Thursday, May 3, 2007

new titles

For a tiny community(900plus year round) I couldn't be happier
with our library's) response to my requests.
This week I've read George Bowering's latest collection of poems,
Vermeer's Light published by that workhorse of contemporary canadian poetry
Talon Books and Michael Ondaatje's brand new novel Divisadero
published by McCLelland & Stewart.
This subtle and various selection of poems written or reworked over the
past decade(96-06) might be thought of as George's "pirouette", near incandescent
virtuoso pieces demonstrating a perfect blend of wit and affection. If poetry
were a swordfight Vermeer's Light would be the equivalent of a quintuple touche.
Talon has a new bill bisset collection and a long awaited selection by
Lionel Kearns.
Divisadero is Ondaatje's most U.S. American book, the noirest of all his writing, more violence and more passion. Though Ondaatje names this book after a street in San Francisco, its easy to see why he'd choose this combination of letters. Division is the theme here, extreme separation, separation from love, separation from family,separation from sense, cleft even from memory and skills. And sadero it is indeed, lump in the throat sad, and like the marquis, no good deed goes unpunished, no hero goes unshamed. Undertones of Nathaniel West and strong echoes off Atwood's Blind Assassin. He says so much, so lyrically, with so few words. He's hawking it so be alert he might be reading in a venue near you, he's an excellent reader/storyteller and responsive to his audience, he's sincerely democratic not a haughty bone in his body and always ready to promote the works of others.

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the sweetest little song
his heart this big

Hornby Island by Goh Poh Seng (for Billy Little, who shared loved spots and fond friends)

Here on the headland by Downe's Point we case dreams to rise synchronous with eagles and gulls, all make-believe, egocentric, near to fanatical, else aim true to roam deep with Leviathan in the ocean's mind, free from perplexities and profundities such as bind the scheduled self Here is the arbutus grove whose trunks and branches tighten like nerves, twisted witnesses, victims of shapely winds which blow in always unseen, sweet from the south or coming cold from the north, from every direction the prevailing force of nature Wish I could emulate the arbutus slough off my thin skin as easily as these natives trees their bark from abrasion, disdain or design, unveiling the bare beauty of strong, hard wood beneath Over on Fossil Bay the rot of herring roe strewn amongst broken clam shells, dead crabs on dirty grey sand, exposed bedrock, thickened the morning air, but gave no cause for bereavement: these millions of botched birthings! And none also for the Salish, no open lamentation for a race almost obliterated without trace from their native habitat save a few totems, some evidences of middens, a score of petroglyphs of their guardian spirits carved a thousand years ago on smooth flat rock by the shore, of killer whales, Leviathans again, to guide their hunts, the destiny of their tribe. Having retraced them gently with finger tips, they now guide mine.

Halo by Patrick Herron (for Billy Little)

half of love plus half of half is halo and I don't believe in angels, no.