Published Works by Penn Kemp

PoemforPeaceVol2BerniceVincentpainting

Publication History

 

BEARING DOWN (1972) poetry.  Coach House Press, 401 Huron St. Toronto ON

TRANCEFORM  (1976) poetry.  Soft Press, Victoria BC. Reprinted 2006, Pendas

THE EPIC OF TOAD AND HERON (1977) play.  Black Moss Press, Windsor ON

Reprinted 1985 by Playwrights Union, Toronto

CLEARING (1977) poetry. B.C. Monthly, Vancouver  BC

CHANGING PLACE (1978) poetry/prose.  Fiddlehead, U.N.B., Fredericton NB

ANGEL MAKERS (1978) play. Playwrights Union, Toronto

TOAD TALES(1981) poetry. White Pine Press 76 Center St. Fredonia NY 14063

CVii: Spiritual Poetry in Canada (1982), ed. Box 3062, Winnipeg R3C 4E5

ANIMUS (1984) poetry.  Caitlin Press. Reprinted, 2005, Pendas Productions, London

BINDING TWINE (1984) poetry. Ragweed Press, Charlottetown PEI

SOME TALK MAGIC (1986) Ergo Productions, Box 4460 London ON N5W 5J2

TRAVELLING LIGHT (1986) poetry. Moonstone Press, London ON

EIDOLONS (1988) poetry. White Pine Press, 76 Center St. Fredonia NY 14063

THROO (1989) poetry.  Moonstone Press, Book. CD, Pendas Productions, London

THE UNIVERSE IS ONE POEM; FOUR POETS TALK POETRY (1990) Simon & Pierre

WHAT WHAT THE EAR HEARS LAST (1994) play. Playwrights Union, Toronto

FOUR WOMEN (1999) poetry. Red Kite Press, Guelph ON

INCREMENTALLY (2000) poetry Pendas Productions, London.  Book and CD combo

TIME LESS TIME (2000) poetry. Pendas Productions

SUITE ANCIENT EGYPT (2001) poetry. Mothertongue Press, BC

VOCAL BRAIDINGS (2001) with Patricia Keeney, poetry. Pendas Productions

WHAT SPRINGS TO MIND (2001), Pendas Productions

Poem for Peace in Many Voices, ed., Vol. 1 & 2 (2002), book and CD

SARASVATI SCAPES (2002) with Angela Hryniuk, Pendas Productions

C’LOUD (2003) poetry, Pendas Productions. Book and CD combo

SARASVATI SCAPES: a sound opera, CD, Pendas Productions

MELISMA, CD (2002) with Angela Hryniuk and Penn Kemp

GATHERING VOICES (2002) with Gloria Mulcahy, Pendas. Book and CD combo

POEMAS ESCOLHIDOS DE PENN KEMP/ Selected Poems (2004) ABECAN, Brazil

PINCELADAS (2005, 2011) with Gloria Mulcahy, Pendas Productions

RE:ANIMATING ANIMUS (2006) Pendas Productions.  Book and CD combo.  London ON

HELWA1 (2011), PigeonBike Press. London ON. CD forthcoming with Light of East Ensemble

FROM DREAM SEQUINS (2012), Lyrical Myrical Press, Toronto ON
THE EPIC OF TOAD AND HERON (2012), reprint. Pendas Productions, London ON
JACK LAYTON: ART IN ACTION (2013), editor, Quattro Books, Toronto

WHAT SPRINGS TO MIND (2016), second edition, forthcoming. Pendas Productions
WOMEN & MEDIA, editor and contributor, Living Archive Series, Feminist Caucus, League of Canadian Poets, http://poets.ca/feministcaucus/. Launched June 17, 2016.
WOMEN & PERFORMANCE, editor and contributor, Living Archive Series. June 18, 2016.

BARBARIC CULTURAL PRACTICE (2016), Quattro Books, Toronto
THE TRIUMPH OF TERESA HARRIS (2017), Playwrights Guild of Canada, Toronto
LOCAL HEROES (2018), Insomniac Press
FOX HAUNTS (2018), Aeolus House

FoxHaunts-CoverPenn Local Heroes LFP

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Poetry Mini Interview

What are you working on?
 
My next project, LOCAL HEROES, Insomniac Press, 2018, celebrates legendary cultural heroes from London, Ontario. These poems evoke a specific city in its particular landscape and history. London’s literary and artistic heritage is documented, honouring artists in fields ranging from visual and language arts to figure skating. Presented as an overview, the collection stretches from Victoria explorer Teresa Harris to the contemporary arts scene. Local Heroes acknowledges the Indigenous peoples here, and the ongoing waves of settlers who have called the area home, as London grew from colonial outpost to vibrant cultural centre. Local Heroes spans time but remains in place.
 
Landscape shapes us by its distinctive atmosphere. Southwestern Ontario (Souwesto) is a peninsula bordered by two Great Lakes and by the United States. Local Heroes examines the works of artists who have been influenced by the pervading spirit of Souwesto. In classical Rome, a genius loci was the protective spirit of the local, depicted as a figure holding a libation bowl. London is situated in a bowl scraped out from receding glaciers. This bowl teems over with the productions of its arts through time. Why? What has made London a creative centre? As a mid-sized county seat set in the fertile farmland of Middlesex County, London is in the middle, entre lacs, between two metropolises, Toronto and Detroit, at the edge of the Snow Belt. Because it is so surrounded, London began as a garrison, a fiercely conservative British enclave that held tight to tradition and conventional mores. Artists who lived here could rebel, conform or leave.
 
The collection present three sections, in historical order. It opens with an exploration of the exploits of Teresa Harris, who escaped her corsets along with her colonial upbringing in London’s Eldon House. Like me, this explorer travelled widely for decades before returning home with memories and mementoes. The poems devoted to Teresa consist of outtakes from my play, The Triumph of Teresa Harris, that were best expressed as poetry. The middle section is What the Heart Parts, also produced as a play and a Sound Opera.When the Heart Parts is based on the life and death of her father, Jim Kemp, London artist and mentor of artists in the 1950s. In my work, poetry and drama intersect, the way two branches of the Thames meet at the Forks.
 
