Friday, June 18, 2010

Earle Birney

After graduating at the head of his class in a small high school in the Kootenays, Birney took his cue from T.S. Eliot and landed a job as a bank clerk. He soon transferred to a bank in Vernon, B.C. where his monthly salary rose to a whopping $60. "I persuaded them to let me sleep in a room above the bank which I furnished with packing cases," Birne
y said. "But with restaurant meals at 50 cents each, my salary was soon used up."

That experience may have had something to do with Birney’s eventually political leanings.

"I always remained a leftwing liberal, inclined towards a Marxist understanding of history,” he said. In "Reading the Diary”, he later wrote “Now let this frenzied century unloose/what gales it may/here's one who walked unbowed".

(From an article by Scott Anderson, Quill and Quire, 1976)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bliss Carman

Carman has often mistakenly been called an American poet, something partly accounted for by his proud, if distant, kinship with Ralph Waldo Emerson, and by his own attitudes towards the U.S. “Throughout his life he was amiably pro-American,” says scholar James Doyle, “having no fear of cultural or economic domination, no anxieties about Canadian identity.”

Of him, Ezra Pound said “Bliss Carman is about the only living American poet who would not improve by drowning.”