Sunday, March 06, 2011



Sometimes keeping a blog is just plain onerous. This is one of those times. I watch the visitor numbers go up and think, who? Why? Bloggers like me who don't solicit comments or other nods that someone's reading are often riddled with guilt when they don't post new stuff, and why? It's not like anyone's complaining. Ah, the cyber-age. It's getting to me.

Okay, so in poetry-land, what's happening? On Valentine's Day I got word that The Antigonish Review will be publishing one of my poems in a future issue. I'm pretty happy about that, and a shout-out to the editors there; turnaround time from November 23, 2010 to Feb 14, 2011 is just shy of three months. Not bad! I wasn't even starting to look for a response, and nor am I for the other three submissions I sent out that day. Four to six months is kind of the norm. Of course, just to keep me humble, I got rejections from two other places the next week. Now to toss those babies in the shower, clean them up and send them off to somebody else.

February never got a post from me as I was away for two weeks in Mexico where we walked on the five-kilometer beach and ate wonderful food and read books. And drank the odd beer! 

The sunsets were incredible...

Bright colours everywhere at the Friday market...

After we got back several people asked if we felt safe, given all the news of drug-related shootings coming out of there. Well, yes, we did feel perfectly safe. Which is why it was a bit of a shock one day to observe these kids on the beach. Look closely and you'll see that each of the boys is carrying a gun. 'Guns are not toys,' I thought somewhat indignantly, then remembered my son making one out of Lego when he was little. What is the attraction? 

This little guy (he was about 2 inches long) was shedding his skin. When first I spied him on the floor I thought he'd been stepped on, but he was just resting.


 Egret hanging out at the mangrove swamp...

Me and my guy...

I took some poetry with me: John Steffler's Lookout, plus an anthology of new Canadian poems. After our trip to Newfoundland in 2009 I somehow heard about Steffler's The Grey Islands, a long narrative poem originally published in 1985 that chronicles life on a remote island off the northern peninsula there. Wilderness writing at its finest. I picked up a 2-CD dramatic reading of same last year. I listen to it whenever I have long, solitary drives, and love the way it plants me back in that wild, unruly, beautiful province.

Also on the reading list was The Song Reader, by Lisa Tucker, which I enjoyed, and The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, which is narrated very effectively (and affectively, come to think of it) by a dog, and The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, which is set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early sixties, so you know what kind of "help" we're talking about here. I love vacation reading. These were three "can't put it down" books, especially The Help which is 450-odd pages and I read it in two days (I'm not a speed reader by any means).

All too soon, it was time to come home. Since being back, I've been reading lots of Dorianne Laux's poetry, and An Autoerotic History of Swings by Patricia Young. In the prose department, I finally finished Stephen King's Under the Dome. I used to read him like crazy, gave up around the time he wrote Gerald's Game, I think it was. This book, which was over 1,000 pages long, reminded me a little of The Stand, the first of his books I ever read and one I loved. Apparently, he's been writing Under the Dome since the 70's, so that may explain my patience with it.

The other day I picked up the mail and there in a plain brown envelope was a chapbook, An Ode to my Nephew, by Kelsey Wiebe. She sent it along because, she wrote, she remembered how intrigued I was by all the obscure chapbooks in her basement in Prince George when Ted and I were up in that part of the province visiting his cousin in Terrace, who also happens to be Kelsey's grandmother. Well yes, I am always intrigued by chapbooks and am always delighted to find them in someone's house. Such a time-honoured way of getting poems out into the world. This collection of poems dedicated to Kelsey's young nephew made me laugh, cry, and I found myself nodding in appreciation at several of her lines. In the way of all good poems, she writes of universal truths but manages to find fresh, new ways to do so. In family photos: take two, for example, she says:

we set you up as a focal point on the yellowed lawn,
pointed your brown shoes perpendicular and waited
for happiness.

How lucky are children who have poems written for/about them!

Over and out for this time. Thanks for stopping by!


1 comment:

Kim Goldberg said...

Beautiful Mexico photos, Linda! And congrats on getting one of your poems accepted by Antigonish!