The second half of the book is a tribute to local London creators. I was lucky enough to grow up in an artistic household and so was introduced to many of London’s cultural icons. Anecdotes abound. “London Local Heroes” recognizes several of those artists who broke through conservative conventions to create and celebrate their own community. Cultural activists had to develop their own vibrant and exciting arts scene or be pulled away to the larger metropolis east or west of London. Transformation happens in the local, through the intersection of culture, art and geography that defines the regional. Local Heroes offers an empowering vision of regionalism: we are at our own centre, our own gravitational field, where activism is most effective. We are at the centre of a cultural cauldron where opposites mingle and mix. Here the arts are cultivated and emerge as rich as the farmland surrounding London. The centre not only holds but opens up to the world, rippling out in concentric circles.
Penn Kemp
For more, please see
by Thomas Whyte.

 

Books Read, 2017

Ah, the season of lists…

Here’s to curling up with a good book! Happy reading…

Poetry highly recommended:
Roo Borson, Rain, road, an open boat
Susan McCaslin, Into the Open
Sharon Thesen, The Receiver
Daphne Marlatt, Reading Sveva

Some of my favourite prose this year: all by Canadian women!:

Eden Robinson, Son of a Trickster
Alison Pick, Strangers With the Same Dream
Claire Cameron, The Last Neanderthal
Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life: A Field Guide to the Small and Significant
Barbara Gowdy, Little Sister
Karen Connelly‏, The Change Room
Louise Penny, Glass Houses
Emma Donoghue, Landing

And two English writers:
Paula Cocozza, How to be human  
Margaret Drabble, The Dark Flood Rises

Not to mention the brilliant stylist, Adam Gopnik, At the Strangers’ Gate: Arrivals in New York, and James King, The Way It Is: The Life of Greg Curnoe

Here’s the list: an odd mixture.  Because of a concussion, I was limited to light reading for some months. Thank goodness for audio books!

Books Read, 2017

Cecelia Ahern, Lyrebird

Yehuda Amichai, The poetry of Yehuda Amichai / edited by Robert Alter

Kelley Armstrong, A darkness absolute

John Ashbery, Commotion of the birds / new poems by John Ashbery

Kate Atkinson, Emotionally weird: a comic novel

Kate Atkinson, Started early, took my dog

Kate Atkinson, When will there be good news?

Margaret Atwood; illustrated by Duan Petrii. A trio of tolerable tales
Margaret Atwood, Angel Catbird. Vol. 1 / story by Margaret Atwood; illustrations by Johnnie Christmas
Margaret Atwood, Angel Catbird #2: To Castle Catula
Margaret Atwood, The Burgess Shale: the Canadian writing landscape of the 1960s

Paul Auster, 4 3 2 1

Sarah Bakewell, At the existentialist café: freedom, being and apricot cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre [and others]

Peter Balakian, Ozone journal

Sebastian Barry, The Secret Scripture

Gary Barwin, No TV for woodpeckers: poems

Peter S. Beagle, We Never Talk About My Brother

Peter S. Beagle, Summerlong

Ann Beattie, The state we’re in: Maine stories

Ann Beattie, The accomplished guest: stories

Brit Bennett, The Mothers

Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy: how the mind can heal the heart

David Bergen, Stranger

John Berger, Portraits: John Berger on artists

Lucia Berlin, A manual for cleaning women: selected stories; edited and with an introduction by Stephen Emerson; foreword by Lydia Davis

Jill Bialosky, Poetry will save your life: a memoir

Roo Borson, Rain, road, an open boat

David Bouchard; paintings by Kristy Cameron; music by Stephen Kakfwi; Ojibwe language by Jason and Nancy Jones. Dreamcatcher and the seven deceivers= Asabikeshiiwasp gaye awiya oga-gagwe-niisibidoon

Brian Bouldrey, editor. Inspired journeys: travel writers in search of the muse

Cynthia Bourgeault, The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three; Discovering the Radical Truth at the Heart of Christianity

Erin Bow, The Swan Riders

Melanie Brooks, Writing hard stories: celebrated memoirists who shaped art from trauma

Dan Brown, Origin: A Novel

Vanessa Brown and Jason Dickson, London: 150 Cultural Moments

Stephen Harrod Buhner, Plant intelligence and the imaginal

Jessie Burton, The Muse

Steve Burrows, A Shimmer of Hummingbirds a Birder Murder Mystery

Steve Burrows, A cast of falcon

Sharon Butala, Where I live now: a journey through love and loss to healing and hope

Claire Cameron, The Last Neanderthal

J.L. Carr, A Month in the Country

Kate Cayley, Other houses

Michael Chabon, Moonglow

Tracy Chevalier, The lady and the unicorn

Tracy Chevalier, ed. Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre

Pema Chödrön, The compassion book: teachings for awakening the heart

Ann Cleeves, Blue lightning

Ann Cleeves, Dead water

Lynn Coady, Who needs books?: reading in the digital age

Harlan Coben, Fool me once

Paula Cocozza, How to be human

Karen Connelly‏, The Change Room

Lynn Crosbie, The corpses of the future

Lorna Crozier, The Wrong Cat

Laura Cumming, The Vanishing Velazquez

Rachel Cusk, Transit

Ram Dass, Polishing the mirror: how to live from your spiritual heart

Wade Davis, Wade Davis: photographs

Albert Flynn DeSilver, Writing As A Path To Awakening

David Demchuk, The Bone Mother

Mary di Michele, Bicycle thieves

Lloyd M. Dickie and Paul R. Boudreau, Awakening higher consciousness: guidance from ancient Egypt and Sumer

Joan Didion, South and West

Emma Donoghue, The Lotterys Plus One

Emma Donoghue, Landing

Margaret Drabble, The Dark Flood Rises

Philip Eade, Sylvia: queen of the headhunters: an eccentric Englishwoman and her lost kingdom

Elena Ferrante, Fragments

Elena Ferrante, Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey Translated by Ann Goldstein

Penelope Fitzgerald, The Bookstore

Penelope Fitzgerald, At Freddie’s

Philip Freeman, Searching for Sappho: the lost songs and world of the first woman poet: including new translations of all of Sappho’s surviving poetry

Tana French, The Trespasser

Carrie Fisher, The Princess Diarist

Penelope Fitzgerald, The bookshop

Christopher Fowler, Full Dark House

Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

Nina George, The Little Paris Bookshop

Malin Persson Giolito, Quicksand; translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles.

