Devour: Art & Lit Canada is dedicated to the Canadian voice.
ISSN 2561-1321 Issue 008
Devour Art & Lit Canada
Find some of Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s finest authors, photographers and artists featured in every issue.
Follow the Path acrylic on canvas The front cover is a detail of this painting. Eva Kolacz
The mission of
Devour: Art & 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 008 Summer 2020 Devour: Art & Lit Canada 5 Greystone Walk Drive Unit 408 Toronto, Ontario M1K 5J5 DevourArtAndLitCanada@gmail.com Cover Image – Eva Kolacz Editor-in-Chief – Richard M. Grove Layout and Design – Richard M. Grove
Welcome to the 8th issue of Devour: Art & Lit Canada. As you will have noticed our 5th, 6th and 7th issues were “special issues” between our winter issue and this current summer issue. Those three special issues were dedicated to “The Poetry Pandemic Project” with Panku poems from around the world and photographs by Ann Di Nardo. We have one final special Panku issue scheduled for after this summer issue. For this issue of Devour, along with our three Poetry Editors, April Bulmer, Bradley McIlwain and Bruce Kauffman, we bring you a new feature section called “Canada in Review” edited by Shane Joseph. You can see my intro to that section on page 34. Welcome Shane. In this issue we are pleased to bring you paintings and poems by worldr e n o w n e d a u t h o r a n d p a i n t e r, E v a K o l a c z a s w e l l a s c e l e b r a t e d photographer and poet, Anne Pelletier. We hope you enjoy this issue and pass the URL to your family and friends. Editor-in-chief Richard M. Grove
Secret Lake acrylic on canvas Eva Kolacz
Devour Content Feature Profiles: Feature Artist – Eva Kolacz – p. 14
Canada in Review with Shane Joseph – p. 34 Our Three Poetry Editors – April Bulmer – p. 45 – Bradley McIlwain – p. 66 – Bruce Kauffman – p. 71
Open Mic Canada – p.50 Devour Under 25 – p. 69 Quintessentially Canadian – p. 76 Through the Mist – By Anne Pelletier – p. 104 www.kingstondataweb.com
D evou r: Art & Lit C anada
Patriotism is a Two Edged Sword. Be careful dear readers as patriotism might be thought of as a twoedged swords. One side of the shiny blade of nationalistic pride can lead one to a deep sense of national ownership and the desire of maintaining a unique national identity. It can lead to a positive sense of brother / sisterhood that unites a nation beyond colour and creed and which can lead to unity which can lead to harmony as a nation. On this same blade there is a, nationalistic pride that is blunter with a jagged edge to which we need to be alert. Philosophers have argued that national pride and flag waving can lead to mass complacency that can lead to giving up our power to government. This in turn can lead to being taken over by, and controlled by, the very government that one worshiped. At the very least it is suggested that nationalistic pride can lead to a sense of superiority that can lead to bigotry that can lead to hate that can lead to the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a bigoted White cop leaning on his neck until his breathless body is so subservient that it lies powerless, dead. So it is with a mild sense of apprehension that I present what might be considered a jingoistic poem that holds, within its lines, a nationalistic level of pride. With this in mind I will take that risk because I am, in my late-summer years, cautiously proud to be Canadian. I am proud to be part of a free nation that is thought of by some, as having a rather mundane motto of, “Peace, Order and Good Government.” Despite how mundane POgG* might sound it made it possible for me to experience what I have expressed in my poem “Thank You Canada”. POgG needs to be watched over by “the people” in fear that we too could have the heavy knee of government on our neck while we plead for our metaphoric breath of freedom. With caution here is to Peace, Order and Good Government and two thumbs up to Canada. Richard Grove Editor-in-chief
*POgG – section 91 of the British North American Constitution Act
Thank You Canada I have walked both of your salt-sprayed shores east and west and every province between. I have slipped my kayak into your still-morning lakes, mist-covered quietude, north and south. I have shared wild blueberries with black bears on a crisp September morning in Newfoundland, berries baked into smoke-billowed pancakes. I have hiked and climbed your cloud-raked Rocky Mountains in Banff and Jasper and sailed into the sea-tossed Straits off Vancouver shores. I have hiked into the wilderness from Terrace, BC and found the eye of Canada, a small glacier-fed lake, an oasis surrounded by ancient moss-covered logs. I have pitched a tent on the shores of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, gazing longingly east to Canadian rocky shores. I have rafted the Bow River in calm and turbid waters and cross-country skied from Banff to Canmore simply to see the Hoodoos covered in fresh snow. Now in my late-summer years, Canada has become the friends I meet on the quiet streets of Brighton, or as I walk out from my back yard into Presquâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ile Provincial Park. Now in these 2020 lockdown days, of social distancing,
I have the pleasure of leaning on the fence jawing with kind neighbours talking about the Barred Owl I saw perched on my back deck or the fox family that lives across the street in the boulder cliff that looks north to the ever-present, Osprey-nested, lighthouse. For me, Canada is the three minute chit chat that I have in the middle of the street with birdwatchers that return year after year to drink in the beauty of pine-swept skies of our Canada that I never take for granted. Thank you Canada.
Don Gutteridge London, Ontario
“I Can’t Breathe” For George Floyd While the world watched, a man with a heart harried by hatred, knelt upon your neck in a parody of prayer, deaf to your plea: “I can’t breathe!”, a phrase unfurled like a beacon of outrage and carried to far continents, wherever men and women looked to love to turn the page on racial violence, and somewhere, miles from the nearest bigot, looking down and forgiving, your eyes are wreathed in smiles.
Dear Tai, I have a poem I wrote two years ago after officiating at a Citizenship Ceremony for new Canadians here in Saskatoon. If you like the poem, then go ahead and use it. If you don't feel it is what you're looking for, then that's fine. It will appear somewhere. You asked about my years as Poet Laureate. I was the first provinciallyappointed Poet Laureate in Canada. Saskatchewan was the first province to appoint one in 2000 and I served two two-year terms from 2000-2004. Cheers, Glen Sorestad
Citizenship Ceremony Their names are called, one by one, and proudly they walk towards me, here, where I stand upon the stage. They come forward from every country of the globe, stride with pride and hope to where I wait in admiration to shake their hands. Some come forward, their clothed bodies hiding lashes and scars, but their will to live and to triumph still unbroken;
from hopelessness to joyous hope they come forward, elated to accept from me this paper proof their arduous trek is over. Faces aglow, they walk, some alone, others with partners and with their children, wonder filling them all. Robust and tall, wiry and small, parents, teens, infants, survivors all, beaming confidence, they step forward.
