Showing posts from July, 2014

A Spectator to the Wild: In Conversation with Carolyn Smart

Carolyn Smart introducing the Bronwen Wallace Award in Toronto, May 2014 A garden, a shade tree, a summer afternoon, a great bookshop , food and wine, music and poetry ... that's Tamworth, where I recently met up with Carolyn Smart as she read from her forthcoming book Careen.   SUSAN GILLIS: What brought you to poetry? CAROLYN SMART: I grew up in a highly competitive literary family: my father was a Commonwealth Scholar who studied with Robert Frost at Harvard; my mother’s tutor for her “Reading and Writing” program at Sarah Lawrence College was Joseph Campbell. She read ee cummings aloud to me when I was a young girl and I fell in love with the power of language very early on. I found myself writing Harlequin Romance-type short stories while in a freezing cold boarding school on the Sussex coast of England. It wasn’t until I discovered the poetry of Leonard Cohen when I was 16 that I turned my hand to poetry, and have rarely looked back. I owe so much to a superb hig

Carolyn Smart: A Poem

Carolyn Smart SHELTER My 11 year old self is walking on the playing field towards the rhododendron woods, the edge of my boarding-school grounds. To my right is the single swing where the Lady Caroline explained to me how her mother was a Countess, dark hair parting open then closed on her freckled, anxious face. Why do you not go back to America , the girls ask, that place where the President was shot, is that not where people who talk like you should be? But that is not where I live, nor do I live in Canada now, for my parents have sailed away, taking their arguments with them. They do not write to tell me of our future. They do not write at all. Inside the rhodo woods the older girls build shelters. We sweep our tree house spotless every day, brooms of leaves, bent boughs as seats. It is only children here and we are kinder in a way to one another, in the woods. We are a sort of family, and briefly unafraid. It is impo