Philip Glass, Words without music: a memoir

James Gleick, Time Travel: A History

Rumer Godden; introduction by Phyllis Tickle, In this house of Brede

Al Gore, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power

Nora Gould, Selah

Barbara Gowdy, Little Sister

Naomi Goldberg, The True Secret of Writing

Herman Goodden, Three Artists: William Kurelek, Jack Chambers & Greg Curnoe

Daisy Goodwin, Victoria

Adam Gopnik, At the Strangers’ Gate: Arrivals in New York

Robert Gottlieb, Avid Reader: A Life

Philippa Gregory, The Last Tudor

Terry Griggs, Nieve

Terry Griggs, The discovery of honey

John Grisham, Camino Island

David Grossman, A horse walks into a bar

Don Gutteridge, The way it was / poems by Don Gutteridge

Joan Haggerty, The Dancehall Years

Kang Han, The vegetarian: a novel

Graham Hancock, Magicians of the gods: the forgotten wisdom of Earth’s lost civilisation

Yuval Harari, Homo deus: a brief history of tomorrow

Michael Helm, After James

Brenda Hillman, Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire

James Hillman & Sonu Shamdasani, Lament of the dead: psychology after Jung’s Red book

Anne Hillerman, Song of the Lion

Susan Holbrook, Throaty wipes

Emma Hooper, Etta and Otto and Russell and James

Anthony Horowitz, Magpie Murders

Sarah Howe, Loop of Jade

Helen Humphreys, The river

Markus Imhoof & Claus-Peter Lieckfeld, More than honey: the survival of bees and the future of our world

Anosh Irani, The Parcel

Annie Jacobsen, Phenomena: the secret history of the U.S. government’s investigations into extrasensory perception and psychokinesis

Tama Janowitz, Scream: a memoir of glamour and dysfunction

Greg Jenkins, Theban oracle: discover the magic of the ancient alphabet that changes lives

Marni Jackson, Don’t I know you?

Paulette Jiles, News of the World

Han Kang, The Vegetarian

Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey

James King, The Way It Is: The Life of Greg Curnoe

Naomi Klein, No is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need

Christina Baker Kline, Orphan train: a novel

Joy Kogawa, Gently to Nagasaki

Hari Kunzru, White Tears

  1. Travis Lane, Crossover: poems

John Le Carré, A Legacy of Spies

Genevieve Lehr, Stomata

Donna Leon, Death in a strange country

Donna Leon, The waters of eternal youth

Donna Leon, Falling in Love

Donna Leon, Death and Judgement

Donna Leon, Quietly in Their Sleep

Donna Leon, Drawing conclusions: a Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery

Donna Leon, The girl of his dreams

Donna Leon, Looks are deceiving

Donna Leon, Through a glass darkly

Donna Leon, Suffer the little children

Donna Leon, Earthly Remains: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

Martine Leavitt, My book of life by Angel

Deborah Levy, Hot Milk

Penelope Lively, The purple swamp hen and other stories

Beau Lotto, Deviate: the science of seeing differently

Charles C Lovett, The Lost Book of the Grail

Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks

Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life: A Field Guide to the Small and Significant

Karan Mahajan, The Association of Small Bombs

Henning Mankell, Quicksand: what it means to be a human being

Lee Maracle, Talking to the diaspora

Stephen Marche, The Unmade Bed: the messy truth about men and women in the 21st century

Megan Marshall, Elizabeth Bishop: a miracle for breakfast

Daphne Marlatt, Reading Sveva

Elan Mastai, All our wrong todays: a novel

Alexander McCall Smith, Precious and Grace

Alexander McCall Smith, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine

Anna & Jane McGarrigle, Mountain city girls: the McGarrigle family album

Ami McKay, The Witches of New York

Adrian McKinty, The Cold Cold Ground

John McWhorter, The language hoax: why the world looks the same in any language

Lewis Mehl-Madrona, Coyote Medicine

Glennon Doyle, Love Warrior  

John Metcalf, The museum at the end of the world

Claire Messud, The Burning Girl

Anne Michaels, All We Saw

Jacob Mooney, Don’t Be Interesting

Robert Moss, Sidewalk oracles: playing with signs, symbols, and synchronicity in everyday life

Rhonda Mullins, Twenty-One Cardinals, Coach House Books. English translation of Les héritiers de la mine by Jocelyne Saucier

Alice Munro Dear life: [stories]

Haruki Murakami, Wind; Pinball: two novels

Shane Neilson, On shaving off his face: poems

Jo Nesbo, The Thirst  yuck

John Nyman, Players

Heather O’Neill, The lonely hearts hotel

David Orr, You, too, could write a poem: selected reviews and essays, 2000-2015 *

Orhan Pamuk, The Red-Haired Woman

Molly Peacock, Analyst

Louise Penny, Glass Houses

Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent

Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Heaven

Alison Pick, Strangers With the Same Dream

Nancy Geddes Poole, The past— comes back: a memoir

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Steven Price, By Gaslight

Francine Prose, Mister Monkey: a novel

Philip Pullman, Mystery of the Ghost Ship

Philip Pullman, The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage

Andrew Pyper, The Only Child: A Novel

Susan Quinn, Eleanor and Hick: the love affair that shaped a First Lady

Matt Rader, Desecrations

Ian Rankin, Rather Be the Devil

Michael Redhill, Bellevue Square

Iain Reid, I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Robbie Robertson, Testimony

Eden Robinson, Son of a Trickster

Peter Robinson, In the Dark Places

Judith Rodger, Greg Curnoe: Life & Work

Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

Bernard Sanders, Our revolution: a future to believe in

George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo

Dani Shapiro, Hourglass: time, memory, marriage

Will Schwalbe, Books for Living

Will Schwalbe, The End of Your Life Book Club

Gregory Scofield, Witness, I am

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, This accident of being lost: songs and stories

Sue Sinclair, Heaven’s Thieves

Robin Sloan, Sourdough

Carolyn Smart, Careen

Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle

Zadie Smith, Swing Time

Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby

Rebecca Solnit, The Mother of All Questions

Linda Spalding, The Reckoning

Dana Spiotta, Innocents and Others

Mirabai Starr, Caravan of no despair: a memoir of loss and transformation

Jon Kalman Stefansson, Fish Have No Feet

D.E. Stevenson, Miss Buncle’s book

Elizabeth Strout, Anything Is Possible

Cordelia Strube, On the shores of darkness, there is light

Matthew Sullivan, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Shaun Tan; foreword by Neil Gaiman, The singing bones: inspired by Grimms’ fairy tales

Deborah Tannen, You’re the only one I can tell: inside the language of women’s friendships

Charles Taylor, The language animal: the full shape of the human linguistic capacity

