Geomantic riposte: 'Rapturous Chronicles'

Chalmers Arts Foundation Fellow Judith Ariana Fitzgerald is one of our most neglected national treasures in Canada, and has over thirty works to her credit, including poetry, biography, anthologies, and children’s books. Short-listed for (or recipient of) several major honors including the Fiona Mee, Trillium, Governor-General’s Poetry and Writers’ Choice Awards, Fitzgerald is perhaps best known for her newspaper blog/column that fearlessly achieves the remarkable feat of raising The Globe & Mail to the condition of poetry. Rapturous Chronicles, her brilliant and passionate long prose poem in memory of her deceased friend (novelist Juan Butler) was nominated for the Governor General’s Award in 1991 and is a stirring example of her decadent verbal pyrotechnics that often threaten to bust apart our drowsing parliament of vowels. For some reason, her case often calls to mind the line by Louis Dudek: “Two duds on a committee can outvote any genius.”

Rapturous Chronicles by Judith Fitzgerald (The Mercury Press, 1991, Page 45)


Not as temporare as lacustrine, the presence of mind to mind the curves

ahead, the leading snakes and descending ladders, the swallowing whole.

An aqueous cycle, a nuclear splitting, its original sense of power, of pacific

impossibility in your atlantic grief.  I sift into the zero I half expect

to drown me.  Envelope, the shape I fear this moment  of still civilisation.


 Geomantic Riposte: Carp


Leapt—the petroglyph of a fish, and it was not symbolic of excellent sex

perhaps only foreshadow of Asian carp destroying us before we destroy

them, according to David Suzuki           Ever find that poetry is prisoner’s

dilemma in slow motion            this angst           not getting on for a greater

purpose the mentor forgot on a stickie taped to a windshield under that

ice Laureate George calls the national image   (wouldya look at that that)

but this is a Canadian poem so the fish are              not going to make it

and our pinnacle is dolling up obits          next to wardrobe brEaKdown

and nothing can escape the orbit of Ontario            save Leonard Cohen