Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Friday, December 30, 2011

Blessed Hope

I wish everyone a happy, healthy, peaceful and blessed 
New Year!

[Click here to hear a song thrush "fling his soul".]

The Darkling Thrush

by Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate
   When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
   The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
   Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
   Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
   The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
   The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
   Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
   Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
   The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
   Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
   In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
   Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
   Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
   Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
   His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
   And I was unaware.

Friday, December 23, 2011

. . . give my heart

Audio version (James Taylor) here.

In the bleak midwinter

By Christina Rossetti 1830–1894

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Women Poets Timeline Project

I'm thrilled to announce that I will be presenting Uruguayan poet María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira at the 2012 West Chester Poetry Conference Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project panel in June 2012.

Vaz Ferreira, a metaphysical poet celebrated during her lifetime and then relatively "forgotten" after her death in 1924, was the precursor to four Southern Cone poetisas, Uruguayans Delmira Agustini and Juana de Ibarbourou, as well as Chilean Gabriela Mistral and Swiss-born Argentine Alfonsina Storni. I will examine the reasons for this silence, which lasted thirty-five years; the efforts that have been made since that time to bring to light her complete oeuvre; and make a close reading of one of her sonnets, "La estrella misteriosa" (which I will render in Spanish as well as my English translation).

I'm leaving for Uruguay tomorrow to try to tie up some "loose ends" to my investigation.

¡ Hasta luego !

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Paralyzed, with Gold —"

The sea "drips with sunset", too.

Sunset in Punta del Este, Uruguay:

How the old Mountains drip with Sunset
by Emily Dickinson


How the old Mountains drip with Sunset
How the Hemlocks burn—
How the Dun Brake is draped in Cinder
By the Wizard Sun—

How the old Steeples hand the Scarlet
Till the Ball is full—
Have I the lip of the Flamingo
That I dare to tell?

Then, how the Fire ebbs like Billows—
Touching all the Grass
With a departing—Sapphire—feature—
As a Duchess passed—

How a small Dusk crawls on the Village
Till the Houses blot
And the odd Flambeau, no men carry
Glimmer on the Street—

How it is Night—in Nest and Kennel—
And where was the Wood—
Just a Dome of Abyss is Bowing
Into Solitude—

These are the Visions flitted Guido—
Titian—never told—
Domenichino dropped his pencil—
Paralyzed, with Gold—

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Where the wild creatures ranged . . ."

I'll be arriving in Uruguay for December's full moon. Below is a beautiful poem just right for tonight . . .

Poem: "December Moon," by May Sarton, from Coming into Eighty (W.W. Norton & Company).

December Moon

Before going to bed
After a fall of snow
I look out on the field
Shining there in the moonlight
So calm, untouched and white
Snow silence fills my head
After I leave the window. 

Hours later near dawn
When I look down again
The whole landscape has changed
The perfect surface gone
Criss-crossed and written on
Where the wild creatures ranged
While the moon rose and shone. 

Why did my dog not bark?
Why did I hear no sound
There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark? 

How much can come, how much can go
When the December moon is bright,
What worlds of play we'll never know
Sleeping away the cold white night
After a fall of snow.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

" . . . stakes and ties will cure them of the blues . . ."

One of the wonderful poets I met at this year's West Chester University Poetry Conference was Timothy Steele, one of the three poets who encouraged my writing when I began to consider publishing back in 2004. I had sent him a few poems by email, and he graciously sent me his thoughts and suggestions on several of the poems. One he especially liked was "Spirit" and the other, "Wilkes-Barre". His poetry is brilliant, and his two books on meter, "Missing Measures" and "All the fun's in how you say a thing" are an invaluable source for formalist writers.

Thanks again, Mr. Steele!


December in Los Angeles

The tulip bulbs rest darkly in the fridge
To get the winter they can't get outside;
The drought and warm winds alter and abridge
The season till it almost seems denied.

A bright road-running scrub jay plies his bill,
While searching through the garden like a sleuth
For peanuts that he's buried in the soil:
How different from the winters of my youth.

