Showing posts from October, 2013


A little Emily Dickinson for this Hallowe'en, from Bartleby . I've seen it punctuated differently -- dashes mid-line, dashes at line ends, and so on -- but the creepy mood remains. Has moss ever seemed more sinister? I DIED for beauty, but was scarce Adjusted in the tomb, When one who died for truth was lain In an adjoining room.    He questioned softly why I failed?         5 “For beauty,” I replied. “And I for truth,—the two are one; We brethren are,” he said.    And so, as kinsmen met a night, We talked between the rooms,         10 Until the moss had reached our lips, And covered up our names.

In Conversation with Stephanie Bolster

I've enjoyed Stephanie Bolster’s poetry and conversation for a long time. She spoke with me in Montreal about about-ness and other matters while the leaves were still on the trees . SUSAN GILLIS: What brought you to poetry? STEPHANIE BOLSTER: First, an immediacy. A means of talking to myself that got to the heart of things, and that I imagined I could share with others. Like many children, I was brought to poetry very early on, as a reader and in grade two I had my first vivid experience of making, through haiku. That I remember my little poem shows that it was important, as I don't remember much else about that year, or most years of elementary school, for that matter. But the image of the garden in my poem (“My mini garden / of crocuses and snowdrops. / Tiny though lovely”) was real, compelling in the way a dream image is. And it was mine. As a shy child who spoke a lot at home but not much in public, I appreciated the intimacy of poetry (and, I see now, th


Stephanie Bolster TAPESTRY, THE CLOISTERS The unicorn made of stitches by hands by the thousands of hours in Ghent or Bruges or possibly years. The unicorn held in a ring of pickets his beard and buckled collar and blood where they caught him. All around the flowers with the names of Venetian glass the hellebore and unbidden berries. All around a place they went to day and night the candles straining the eyes. Skin softened by wool the sheep in the field the wolf. At this great distance the horn is the pinnacle as tall as the beast is rampant its tip a single thread squinted over an instant still flinching. from A Page from the Wonders of Life on Earth . London, ON: Brick Books, 2011. Used by permission. Read my conversation with Stephanie Bolster here .