Susan McCaslin,
Sharon Thesen, The Receiver

Laura Thompson, The Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters

James Thurber, The Wonderful O

Colm Toibin, House of Names

Tomas Tranströmer, The great enigma: new collected poems; translated from Swedish by Robin Fulton

Rose Tremain, The Gustav Sonata: a novel

Jeff VanderMeer, Borne

Katherena Vermette, The Break

Karen Virag, editing Canadian English: a guide for editors, writers and everyone who works with words / editor-in-chief

Eleanor Wachtel, The Best of Writers & Company

Martin Walker, Bruno, Chief of Police

Martin Walker, Bruno, Chief of Police, Fatal pursuit: a Bruno, chief of police novel

Martin Walker, The Templars’ Last Secret: A Bruno, Chief of Police novel

Mary Walsh, Crying for the moon: a novel

Phyllis Webb, Peacock Blue, The Collected Poems

Izabella Wentz, Hashimoto’s Protocol

Hank Wesselman, Medicinemaker: mystic encounters on the Shaman’s path

Jennifer Welsh, The Return of History: Conflict, Migration, and Geopolitics in the Twenty-first Century

Zoe Whittall, The Best Kind of People

Kathleen Winter, Lost in September

Jeanette Winterson, Christmas days: 12 stories and 12 feasts for 12 days

Peter Wohlleben; foreword by Tim Flannery; The hidden life of trees: what they feel, how they communicate: discoveries from a secret world

Gwendolyn Womack, The fortune teller

Diana Wynne Jones, Witch week

Jon Young; with science and audio editing by Dan Gardoqui, What the robin knows: how birds reveal the secrets of the natural world

Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of the Wind

Jan Zwicky, The long walk

Jan Zwicky, Wittgenstein Elegies, intro: Sue Sinclair

penn-1950

Books read and recommended

An eclectic collection!  But then I started young:)

penn-1950

Books Read, 2015-6.  I’m surprised at the gender balance in books I’ve read over the last two years: I would have thought I’d read more women. You can tell I go on author-binges… Most books came from London Library, with my thanks.

David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous
Caroline Adderson, Ellen in Pieces
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
Jussi Adler-Olsen, The keeper of lost causes
Jussi Adler-Olsen; translated by William Frost. The hanging girl
Carmen Aguirre, Mexican hooker #1: and my other roles since the revolution
Madhur Anand, A new index for predicting catastrophes: poems
Gail Anderson-Dargatz, The Spawning Grounds
Alaa Al Aswany, The Automobile Club of Egypt

Kamal Al-Solaylee, Intolerable: a memoir of extremes

Isabel Allende, The Japanese lover: a novel
Martin Amis, The zone of interest: a novel
Amish, The secret of the Nagas

Andre Alexis, Fifteen Dogs: An Apologue
Andre Alexis, The Hidden Keys

Marguerite Andersen, The bad mother / translated by Donald Winkler
Donald Antrim, The emerald light in the air: stories
John Ashbery, Breezeway: new poems
Kevin Ashton, How to fly a horse: the secret history of creation, invention, and discovery
Kate Atkinson, Human Croquet
Kate Atkinson, God in Ruins
Kate Atkinson, Not the End of the World
Kate Atkinson, Started early, took my dog
Kate Atkinson, When will there be good news?  

Margaret Atwood, The Heart Goes Last
Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed
Margaret Avison, The essential Margaret Avison: [poems] selected by Robyn Sarah
Mona Awad,13 ways of looking at a fat girl
Ken Babstock, On Malice
Julianna Baggott, Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders
Marie Annharte Baker, Indigena awry
Sarah Bakewell, At the existentialist café: freedom, being and apricot cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre [and others]
Muriel Barbery, The Life of Elves

Jo Baker, A country road, a tree

Pat Barker, Noonday: a novel

Julian Barnes, Keeping an eye open: essays on art
Julian Barnes, The Noise of Time
James Bartleman, Exceptional circumstances: a novel
Gary Barwin, Yiddish for pirates: being an account of Moishe the Captain, his Meshugeneh life & astounding adventures, his Sarah, the horizon, books & treasure, as told by Aaron, his African grey p 110
Stephen Batchelor, After Buddhism: rethinking the Dharma for a secular age

Peter S. Beagle, We Never Talk About My Brother

Ann Beattie, The state we’re in: Maine stories

Linda Bender, Animal wisdom: learning from the spiritual lives of animals

Melanie Benjamin, The swans of Fifth Avenue
Elizabeth Berg, The dream lover: a novel

Nina Berkhout, The gallery of lost species

Wendell Berry, Our only world: ten essays

Clark Blaise, Essays on His Works, ed. J.R. (Tim) Struthers

Harold Bloom, The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime
Judy Blume, In the unlikely event
Giles Blunt, The hesitation cut
Cynthia Bourgeault, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: discovering the woman at the heart of Christianity
Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God

Erin Bow, The swan riders

Gail Bowen, What’s left behind
George Bowering, The world, I guess: poems
Joseph Boyden, Wenjack
Nadia Bozak, Thirteen Shells
Alan Bradley, Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
Alan Bradley, Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d

Dionne Brand, Love Enough
Geraldine Brooks, The Secret Chord

Peter Brooks, editor with Hilary Jewett, The humanities and public life
Brené Brown, Rising strong
Brené Brown, Daring greatly: how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead
Carrie Brownstein, Hunger makes me a modern girl: a memoir
Jan Bruce, Andrew Shatte, Adam Perlman, Mequilibrium: 14 days to cooler, calmer, and happier
Carol Bruneau, These good hands
Bill Bryson, The road to Little Dribbling: more notes from a small island
NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names
Jessie Burton, The Muse

Steve Burrows, A Siege of Bitterns
Steve Burrows, A pitying of doves
Roberto Calasso, Ardor; translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon
Julia Cameron with Emma Lively, It’s never too late to begin again: discovering creativity and meaning at midlife and beyond
Peter Carey, Amnesia
Anne Carson, Glass, irony, and God; introduction by Guy Davenport
Anne Carson, Short talks; with a new afterword by the author and a new introduction by Margaret Christakos

Helen Castor, Joan of Arc: a history
Dana Chamblee Carpenter, Bohemian Gospel
Tracy Chevalier, Burning bright
Tracy Chevalier, At the edge of the orchard

Lee Child, Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel
Noam Chomsky, Who Rules the World?

