April 18, 2014
Am I writing the same poem over and over again? My books are teeming with the invisible and a state of loneliness that could be a one-man cold war. I never set out to revisit these themes, but they almost ...
April 17, 2014
Kimmy Beach knows her way around pop culture. She’s written books about James Cagney, Paul McCartney and, most recently, “The Last Temptation of Bond” where she delves into the world’s favourite ...
April 16, 2014
At the suggestion of a friend, I gave my students a Seamus Heaney poem, “A Personal Helicon,” cut up into a puzzle of words, running the gamut from eight “a’s” to one “you” and “your” ...
April 15, 2014
The Best Words
Sometimes I’m haunted by Coleridge’s nifty definition of a poem as the best words in their best order. If I try to say it quickly several times in a row, “order” starts to sound like “odour.” ...
April 14, 2014
I keep a list of things I think I want to write about. Back when the list was a more manageable size, I’d tackle my ideas at enough of a distance for me to have processed the simple stuff, the details, ...
April 12, 2014
Poet for Hire
I heard a few days ago that a colleague did a major job of editing that took the better part of a year to complete for a mere five-hundred dollars. I happen to mention this to a friend who works as a ...
April 11, 2014
It’s a risky thing to put a poem out of sight in order to let it germinate or steep, whatever the science of hope might call the process. Some poems only turn up posthumously and are declared masterpieces ...
April 10, 2014
I’ve been running a writing workshop all winter and, once again, marveling at the courage that it takes to tackle the tricks and complexities of the English language. The writers are exposing themselves ...
April 09, 2014
Catching up on the frippery of “Downton Abbey,” I enjoyed Maggie Smith’s trenchant Dowager Countess of Grantham listening to her son wax a mite lyrically about land and history and then exclaiming ...
April 08, 2014
Touch of Class
The other day, I agreed to read one of my own poems at a sixtieth wedding anniversary. There were fewer trees on the main street of the small town just north of Toronto than the last time I’d been there, ...