Another month, another list of failures. Such is the life of a poet.
Rejections from literary publications, misses in contest submissions, “no room at the inn” messages from retreats.
A poet sure doesn’t write for any kind of commercial success or broad readership. To do so would be beyond crazy – we all know that readership for poetry is pretty much limited to fellow poets, a handful of literary enthusiasts, and a grab bag of friends and family.
It was a fine evening at Cadboro Bay Book Co in Victoria on February 9. Owner Patricia Jutra was the gracious hostess for the store's first Poetry Night, featuring E.D. (Ted) Blodgett, Susan McCaslin and me.
In the process, I launched my new Selected Poems collection, Drawing Back to Take a Running Jump.
Ted and I have a passing acquaintance from our days, way back in the early 1980s, as founding members of the Writers Guild of Alberta. It was great to catch up on Ted's work and to discover Susan's.
There's nothing like holding a printer's proof in hand to feel that a book project is nearly complete. This is me, slightly crazed but happy, with the proof for Drawing Back to Take a Running Jump: Selected Poems.
I love the cover design by my friend, Ottawa writer David Weedmark. With this book, David kicks off his new Weedmark Publishing venture.
A sense of loss is to be expected when someone in our lives passes away. When the deceased person has been a mentor we are fortunate to be able to offset some of those losses with a recognition of what has been gained – all the riches of wisdom and experience that the mentor contributed to our lives.
Back in the late sixties, Marty came to a new university in the dryland country of southern Alberta after earning his doctorate in English at the University of Kentucky. At The University of Lethbridge, he not only taught English and Creative Writing but mentored young writers like Peter Christensen, Yvonne Trainer and many more.
Have you read the new novel by Nicholson Baker? I highly recommend it to poets, failed poets, would-be poets, readers of poetry (are there any of those who aren’t in the first three categories I listed?) and lovers of rhyme and wordplay. Nicholson has a riotous time within his character of Paul Chowder, a mid-level poet who is anguishing over an Introduction he has agreed to write for an anthology of rhyme. From the very direct first phrase (“Hello, this is Paul Chowder…”), Baker creates with hilarious effect the simultaneously brilliant and befuddled character.