Commentaries - March 2014

Geomantic riposte: 'Kill-site'

Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Timothy Walter (Tim) Lilburn is the author of nine books of poetry, including writing that garnered two Governor General’s Award nominations. Lilburn's work has also received the Canadian Authors Association Award, the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award, and the Saskatchewan Nonfiction Award.

Geomantic riposte: 'Auden as Philosopher'

Jan Zwicky is one of Canada’s most innovative intellectual figures and most skilled versifiers, particularly appreciated for her expressions of music and philosophy to be found in lyrical form upon the page. As a poet, philosophy teacher, and musician, Zwicky strives to give voice to the ecology of experience in her extensive body of work. Her poetry collection Songs for Relinquishing the Earth won the Governor General’s Literary Award in 1999 and Robinson’s Crossing won the Dorothy Livesay Prize and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award in 2004.

The Beats today

A conversation with Philadelphia writers, hosted by Julia Bloch

On March 17, 2014, Julia Bloch hosted a conversation about the relevance of the Beats in contemporary poetry, with Frank Sherlock, Michelle Taransky, Maria Raha, Chris McCreary, and Thomas Devaney. The session was webcast live, and was tweeted with the #PhillyBEATS hashtag. The video recording is available here, and the audio recording of the session is available here.

All origin stories are Newtonian, part 2 of 2

The Dianthus Kaleidoscope scarf was made using flower-shaped cuttings of collage
The Dianthus Kaleidoscope scarf was made using flower-shaped cuttings of collages from textiles and hand-painted Indian saris as well as scans of peach and pink-colored roses. From Basically Boutique, http://www.basicallyboutique.com/.

From cultural narratives to religion to comic-book characters to conceptions of self, origin stories often serve to explain belief systems and histories within the context of a defined beginning, middle, and end. Origin stories are narrative devices steeped in limitations of both form and content.

All origin stories are Newtonian, part 1 of 2

From The Secret Books: Writings by Jorge Luis Borges, Photographs by Sean Kernan
From The Secret Books: Writings by Jorge Luis Borges, Photographs by Sean Kernan. Courtesy of Matthew Baird.

One of my first encounters with poetry that overtly addressed theoretical physics and cosmology was Frederick Seidel’s book, The Cosmos Poems (FSG, 2000), which I read, without any knowledge about the author, as soon as it was published. This would have been a year after I graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, when I was teaching innumerable sections of freshman composition and a literature course in fiction. In my copy of The Cosmos Poems, the corner of the page of the poem, “Who the Universe Is,” is turned down, and I drew a small star on the corner. Or is that an x?