Margaret Christakos, Her paraphernalias: on motherlines, sex/blood/loss & selfies
Dawson Church, The genie in your genes: epigenetic medicine and the new biology of intention

George Elliott Clarke, The Motorcyclist

Joan Clark, The Birthday Lunch

Ann Cleeves, Thin air

Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, Stronger together: a blueprint for America’s future

Bruce Cockburn, Rumours of glory: a memoir
J. M. Coetzee, The good story: exchanges on truth, fiction and psychotherapy

Michael C Corballis, A Very Short Tour of the Mind: 21 Short Walks Around the Human Brain

Daniel Allen Cox, Mouthquake, Arsenal Pulp Press
Joan Crate, Black apple: a novel

David Cronenberg, Consumed
Lynn Crosbie, Life Is About Losing Everything
Lorna Crozier, The wild in you: voices from the forest and the sea
Michael Crummey, Hard light Michael Crummey, Little dogs: new and selected

Amy Cuddy, Presence: bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges
Michael Cunningham, The snow queen: a novel
Michael Cunningham, A Wild Swan: And Other Tales
Michael Cunningham, A home at the end of the world
Kayla Czaga, For Your Safety Please Hold On
Roald Dahl, The BFG
Ram Dass, Polishing the mirror: how to live from your spiritual heart
Meghan Daum, The unspeakable: and other subjects of discussion
Lauren B. Davis, Against a darkening sky

Lydia Davis, Can’t and Won’t
Alain de Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy
Don DeLillo, Zero K
Patrick deWitt, Undermajordomo minor
Louis de Bernières, The dust that falls from dreams: a novel
Alain de Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy

Elisabeth de Mariaffi, The Devil You Know
Sadiqa de Meijer, Leaving Howe Island
Emily Dickinson, http://www.openculture.com/2013/10/the-online-emily-dickinson-archive.html
Annie Dillard, The Abundance
Diane di Prima, The Poetry deal
Michael Dirda, Browsings: a year of reading, collecting, and living with books
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Before we visit the goddess

Sean Dixon, A God in need of help: a play in two acts (or five, if you think about it)
Sandra Djwa, Journey with no maps: a life of P. K. Page
Anthony Doerr, All the light we cannot see: a novel
Norman Doidge, The brain’s way of healing: remarkable discoveries and recoveries from the frontiers of neuroplasticity
Emma Donoghue, The Wonder

Mark Doty, Deep lane: poems
Marilyn Dumont, The Pemmican Eaters
Kat Duff, The Secret Life of Sleep
Wayne W. Dyer, Memories of heaven: children’s astounding recollections of the time before they came to earth

Umberto Eco, The Book of Legendary Lands
Umberto Eco, Numero zero
Danticat Edwidge, Untwine: a novel
Dave Eggers, A hologram for the king: a novel   And film.
William Egginton, The man who invented fiction: how Cervantes ushered in the modern world

Normandi Ellis, Dreams of Isis: a woman’s spiritual sojourn
Marina Endicott, Close to Hugh
Karen Enns, Ordinary hours
Karen Enns, That Other Beauty
Anne Enright, The Green Road
Louise Erdrich, LaRose
Joel Faflak & Sky Glabush, editors. (Re)imagining Regionalism

Elena Ferrante, My brilliant friend. Book one, Childhood, adolescence
Elena Ferrante, The story of a new name
Elena Ferrante, Those who leave and those who stay
Elena Ferrante, The Story of the Lost Child
Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Australian Booker prize
Tim Flannery, Atmosphere Of Hope: The Search for Solutions to the Climate Crisis
Jonathan Safran Foer, Here I Am

Karen Joy Fowler, We are all completely beside ourselves
Jonathan Franzen, Purity
Antonia Fraser, My History: A Memoir of Growing Up

Antonia Fraser, editor. The pleasure of reading: 43 writers on the discovery of reading and the books that inspired them

Diana Gabaldon, Written in my own heart’s blood
Diana Gabaldon, The Outlandish Companion Volume Two

Neil Gaiman, The sleeper and the spindle
Neil Gaiman, The view from the cheap seats: selected nonfiction
Jonathan Galassi, Muse
Mavis Gallant, A fairly good time: with green water, green sky

Steven Galloway, The confabulist
Connie Gault, A beauty

Elizabeth George, A Banquet of Consequences: A Lynley Novel
Anne Giardini and Nicholas Giardini, Startle and illuminate: Carol Shields on writing

Camilla Gibb, This Is Happy
Douglas Gibson, Across Canada by story: A Coast-to-Coast Literary Adventure
William Gibson, The Peripheral
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Sky Gilbert, St. Francis of Millbrook
Philip Glass, Words without music: a memoir
Susan Glickman, Safe as houses: a mystery
Louise Glück, Faithful and virtuous night
Michael Golding, A poet of the invisible world
Natalie Goldberg, The great spring: writing, Zen, and this zigzag life
Katherine Govier, The Three Sisters Bar and Hotel: a novel

Catherine Graham, Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects
Laurie D. Graham, Settler Education
James Grainger, Harmless
Germaine Greer, White beech: the rainforest years
Philippa Gregory, The king’s curse
Philippa Gregory, The Taming of the Queen
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Nicola Griffith, Hild
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Hanif Kureishi, The last word
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Phil Hall, Conjugation

Garth Risk Hallberg, City on Fire
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Thich Nhat Hanh, Inside the now: meditations on time
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Graham Hancock, Magicians of the gods: the forgotten wisdom of Earth’s lost civilisation
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Rick Hanson, Meditations to change your brain: rewire your neural pathways to transform your life

Michael Harris, Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s radical makeover
Teva Harrison, In-Between Days

Nadia Hashimi, When the moon is low
Paula Hawkins, The girl on the train
Elizabeth Hay, His Whole Life
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Steven Heighton, The waking comes late

Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton & 639 others ; Women in Clothes
Carl Hiaasen, Skink no surrender
Tomson Highway, Fox on the ice
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Tomson Highway, A tale of monstrous extravagance: imagining multilingualism
Oscar Hijuelos, Twain & Stanley enter paradise
Geoffrey Hill, Somewhere is such a kingdom; poems 1952-1971
Lawrence Hill, The Illegal
Lawrence Hill, Dear Sir, I intend to burn your book: an anatomy of a book burning

Jane Hirshfield, Ten windows: how great poems transform the world
Jane Hirshfield, The beauty: poems
Jane Hirshfield, editor, Women in praise of the sacred: 43 centuries of spiritual poetry by women
P.C. Hodgell, The God stalker chronicles
Alice Hoffman, The Marriage of Opposites
Linda Hogan, Intimate nature: the bond between women and animals / edited by Linda Hogan, Deena Metzger, and Brenda Peterson