Interview with Eva Kolacz by Margaret P. Bonikowska Q: When I met you many years ago, you were a well-known painter. We know from your biography that you wrote poetry back in Poland. Why did you stop writing and how did poetry come back into your life? A: Yes, I wrote poetry and I was thinking about my first poetry book. I worked as an actress in theatre, when the circumstances in Poland made me think seriously about leaving to live a normal life with my family. As a creative person, I wanted to express myself without harsh censorship. At that time, the social and political situation in Poland was charged with tension. The decision to leave was one of the most difficult ones in my life. In December 1981, Canada welcomed me with open arms. Two days later, I saw tanks on the streets of Warsaw. Martial law was declared. After this, I knew being “blacklisted” that I would never be published in Poland. There are times when certain decisions must be made, based on practical realities, and because I didn’t know English, it was impossible for me to write and to be recognized as a Canadian poet. Every language has its own rules, which include rhythm and structure, syntax, and idiom. You need to know and apply them to your writing. It takes years. I realized that I needed to find another way to communicate with people by expressing myself creatively. I found a universal language— 14
visual art. That’s why I became a painter. In my paintings, I’m not trying to depict reality, but to transform images into something universal that could be seen as poetic expression or as a musical composition of nature. I realize that to achieve satisfaction, I must dedicate all of my attention to the chosen medium. I reluctantly abandoned poetry to become a better painter. Twelve years ago poetry returned to me. I started to hear words and constructed lines of poetry in English. Poem after poem arrived, building my first book, Whatever We Are, published by Hidden Brook Press in 2019
On the Move 3 122x1220, acrylic on canvas – 2008 Eva Kolacz
Q: You have lived in two countries and have become bicultural. How has this impacted your art? A: We are talking here of influences. They work in both ways; in this case one culture has a positive impact on the other and vice versa. Both bring a unique richness to share. We have built in Canada a mosaic society with all of its colours, aromas and styles. Coming from Poland, where art and literature were always celebrated, helped me adapt to this multicultural scene full of cultural variations. Here, you are welcome to exchange ideas and to leave your mark. My late husband, Jerzy Kolacz,
painter and illustrator, called the godfather of Canadian illustration, radically changed the approach to this art form, and trained his students to use concept instead of a realistic approach in illustration. l learned a great deal from him as well as other Canadian and American artists, mostly Abstract Expressionists who taught me how to move freely among composed images as a continuous adventure. Q: You write poetry in English, which is not your native language. How do you feel about this? A: It is possible to write well in the language which is not your native one, but if you live in this new country, among its people, walk the streets, listening to conversations, you will learn faster. First you need to hear the sound of the language, its vowels and consonants, and melody. They need to sink into your skin until they make you aware of the rhythmic patterns you can write on the page to articulate your thought.
Q: What are your views on language and identity as you have been going through this experience? A: The language is a medium we use as a communicating tool. The words are complementing thoughts in order to describe emotions connected to our experiences in life. Writing poems helped me to find my place and to explore it by using free verse, and various metaphors which convey additional meanings of reality.
Q: So in what way do you think your Polishness has influenced your Canadian poetry written in English? A: I learned my craft from the best Polish poets by observing what they were doing in poetry, how they approached a poem—first with their thought and how they executed this thought. Each of them represented an individual poetic voice. My favourites were Maria Jasnorzewska-Pavlikowska, Wislawa Szymborska, Zbigniew Herbert, and many others. I learned that writing requires total discipline, concentration, and how to translate emotions into poetic metaphors. I brought this knowledge with me to Canada and applied it to my poems written in English. So you can say that my Polishness influenced my poems written in English. In turn, English literature, especially Canadian in this case, influenced my writing. When reading Canadian poets, for example, Gwen MacEwen and recently Roo Borson, I’m looking for clues that could help me find a certain idiom necessary to depict what I want to express in my poetry.
Q: How do painting and poetry merge, intertwine, combine in you— or maybe their relationship is different in your mind and soul? A: There are no major differences between the acts of creation; the difference lies in the medium. Each one requires unique tools: brushes and paints, pens and paper, or a computer. I handwrite because it allows me to construct the lines, cross them out, reinvent them. In painting, I use a brush like a pen. Art influences my writing because by being a
Floating Isands, 48 X 36, acrylic on canvas, â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2018, Eva Kolacz
painter, I’m able to visualize the scenes and objects easier, and then I can abstract it: reality is questioned. I venture into unknown territories of imagination. And writing influences my art. They both express our world emotionally and pose a communicative power in colours or in the lines of poetry. Sometimes you need to let the subconscious be involved. Your subconscious is a magical instrument; it leads you to discover something beyond reality.
Q: You have mentioned our beloved friend, great artist Jerzy Kolacz, your late husband, and his influence on your visual art. Now you are married to a great poet, Laurence Hutchman, master of WORDS and LANGUAGE - how has this relationship influenced you and both the poetry and paintings that you create now? A: Everyone is inspired by others. We need to be influenced to extend our knowledge of our interest to grow as artists. I’m lucky to have had and have in my life two talented men who succeeded in their chosen profession. When I met Jerzy here, in Toronto (we knew each other in Poland), I was a mature woman, having already painted for eight years. He respected this and never intervened when I was working on my paintings. We had discussions regarding our art later. Being with him let me be close to perfection in art. His well executed illustrations commenting on social, political issues influenced my future poems. His large, spiritual paintings opened me to the wonder in my work. Now, being with a wonderful poet, Laurence adds something important to my experience in poetry— his incredible imagination enriches mine, bringing excitement to it. Recently our collaborative book of love poems Fire and Water was published by Black Moss Press. The poems were written over several years. I created illustrations, and on the book cover depicting two lovers. The image is inspired by Marc Chagall’s painting.
Q: Your artistic life is full of achievement – your paintings can be found in prestigious collections and art galleries and museums both in Poland and in Canada. You have published two books of poetry. What has brought you the most satisfaction? 19
Sunrise, 48 X 36, acrylic on canvas, â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2018, Eva Kolacz
A: Personal satisfaction is an important element in everyone’s life. It gives positive energy, and by that makes one hungry to achieve more. For me to have a meaningful relationship is essential to create. It was also satisfying to be recognized as an artist in my home country where my paintings are part of the collections of the national museums of Poland. They were also acquired for Government of Ontario Art Collection. After the publication of my first book Whatever We Are, my poems were recognized by well-known Canadian poets Brian Bartlett, George Elliott Clarke, Travis Lane, Al Moritz, and Sue Sinclair. Q: And what now – where are you heading? A: My new book of poetry will be ready soon. I need to return to my paintings— waiting in my studio to be finished. So, more paintings, more poems. I’m planning to start translations of my Polish poems, written in Canada and back in Poland. It requires from me not only attention to lines, according to English, but to make the necessary artistic transformation of them, so they will be able to reveal their complex characters—even little secrets that I like to share. As American poet Mary Oliver said: “Poetry, after all, is not a miracle... It is the song of our species.” Let’s sing together.
Margaret P. Bonikowska
Margaret P. Bonikowska is a Polish-Canadian journalist, broadcaster, community activist, educator, author, and cultural entrepreneur. Editor-in-chief of “Gazeta” and English language podcast POLcast. Her mission is building bridges between her two homelands, Poland and Canada.
Somehow the Past Will Lose Its Grip Everything passes away: therefore everything deserves to pass away. Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra
This tiny patch containing the past, implanted in me with a surgeon’s precision, is life’s work of art, so the show could go on and on, nobody backs down, a ripple of applause will follow. Oh, life. Some days walk in borrowed costumes, not much thought is usually given to the act. it’s up to us to figure out what role we play as your guest— and making sure that we will pass the test. The tip: life creates an illusion of reality, logic too. The truth lies between words. Eva Kolacz
Just Another Day Lost for Anna, my mother
The birds fly, crossing each others’ routes, in an elliptical pattern, their eyes soaking in a warm wave of air. On the surface, days behave well, like children before ice cream is served. “Care for a cocktail in a tall glass, darling? And dream of exotic places— dreaming heals your mind.” Beautiful tease, testing your blood like a mosquito’s perfect bite, so quiet and unexpected. This is how authority of life works when declares a period of peace, the anger drains down as waste, the body has time to collect all broken parts, and not to show the wounds. I want to be a beta fish, placed in the stream swimming as long as the horizon through the rice fields instead of this glass jar Aging days are in a continual shifting, the one brought in is quickly pushed away. She stands between them with no time to reconcile the conflicting thoughts, asking is never enough, the answers would avoid all resolutions. Eva Kolacz
Stand up Comedian for Robin Williams
A stand up comedian holds our attention like a foot poking out of beach sand, until the show runs out of steam. He doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have time to be alone. He lives in his mythologyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; and often becomes one of the casualties of the myth, hardly significant. But on closer inspection he is showing sensibility of someone living in darkness, we will never understand. Eva Kolacz
Blue Heron for Natasha
1 I can hear steps in my dreams eaten away by dim streets with clouds shaping the sky nothing can touch them not even the saints in heaven. Existence is constantly proving that we hold onto a vision of a better world that is still alive even if it is taken from the scattering of history, letting rivers flow freely into the face of the sun. Sometimes we just need the human helping hand, at other times Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s will, knowing that everything could deteriorate again when touched by a blade of fire.
