Tuesday, May 26, 2015


can we be this
open? can we really be
this naked flesh
and bone broken
and pressed
and then can we
be honest and
without shame?

this is a man
without guile
he said,
and then pointed
to the moment
the wound was fresh
and heart broken
i wandered
into a desert
full of searching

when the time
was complete
(a week,
40 days,
a year)
i awoke --
found that someone
made a poultice
and wrapped it around me
-- a cataplasmic cast

i found myself
beneath a fig tree.
i reached upwards
and emptied
each branch,
filled my mouth
with seeds,
made myself a home
in the earth.
covered the scars
fingered in the skin
drew in the sand
new figures.

Friday, May 1, 2015

reflections on national poetry month/ NaPoWriMo

april is National Poetry Month in both Canada and the United States, and over the past 6 years i have posted a poem a day to join in this celebration of language and symbol.

in 2010, 2011 and 2013 i simply posted poems that moved me in some way. in 2012 i offered poems that had a more religious sensibility, and in 2014 i focussed on canadian poets. those years i also concluded National Poetry Month with a poem of my own. this year it was again simply poems i enjoy.

each year i have returned to some of my favourite poets – Anne Carson, Jan Zwicky, Nicholas Samaras – but i have also discovered so many new poets, such as Gregory Orr. i have also tried to include a range of poetic voices.

last fall i had the opportunity to attend the Glen West writing workshop with Scott Cairns, another of my favourite poets. it was encouraging in that, while i hadn’t really pursued my poetry for some 15 years, the most recent poems i submitted were pretty solid poems. i wasn’t, it seemed, as rusty as i had thought. when i returned i continued writing poetry, and have enjoyed this reawakening immensely.

this year, inspired by that experience, i took on the additional challenge of posting a new (and as finished as possible) poem each day. i had been thinking of NaNoWriMo and wondered if there were anything comparable for poetry. lo, and behold, there waseth.

i invited several friends and colleagues to join me in this challenge though, ultimately, only Dave von Bieker joined me in this experiment. it was pretty exciting to see what wrote.

while there were days that stretched pretty late before i was able to post something, for most of the month it felt pretty comfortable. i will definitely be revisiting a number of these poems and rewriting/ editing, but on the whole they feel pretty complete. i also look forward to exploring some other formats and using some prompts i gathered over the month. after all, i do have a goal of 50 to 60 finished poems.

i think i would still like to set a standard for continuing to write - perhaps a [finished] poem every 2 weeks? - but in the meantime, if any of my fellow poets and writers would be willing to give feedback, i would truly appreciate it.
until next year...