Friday, April 18, 2014



National Poetry Month was celebrated big time in Nelson last night when Jane Byers launched her first book of poetry.
Steeling Effects, published by Caitlin Press
Jane gave a wonderful reading to a crowd of around sixty people.
I met Jane three or four years ago and it was truly a delight to see all her hard work come to fruition in this lovely collection. In it you'll find poems about work (her background is in corporate health and safety), about her kids (as engaging a pair of six-year-olds as you're likely to find), about being gay, about family and friends and one extremely powerful long poem titled Vigiles in which stanzas examining the role firefighters have played throughout history alternate with quotations from firefighters who survived the World Trade Towers' collapse that is worth the price of admission all by itself.

Otter Books was busy selling books that all but flew off the table!

Jane signed books until her hand all but fell off.
Jane writes intelligent poems punctuated by humour and a keen eye for detail. Steeling Effects takes its title from a term used to describe how coping successfully with stress or adversity breeds resilience, something many of the poems deal with one way or another.
Afterwards there was a wee celebration with cake.

The collection ends with this poem written for a friend's birthday.

for Betty Daniel, 90 

Long twilight,
almost unnoticed,
until the glacier and the endless day you took for granted,
are gone—
your hand a silhouette.

There is relief in darkness:
sag and wrinkles invisible,
expectations of the day evaporate,
like low-hung clouds
giving way to a half-moon belly dancing on water,
not to be compared to the light of afternoon.

There are moments of sparkle in the darkness—
the firefly, the flame,
that also bring warmth,
mingled with memories
of your full life.

At this hour, you risk delight.


Look for Steeling Effects at your independent bookstore, or order it through Caitlin Press or, well, somewhere, but give it a read. It's great!


No comments: