Skip to main content

Rupert Brooke in Canada

British poets used to come to Canada and comment on it. Oscar Wilde made Niagara Falls a famous marital failure. Less known is that the English War poet, and classically-trained and classically-handsome, Rupert Brooke, spent a year in "North America and the South Seas". His journals were first published in 1916, and are now reprinted by Hesperus Press, in 2007, as Letters from America: Travels in the USA and Canada.

Brooke actually spends much time in Canada. He has precious little good to say about Montreal, which, 90 years ago, to his critical eye, consists of "rather narrow, rather gloomy streets." He noted that Montreal is mainly made of "banks and churches" and has a "double personality" - being half "Scotch" and half French Catholic.

He predicts no French Canadian will ever become Prime Minister again (he was wrong) and detects a tension between the philistine bankers and the more medieval Quebecois. He quickly moves on to Ottawa, which he prefers - perhaps the first, and last, foreign visitor to record such a preference. Brooke fails to mention Montreal's extraordinary setting on the St. Lawrence, one of the world's greatest rivers, or emphasise the mountain in the middle. Nor does he comment - as one would expect - too much on the light, the weather.

One thing may not have changed. At the start of the chapter titled "Montreal and Ottawa" he writes: "My American friends were full of kindly scorn when I announced that I was going to Canada."
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:

HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!