Nick Hornby, Funny Girl
A. E. Hotchner, Hemingway in love: His Own Story

Michel Houellebecq, Submission

Liz Howard, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent

Tom Howell, The Rude Story of English
Helen Humphreys, The Evening Chorus
Aislinn Hunter, The World Before Us
John Irving, Avenue of Mysteries
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Eowyn Ivey, The snow child: a novel
Eowyn Ivey, To the Bright Edge of the World

Greg Jenkins, Theban oracle: discover the magic of the ancient alphabet that changes lives
Maureen Jennings, Dead Ground In Between

Erica Jong, Fear of dying
Heidi Julavits, The Folded Clock
Paul Kalanith, When Breath Becomes Air
A.L. Kennedy, On writing
Christine Kenneally, The invisible history of the human race: how DNA and history shape our identities and our futures
Michael Kenyon, Astatine
Wab Kinew, The Reason You Walk
James King, Inward journey: the life of Lawren Harris

James King, The life of Margaret Laurence

Laurie R. King, The murder of Mary Russell: a novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes

Mary Russell’s War And other stories of suspense

Stephen King, Finders keepers: a novel
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Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything
Marie Kondo, Spark joy: an illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up

Marie Kondo, The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing
Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, All the Broken Things
Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word
Jhumpa Lahiri, In other words; translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein
M. Travis Lane, Crossover

Patrick Lane, Washita
Lori Lansens, The Mountain Story
Harper Lee, Go Set a Watcher
Ursula K. Le Guin, Steering the craft: a twenty-first-century guide to sailing the sea of story

Ursula K Le Guin, The lathe of heaven: a novel

Donna Leon, Falling in love
Donna Leon, The waters of eternal youth
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Christopher Levenson, Night vision
Stephen Levine, Becoming Kuan Yin: the evolution of compassion
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Emily St. J. Mandel, Station Eleven
Alberto Manguel, Curiosity
Dennis Maloney, Listening to Tao Yuan Ming
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Stephen Marche, The Hunger of the Wolf
Yann Martel, The High Mountains of Portugal

Garth Martens, Prologue for the age of consequence
Giuseppe Mazzotta, Reading Dante
Colum McCann, Thirteen Ways of Looking
Ian McEwan, The child in time
Ian McEwan, Nutshell

Ami McKay, The Witches of New York
Don McKay, Angular Unconformity
Robert McKee, Dialogue: the art of verbal action for the page, stage, and screen
Sean Michaels, Us Conductors
Valerie Mills-Milde, After Drowning
David Mitchell, Slade House
Tara Mohr, Playing big: find your voice, your mission, your message
JLisa Moore, Open: stories
Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus
Toni Morrison, God Help the Child
Erin Moure, Kapusta
Jane Southwell Munro, Grief notes & animal dreams
Jane Munro, Blue Sonoma
Colleen Murphy, Armstrong’s war
George Murray, Glimpse: selected aphorisms
Susan Musgrave, A taste of Haida Gwaii: food gathering and feasting at the edge of the world

Ralph Nader, Unstoppable: the emerging left-right alliance to dismantle the corporate state
Azar Nafisi, The republic of imagination: America in three books
Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts

Pablo Neruda, Isla Negra / poems by Pablo Neruda; edited by Dennis Maloney
Christiane Northrup, Goddesses never age: the secret prescription for radiance, vitality, and well-being
Joyce Carol Oates, Soul at the white heat: inspiration, obsession, and the writing life

Edna O’Brien, The Little Red Chairs
Flannery O’Connor, A prayer journal
Nuala O’Connor, Miss Emily
Alexandra Oliver, Let The Empire Down
Mary Oliver, Blue horses
Mary Oliver, Dog songs: thirty-five dog songs and one essay
Mary Oliver, Felicity
Alice Oswald, Memorial: a version of Homer’s Iliad; with an afterword by Eavan Boland

Cynthia Ozick, Metaphor & Memory
Cynthia Ozick, Critics, monsters, fanatics, and other literary essays

Helen Oyeyemi, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours
P.K. Page, Kaleidoscope: selected poems
Kurt Palka, The Piano Maker
Orhan Pamuk, A strangeness in my Mind Being the Adventures and Dreams of Mevlut Karatas, a Seller of Boza, and of His Friends, and Also a Portrait of Life in Istanbul Between 1969 and 2012 From Many Different Points of View
Tim Parks, Where I’m reading from: the changing world of books
Sooyong Park; foreword by John Vaillant, Great soul of Siberia : passion, obsession, and one man’s quest for the world’s most elusive tiger
Priya Parmar, Vanessa and Her Sister
Ann Patchett, This is the story of a happy marriage
Ann Patchett, Commonwealth

Molly Peacock, Alphabetique, 26 Characteristic Fictions
Soraya Peerbaye, Tell: poems for a girlhood

Louise Penny, The nature of the beast: a Chief Inspector Gamache novel
Louise Penny, A Great Reckoning

David Perlmutter, Brain Maker: the power of gut microbes to heal and protect your brain—for life

Alison Pick, Between gods: a memoir
Jodi Picoult, Leaving Time
Stephen Pinker, Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
Richard Powers, Orfeo
Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man
Terry Pratchett, A slip of the keyboard: collected non-fiction
Terry Pratchett, Mrs Bradshaw’s handbook: an illustrated guide to the railway by Mrs Georgina Bradshaw; produced in association with Ankh-Morpork & Sto Plains Hygienic Railway.
Terry Pratchett, The shepherd’s crown

Terry Pratchett, The Long Cosmos

Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer: a guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them

Annie Proulx, Barkskins

Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh, The path: what Chinese philosophers can teach us about the good life
Edna O’Brien, The Love Object

Edna O’Brien, The Red Chair
Lisa Randall, Dark matter and the dinosaurs: the astounding interconnectedness of the universe

John Raymond, Tin House, The world split open: great authors on how and why we write

Paula Reeves. CD, Lighting the Forbidden Lamp: A Woman’s Journey to the Self: The myth of Eros and Psyche Retold

Paula Reeves, CD, Every Woman’s Story Cinderella and Her Sisters: The Shadow Side of Envy

Monty Reid, Meditatio placentae: poems
Raziel Reid, When Everything Feels Like the Movies
Ruth Rendell, The girl next door
Ruth Rendell, Dark corners
Nino Ricci, Sleep
Adrienne Rich, Diving into the wreck: poems, 1971-1972

