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FOUR PATHS: TANIS MACDONALD

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Word-hoard, lone-wolf, stormcloud, throw: Tanis MacDonald on four paths that brought her to poetry -- and poetry to her. Path #1: word-hoard I was a reading kid, a memorizing kid, a reciting kid. I learned to read with oddly Victorian books: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Stevenson’s A Child‘s Garden of Verses, an illustrated Grimm’s Fairy Tales as big as a phone book. I suspect that my grandmother’s educated friends bought these books for me. I know that my parents didn’t, though they read them to me night after night until I was old enough to read by myself. Each of these books, and the other book I heard read aloud in the first few years of my life, the King James Bible, used incantatory and repetitive language. Words crowded into my head and stuck. To this day, I have a strong aural memory and sensitivity to sound. If I quiet my mind enough, smooth down the shoutiness of the day and just listen, I can hear a voice in my head that speaks poetry nearly all the time. Th