2 Ambience Fallen oak leaves move with the wind into a place behind the pond, reclining in tall grasses. The moment freezes the flight of a blue heron, then raises him from the shore to the temple of the sky. Words becoming fruit of thought waiting the phrases to build a line binding us to nature. Everything can speak now awakening us. Somebody is walking and singing, then disappears, but his song remains caressing our ears.
3 Levitation Rising out of gravel the fog wanders. In my dream last night, I was enveloped in the darkness of nameless streets. Now Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m an inhabitant of the earth in Oakville close to the absolute, when everything around me is simply lifted as it turns and turns in slow motion, until it is out of sight. Eva Kolacz (Whatever We Are, published by Hidden Brook Press)
Be with me What is keeping me here, in this silent room of early April? It’s that picture in my mind featuring our heart’s joyous feast and my body’s willingness to wait for you or just this night resembling a dark green forest calmly inviting me to lie down? You brought poems to keep me company, but in the rhythmic flow of your words. I’m the bird with paper wings burning in the air. Eva Kolacz (Fire and Water published by Black Moss Press)
Tibet acrylic on canvas, Eva Kolacz
Waterfall acrylic on canvas, Eva Kolacz
Spritual Islands 36 X 48, acrylic on canvas, Eva Kolacz
Eva Kolacz: Bio Eva Kolacz is a poet and painter whose works are inspired by the multifaceted nature of both the interior and exterior world. In her native Poland she debuted as a young poet in local magazines and became a member of a writers’ association. At that time, Wislawa Szymborska said that her work was “original” and “refreshing.” After immigrating to Canada in 1981, she continued to write and publish poems in Polish magazines like Variety: Rozmaitosci, Gazetta, High Park and in an anthology with the Polish-American Poets Academy based in New Jersey. In English she has published in Verse-Afire and Rapsodia. She was the feature artist in the inaugural issue of The Artis, a new Canadian arts and literary magazine and in an online magazine Culture Avenue. This spring she published her first book of poems Whatever We Are with Hidden Brook Press. After graduating from the Fine Arts Department of the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, she participated in numerous exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Europe. Her works have become part of the permanent collections of the Ontario government and major museums of Poland. She lives and works in Oakville with her husband the poet, Laurence Hutchman. She is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and the Polish American Poets Academy, a member of the League of Canadian Poets, and as a painter, an elected member of the Ontario Society of Artists.
Serenity acrylic on canvas, Eva Kolacz
Review Editor Sh a n e J o se p h
Dear Readers: We are proud to bring you this new section to our regular Devour: Art & Lit Canada issues. We are honoured to have the esteemed and accomplished author, reviewer and publisher, Shane Joseph, joining us as Editor of this new section. Shane Joseph comes to us with a long list of credentials and publishing history in the Canadian lit world. His long list of over 600 reviews that he has written and published is impressive. He is not just a graduate of Humber School for Writers in Toronto but he is the author of five novels and three collections of short stories with his latest novel, Milltown, released in 2019. Here are two reviews that should whet your appetite for buying this fine Canadian novel. Editor-in-chief, Richard Grove
“Shane Joseph is fearless in having his characters suﬀer within incidents that a lesser writer would balk at. Milltown is a riveting novel.” Ronald Mackay – author Fortunate Isle
“Milltown takes the reader on a virtual merry‐go‐ round of crooked industrialists, abusive politicians, unwanted pregnancies, psychopathic killers, drunken lawyers, Sri Lankan immigrants and inept mobsters” Ben Antao – author Money & Politics
Send Shane your reviews about Canadian authored books – email@example.com – 34
Biography – Shane Joseph Shane Joseph is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers in Toronto and studied under the mentorship of Giller Prize and Canadian Governor General’s Award-winning author David Adams Richards. He is the author of five novels and three collections of short stories. Redemption in Paradise, his first novel, was published in 2004. Fringe Dwellers, his first collection of short stories, was released in 2008, and is now in its second edition. Shane’s second novel, After the Flood, a dystopian novel of hope, was released in 2009 and won the Write Canada Award for best novel in the futuristic/fantasy category. This novel was released in 2020 in a Kindle version. His short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in literary journals such as the Book Review Literary Trust of India and in anthologies all over the world. His blog at www.shanejoseph.com is widely syndicated and he has a monthly column in The Sri Lankan Anchorman journal. Shane’s fifth work of fiction, Paradise Revisited, a collection of short stories that continues to explore the immigrant experience, was short listed for the Re-Lit award in 2014. His latest novel, Milltown, was released in April 2019. Shane is the owner and publisher of Blue Denim Press (www.bluedenimpress.com), a literary press he founded in 2011. More details on Shane’s work, blog and book reviews can be found on his website at www.shanejoseph.com. He maintains an active presence on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
An Introduction Letter from Shane As the newly appointed book review editor of Devour, I am pleased to share some reviews of recently published books (within the last two years). Book reviewing has been a passionate pursuit of mine for over a dozen years. I have written over 600 at this point. The best learning for a writer is to study other books for craft, pacing, language, style, character development, plot and all the other elements that make up a novel or story. I have found this pursuit to be beneficial in my own novel and short-story writing. Book reviews however, have become marketing tools, for it is often touted that “a good review sells a book, and a bad review sinks one.” This has spawned “review mills,” platforms on which publishers pay subscriptions to post their books and readers register to receive a free copy of the book “in exchange for an honest review.” Consequently, the number of reviews per book has increased while the quality of those reviews has decreased in aggregate. Teasing out a good review amidst the pile of chaff has become a difficult endeavour. I hope to offer some help here. I look for reviews that go to the heart of a book, exposing both positives and things that leave us wanting more. A book, especially a work of literature, being a subjective experience in the reader’s hands, can never be 100% perfect for everyone; it will have flaws amidst its strengths—and it should. A reviewer who is able to sensitively and sensibly outline this map of pros and cons to a reader is much to be appreciated. Moreover, we as readers of the review should get the sense that the reviewer has invested in the book, and has not just skipped pages to grab at some sellable points. A good review starts a conversation about a book. In this edition of Devour: Art & Lit Canada, I have selected the following books written by Canadian authors: 2018 Giller Prize winner, Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan, two books published in 2019—The Untoward Assassin by Janet Kellough, and Relief by Klaus Jakelski—and a book of poetry published in 2018, Undefeated Relevance, by Honey Novick. Although Canadian in conception, the books begin in our home turf of Canada with Kellough and Novick, then spread out to war-torn Bosnia/Herzegovina with Jakelski, and from there to almost the entire known 19th century world in Edugyan’s award winning novel. I hope you enjoy these reviews. Shane Joseph
Title: Washington Black Author: Esi Edugyan ISBN: 0525521429 (ISBN13: 9780525521426) Hardcover, 339 pages Published September 18th 2018 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published August 2nd 2018)
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan – reviewed by Shane Joseph A book that attempts to cover a wide geographic canvas of six eventful years in the life of a gifted and lucky slave boy. Although the fantastical elements of the story spurred me on, and the brilliant prose was a pleasure to read, I found some serious shortcomings that made me question this book winning the Giller Prize. Washington (Wash) Black is a 13 year-old slave in a plantation in Barbados. He doesn’t know who his parents are but is drawn to a slave woman, Big Kit, who cares and protects him from their cruel master, Erasmus Wilde, and from other slaves. The cruelty towards slaves displayed by their white masters is so bad (and so well depicted) that Big Kit promises to kill herself and Wash, so that they will be reborn in Dahomey from whence she originated. Erasmus’s younger brother Christopher (Titch) takes a shine to Wash and acquires him as a manservant cum research assistant in a project to create a hot air balloon, thus putting a crimp on Big Kit’s plans. When cousin Phillip descends upon the Wilde brothers, plans go a-kilter and Titch and Wash are soon fugitives, escaping in the half-baked balloon; a trip that leads them to the ends of the earth: from the frozen Arctic to the Moorish desert, to London, Virginia, Amsterdam and Nova Scotia. They separate and re-unite, and the underpinnings of their unusual relationship are laid bare, surprising us.
