our foundations. O:HOOJRGVPRGHOHGDIWHUKXPDQVJHWWLQJXSWREDGWKLQJVLWÂśVYHU\JRRG B: I guess one bottom line with all that stuff is: they tell good stories. Whatever myths you wish to study, from Cayuga to Crow, Babylonian to Norse, they carry a solid QDUUDWLYHVWUXFWXUHDQGLPSDFW1RZWKH\ÂśUHQRWDOZD\VIDLU or happy; in fact often WKH\ÂśUHMXVWWKHRSSRVLWHRIWKDWHVSHFLDOO\LQFODVVLFP\WKV O: So, about your writing process: did you struggle at many points with knowing whether you had something or whether it was going well? Tell me a little about how that typically goes for you... B: Yeah, there are always those points whereÂ˛,PHDQZKRNQRZVKRZPDQ\WLPHV,ÂśYHUHYLVHGWKRVH poems. But then, some of them you almost nail right RIIWKHEDWEXWPRVWLWÂśVOLNHDQ\NLQGRIZULWLQJ revision is part of it; writing is recursive and words are many-IDFHWHG,WÂśVWKHYHU\QDWXUHRILW<RXMXVW have to come to the understanding that eventually you leave it and probably never get it perIHFW,WÂśVOLNH giving birth to a childÂ˛you know, the child has to grow. Every one is different, and the same. Fractals! O7KH\GR\RXNQRZWKH\ÂśUHGHILQLWHO\RIIRQWKHLURZQMRXUQH\DWDFHUWDLQSRLQW$QGWKDWÂśVRQHRIWKH scarier parts of it sometimes, perhaps, that you have no control over its interpretation and reinterpretation when it enters the world on its own...part of the living process of our writing.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherised upon the table; Let us go, through certain half- deserted streets, The muttering retreats Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels And sawdust restaurants with oyster shells: Streets that follow like a tedious argument Of insidious intent 7ROHDG\RXWRDQRYHUZKHOPLQJTXHVWLRQÂ« 2GRQRWDVNÂ³:KDWLVLW"Â´ Let us go and make our visit. All the women come and go 7DONLQJRI0LFKDHODQJHORÂ«
B: Oh, and I think of that wonderful piece by T. S. Eliot about J. Alfred Prufrock, who I think is probably best described as a failed writer in a hapless relationship, and when he puts his ideas out at a cocktail party, someone leans back and says, Oh, QRQRQRQRÂ³WKDWLVQRWLW at DOOÂ´7KHUHÂ¶VDOZD\VVRPHRQH leaning back with a cocktail, offering another interpretation, even of your own ideas. So, I mean, some writers are afraid to publish and put it out there, but I think maybe a lifetime of teaching took that away from me, a bit, anyway, because I mean, you are putting yourself out there every day. You know, HVSHFLDOO\LI\RXÂ¶UHSXVKLQJVRPHXQXVXDORUGLIIHUHQWLGHD which is almost always going to happen... O,WÂ¶VDJRRGEDWWOHJURXQGIRUWKDWGLVFRYHU\SURFHVVNLGVDUH brutally honest, but without any extreme repercussionsÂ²a sympathetic educational environment...
B: Yes, you develop a thick skin... LQZULWLQJ\RXKDYHWREHFDXVHLWÂ¶VÂ³\RXÂ´\RXDUHSXWWLQJRXWWKHUH 7KDWÂ¶VZK\DXWKRUVDUHRIWHQDWRGGVZLWKFULWLFVDQGscholars, too. They make strange bedfellows. O: I was going to ask about one more thing: How do you think that you came up with your writing styleÂ²from the poems to the prose? B,WÂ¶VDFRPSOLFDWHGTXHVWLRQEXW,LPDJLQHLWKDVPXFKWRGRZLWKRQHÂ¶VUHDGLQJZKR \RXÂ¶YHUHDGDQGZKRLQIOXHQFHG\RX$QGSUREDEO\WKHILQHVWZULWHUWKDW,UHDGILUVWÂ²and KHÂ¶VJRQHRXWRIWKHIDVKLRQDEOHFDQRQQRZÂ²was Ernest Hemingway. And he had that short, clipped, just-the-facts kind of style and told tales that seemed as sparsely realistic DQGEUXWDODVKLVVW\OHDQGLQPDQ\ZD\V%UDXWLJDQÂ¶VPLQLPDOLVPILWLQWRWKDWNLQGRI MRXUQDOLVWLFVW\OH,WÂ¶VFKDOOHQJLQJWRWHOODVWRU\ZLWKWKHIHZHVWDPRXQWRIZRUGVSRVVLEOH and to make it light instead of heavy. Forceful but not preachy. O: But still compelling, right? B: YesVRLI,VWUXJJOHZLWKDQ\WKLQJLWÂ¶VWKDWGLGDFWLFKHDY\-handed thing. O: From being a teacher, you mean? B,WKLQNWKDWÂ¶VSDUWRILW\HV,WKLQNWKDWFRPHVRXWRIEHLQJDWHDFKHU,grew up in the age of teaching where something called the Socratic method was the standard; the theory being simply that the teacher was the person with all the knowledge in the classroom, the sage on the stage, and teaching was defined as his/her effort to extract knowledge from students, so one NHSWDVNLQJTXHVWLRQVXQWLOWKHVWXGHQWVJRWWKHULJKWDQVZHUQDPHO\WKHWHDFKHUÂ¶VDQVZHU,VXVSHFWWKDW old Socrates would have bowed his head in shame at such a use of his name. Recently, and fortunately, I thLQNWKLQJVKDYHWXUQHGDURXQGDELWLWÂ¶VPRUHRIDSURJUHVVLYHRUGLVFRYHU\PRGHOZKHUHVWXGHQWVFDQ find the information they need, and come to their own wisdom. Still within the boundaries laid down by the oligarchy, of course, the morays of the school, the board, the curriculum, the ruling government, universal black holes, and so on. Freedom on a leash, I suppose. O: But with a good guide...
