Geomantic riposte: 'The New Long Poem Anthology'

The second edition of The New Long Poem Anthology (edited by acclaimed poet Sharon Thesen), a collection of longer works; sequential poems; extended poems; and serial, lengthy or longish poems, is an important resource and geomantic touchstone for aspiring writers and fans of #CanLit alike, and includes work by Anne Carson, Christopher Dewdney, Lisa Robertson, Jeff Derksen, Don McKay, Erin Mouré, Patrick Friesen, Steve McCaffery, George Bowering, Dionne Brand, Louis Dudek, Diana Hartog, Robert Kroetsch, Daphne Marlatt, David McFadden, Barry McKinnon, bpNichol, Michael Ondaatje, Lola Lemire Tostevin, Fred Wah, Phyllis Webb, Robin Blaser, and Yolande Villemaire. The anthology also includes Pear Tree Poems, originally published by Coach House Press and nominated for a Governor General’s Award in 1987. The author, Roy Kenzie Kiyooka, was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1926 and was active on the prairies as a highly respected painter, before moving to Vancouver, BC and challenging other artists to move beyond regional styles and to seek inspiration from international art currents, even as he began to produce work in many of the other arts outside of painting. Roy Kiyooka passed away in 1994—a notable posthumous work is his LINEbooks novella The Artist & the Moose: A Fable of Forget, which is a compelling critique of Canadian cultural nationalism, and also includes Kiyooka’s astute and amusing musings about artist Tom Thomson. 

The New Long Poem Anthology - edited by Sharon Thesen (Talonbooks, 2001, Pear Tree Pomes by Roy K. Kiyooka, page 162)


since i wrote the night sky down i’ve been out for


a late night bowl of barbecue duck noodle soup at kam’s garden

and since i got home i put the ol’ blue mule band on and

yes – i’ve dreamt up this 6 a/m dawn just for you . i’m just

an ol’ night bird ready to do the lindy hop with any ol’

hurdy-gurdy man or woman . “birds” who don’t invest in the same

dawn tend to end up sharing a different nest . since you

left i’ve been keeping an early morning vigil .


Geomantic Riposte: gas


        what atrocious vigils i’ve owed you      all this must look like

a real gas      well those meretricious metrics have been at it again

with a flash of assonance thinking they own you      maybe when

wcw sd we treat life like a bag of food          we turn up our noses

at the stuff like in the yukon turning away arctic char       sniffing

round for sushi joints    surely some ol’ greek thinkypants drank

hemlock and had an early night      no that’s not it either    these

jobless thankless crepuscular vigils with wintering rabbits and

present company       well who would play at craps to win that

but your funny fragmentary greens at the MacKenzie across

from Harold Town’s Tower of Babbling    they get to me    no

that’s not your greens      garbanzo beans    i’m not used to ‘em