Back in Vermont, we'd dress on furnace vents.
A breakfast of hot cereal -- and then
We'd forge out to a climate so intense
It would have daunted Scott and Amundsen.

I'd race down icy Howard Street to catch
The school bus and pursue it, as it roared
Up Union, my arms waving, pleading, much
To the amusement of my friends on board.

But here I look out on a garden, whose
Poor flowers are knocked over on their side.
Well, stakes and ties will cure them of the blues
(If not the winds) and see them rectified.

And in the shower is a pail we use
To catch and save the water while it warms:
I fetch and pour it on the irises
And hope this winter will bring drenching storms.

--Timothy Steele

Friday, December 2, 2011

Poem in the Carmine Street Metrics Section - Umbrella

In April, 2008, I was honored to be invited and to read at the Carmine Street Metrics poetry reading series in Greenwich Village, New York City. I met some very fine poets for the first time, including Terese Coe, Wendy Sloan, Nemo Hill, Rick Mullin, Carolyn Raphael and Claudia Gary.

Here's the link to the poem in the current issue of Umbrella.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The countdown begins . . .

Beach Dogs
In memory of Alfonsina Storni

A man parades his paunch, and you can bet
his wife, though dripping gold, will not get wet.
His brother reads Clarín; his bored son pokes
a jellyfish; abuela smirks and smokes.

They seem to sense that I’m not one of them –
I’m much too serious, too plain. Ajém,
I hear them warn each other as I rise
to shift my chair. They weigh my gringa thighs.

What’s this I see? A scrawny mongrel winds
his way along the shore. At last he finds
a spot of shade. The worn-down, worn-out fella
drops down beneath the nearest beach umbrella.

Mine. My neighbors bray in disapproval,
insist upon the vagabond’s removal;
then take a different tack and whisper, Pleece . . .
mayvee he hab dee rrrrabies o dee fleece.

That well may be. For look, his skin is bruised
and scarred; he’s been excluded, bashed, abused.
I feed the dog some water and a crust
as the porteños gawk in dark disgust.

Before the Prefectura comes, we fly,
he to the sands of Mansa Beach; while I
cast off, adrift, unmoored from the décor,
will drown at sea and later wash ashore.

(Catherine Chandler, Punta del Este, Uruguay, January 2009)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My polestar . . .

On this final evening of November, I am reminded of a beautiful poem by Emily Brontë written one hundred seventy-four years ago. 


Now trust a heart that trusts in you, 
And firmly say the word adieu ; 
Be sure, wherever I may roam, 
My heart is with your heart at home ; 

Unless there be no truth on earth, 
And vows most true are nothing worth, 
And mortal man have no control 
Over his own unhappy soul ; 

Unless I change in every thought, 
And memory will restore me nought, 
And all I have of virtue die 
Beneath far Gondal's foreign sky. 

The mountain peasant loves the heath 
Better than richest plains beneath ; 
He would not give one moorland wild 
For all the fields that ever smiled. 

And whiter brows than yours may be, 
And rosier cheeks my eyes may see, 
And lightning looks from orbs divine 
About my pathway burn and shine. 

But that pure light, changeless and strong, 
Cherished and watched and nursed so long ; 
That love that first its glory gave, 
Shall be my pole-star to the grave. 
— Emily Brontë, November 1837

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Another Pushcart Prize nomination !

My poem, "Críonnacht", a glosa of W.B. Yeats's "The Coming of Wisdom with Time", has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Paul Christian Stevens, Editor, The Chimaera. The poem may be viewed -- and heard -- here.

My fifth Pushcart Prize nomination and second this year!

The word "críonnacht" is Gaelic for "wisdom".

Wish me luck!

Friday, November 25, 2011

2011 Anthology of Montreal Writers

Some of my work will be featured in the 2011 Anthology of Montreal Writers, published by the Canadian Authors Association, Montreal Branch.
The anthology will be launched December 19 at the Thomas More Institute in Montreal.
Cost of the anthology is $14, plus postage if mailed.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gracias a la vida . . .