In the process we get a rollicking good adventure story covering some of the pivotal events that took place during the 1830s: the abolishing of slavery in the Caribbean, the Underground Railroad, and early iterations of air flight, marine biology and photography. All this was great, but where I had difficulty was in swallowing the contrivances around Washington Black himself. This scared and scarred 13 year-old emerges as a skilful research assistant, educated marine biologist, prodigious painter, and proper English gentleman in his speech and manners, all by the time he is 18 when the novel ends. As there is no indication that this is a much older Washington Black narrating the story of his teen years, one has to conclude that the narration is happening when the events are occurring or not long after. Everyone wants to tell young Wash their private affairs and stories for the benefit of the reader, including his white masters. I think the use of the first person narrator in Washington was a serious limitation of the book and forced these contrivances upon the author. A third person narrative would have created more plausibility. That said, the first part of the narrative which is set in Barbados is very well drawn with the subtle relationship changes between characters clearly delineated. Washington is cast aside by his own kind when he is snatched and promoted to live in the Big House. The Wilde brothers are torn apart with the coming of Phillip with whom they have had a troubled past. The constant fear Esi Edugyan that slaves live under is captured well, and this spectre follows Wash even after he leaves Barbados when a reward placed upon his head by the angry Erasmus attracts bounty hunters like the evil Willard. When we get to Washâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s travels through other parts of the world the narrative speeds up and the plausibility weakens. It was as if the publisher, believing the Barbados episode wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t enough, had ordered the author to touch on every significant event of that period and spice it up with a liberal dose of picaresque. And yet the whole idea of flight, exploration and attaining the intellectual heights that a slave like Washington achieves is a testament and metaphor to the indomitability of the human spirit.
Title: Undefeated Relevance Author: Honey Novick Publisher: Kathy Figueroa & Flowertopia Studio â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2018 Number of Pages: 72 pp. ISBN: 978-1-988053-05-9
Undefeated Relevance by Honey Novick â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Review by Joan Sutcliffe The tone is set from the start and the imagination fired, as the writer weaves a creative blending of poetry and prose throughout the book, the exotic title reflecting itself on the first page in a short pithy poem: In a fearful world/ a smile/ is an act /of revolution. The metaphorical opening to the second poem: It Takes a Willow to Root a Geranium is a perceptive tribute to the indigenous pool of spirituality that has never left the Canadian consciousness, even as the early British, Italian, Jewish immigrant poured in their dreams of grandeur, dark suffering and determination. Here is presented a descriptive drama of a passionate life unfolding against the rich background of a mingling of cultures, human events playing against emerging scenes of history to give birth to the analogy of what it is to become a Canadian.
In a similar vein a later poem reads like music as it captures the mystery of an ancient land flowing into the disturbing elements of immigrant arrival in droves of bombastic fortune hunters alternating with peaceful refuge seekers. Yet the initial spirit of Oh, Kanata remains: on scarred land ever sacred. The voice carries the sound of pathos, is mystical at times, then poetic, occasionally angry, always nostalgic as it recalls: Once the water raged and wolves offered warmth, while the movement ever runs towards: new languages of navigation. The writer displays an incredible versatility that offers relief from tension, intersperses more lengthy prose works with shorter pieces of wit and humour. Poems in the charming language of myth are included alongside those of poignant realizations. Spices is a unique poem that asserts itself as a spoken word performance piece. Indeed the rhythm follows the beat of a drum punctuated at intervals by a chorus of spice names. In parts the pace moves like a dance as the flow of words creates images into scenes to unfold the story of a father and son. The undefeated spirit, which is such an obvious characteristic at play throughout the volume, is perhaps nowhere more highlighted than in another longer piece: You Get What Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re Ready to Get. Again this is a fascinating depiction of the writerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s personal search for her own emerging psyche. Enthused with the love of music and words, a heart unafraid to pursue an opportunity to an unknown destination, she takes the reader through the labyrinthine paths of becoming a song/poet. In its whole the book portrays a warmth of spirit and a vibrancy for life. So much is revealed in variable modes of expression about the art of growing to be strong and selfprotective, yet at the same time to be compassionate and self-giving.
Title: The Untoward Assassin Author: Janet Kellough Publisher: Janet Kellough (March 3 2019) ISBN: 978-0993720093 Number of Pages: 251
The Untoward Assassin by Janet Kellough – reviewed by Felicity Sidnell Reid The Untoward Assassin is the seventh installment of Janet Kellough’s Thaddeus Lewis historical mysteries. In the first, Thaddeus was a Methodist circuit rider caught up in the search for the killer of his daughter in the aftermath of the 1837 rebellion led by William MacKenzie King. Almost twenty years later, in 1855, Thaddeus and his granddaughter, Martha, arrive in Toronto, where Martha applies to study at the Provincial Normal School to become a teacher. They visit Thaddeus’ youngest son, Luke, a popular doctor, in practice in the village of Yorkville with the eccentric Dr. Stewart Christie, and are offered a home for the duration of their stay with the two doctors and their housekeeper. Thaddeus has suffered several assaults as he and Martha travelled to Toronto, where these attacks intensify and threaten his family. He frets about Martha’s safety, as in a recent adventure in London she was kidnapped by the murderer in that case. When this news breaks, Martha fears she will be dismissed from Normal School. She already chafes at the many restrictions imposed on students, especially female ones, and the situation worsens as she becomes the subject of malicious gossip. Thaddeus is also worried by the arrival of parcels containing large sums of money hidden in old Bibles. He banks the money, for he is certain that it is being sent to him by Clementine Elliot with whom he has had a troubled relationship in recent years—she lives by her wits, has no scruples, but has been of crucial help in his previous case and has become an intimate friend. He is deeply attracted and has great difficulty in sorting out his feelings for her, amid his fears that she too is in danger. 41
Are these incidents connected? Is there someone out there who carries such a grudge that they would attack not only him but those he loves? With the help of friends and family, Thaddeus reviews his past adventures and his present situation, taking steps to protect, as far as possible, those close to him. As Thaddeus comes nearer and nearer to identifying his assailant, the tension rises to a climax and his would-be assassin attacks again. But this is not just a thriller with an exciting fast-moving plot. Kellough’s characters are always well-drawn and Thaddeus has grown older and more interesting in twenty years. His perceptions have become more complex. His family, his sons and son-in-law, as well as Martha have all matured and their relationships deepened. Moreover, Kellough’s command of her research allows her to use it as the context and motivation of the action rather than just a background. So, for example, the medical knowledge of the time, the mode of conducting operations, the treatment of patients in a measles epidemic and the consequences of the disease all become both part of the plot and, in their reactions to these matters, illuminate the characters. So do the set-up and restrictions of the Normal School especially in its treatment of young women. The Untoward Assassin is dedicated, “To everyone who asked for more Thaddeus,” so devotees of the series will hope for an eighth adventure.
Author Bio: Janet Kellough is a novelist and story-teller from Picton, PEC. Best known for her critically acclaimed historical mysteries, (Dundurn Press) she is also an award winning writer of science fiction. Reviewer Bio: Felicity Sidnell Reid’s poetry and short fiction, has been published in a number of anthologies and online journals. Her historical novel, Alone: A Winter in the Woods (Hidden Brook Press) is set in the Presqu’ile area of Northumberland county. She is co-host and co-producer of the radio series on Northumberland 89.7, Word on the Hills (wordonthehills.com).