B: With a guide, ok, JRRGWKLQJVFDQKDSSHQ0D\EH\RXZRQÂ¶W get lost, I suppose. Even Dante in Hell needs a guide. The issue at hand is probably how rigid the guide is, how much that guide controls the shape the path takes. Incidentally, speaking of another writer and a guide, before, we close I should mention Al Purdy. I grew up south of Belleville and it was just happenstance that, about ten miles away, Al Purdy decided to build his A-Frame cottage on a lake, and at one point in my grade 12 year, Purdy came to our school to speak, came back in $OÂ¶VIDPRXV$-Frame cottage the evening and sat in a classroom. Anyone who was interested could go back. Well, it so happened that my next-doorStatue of Al Purdy, 4XHHQÂ¶V3DUN7RURQWR neighbour had an assignment on Purdy, so she wanted to goÂ²and I had just gotten my GULYHUÂ¶VOicense, so... anyway, we went and I was quite amazed at the fact that there was this writer who was alive, and of course, he was interesting and entertaining and successful and down-to-earth (earthy, in fact), and he was living in my own back yard. Earning his living at poetryÂ« O: 1RZLWÂ¶VEHHQDZKROHFDUHHURIDSSUHFLDWLQJKLVZULWLQJDQGSDUWLFLSDWLQJLQOHWWLQJWKHZRUOGNQRZ about his legacy... B: My very first piece published was a poem about Purdy in Quarry edited by the gracious Bill Barnes. Alexander Pope: An Essay on ManÂ±Epistle II Know then thyself, presume not Go to scan; The proper study of mankind is man. 3ODFÂ¶GRQWKLVLVWKPXVRIDPLGGOHVWDWH A being darkly wise, and rudely great: With too much knowledge for the sceptic side, With too much weakness for the VWRLFÂ¶VSULGH He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest; In doubt to deem himself a god, or beast; In doubt his mind or body to prefer; %RUQEXWWRGLHDQGUHDVÂ¶QLQJEXWWRHUU Alike in ignorance, his reason such, Whether he thinks too little, or too much: &KDRVRIWKRXJKWDQGSDVVLRQDOOFRQIXVÂ¶G 6WLOOE\KLPVHOIDEXVÂ¶VRUGLVDEXVÂ¶G Created half to rise, and half to fall; Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all; 6ROHMXGJHRIWUXWKLQHQGOHVVHUURUKXUOÂ¶G The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
O: I was going to ask you about that e. e. cummings style of poetry. B: That probably comes out of teaching students how to write poetry. One of the tendencies of young people when they go to write poetry is VRPHWKLQJOLNHÂ³0\ER\IULHQGOHIWPHDQG,Â¶PVRVDGÂ´(PRWLRQDQG FOLFKpDQGSURVHGRPLQDWH,QSDUWLWÂ¶VWKHHYLO+DOOPDUNLQIOXHQFH6R one of the first things I wanted to do was to distance poetry from prose and from the cadence of the sentimental ÂµUK\Pe.Â¶ The simplest way to do that is to take away the punctuation and capitalization, and I think, in part, WKDWÂ¶VZKDWHHFXPPings was trying to do. He really was one of the great poets of love and humour... and getting people to see differently, to concretize their language as his famous phrase suggests: Â³QRLGHDVEXWLQWKLQJVÂ´ O2K,GRQÂ¶WNQRZWKHUHDUHFRQWHVWHGYLHZVRQWKDW
Example of poetry using rhyme and metric structure, a brilliant but challenging poem; DOVR%ULDQUHFDOOVDÂ³*UDGH0HPRU\:RUN $VVLJQPHQWÂ´
B: What is the logic of putting capital letters at the beginning of a nonsentence in the middle of a page? How does one punctuate a fragment? I was influenced by modernist poetry, which tends to be fragmented, broken down, haiku-ish (the way they tended to see the state of modern society)+RZHYHU\RXÂ¶UHULJKW there are people who argue differentlyÂ²among poets, too, like Robert Frost and his analogy of playing WHQQLVZLWKRXWDQHW*LYHPRVWUHDGHUVDSLHFHE\3RSHRU'U\GHQRURQHRI-RKQ'RQQHÂ¶VPHWDSK\VLFDO romps, though, a poetics which is highly structured, and they may change their mind about their formalist desires. Rhyming poetry with capital letters may not seem all that appealing. O: But WKDWÂ¶VWKHEHDXW\RISRHWU\WKDWUHDOO\LWFDQEHDOOWKHWKLQJs that you want it to be; an expression that highlights some inner revelation beyond the words. B: It can be. ,WÂ¶VDORWOLNHPXVLFWKDWZD\ There is an essence to be reached outside thought: beyond words; beyond notes.
