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Poetry Month

April 5, 2010

Thank you, Pickle Me This, for reminding me that it’s  April and that April is Poetry Month! I must have anticipated April, the month known as Poetry Month, back in March, when I spontaneously decided to reread Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. (I guess the decision wasn’t entirely spontaneous, seeing as I was on a plane from Budapest back to Toronto and I had brought the book — a novel in verse — along with me; a pre-planned decision, but still in anticipation of poetry month, nonetheless. Even after finishing Onegin [and I’m a slow reader], I still had to endure 4.5 hours of flying time. That was an interminable flight.)

The problem with my new interest in birds is that I’m now noticing them everywhere. Not only in the mornings, since I am now awakened at ungodly hours by chirping (whose, I don’t know…I’m not at the stage of identifying birds by song quite yet!). I must admit that one of the highlights of rereading Onegin was finding a herd of cackling geese which I had never noticed before!

“Southward stretch the caravans/ Of wild geese, in noisy clans,/ And, mist on meadows everywhere,/ A tedious season we await,/ Who find November at the gate.” (Onegin, Book IV, 40; translated by A.S. Kline)

What about the duel? The unrequited love? Tatiana? Lensky? Onegin himself? Nope. All I saw were geese.

Well, you’ll be happy to know that I took away a few other things as well, but it’s late, my chicken soup is boiling over, and I’m finding it hard to write something intelligible about Pushkin when I now have a bunch of geese running wild in my mind. Especially after seeing all those Canada Geese on Saturday. Loud, relentless, ubiquitous and not entirely attractive.

I think my favorite Canadian poet who writes of birds is Don McKay. For him, they inhabit another gravity, which is the title of his book that I reread most frequently. He uses birds and flight as a way to explore our complex notions of home/homing — and he does it brilliantly.

From Don McKay’s poem “Homing” (from Another Gravity):

“…And the smudged bird? I say it’s/ a Yellow Warbler who has flown/ from winter habitat in South America to nest here/ in the clearing. If we catch it, band it,/ let it go a thousand miles away it will be back/ within a week. How? / Home is what we know/ and know we know, the intricately/ feathered nest. Homing/ asks the question.”

(And now my turn to ask a most prosaic question: how on earth do you get poetry quotes to single space? I’ve separated each line with a slash cause it was all turning out to be double spaced…!)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Fireweed permalink
    April 5, 2010 11:22 pm

    I believe the trick is to press SHIFT+ Enter if you want a single space, my friend.

    Poetry month. Perfect. I’m in the mood for poetry.

  2. April 6, 2010 11:38 am

    Thanks!! I’m pretty slow at all this technology stuff. I wonder if it’s age. Seems I’m kind of getting slow with everything. Ah well! Then again, these days, slow is the new fast. So there! I’m hip again:)

  3. April 14, 2010 10:27 pm

    Glad to remind you! I did an interview with a birding poet earlier this week, you might have seen. I recommend her book– it has a bird on its cover.

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