Geomantic riposte: 'In the Tiger Park'

Alison Calder was born in London, England, and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies, including Breathing Fire: Canada's New Poets and Exposed, and has twice circulated on Winnipeg city buses. She is the editor of Desire Never Leaves: The Poetry of Tim Lilburn, and a critical edition of Frederick Philip Grove's 1924 novel Settlers of the Marsh, and the co-editor of History, Literature, and the Writing of the Canadian Prairies. Calder’s first collection, Wolf Tree, won two Manitoba Book Awards and was a finalist for both the Gerald Lampert Award and the Pat Lowther Award for Canadian poetry.

A University of Manitoba article describes her second poetry book In the Tiger Park:

English prof Alison Calder’s poetry is known for shining the light of the poet’s curiosity on all manner of “natural occurrences,” which nevertheless stand out. Her new book of poetry, In the Tiger Park, is about what exists at the edges of human experience, what’s out there but is largely unseen by the average human. It’s about ghosts, how these things operate as ghosts to us now, in this age — things that might have, in another age, occupied a more central place in our lives.

That, and she met my stringent criteria of having written three poems in her book about the CFL.

In the Tiger Park by Alison Calder (Coteau Books, 2014, Page 20)


Step back in the pocket, calm eye

of the storm, rock in a seething tide,

shipwreck’s lone survivor, slo-mo

in the beat-box strobe of split second strikes.

Receivers peel from the line, routes tattooed

on the field’s bicep. Hold on and on and on

before the throw, receivers running, tide crashing,

tunnel forming, chopper whump-whumping in your chest,

clock a ball a bird a bullet,

receivers down, routes jumped, a hole,

no hole, hold on.


Geomantic Riposte:  Sheer


Growing up without any pianissimo only that tennis ball striking

head at five and years of crunchy but abysmal Canucks games

instead of Bach’s Passacaglia I got Passaglia instead of a flute I

got the Flutie feud so in spite of inflicting random opera upon

others this is a betrayal in the shadow of my dad to dominate

living room on a Sunday yelling at imaginary situations on the

tube             mysteriously enraged over Goltz's tie-adjusting TD

routine and Premier Wall's hilariously ill-advised Deliverance

banjo because I don’t know how that sheer green got in my

blood and I still don’t understand those technicalities in the

rule book where worries about an illegal substance mostly

involve adhesive stuffs, rosin bags, tacky cloth, anything

greasy but I need to know what every Rider thinks about

what’s happened today and it was inspirational for Geroy

to quit BC with the sheer will to win the Cup over here and

it must be brutal to fall a hair short of the NFL height reqs

in a scout’s eye and then take the heat for years leading up

to sheer victory but hustling the Arts scene you do spot them

who support you and also them who know what they can do