Happy Thanksgiving to family and friends. I hope you enjoy this song, Gracias a la vida, sung by the late Mercedes Sosa.

Miss you, Mommy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

" . . . the weight of the year"

The Death of Autumn

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

When reeds are dead and a straw to thatch the marshes,
And feathered pampas-grass rides into the wind
Like agèd warriors westward, tragic, thinned
Of half their tribe; and over the flattened rushes,
Stripped of its secret, open, stark and bleak,
Blackens afar the half-forgotten creek, —
Then leans on me the weight of the year, and crushes
My heart. I know that Beauty must ail and die,
And will be born again, — but ah, to see
Beauty stiffened, staring up at the sky!
Oh, Autumn! Autumn! — What is the Spring to me?


Sunday, November 20, 2011

"He's making a list, checking it twice . . ."

Dear Friends,

Do you have formal poetry lovers on your holiday gift list? If so, why not get them a copy of Lines of Flight, available from Able Muse Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon (US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Japan), and The Book Depository (Australia, New Zealand).

At a recent luncheon with some of my favorite Powwow River poets, one poet purchased a copy of Lines of Flight to bring as a gift to poetry-loving friends, instead of a bottle of wine. 

The book contains a beautiful Foreword by Rhina P. Espaillat and sixty formal poems including : sonnet, Sapphic stanza, ballad, ovilejo, leona rima, cinquains, quatrains, triolet, cento, ekphrastic, rondeau, villanelle, haibun, and others, not to mention enthusiastic endorsements of the work by Richard Wilbur, Eric Ormsby and X.J. Kennedy.

Hope you'll consider it!

 Thank you!

Catherine Chandler


Friday, November 18, 2011

"Something between breaths"

And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name

By John Ashbery

You can’t say it that way any more.   
Bothered about beauty you have to   
Come out into the open, into a clearing,
And rest. Certainly whatever funny happens to you
Is OK. To demand more than this would be strange
Of you, you who have so many lovers,   
People who look up to you and are willing   
To do things for you, but you think
It’s not right, that if they really knew you . . .
So much for self-analysis. Now,
About what to put in your poem-painting:   
Flowers are always nice, particularly delphinium.   
Names of boys you once knew and their sleds,   
Skyrockets are good—do they still exist?
There are a lot of other things of the same quality   
As those I’ve mentioned. Now one must
Find a few important words, and a lot of low-keyed,
Dull-sounding ones. She approached me
About buying her desk. Suddenly the street was   
Bananas and the clangor of Japanese instruments.   
Humdrum testaments were scattered around. His head
Locked into mine. We were a seesaw. Something   
Ought to be written about how this affects   
You when you write poetry:
The extreme austerity of an almost empty mind
Colliding with the lush, Rousseau-like foliage of its desire to communicate   
Something between breaths, if only for the sake   
Of others and their desire to understand you and desert you
For other centers of communication, so that understanding
May begin, and in doing so be undone.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

National Take a Hike Day

It seems every day is a "National Something-or-other" day. I thought the one for today, November 17, National Take a Hike Day, was funny, so below is my "take" on Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art". Of course, it's not autobiographical, just in case you wondered ;-)  :

A Different Art
(after Elizabeth Bishop)

The art of keeping isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be kept that their keeping’s no disaster.

Keep something every day. Accept the fluster
of keeping up with the Joneses. The torment
of keeping secrets isn’t hard to master.

Then practice keeping track of time. And Sister,
keep cool no matter what. To the extent
you keep good company, there’s no disaster.

He kept a mistress, overtaxed his rooster,
and so I told him, Keep in touch, and sent
him packing. Piece of cake to master.

I kept two children (lovely ones), the toaster,
the house, the SUV; and when he went
I kept the faith. It wasn’t a disaster.

I gather every word that I can muster —
a squad, a company, a regiment —
an art of which I’m lady, lord and master:
my castle keep. Keep out! Or face disaster.

-- Catherine Chandler

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Liberating the poem . . .

"The poem freed from its precarious utility as ego's appendage may possibly fly into the sky and become a star permanent in the night air." — Donald Hall, Poetry and Ambition

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Soñando con el campo . . .