Adrienne Rich, The dream of a common language: poems 1974-1977

Tanis Rideout, Arguments with the lake
Tanis Rideout, Above all things
Marilynne Robinson, Lila
Marilynne Robinson, Balm of Gilead
Jennifer Robson, Moonlight over Paris: a novel
Leon Rooke, The April poems
Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
Robbie Robertson, Testimony

Peter Robinson, When the Music’s Over

Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie, and Paulette M. Rothbauer, Reading matters: what the research reveals about reading, libraries, and community

Hannah Rothschild, The Improbability of Love

J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts I and II
Armand Garnet Ruffo, Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird
Rumi, Soul fury: Rumi and Shams Tabriz on friendship / translations by Coleman Barks
Salman Rushdie, Two years, eight months and twenty-eight nights: a novel
Sarah Ruhl, Dear Elizabeth: a play in letters from Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell and back again
Richard Russo, Everybody’s Fool
Oliver W Sacks, On the move: a life
Robyn Sarah, My Shoes Are Killing Me

Jocelyne Saucier, And The Birds Rained Down
John Ralston Saul, The Comeback
Lisa Robertson, Cinema of the present
Paul Savoie, Nocturnes

Lisa Scottoline, Keep Quiet
Nazneen Sheikh, The Place of Shining Light – House of Anansi
Stacy Schiff, The Witches: Salem, 1692
Stacy Schiff, Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov): portrait of a marriage
Anakana Schofield, Malarky
Anakana Schofield, Martin John

The Shambhala Sun and Andrea Miller, editors, Buddha’s daughters: teachings from women who are shaping Buddhism in the West
Barbara Shapiro, The Art Forger

Dr. Vandana Shiva, Sacred seed / introduction; essays by Patriarch Bartholomew, Pir Zia Inayat-         Khan, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje
Leonard Shlain, Leonardo’s brain: understanding da Vinci’s creative genius

Jane Smiley, Some luck
Jane Smiley, Horse heaven
Jane Smiley, Early warning
Jane Smiley, Golden age
Alexander McCall Smith, The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café
Alexander McCall Smith, Sunshine on Scotland Street: a 44 Scotland Street novel
Alexander McCall Smith, The novel habits of happiness
Alexander McCall Smith, What W.H. Auden can do for you
Ali Smith, Artful
Ali Smith, How To Be Both
Ali Smith [collected by], The book lover
Dominic Smith; The Last Painting of Sara De Vos; narrated by Edoardo Ballerini

Murdoch Neil Smith, Boo: a novel
Patti Smith, The M Train
Tracy K Smith, Life on Mars
Tracy K Smith, Ordinary light: a memoir

Wilbur Smith, Desert God: A Novel of Ancient Egypt
Mary Soderstrom, River music: a novel
Karen Solie, The road in is not the same road out

Carolyn Marie Souaid, This World We Invented
Julia Spencer-Fleming, I shall not want
The Spoken Arts treasury. Volume II: 100 modern American poets reading their poems
William Stafford, Ask me: 100 essential poems
David Staines, editor. The worlds of Carol Shields

Gloria Steinem, My Life on the Road
Ricardo Sternberg, Map of dreams
Mark Strand, Collected Works
Mark Strand, Eavan Boland, editors, The making of a poem: a Norton anthology of poetic forms
Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge
Elizabeth Strout, My Name Is Lucy Barton

Cordelia Strube, On the shores of darkness, there is light
J.R. (Tim) Struthers, ed. Clark Blaise, Essays on His Works

Noah Strycker, The Thing with Feathers
Rosemary Sullivan, Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva
Margaret Sweatman, Mr. Jones
Graham Swift, England and other stories
Graham Swift, Mothering Sunday
Magda Szabo, The door; introduction by Ali Smith
Wisława Szymborska, Map: collected and last poems; edited by Clare Cavanagh
Diana Tamblyn, From the earth to Babylon, Book one, the story of Gerald Bull & the supergun
James Tate, Dome of the hidden pavilion : new poems
Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith
Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to walk in the dark: because sometimes God shows up at night

Patrick Taylor, An Irish doctor in peace and at war: an Irish country novel
Madeleine Thien, Do not say we have nothing

Joan Thomas, The Opening Sky
Judith Thompson, White biting dog & other plays
Russell Thornton, The hundred lives
Kim Thúy, Ru
Sara Tilley, Duke
Colm Toibin, Nora Webster
Colm Tóibín, On Elizabeth Bishop
Colm Toibin, Brooklyn

Kim Trainor, Karyotype
Tomas Tranströmer, The great enigma: new collected poems; translated from Swedish by Robin Fulton
Rose Tremain The American Lover
Linda Tucker; foreword by Andrew Harvey. Saving the white lions: one woman’s battle to save Africa’s most sacred animal
Anne Tyler, The beginner’s goodbye
Anne Tyler, A Spool of Blue Thread
Anne Tyler, Vinegar Girl
Luis Alberto Urrrea, Into the beautiful North : a novel
Jane Urquhart, The Night Stages
David Usher, Let the elephants run : unlock your creativity and change everything
John Vaillant, The Jaguar’s Children
Guy Vanderhaeghe, Daddy Lenin and Other Stories
Mario Vargas Llosa, The discreet hero
M. G Vassanji, Nostalgia: a novel
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Anima Mundi
Norah Vincent, Adeline: a novel of Virginia Woolf
Colleen Wagner, Home

Jo Walton, Among Others

Sarah Waters, The paying guests

Phyllis Webb, Peacock Blue, The Collected Poems

Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

Robert J. Wiersema, Black Feathers
E. O. Wilson, The meaning of human existence
Simon Winchester, Pacific: silicon chips and surfboards, coral reefs and atom bombs, brutal dictators, fading empires, and the coming collision of the world’s superpowers
Kathleen Winter, Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage
Michael Winter, Into the blizzard: walking the fields of the Newfoundland dead
Jeanette Winterson, The gap of time: The Winter’s Tale retold

David Whyte, The house of belonging
Kym Wolfe, Conversations with the artist Philip Aziz
Tom Wolfe, The Kingdom of Speech

Susan J. Wolfson, Reading John Keats
Marion Woodman’s CD, Emily Dickinson and the Demon Lover

Marion Woodman’s CD, Holding the Tension of Opposites

Marion Woodman’s CD, Rolling Away the Stone

Marion Woodman’s CD, Sitting by the Well

Marion Woodman and Robert Johnson’s CD, When Souls Meet

Richard B. Wright, A life with words: a writer’s memoir
Richard B. Wright, Nightfall
Ronald Wright, The gold eaters

Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

Alissa York, The Naturalist
Deanna Young, House Dreams
David Zinczenko, Zero belly diet

Review, Barbaric Cultural Practice

Adebe deRango Adem, Quill & Quire, December, 2016.

