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Heart of a poet

Memorial poets read from their collections on World Poetry Day

Campus and Community

By Mandy Cook

On March 21, World Poetry Day, one can forgive accomplished poet Patrick Warner’s touch of caustic humour.

“World Poetry Day makes me feel like a library book recalled from storage,” said the archives and special collections librarian at the Queen Elizabeth II Library wryly.

Patrick Warner
Patrick Warner
Photo: Chris Hammond

“On the one hand delighted to have the dust blown off my binding; on the other hand sad that it happens only once a year.”

Mr. Warner’s poetry collections include Perfection (Goose Lane Editions/Icehouse, 2012); Mole (House of Anansi Press, 2009); There, there (Signal Editions, 2005) and All manner of misunderstanding (Killick Press, 2001). He has also published two novels: Double Talk (Breakwater Books, 2011) and One Hit Wonders (Breakwater Books, 2015). A new novel, My Camino, is forthcoming from Biblioasis in 2018.

Listen to Mr. Warner recite his poem, “The Golden Acres,” from Octopus (Biblioasis, 2016), his fifth and latest poetry collection, below.

Molly Clarke, this year’s winner of the SPARKS Literary Festival Poetry Prize and an English/linguistics major, says, for her, poems help her remember a specific moment in her life in extreme detail, acting almost like a photograph.

Molly Clarke
Molly Clarke
Photo: Submitted

And while she says she was “super surprised” when she won the poetry contest, it seems the art is deeply ingrained in her.

“I am a big fan of Al Pittman and Leonard Cohen,” said Ms. Clarke. “Both have been pretty big figures in my childhood as my mom is also a fan.”

Ms. Clarke recites her winning poem, “Hunchbacks,” in the following clip.

Shrewdly, Prof. Mary Dalton, the grand dame of poetry in Newfoundland and Labrador and a professor of English at Memorial, turns the conversation from World Poetry Day to National Poetry Month in a few weeks’ time when asked her thoughts about March 21.

Mary Dalton
Mary Dalton
Photo: Paul Daly

Prof. Dalton is the author of The Time of Icicles (Breakwater Books, 1989), Allowing the Light (Breakwater Books, 1993), Merrybegot (Véhicule Press, 2003), Red Ledger (Véhicule Press, 2006), Between You and the Weather (Running the Goat, 2012), Hooking: A Book of Centos (Véhicule Press, 2013) and Edge: Essays, Reviews, Interviews (Palimpsest Press, 2015).

In between pitching several poetry-related stories to this contributor, Prof. Dalton introduces the basic thrust of the poem she has chosen to recite: “The Old Woman and Alba.”

“Among my ongoing projects is a series of poems about Alba, a contemporary woman enmeshed in the circumstances of her time,” she said.

“The old woman came on the scene when I was invited to contribute a poem to a book being edited by Alex Marland and Lisa Moore, a collection of writings on the theme of improving democratic governance in Newfoundland and Labrador, forthcoming from ISER Books. The old woman is a figure of embattled democracy.”

Enjoy Prof. Dalton’s recitation below.

Happy Poetry Day, everyone!

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