Title: Relief Author: Klaus Jakelski Publisher: Blue Denim Press Inc (Oct. 1 2019) ISBN: 978-1927882467 Number of Pages: 260
Relief by Klaus Jakelski – reviewed by Ronald Mackay “Relief ” is the provocatively ironic title chosen by Klaus Jakelski for his second penetrating and highly thrilling novel published by Blue Denim Press in Canada. “Relief ” is set during the 1992-95war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most obviously, the title refers to life-saving aid delivered to people living on the edge of survival — in this case to a United Nations-supported mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina within which Harvard-trained doctor, Frank Lambert, has volunteered to serve as a forward-base, battle-field surgeon. The irony, however, can be appreciated by the reader as referring to the ultimate removal from personal agony suffered by most of the story’s principal characters irrespective of whether their “relief ” is brought about by fair means or foul. A further and infinitely deeper irony rests in the author’s skilfully slow revelation of a repugnant truth: those entrusted with the principal responsibility for humanitarian relief and the protection of bodies and souls are using their positions, under the United Nations Protective Force in Yugoslavia, as a cover for personal, depraved, mercenary or ideological interests. Frank, a surgeon, and Gwen, a nurse are with the non-government organization Forward Doctors International. Their task is to attend to the wounded resulting from fighting in their region of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Contrary to expectations, war-wounded are few , but the demand for abortion resulting from rape begins to increase at an alarming rate. These facts raise a red flag of suspicion for Frank who has experienced the genocidal horrors of Rwanda. 43
With ample experience of delivering medical care in war zones, both Frank and Gwen have become addicted to the adrenaline rush that accompanies this kind of work, such that their professional lives have overtaken and all but obliterated their private lives. Both seek relief (the title again!) from post-traumatic stress disorder and so it is almost inevitable that opportunity along with their shared experiences of loneliness in forward combat zones thrust them together. Each recognises this new relationship as better than any previous one. So much better that they agree that when their tour is up, they will return to the United States and strive to build a normal life together, far from the troubles that have so long plagued them. Frank, fully occupied with the rape victims, his worsening PTSD symptoms and his deepening attachment to Gwen, supresses his suspicions that the lack of war-wounded may point to genocide and secret mass burials. In this gripping novel, Jakelski, a doctor at home in both the emergency room and the operating theatre, addresses two closely linked themes: first the use of rape and second the practice of genocide by warring parties during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina Klaus Jakelski following the breakup of Yugoslavia. He presents a world almost entirely lacking in human virtue, where almost everybody is deceiving â&#x20AC;&#x201C; especially those whose rights of protection might, in a just world, be taken for granted. But he does so in an entirely unpredictable, credible and ultimately satisfying way.
Reviewer Bio: Ronald Mackay â&#x20AC;&#x201C; After a Cold War career in Eastern and Central Europe, Ronald Mackay worked internationally as a problem-solver for community and agricultural development projects. Concurrently, he taught project planning, management and evaluation at universities in the UK, Singapore and Central and North America. For a decade, he helped produce avocados and grapes in Chile and Argentina before returning to Canada and settling down on the shore of Rice Lake in a house built by his wife and himself.
April Bulmer “Open Mic Canada” Editor April Bulmer is the poetry editor for the “Open Mic Canada” section of Devour: Art & Lit Canada. She is an award-winning poet who has had a dozen books published. Her work has appeared in many prestigious journals such as The Malahat Review, PRISM international, Arc and Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. April holds three Master’s degrees in creative writing, religious studies and theological studies. She lives in Cambridge, Ontario where she was recently awarded the Cambridge YWCA Women of Distinction Award in their Arts & Culture category. Her most recent manuscript (from which the poems in this issue of Devour are excerpted) was shortlisted for the international Beverly Prize in London, England. It is called “Year of the Dog: A Poet’s Journal.” It was funded by the Ontario Arts Council. She is at work on a manuscript of prose based on the theme of sickness and spirituality (which also received OAC funding). Her book of poetry called Out of Darkness, Light (Hidden Brook Press, John B. Lee Signature Series) was a finalist in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in their spirituality category. It is available from April at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three Poems by April Bulmer
World Poetry Day The body we rent from God. How we are obliged to care for it, wash with a fragrant bar of soap, shampoo the hair. Exercise the body as though a slim dog. Feed it colourful vegetables, lean cuts of meat. Offer it to a lover, for stroking and praise. Moisturize the soft moon face, floss the teeth. Clip fingernails, their imperceptible grace.
Homily In my struggles to greet God in the arid landscape of myself, I once travelled to Saskatchewan, to the lean yellow prairie and sat on the banks of a long lick of water called the South Saskatchewan River. There I listened to the steady drum of my heart. I drove long dusty days stopping periodically at the Miracle Sites and stony images of Mary. I bathed in the healing waters of Lake Manitou where salt gathers in a frill at the shore. I imagined it like the pool of water in Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gospel, occasionally stirred by an angel of the Lord.
Saints Today is Cousin Aâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;'s birthday. Her eyes are old moons dimmed by clouds. But she celebrates as though blessed by St. Lucy, patron saint of the blind. Sometimes at night, I stumble through the shadows and imagine I am with dog pulling me through the darkness. I wave my hand at the god in my small room, step upon his orthopedic shoes. Cousin has a big laugh and sings wide, though she is slim. I draw myself in as though shivering inside a cardigan. In my dreams, she drops to her knees before the morning light. The big sun, his cyclops eye.
Nourish, Soothe and Heal Poems nourish, soothe and heal us. They are birthed in darkness and light, we learn from Stella Mazur Preda, in her piece “The Longest Night.” For poets are often sensitive, thin skinned, too. Perhaps all skin is “a conduit for pain and passion,” writes Lee-Ann Taras in her delicate poem “Skin.” The narrator in Gordon Gilhuly’s poem is guided by the strange shapes of stars and maps. Marn Norwich’s character sits still and receives divine dictation. Laurence Hutchman incites us to practice poems, as though placing a spoon gingerly in the mouth, feeling its “sounds, shapes, textures [and] flavours.” The writing of poetry is at times a ritual. John Mundy tells us he watches birds with a spiritual heart. Graham Ducker is also observant of birds. John B. Lee believes the sighting of the rare rose-breasted grosbeak is as if by a conjuring of spirits: an “apparition of a brilliant-feathered light.” Joey Rae also celebrates sunlight and the wisdom it offers. Patrycja E. Williams builds her poem, “Sea Glass Dreams,” on “sunlit flashes [that] catch [her] eye.” She writes of “glistening shapes in the emerald water”: turquoise paint chips, Depression glass, bright yellow pottery. The poets here have honed their craft like potters who throw their clay skillfully, bake it in fire. The poems they offer us are glazed cups. I encourage you to lift them to your lips and sip. April Bulmer Editor Open Mic Canada
Open Mic Canada Editor, April Bulmer Laurence Hutchman
Spoon To practice poems hold the spoon, feel the weight of the metal on your fingertips, the way the bubble shows the carpenter the level of the line. To practice poems try to ignore the noises of children (you cannot ignore the childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s noises), but hold the spoon (your son is also looking for a spoon). Look at its lines, how well they are shaped to its tapered form, the long neck opening out into the elliptical head. Observe how the lines circle the metal like natural striations formed not of the earth but of the movement of the mouth and the fingers upon it. Observe the peculiar colour of rust and silver. Ignore the crests and words (although you cannot fail to see this is an Irish hotel with a Royal Crown crest on opposite sides).