Los Pueblitos

Para Nelly y Vicente

En 25 de Mayo, lejos, en las afueras,
entre eucalíptos, plátanos y palmeras,
una casa centenaria, sólida y sencilla
me recibe con su fuente que suena a campanilla.

Rodeada de bosque, de campo y de prado,
de maíz, de soja, de frutales y ganado;
de aves cantoras, de flores silvestres,
su tierra encarna los valores campestres.

Un sendero de pinos me lleva a la capilla,
y a la puesta del sol, al cielo que brilla
de malva, susurro un rezo vespertino —
«¡ Dios bendiga Los Pueblitos, sosiego argentino!»

— Catherine Chandler, 2006

Monday, November 14, 2011

Spenserian Spring

The Ovenbird

In Uruguay, in spring, I’ve often heard
light-hearted trills along the dusty road:
a lively, undiminished ovenbird
sings as she builds her intricate abode.
The wily swallow, with no stringent code
of constancy, surveys the chambered nest;
and knows that, following this episode
of eggs with which the other bird is blessed,
he’ll snatch the abdicated space. Hard-pressed
though he may be for time, for love, for will,
too wise to prove an uninvited guest,
he waits it out upon a window-sill.
The ovenbird, deemed artless by the swallow,
to practiced eyes is one tough act to follow.

— Catherine Chandler

Friday, November 11, 2011


Everyone's commenting on the 11-11-11 phenomenon. I didn't think of this when I wrote my poem, "Eleven", but since it's also Remembrance Day in Canada, I'll share the poem with you:


players on a soccer team
stars in Joseph's second dream

odd reversible and prime
dimensions (counting space and time)

pipers piping, salt (Na)
month day hour Veterans Day

goats hair curtains ripped apart
ounce-weight of the human heart

twelve less Judas, David's men
pearls and tears from Swinburne's pen

heartbreak (on a scale of ten)

— Catherine Chandler

"Actuated by love"

From Thoreau's Walden; or Life in the Woods (which I'm re-reading for the umpteenth time):

"The one who came from farthest to my lodge, through deepest snows and most dismal tempests, was a poet. A farmer, a hunter, a soldier, a reporter, even a philosopher, may be daunted; but nothing can deter a poet, for he is actuated by love. Who can predict his comings and goings?"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My New Book

White Violet Press will be publishing This Sweet Order, a chapbook of twenty-seven sonnets. Available soon. I'll keep everyone posted on progress.


Monday, November 7, 2011

. . . and of course . . .

My November Guest

By Robert Frost

My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She's glad the birds are gone away,
She's glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so surely sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell he so,
And they are better for her praise.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

. . . and another . . .

Design for November

By William Carlos Williams

Let confusion be the design
and all my thoughts go,
swallowed by desire: recess
from promises in
the November of your arms.
Release from the rose: broken
reeds, strawpale,
through which, from easy
branches that mock the blood
a few leaves fall. There
the mind is cradled,
stripped also and returned
to the ground, a trivial
and momentary clatter. Sleep
and be brought down, and so
condone the world, eased of
the jagged sky and all
its petty imageries, flying
birds, its fogs and windy
phalanxes . . .

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Another November Poem . . .

By Walter de la Mare

There is wind where the rose was,
Cold rain where sweet grass was,
And clouds like sheep
Stream o’er the steep
Grey skies where the lark was.

Nought warm where your hand was,
Nought gold where your hair was,
But phantom, forlorn,
Beneath the thorn,
Your ghost where your face was.

