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Canadian Content on Harriet Plummets May 13, 2009: With this post, I reach the end of my run at Harriet. Many thanks to the Poetry Foundation for the invitation to blog and to the other bloggers for their comments and to all of the readers. I hope to find more Canadians on Harriet sooner rather than later - or perhaps a portfolio committed to Canadian poetry in some future issue of the print [...] by

Talismans May 13, 2009: Some time ago, in the spirit of good fun, I asked the denizens of Harriet what was on their desks and – perhaps understandably – reaped few responses. What does it matter, the cluttered context in which a writer gets her writing done? Who wants to confess to the favourite Troll doll that stands watch over a keyboard? Nevertheless, I was happy [...] by

Poetry Is May 11, 2009: Recently, over at Slate, John Dickerson posed a challenge to readers: define the game of baseball in 150 words or less. Dickerson had been trying to figure out how to explain baseball to his six year-old son, without losing the son's attention. He got many responses, which got me thinking: how would one (e.g. a teacher or a parent) define poetry [...] by

Accidental Poetry and What to Do with the Stuff May 7, 2009: Archie: You ain’t yet explained to me what’s all the attraction with the Catholics? Edith: They have lots of interesting things – like those confessionals right in the church. They’re like telephone booths to God. Gloria: Ma, that’s very poetic. Archie: What the hell’s poetic about it, I didn’t hear nothing rhyme? It [...] by

Harriet Goes to the Movies April 28, 2009: Throughout the month of April, the National Post, a paper up here in Canada (or down here, if you live in Wasilla or something) has been conducting brief E-mail interviews with poets, for its books blog. I thought I would reproduce one of the quirkier questions here: “Novels are always being adapted into movies. What are some poems that deserve [...] by

Where Would You Like to Live?: A Reading of a Poem I Like, Plus a Question April 26, 2009: Real estate is on a lot of minds these days, but it’s in them, too; isn’t the mind (read: the imagination) a kind of low-rent housing to which we can retreat, however briefly, when we’ve been startled by a sudden scattering of cockroaches or when life, in general, looks grim under its bare bulb? I write “low-rent” because the only price [...] by

What One Can Learn About Poets from Their Acknowledgements: Some Rickety Conclusions April 19, 2009: They appear every few years, when poets put out new collections, which is to say: they appear infrequently. Indeed, they often resemble afterthoughts, slipped into the backs of books or shrunk down and very nearly dissolved in the tiny type of copyright pages. And the events they record and acknowledge – the securing of grants, the input of [...] by

Do I Dare Disturb the Reader?: Some Thoughts on Horror, Plus Two Brief Readings of Poems I Like April 11, 2009: Poetry, we’re assured, is a full-service operation. It makes nothing happen, provides momentary stays against confusion, gives language a good Swiffering, fills time at weddings, kills Time at funerals – it has a full itinerary. But one thing it sometimes seems ill-equipped to do is scare us. I mean really scare the shit out of us, and not [...] by

A Cinch(ing): A Reading of a Poem I Like April 5, 2009: At present, Canadian poet Elise Partridge can claim to enjoy a daily audience of many tens of thousands of readers. These aren’t just any old readers; they are those most coveted of literate creatures: general readers. They are also the commuters, myself included, who take public transit in Toronto where Partridge’s poem “Vuillard [...] by

Poetry in Motion: A Slightly Awkward Attempt to Figure Out What This Term Means (and Thus Maybe Not the Best Example of the Term); Also, an Excuse to Quote Passages of Poetry about Baseball March 31, 2009: Occasionally, when we admire a thing – a particular pastime, say – we claim there’s a certain “poetry” to it. If the thing’s a moving body then we might call it “poetry in motion.” For example, we sometimes claim there’s a certain “poetry” to baseball. Or we describe one of its players as “poetry in motion.” But what [...] by