To practice poems you must hold the spoon more consciously than you would a pen, feel its forms and its smooth function. Observe, too, how the form is not of the earth but transformed from the metal out of the earth deep fires, millions of years before. If you want to practice poems, put the spoon into your mouth. Feel your lips around it, Sounds, shapes, textures, flavours. Feel how it nourishes you with its meats, vegetables, and fruit, how it takes them from the earth into you.
Previously Published In: Garden Varieties (League of Canadian Poets Competition), Cormorant Books Foreign National, Agawa Press, 1993 Selected Poems, Guernica Editions, 2007
Marn Norwich Marn@vancouverwritingcourses.com Vancouver, BC
Poetic rhetoric What good is your poetry if it can’t heal wounds, soothe a blistered arm? As if words don’t stain this litmus paper planet, or a syllable whispered in the Friday afternoon market in Jerusalem isn’t felt in the Nigerian parliament, and the beaches at Locarno and English Bay. Why write for a goal short of complete transcendence, when the easy glide of pen on page can usurp misery, wrest open padlocked prison doors? What good is your poetry if it can’t reverse aging, correct blindness or resurrect the dead? Listen, if you are taking the time to sit still and receive, why take dictation from anyone less than God?
Stella Mazur Preda email@example.com Waterdown, ON
The Longest Night Supper preparation underway Blackout. Total power failure. Sandwiches quickly substituted. Hunger satiated we wait … Time crawls … three hours four… The town is blanketed in total darkness. Can’t read can’t write can’t knit — just stare into a dark world and wait. I navigate my apartment in search of a lantern. Seven hours … still waiting … A poem evolves by its light.
Joey Rae firstname.lastname@example.org Vancouver, BC
On Two Kinds of Wisdom I have noticed there are people whose rooms are wallpapered with degrees, diplomas and certificates but whose lives are littered with lessons unlearned and then there are those whose lives are wallpapered with wisdom and whose rooms are filled
John Mundy email@example.com Merrickville, ON
Stone Heart There are yellow chairs within a line of cedars taken wild from the land to make a hedge that stands around my labyrinth, inviting you to sit. From there you see a holy pattern. Concentric circles, as many as the months, laid with brick upon a gravel bed that hides a path thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s led me many times to the smallest circle that is its heart. I do not go there for purposes of prayer. In another time the path of stone was taken on oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s knees but not now, not for me instead I sit to watch the trees beyond the hedge for signs of birds.
In May they sing a cheerful sound that brings the promise of hot days and flowers. The flowers, they hold a type of power over me because their beauty is ephemeral, like liberty
Gordon Gilhuly firstname.lastname@example.org Woodstock, NB
when I return the stars have arranged themselves into strange shapes and suggestions: new maps present themselves, spread in the darkness beneath me: I cannot read them. home is forever in the wrong direction: plumed steeds have borne me far beyond the pale, far beyond all: when I return, I will not know you.
Patrycja E.Williams email@example.com Pender Island, BC
Sea Glass Dreams I walk the shores where sunlit flashes catch my eye, wedged in furrowed rocks that tell stories of boatloads of souls –– a turquoise paint chip from a boat, whose master has long forgotten about his stormy adventures, embossed patterns in Depression glass from a young couple’s rushed wedding, bright yellow Fiestaware pottery – a memento of the flower children — troubadours in tight lizard skin pants, free-spirited women with neon pink boas, Andy Warhol wannabes, and blasé widows with cash to throw around. The restless waves toss their feathery skirts over the remnants of these lives that are now embedded in sand, where decorator crabs clip seaweed with thick tangerine claws to cover their shells with ornate motifs that hide them from predatory eyes, seabirds circle effortlessly and dive at glistening shapes in the emerald water, while new lovers huddle by a smoldering bonfire, burning away the bitter taste that lingers after many wasted nights.
Anne Pelletier Annefreeverse5@gmail.com Midland, ON
As Strangers Do She looked like a Goddess crowned in curls left leg sneaking out the slit of her skirt allowing a peak then tucked back in she was such beyond the limitations of his living definition he knew the privilege would be as quick as a glimpse and so he blinked framing the magic forever
Previously Published In: Into The Fold: Collection of Love Expressions
John Di Leonardo firstname.lastname@example.org Brooklin, ON
Sacred Object (From “Head of Madeleine” Drawing, Picasso, 1905) My Madeleine found an old drawing this morning called from the studio to feel evidence of devotion as she unfolded the past in her palms — her likeness was all there and more innocent lips aquiver hair as sweet-grass breeze skin satiated with secrets of love the chiaroscuro of our days now drowsy with age and before I thumbed out a tear she gifted a squeeze of my hand and sweet words echoing the end of time
Lee-Ann Taras email@example.com Kingston, ON
Skin a sheath for bone, muscle and blood supple, pliant and porous if cut or bruised it possesses the proficiency to heal a scab knitting vital fluid and flesh a contusion in camouflage of mustard yellow, indigo and violet this is the common miracle of mending smooth or rough to fingersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; touch delicate as an eyelid calloused as the heel of a foot translucent as a newborn the ancients billowy with wrinkles a conduit for pain and passion a beautiful casing that we walk around in a tidy bundle of veins, nerves, sinew and scars
I.B. Iskov Bunny.firstname.lastname@example.org Toronto, ON
Chronic Cough In my spackled syndrome, there is no poetry. Life is stutter, a chopping hush. Mysteries coagulate into heart-stopping blurs. I gasp for breath and choke, grow smaller in my throat, scared scarred. I wish for a good night’s sleep without the dog barking inside my chest. No matter how many times I swallow codeine, candies, pride, I am constantly groping for air, voice threadbare and shrunk. The long slow burn of a thousand phrases caught in one brief hard cough. Thoughts grown spackled, cold though I’m covered with blanket.
Previously Published In: “Clean As A Whistle Chapbook Anthology,” 2015 (Received Judge’s Choice Award in Contest) In A Wintered Nest, Serengeti Press, 2013
Graham Ducker email@example.com Oshawa, ON
Breakfast Time From the deck an insistent PEE! PEE! PEE! shatters the morning mist and erases any ideas of sleeping in. Dressed in a blue tuxedo with black pockets and topped by a pointed hat, the feathered visitor scowls in the kitchen window. The Blue Jay wants his breakfast.
John B. Lee firstname.lastname@example.org Port Dover, ON
Sufficient to the Day here in the yard just beyond the window the birdfeeder hangs swinging as it were with a cold conviction of cracked corn and lintel and half-shelled sunflower seed as the drab songbirds come to sway upon the overturned metronome of morning hunger an aggressiveness of grackles a duel or two of doves the sharp-beaked pierce-eyed starling cutting the wind like a blackened shard of laudanum glass and we wait, my wife and I we wait as the earth waits we abide the twist and turn about of this dull-winged aviary set until looking in a bird book we come across a rarity, a rose-breasted grosbeak
and as if in an hallucination as if by a conjuring of spirits both male and female appear as something manifest within a clarifying fog the apparition of a brilliant-feathered light two lives revealed in form and flight as though the voice of wishing from within the house were like the quiet volume of a phantom prayer and whispering were thread and hook of breath a trace of dew upon line of a wishfulness by which the sleeper dreams himself awake sufficient to the day
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 Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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. Bradleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s latest collection of poems, Elementals (IOWI, 2015) is now available on Amazon and Indigo.
Bradley McIlwain Brooklin, Ontario
Sonnets from the Road
I Where does the road break over the bend? Deciduous trees paint the valley sangria red I hear the murmur that the rushing river sends between mysterious scarecrows slouched by an old barn shed Crows announce the coming Spring Herds of horses roam on rolling hills Sun slowly sinking on the ridge of what nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dreams may bring Promises of stars, shimmering and still An owl weeps on an old willowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s branch A cool air whistles from the woods to the ranch; in the undergrowth, an old red fox prowls bush and thistle Overland, winding paths guide the way Overhead, between day and dream I stay.