Cold wind where your voice was,
Tears, tears where my heart was,
And ever with me,
Child, ever with me,
Silence where hope was.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pushcart Prize Nomination

My poem, "The Deep Season", originally published in The Raintown Review, January 2011, and reprinted in the Winter Issue of Victorian Violet Press, has been nominated by the latter for a Pushcart Prize. The poem is available online here:

and here:

This is my fourth Pushcart Prize nomination, the other poems being: "66", "Writ" and "Body of Evidence". Keeping my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011



Between the last triumphant note of fall,
when maples, marigolds and pumpkins vie
for orange jurisdiction, and the rime-
embellished month of Christmas, there he is,

November, stark, severe, demanding all
imagination can afford: a lie
might do the trick; an epic, if there’s time.
Anything to fill that void of his.

by Catherine Chandler (first published in Candelabrum (Scotland), CPM Vol 12, #6, October 2007), reproduced in Lines of Flight.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

After Apple-Picking by Robert Frost

One of my (many) favorite poems by Robert Frost. So much to savor and to think about in this poem!

After Apple-Picking      by Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.

And I keep hearing from the cellar bin

The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reading this Saturday, September 10

I'll be reading from Lines of Flight and some new poems at the Jabberwocky Bookshop in Newburyport, Massachusetts, at 3 p.m., Saturday, September 10.

All are welcome -- I hope many of you can join us!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Solemnest of Industries

By Emily Dickinson 1830–1886 
The Bustle in a House
The Morning after Death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon Earth –

The Sweeping up the Heart
And putting Love away
We shall not want to use again
Until Eternity – 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Now that Lines of Flight has been released, I have begun work on my second collection, tentatively entitled Winterbourne.  So far, I have around 40 pages of poetry, including my sonnet sequence "Seven Deadly Sonnets".

I'm thinking about including five or six of my English translations of French-Canadian poets (Nelligan, Dantin, Fréchette, Lozeau, LeMay) but at the same time feel this might put off US publishers. Maybe two MS versions, one for Canadian submissions, another for US, UK and Australian.

At the same time, I'm beginning some research on María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira, one of the best Uruguayan poets of the early 20th century whose work is virtually unknown in the English-speaking world (and also to a large extent, the Latin American world) due to the erasure and trivialization of her (and other Latin American "poetesses") work.

I am rereading her complete works and have found two valuable sources of information on the context of erasure and some insights into her life, but hope to be able to dig up more.

Though this blog is called The Wonderful Boat in honor of Delmira Agustini, another Uruguayan poet, it was Vaz Ferreira who paved the way for Agustini and also Ibarbourou. Had it not been for Vaz Ferreira's famous brother keeping her poetry unpublished until 30 years after her death, she would not be absent from anthologies of Latin American writers, one of which has even now just hit the library shelves!

Project for today: a villanelle and/or an ovillejo.

¡Viva el verano! ¡Via el invierno!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


While I was away in West Chester (from June 7 to 12th) I entered my thoughts and impressions on the Eratosphere blogs here:

I imagine many of you have read them already.

Suffice it to say, the conference was a wonderful experience. I met many of my "virtual" poetry friends for the first time, made many more, and reconnected with others I had already met in the past.
Kim Bridgford and her team did an outstanding job with the organization of such a large conference. Everything went well, from start to finish.

I have thanked Kim in person for inviting me to the First Books Panel (which went very well!) and Mr. Kean Spencer, whose gift, made in honor of his mother, Iris N. Spencer, made my full scholarship possible. What a kind and generous man. I told him I would never forget him. And I won't.

I am suffering from tendonitis in my right hand at the moment, and could barely manage my carry-on luggage, so I didn't take my camera. I hope other participants will post photos on Eratosphere.

Though I enjoyed every aspect of the conference, highlights for me were meeting Alex Pepple for the first time, my first books panel reading, my master class and private meeting with A.E. Stallings, the Robert Pinsky keynote reading, the Richard Wilbur birthday panel/reading and celebration, and the many informal get-togethers with fellow poets.

I was touched by the reaction of the audience to my reading of my Nemerov-winning sonnet, "Coming to Terms", and by so many of their comments afterwards.

I'm already looking forward to returning next year, and hope many of you will, too.

Love & Peace,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rendez-vous with destiny

Tomorrow I'll be leaving for Philadelphia/West Chester for the West Chester University of Pennsylvania Poetry Conference.  For years I've been longing to attend this conference but, because of employment and financial reasons, I never made it.

