Skip to main content

SUMMER'S END

I am back from two weeks in Quebec, Canada - time mostly spent in the deep Northern woods of Quebec's Laurentians where lakes and hiking/ ski trails are as common as deer and dragonflies; and everywhere there's the smell of pine. The weather teetered madly between 30 C and 12 C some days, but my family went Nordic, and took even the colder plunges into lac Labelle's clean cold waters.

When it rained, we lit fires in the cottage with its panoramic view of the lake and hills, and read, talked, and played Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Risk. Mostly we were vegetarians, and thus the BBQs were often vegetative in nature, but my mother presided over the cooking, which was uniformly superb.  I confess to trying every Quebec snack available, from poutine, to Joe Louis cakes.

I gained a few pounds.  It was a joyous and all-too-brief time together.  I was glad to see my five year old godson, Alex, especially.  His smile and humour delight me. While I read during these weeks (excellent work by Mark Ford, John Banville and Joseph O'Neill, among others), poetry and writing was peripheral - the incontestable priority of nature, so encompassing, was refreshing and moving to me. I loved seeing the chipmunks, wild ducks, hawks, deer, fish, and other beasts in their habitat.

Being well-fed, clothed, and warmed by fire, among those we loved best, able to share stories and hope, even as the young and old among us face challenges, we could count our blessings, but also sense, beyond our small lot, the fragility and terrors of the age, including the deaths in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and beyond; and the death of tormented souls like Robin Williams, whose work in Good Will Hunting, and The Dead Poet's Society, was so inspiring and humane.  So it was a full fortnight, of discussions about depression, war, peace, environmental degradation and what we can do, memories of childhood - concerns about teaching, autism, publishing, but also kayaking, biking, walking, running, swimming, and being out in the air and the sun and the mist and under the stars.

I love my family, and my Quebec home every much.  I miss them terribly when away from them, as I must be for years at time often. I have made Britain a second home, and have some good friends here, but Quebec evokes very primal, fragile feelings, of love, and what was lost, and gained. Time never felt so full of import - just being together was enough - and I was reminded of the late wise poems of Wallace Stevens, who knew the value of a home amid the natural world, in the gathering darkness.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

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…

AMERICA PSYCHO

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…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

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:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
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!