II rain sounds on my sill â&#x20AC;Ś no sign of 6 a.m. sunrise the house is silent, and still coffee a second cup of compromise; pen tapping page love spells in blank spaces; merlin sits with the sage on the bookshelf, between places Arthur on the road to Avalon on a journey for the Grail over the rolling hills of Albion â&#x20AC;Ś at my kitchen, I read and reread the tale on a quest of truth and fable I follow the woods, embark the trail.
Devour Under 25 Bradley McIlwain, Editor Jo Monea email@example.com Kingston, Ontario.
Sunday Afternoon my feet vibrate as i sit breathing leaky faucets in my face cause the drip it’s not emotional i’m just sick inhale low light as mom washes dishes the walls gurgle exhale feel the vibrations in the water air same thing fluids embrace our consciousness like a mother holding her child it’s supposed to be comfortable
Codrina Ibanescu firstname.lastname@example.org Etobicoke, Ontario
Illuminated Where there is dark There will always be Light When the night is long The morning is bright A fire burns in my heart, Full of passion, And full Of Art Notice and seek around If you are lost, You can always Be found With the bright stars above And the Earth below... Become a rock and you will find That still that river will flow Become the river And you will see The river flows Through you and me The Light within Is true and kind, Illuminate The Soul and Mind
Bruce Kauffman â&#x20AC;&#x153;Quintesentially Canadianâ&#x20AC;? 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.
Bruce Kauffman Kingston, Ontario
coming it was once hours then days becoming literally seasons this horizonal pen before me had and has still again this early morning forgotten its vertical slanted lif e with muses slumbering comatose in some distant land
but here we are again in winter flakes as large as snowballs gently fall and as i watch through my window sound returns
brings with it and on top of my desk a gently vibrating pen the whimpering of a journal’s page in the distance a fluttering of blankets scurrying of feet and then from above familiar finally in my ears those whispers again
_____________________________________________________________ A Tender Timeless Space: a review of Bruce Kauffman’s an evening absence still waiting for moon – Reviewed by Louise Carson http://poets.ca/2020/06/25/review-bruce-kauffman/ League of Canadian Poets – Supporting poets & poetry in Canada
Bruce Kauffman Kingston, Ontario
home living alone these past fifteen years long ago befriended in it the quietness spoke even then of the different notes and arrangements that music of silence and always in that time have chosen the aloneness the smallest of apartments in which to dwell i do think perhaps i had always the heart of a gypsy but just never the feather the wing
Bruce Kauffman Kingston, Ontario
gone this morning i packed up the few things left of you in a box and placed it in a spot our favourite spot for those even dearer to you to pick up you were here for such a short time, really and now in the bleakness of an empty space waiting for words to fill i have none you who were here one moment your face radiant arms always moving as you talked looking at me straight in my eyes and in an instant after you gone this all still so early as if that first day in the drought of a lifetime a last morning dew
Quintessentially Canadian Poetry Editor: Bruce Kauffman Photo Editor: Richard Grove This summer issueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Quintessentially Canadian section offers a diverse selection of reflections and observations around and within the Canadian landscape, and delivers a variety of image-laden, poetic explorations. Poems that suggest both where we are, and who we are. Poems of hope, remembrance, and, as in the last issue, here in our land of seasons, many of the poems submitted and selected for this section in this issue are offerings centered now in the heart of this current summer season. 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 a high end camera. Pass the word to your Canadian pic-taker friends. Richard M. Grove
Cindy Conlin www.cindyconlinphotography.com
Dinh Le Doan email@example.com Beaconsfield, Quebec
Sunrise on the Lake The sky turns pinkish. A crow proudly spreads out its wings and hovers in the air. And caws loudly. Taunting eternity. Only the living can awaken at dawn. And the sun polishes the lakeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s surface to a mirror finish hiding a dark world beneath where long-dead trees which had once spread out their wings as proudly on this shore now lie motionless, their bones scoured clean, in the murky water. Unaware. And a loon dives deep. Connecting the two worlds. From the dark a fish surfaces trading a few perfect circles for a breath of air.
Chuck MacInnis firstname.lastname@example.org Merrickville, Ontario
Whitmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bon Echo I travel in the footsteps Of Walt Whitman Though he never set a foot Upon this ground Hiking through the hills And silent woodland Whispered poems in my head The only sound I scramble up the Cliff Face Of Bon Echo I am seeing things that Whitman never saw I write of all That Whitman has not written Of the vistas on The Lake of Mazinaw A thousand year old cedar In my vision A wolf, a bear A falcon overhead A lonely sounding loon call In the evening As I finally lay And rest my weary head
Chuck MacInnis Merrickville Locks at Sunrise
Donna Langevin email@example.com Toronto, Ontario
Waiting for Cataract Surgery After paintings by Norval Morrisseau* You painted eyes on bird wings fish fins and bear paws, eyes peering from a shaman’s headdress bubble eyes in rivers salt-crusted eyes in the sea eyes embedded in stars all gazing into one another with unblinking harmony. Staring at your landscapes— my own sight clouding your lakes and canoes, blurring bold black outlines, softening colours intense as the sun, I look forward to lenses that will render my vision panoptic as a laser-eyed eagle scanning the ground for prey, able to read tracks as small as the print on this page. Awed by the acrylic implant to expand my ocular range I will set out on a quest to arrive at that best inner vision that sees, like you the artist into the souls of others, beholding the world through their eyes.
*Ontario based Anishinaabe artist Norval Morrisseau (1931–2007) created the Woodland School of art and was a prominent member of the Indian Group of Seven – Art Canada Institute
Lisa Makarchuk Butterfly
Bradley McIlwain Osler Castle Collingwood Ontario
Elizabeth Hill firstname.lastname@example.org Toronto, Ontario
Toronto Like a man’s warm embrace The city encircles me. Rumbling, shaking, squealing streetcars send shivers of delight up my spine. The sun’s rays’ warm the golden, grey dust And spotlight its fleeting, exotic dance. Cool breaths of summer evening air fluttering past the curtains, whisper long songs on my cheek. I surrender to its tender persuasion.
Gordon Gilhuly email@example.com Woodstock, New Brunswick
St. John River Valley watching the dawn like a caress travelling the heavy, misted veil of the river valley; long, loose fabrics of mist that hang and make blind and confine the space about me the day not yet properly born softly, the air moving in opaque wind-blown patterns raining but not raining the world invisible, disappeared, as if through portals into some incorporeal world that exists beyond in the wet emptiness of the clearing the year takes another soft step into the ritual of cycles the river running past me
Anne Pelletier One and half hours east of Yukon, BC
Cindy Conlin Mother and Kit Foxes in Presquâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ile Provincial Park www.cindyconlinphotography.com
Cindy Conlin Fox Kit in Presquâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ile Provincial Park www.cindyconlinphotography.com
Honey Novick firstname.lastname@example.org Toronto, Ontario
Fields of Lion’s Teeth and Clover fields of lion’s teeth and clover heirs of immigrants and first nations just like me and you cohabitating on this magnificent land some immigrants brought lavender royally healing and scenting its pathways first nations offered us goldenseal that powerful herb used to heal arrow-wounds some immigrants brought lilts singing them to the heart beat feet beat of the big sacred drum each imploring “never give up” it’s hard Today we social distanced in the park sitting on pine needles, grass and fallen maple leaves we sing of freedoms and fears we sing until the sun began to set calling forth spirits seen and unseen a bold wolf (he/she?) ventured into our midst all the park people stopped what they were doing I shouted out “is that a wolf ?” “Yes” came the reply WOW!!! an urban wolf in wolf ’s clothing an omen - wolves bear sacred messages of change for those open to being responsible stewards of the land
we coexist and co habitate with many species some see each other for the first time we are learning new languages and it is hard but so very beautiful the golden dazzle of the lionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s teeth the gentle pinks and off-whites of clover the exciting splash of purple lavender the green nobility of the goldenseal and pines all of us, indebted heirs of immigrants and first nations
Joan Rainey email@example.com Kingston, Ontario
Hawk Circles high In a bright blue sky. Clouds like little islands Float above me. Wings spread Etched like metal Against the sky. He circles effortlessly Above us THEN disappears... â&#x20AC;&#x153;What did he spy From his great height?â&#x20AC;? I say. A City in Lockdown Little traffic Few people Empty playgrounds Only animals and birds. What brought him here? Where did he go? That magnificent bird. What power he emits What charisma he projects. An electrifying creature A creature to fear A creature to admire.