That's why I can hardly believe I'll be there this year, on a full scholarship, not only attending and taking part in A.E. Stallings's master class, but also reading some of my poems on the First Books Panel.

I've been practicing nine poems, but now will be adding one more, a special request from Rhina P. Espaillat, who has been an inspiration to me from Day 1.

I won't be taking my computer along with me, but promise to make a full report of my experience at the conference once I get back.

The only cloud in the sky is knowing that my dear mother is very ill right now. I will dedicate my reading to her. After all, it was her lullabies and nursery rhymes that first opened my ears and heart to rhyme, rhythm, and, of course, poetry.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Upcoming Readings

Upcoming readings:

June 8, 2011 - West Chester University Poetry Conference, First Books Panel, 2:30 p.m.

June 22, 2011 - Half Moon Café, Hudson, Quebec, 6:30 p.m.

July 24, 2011 - Greenwood Centre for Living History, 2:00 p.m.

August 25, 2011 - Yellow Door, Montreal, 7:00 p.m.

September 10, 2011 - Jabberwocky Bookshop, Newburyport, Massachusetts, 3:00 p.m.

StoryFest - Hudson, Quebec, date and time to be advised

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Reading vs reciting

I hope to recite, rather than read, the following poems at West Chester in June:

To the Man on Mansfield Street
Bottom of the Ninth
Gia Dinh
Shadow Fish
Lost and Found

Once I know how long each reader is allotted, I may add one or two more!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My book is out!!!

I'm pleased to announce that my first full-length collection of poetry, Lines of Flight, is now available from

(as well as other Amazon sites throughout the world)

and from the publisher, Able Muse Press:

I have so much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Channelling Yeats

The Coming of Wisdom with Time

Though leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.

(from The Green Helmet and Other poems)

After Long Silence

Speech after long silence; it is right,
All other lovers being estranged or dead,
Unfriendly lamplight hid under its shade,
The curtains drawn upon unfriendly night,
That we descant and yet again descant
Upon the supreme theme of Art and Song:
Bodily decrepitude is wisdom; young
We loved each other and were ignorant.

 (from "Words for Music Perhaps" in The Winding Stair and Other poems)

The Lover mourns for the Loss of Love

Pale brows, still hands and dim hair,
I had a beautiful friend
And dreamed that the old despair
Would end in love in the end:
She looked in my heart one day
And saw your image was there;
She has gone weeping away.

(from The Wind Among the Reeds)  


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Printemps québécois

Printemps québécois

Le vingt-deux mars à Saint-Lazare.
Où est-ce-qu'ils sont, ces chers fuyards -
fauvettes, merles, pluviers, sittelles?
Répond la neige - «Demain, ma belle!»

Gilles Vigneault sings, «Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver» (Translation: My country is not a country, it is winter).

It's not my country, either, but here I've been for forty years this month!  Canada, and the province of Québec in particular, is a wonderful place to live, except for the long winters.  I did see a robin last week, though, and the geese are slowly returning to the pond at Chévrier's sand pit.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Today I found a ladybug in the house. Is spring truly (and finally) around the corner?  Since it is still too cold to let her out to "fly away home", I let her be.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Tenth Fold

I will never forget my Uncle Tommy, himself a WWII veteran and POW, being handed this triangle of stars in mid-March 1968. And I will never forget his son, my beloved cousin Tommy Jr., to whom the poem below is dedicated. It is an angry poem as well as a sorrowful one.

       Gia Dinh
          In memory of Thomas F. Smith, Jr.
          (July 13, 1945 - March 3, 1968)

In Washington there’s bugger-all
to lure me down from Montreal.
And yet, when it was done I came
to tell and touch and trace your name,
to taste the wormwood and the gall.

The Tet Offensive saw you fall
near Hoc Mon Bridge. Still maggots crawl
and feast and life is much the same
in Washington.

It’s strange the things I best recall –
you hated Ringo, I loved Paul.
You dreamed you’d pitch the perfect game
like Koufax. What a bloody shame.
I weep beside this granite wall 
in Washington.