Other Books by Brian T. W. Way:
Âł6KHLVORXGDQGKDVDWRQJXHOLNHILUHÂ´Âąan excerpt from
The Prince of Leroy
ÂŤAnd then he is done and, for one brief moment, he collapses to the side, his right side, the wrong side. And closes his eyes. Angie slips from beneath the dark wet hair of his chest and the sweat of his horrible labour and stands, naked with one pant leg twisted about her ankle. She feels the *LGHRQÂśV in the night-standÂ˛no, that is not what she wants at this moment in time. Maybe later. She hoists the revolver, its safety already unlocked. And, here, now, she LV6DYDUGKHUPRWKHUÂśVGDXJKWHU Frederick Dalco Jr. opens his eyes. He looks up. This spunky little bitch has climbed off the bed and, with the drapes open, she is a black silhouette against the darkening afternoon. And moving. Now she is standing close, DWWKHIRRWRIWKHEHG+HVZHDUV6KHZRQÂśWbe standing quite so easily, so defiantly, when he leaves the room, or KLVQDPHLVQÂśW)UHGHULFN'DOFR-U+HFDQKHDUVRPHRQHSRXQGLQJRQWKHEDWKURRPGRRU7KDWVWXSLG:DONHUNLG that curious phone callÂ˛both had led him right here, the perfect way to get back at the Leroy. At least to start. He FRXOGQÂśWZDLWWRWHOOKLVIDWKHU%XWQRZULJKWQRZWKHOLWWOHELWFKLVVSHDNLQJ:KDWLVVKHVD\LQJ"6KHLVORXGDQG has a tongue like fire. The first bullet hits Frederick Dalco Jr. directly in the sternumÂ˛that would have been enough. But the second takes off his lower jaw, and the third, fired from closer range, although a moot digression at this point, decrees that he will father no children. Connie Torrence, the shadow, is one and a half strides inside the room, with his gun drawn, when an explosion hits him in the right side of the head and the pattern of the wallpaper near what was once his left ear takes on a new design. He drops like a terminal lawn dart. Angie shuts the hotel-room door and VLWVRQWKHEHG8QWLOWZRGD\VDJRVKHKDGQHYHUKHDUGDJXQILUHGXSFORVHEXWQRZQRZORRNDURXQGÂŤ She tosses the gun on the bed and walks over to the window. Naked she stands, except for the tangle of blue jeans around her left ankle, and she looks out across Thornton and shivers. Dark clouds billowÂ˛a storm has arrived. Sheet lightning bathes the far horizon and, now, large droplets begin to hit the window. A childhood memory surfaces. Twitch, blinkÂ˛but nothing is altered. No witches or genies to the rescueÂ˛life is not a sitcom. And then tears swell up from deep within and Angie weeps with the rain. She weeps for herself, but there is an immeasurable honesty in these tears, so she also weeps for her mother, and for her father whom she has never known. She weeps for her picnicking ancestors in that dream her mother once told her about. And she weeps for all the foolish things that she has done and for all the good things that she has not done. She weeps for the sun and for the moon, for the stars and for the sky. For things that change and for things that do not. For the living and for the dead. And when she looks down from the End, most of all, deep inside, she realizes that she weeps for the Leroy and the overwhelming emptiness of things. And in the end she weeps because she realizes that her weeping does not matter.
Stay tuned for issue 004 when we bring you a photographic feature on Cindy Conlin, living in Presquâ€™ile Provincial Park, written by journalist Kimberley Grove. You will be dished out a stunning treat of images.
Devour: Art and Lit Canada w w w. H i d d e n B r o o k P r e s s . c o m
Cindy Conlin Bard Owel
Hidden Brook Press brings you Devour: Art & Lit Canada. Devour is dedicated to the Canadian voice. Find some of Canada’s finest authors, pho...
Published on Jul 28, 2019
Hidden Brook Press brings you Devour: Art & Lit Canada. Devour is dedicated to the Canadian voice. Find some of Canada’s finest authors, pho...