Kathryn MacDonald firstname.lastname@example.org Belleville, Ontario
Daddy Winter dances in the church hall families and a band fiddler and a square-dance caller piano guitar accordion player shirts that matched (or not). Swinging my legs from a chair, one ringing the dance floor I watched couples spin like tops to a polka do-si-do and sashay in a square and women peeking over menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shoulders as couples smoothly floated by my hard folding-chair and I counted one-two-three to a swirling waltz. Daddy stood in front of me took my hands to lift me down my head a bit past his waist my feet on his we glided to the songâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cadence one of the haunting war time melodies beautifully sad. I did not have a word for yearning yet felt loss and longing a prescience perhaps.
Pat Calder www.patriciacalder.ca
Pat Calder www.patriciacalder.ca
Pat Calder Sable Island www.patriciacalder.ca
Lee-Ann Taras email@example.com Kingston, Ontario
Blooming Despite Dry Earth defiant tress twisted and misshapen growing, detached and stretching from Canadian Shieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rugged rock sturdy dandelions and fragrant clover curling up from cracks in the sidewalk natureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wonder, these robust, solitary soldiers thriving out of dust
Tara Morton firstname.lastname@example.org Kingston, Ontario
To dum dum dum da do dum dum I wish I could be one of Leonard Cohen’s back up singers… Baritone notes would fall on my head like confetti from heaven. I wouldn’t upstage the other girls By swaying my long black dress excessively -even during Tower of Song I’d never ask him What the hell The Future is supposed to mean Perhaps he’d see me, rushing to rehearsal. The morning sun in my eyes making me spill my coﬀee. He’d write a song about the sheer beauty of that.
Mia Burrus email@example.com Baltimore, Ontario
We Call it Canada This land is pink and undefended on a map, though on the ground one snowy frozen step is very like the last, and you’ll find no welcome mat. Still, we’ll welcome you (while winking at the killing cold and winter sun that will not rise above a frown). We slip with tipsy fervour towards the US borderline, smug that Borealis has our backs, cloaked snugly in the mythic north, it’s keening wind, its endless night, muskeg sparse with blackened spruce, tundra dense with crazy-making bugs, those fifty words for ice and snow that we don’t know, and always something farther farther north. Famous dark parka, we ever turn our backs on your creation, heedless of the grace with which you’re weft of land and water, bear, and bird, anishinaabe and innu, wisdom and courage, the spirit gifts of gichi manitou.
Mia Burrus We Call It Canada
Sarah Wells firstname.lastname@example.org Stouffville, Ontario
Translation of Time for A Canadian Woman Like Me A deluxe and magical experience Where each person has a choice A choice: go to school or go to work what we wear how we feel where we live who we love A choice of thoughts actions words Choices seem easy for a Canadian Woman like me yet others in other places of the world for them, maybe, choices are hard for them, maybe, choices donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t come often and for them, maybe, choices are not free As a Canadian woman, I am privileged and honored by my choices that come free free for myself to choose
As a Canadian Woman I don’t have to stand in the shadows I can stand proud in the sunlight my soul striving for oxygen I can speak up I can be free I can be me this in itself has some sort of mystical power about it My Canadian time is blessed and time is made of choices. “Written from feelings of gratitude on International Women’s Day”
SarahWells Proud Canadian Farmer’s Daughter
Teresa Hall email@example.com Scarborough, Ontario
Wolves Silent spectre of the forest, grey face blending into black. Eyes are glistening, watching waiting, watching waiting for the pack. In the distance, hooves are running, leaping, bounding through the snow. Shadowy forms are following, loping, gliding closer for the blow. Like the straight and truest arrow, from the ancient warriorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bow, you strike â&#x20AC;&#x201C; then hear the echoing laughter, of kindred spirits long ago.
Chuck MacInnis Canada Geese Rising off the Rideau
Nick Goetz Lake of Two Rivers in Algonquin Provincial Park
Pat Calder Landscape www.patriciacalder.ca
Through the Mist By Anne Pelletier Intention starts the story. Simply, belief is a choice. I was born with the innate gift of curiosity. I have learned, without a doubt that everything we look at, affects how we think, and everything we think, affects how we act. I believe we all have the potential for negative emotions. We all have the capacity for positive emotions as well: consideration, reflection, thoughtfulness, kindness. From the inner world of emotion, what will show up reactively with every sensory stimulus? It is a question to ponder, is it not? Spirituality for me, is an attempt to bring forward the life stirring within me, in continual expression of reach and renewal. My awareness has made me more than I used to be, but not yet, whom I would like to become. Nature is my Inspiring Force. It calls me to clean the slate and live with renewed energy. My beliefs surprise me at times. This summer, I was at Premier Lake Provincial Park and my dog took off. I like for her to run free but when she doesn’t return right away, I never know if she’ll come back. I then said quietly, over and over: “Come back to me baby. Come back to me.” As time elapsed without her return, I wondered if my spirit self was calling my son Brandon who has passed. “Come back to me baby. Come back to me.” It felt real and it wasn’t sad. In that moment, I felt so close to Brandon, like he was near me, but invisible. Death clarifies preciousness. You have a measure of an ending without return. Essence lives in the recall, in the cherishing, and richness of heart is a state of mind. My nothing life is everything to me, when I think it through to the calm. Memory seeps, does it not? Why live, only to forget? There is a library in our unconscious. This nucleus inside is the treasure of our lived resources coming back to us instinctively, when we need it. With your library of good living, imagine the concept of Greater than less. I wrote with beauty surrounding, while I sat in a rented cabin, in Windermere B. C. In this book, specifically, I really enjoyed replicating a form of impressionism with water close-ups. Nature simply enthrals, doesn’t it?
Together in a Strange Way Life a split screen ego escorting at the same time a Greater force emerging the net of reality tangling along the way
Field Experiment Life happened in confusing unsteadiness she plunged in the middle of her beliefs reflecting torn between wading and swimming
Hearth Wheels turning living the escaping feeling backroadsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; incline wanting to run away with her like a foreigner in the forgotten familiar tailgating without contact sights bringing her back no matter how far she drove going into the night by shadowsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; cast imagining herself squatting where the flame flickered out
As Good as Almost Just wanted a quick thorough tactical finesse exploring caught in the casting songs written in the sand by the swaying sea
Flicking In and Out Stirring settled dust listening for the melody passing through her memories moving like rolling storm clouds turning slowly and seeing the gone going the greater the emptiness the louder the echoes
In Still Nature by lakeside reflecting a twin likeness she recognizing him more recently in the mirrored image of herself
Anne Pelletier has published five books of poetry: Through the Mist, Into the Fold, Portrayals of Human Condition, Without an Anchor and Healing My Cracked Heart in Africa. Her photos do not correlate directly with the poems. They simply reside together in confluence of creation. She has travelled to more than twenty-five countries, has lived more than five decades and has had more than three lovers!
Trainbolt Revelstoke, B.C Anne Pelletier