“Down the paths of most resistance”!

This review truly gets the book, I’m grateful to say!  It’s available for $18 from

quattrobooks.ca/books/barbaricculturalpractice/.Quill & Quire.p40.review column December 2016.jpgbarbaric-cultural-practice_front-cover

A Year of Reading Dangerously: Memorial

Notes on Alice Oswald’s Memorial: a version of Homer’s Iliad
with an afterword by Eavan Boland.  W.W. Norton & Company.

“Like fire with its loose hair flying rushes through a city
The look of unmasked light shocks everything to rubble”

Alice Oswald’s Memorial: a version of Homer’s Iliad is a merciless, fully compassionate and all too relevant reading of The Illiad. This short, immensely weighted book drops the unresponsive body of narrative to reveal a poetry of pure heart: “I write through the Greek, not from it— aiming for translucence rather than translation.” Memorial is heart-rending into its specificity, enumerating the names of the dead in a litany reminiscent of Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans  Memorial. I almost wrote ‘fallen’, the word of memorialists since the Great War.

Oswald enlists “‘enargeia’, which means something like ‘bright unbearable reality’. It’s the word used when gods come to earth not in disguise but as themselves. This version, trying to retrieve the poem’s enargeia, takes away superfluous narrative. Instead, Oswald evokes through similes traditional Greek pastoral and lament. But why or why does she not use the more assuaging and mellifluous ‘as’ instead of the obstreperous ‘like’ when introducing her similes… Perhaps she prefers the bluntness of ‘like’.

I misspelled history as ‘histroy’ and Spell Checker suggested, appropriately, his Troy. “The Iliad is a vocative poem. Perhaps even (in common with lament) it is invocative. It always addresses Patroculus as ‘you’, as if speaking directly to the dead… a kind of oral cemetery”. The poem presents in a phrase or epithet a man’s whole history as well as the manner of his death.  The olive tree is granted slightly more space in Oswald’s astonishing simile of life’s cycle:

“Like a man put a wand of olive in the earth
And watered it and that wand became a wave
It became a whip a spine a crown
It became a wind-dictionary
It could speak in tongues
It became a wobbling wagon-load of flowers
And then a storm came spinning by
And it became a broken tree uprooted
It became a wood pile in a lonely field.”

Another Alice Oswald was my English teacher at Medway High School: a dry stick we considered ancient. A dry stick who would burst to flame when reciting Keats’s ode. The image on the cover of PERFORMING WOMEN honours that flame as well.

performing-women-2016

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Poem for Poet Colleen Thibaudeau

The Reaneys asked me to present the Colleen Thibaudeau Outstanding Contribution Award award at the League of Canadian Poets banquet in Winnipeg on May 30, 2015. I was delighted and honoured to present it to esteemed Saskatchewan poet Glen Sorestad, represented by Tracy Hamon. James Reaney recently wrote about Colleen and Glen Sorestad in his blog: http://blogs.canoe.com/brandnewblog/entertainment/glen-sorestad-wins-2015-colleen-thibaudeau-award-yay/.

Photo: Susan McCaslin

Photo: Susan McCaslin

There was a large turn-out, as the League event was combined with the Writers’ Union AGM. Colleen would have chuckled at the orange flower I wore in my hair for her!  Earlier, I read my poem dedicated to Colleen at the Feminist Caucus meeting. It was first published in Prairie Journal, Calgary, Alberta, Issue #57, Fall 2012.  Here it is now:

Recounted, ReStored, ReStoried

for Colleen Thibaudeau Reaney (1925-2012)

When Colleen called, voice crackled energy along the wire
as if we were on a Grey County party line in a snow storm.

She invited you to dance with words; her card was full.
Droll, a wit not acerbic but trolling for pertinent phrase.

Language tripped slyly over the page in play of possible,
not settled but including errant sound, all probable puns.

When home could include everything, how would she not
describe in gloried detail each strand of whole? Circuitous

Led straight to the point, a maypole of ribbon encircling
the sun, a sequence as consequential as spoken history.

Remember who was where and when and why. What did
happen. A matrilineage of friend and family lore never to

Be forgotten but transformed in each telling. The tail
coiled round itself till springing straight. Recall trolling

The midden of memory, reminded. She invited us over
to chat while with an attentive eye she would embroider

Lichen on bleak Grey County rock or lush green Elgin in
brushing hair away. More to tell from inexhaustible well.

She accumulated tales to blow them out as smoke ring,
leading you through her long alliterative spring garden.

Her genes are storyteller’s, Acadian and Irish shaped new
to be all the more accurately embellished with that gift for

Capricorn lateral leap across lacunae incomprehensible till
the story revealed itself so far, the scene laid out clearly.

Sea-green eyes in an Irish face observing, not to judge but
birdlike, leaping upon the treasure of salient particularity

Of poets and peers, the revered Norrie Fry or Macpherson,
Jay. Telling tales out of school, past university corridors,

Stories sped through alternative universe, spiralled beyond
galactic connection to return, spangled in original dress back

home, where we the recipients of kindness would drink tea,
reclaiming the smoke of ancestral aeons, and be welcomed.

Penn Kemp

The cover of Four Women, Red Kite Press, Guelph ON.

The cover of Four Women, Red Kite Press, Guelph ON.

Colleen and I are both in FOUR WOMEN, along with Marianne Micros and Gloria Mulcahy.  You can read more about Colleen and her poetry on http://colleenthibaudeau.com/, including a reading from FOUR WOMEN celebrating her.

I thought of Colleen when walking the labyrinth dedicated to Carol Shield. It was lilac season still…and I thought of Colleen’s lovely spring garden. Photo by Mora Gregg.

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I know Colleen would also have enjoyed this found poem for Sound Learning on a University of Manitoba stone wall.

Photo by Carmelo Militano, just after he has interviewed me on P.I., May 31, 2015, Winnipeg. https://ckuw.ca/programs/detail/p.i.-new-poetry

Photo by Carmelo Militano, just after he has interviewed me on P.I., May 31, 2015, Winnipeg. https://ckuw.ca/programs/detail/p.i.-new-poetry