Thursday, January 28, 2010

Anne Szumigalski.

The late, British-born, Saskatoon poet, was a relief worker in concentration camps as they were liberated by the Allies in the closing weeks of World War Two. In 1951, she immigrated to Canada, settling in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where she helped found both the Saskatchewan Writer's Guild and the literary journal Grain.

In 1995, Szumigalski was awarded the Governor General's Award for Poetry for Voice. She died in 1999. Each year the Anne Szumigalski Editor's Prize is awarded in her memory.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

John Pass

Pass was born Dec. 19, 1947, the same day in the same year that Duncan Campbell Scott died. A reincarnation of one of Canada's great Confederation Poets? Perhaps not, says Pass, though upon discovering this fact from the Canada Council for the Arts Calendar, it did stir increased interest in him for Scott’s work.

“The link tugged at me, implied an odd responsibility. I revisited especially his later poems, and one in particular, "En Route", suggested continuity…More significantly, though, it is an early (perhaps the first) instance in our literature of a quintessential Canadian experience: the contemplation of an arbitrary tract of nondescript track-side land from the window of a stalled train. For this alone it must stand as a cultural mile-marker."

John Pass is one of several contemporary poets featured in The Companions Series of broadsheets writing in response to poems they have chosen by other poets. Among the contributions: Lori Maleea Acker’s An Inner Regard in response to an excerpt from Wallace Stevens’s Things Of August and Sue Wheeler’s Understory in response to Don McKay’s Stumpage.

For further information about the Companions Series phone or email High Ground Press: 604 883 2377

Saturday, January 2, 2010

William Hamilton.

The great English mathematician was a phenomenally creative thinker and wanted very much to write poetry. It took his friend William Wordsworth to gently point out that his talents did not lie in that direction. "You send me showers of verses which I receive with much pleasure ... yet we have fears that this employment may seduce you from the path of science."

(Submitted by Edmonton poet Alice Major)

Alice Major will publish her ninth collection of poetry in spring 2010, with the University of Alberta Press, and is working on a book of essays about the intersections between poetry and science. Her poem "Symmetries of Dilation" is based on the mathematical idea of symmetry and is featured in our “Great Poems” section below.