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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Resurrection of Canada's PEOPLE'S POET Milton Acorn Imminent

IN A SPRINGTIME INSTANT, the new selected of Canada's People's Poet Milton Acorn, is about to go to press!

Last night I caught up with Terry Barker, the godfather who initiated this project, and Terry assured me the many and various final details have been ironed out, and copies of the book should be printed within weeks. 

Now we need your help in resurrecting the legacy of Milt, a major poet in Canada's literary canon, and one many sister/fellow poets consider Canada's very finest. 

The Mosaic Press book committee, consisting of editor James Deahl, Mary Hooper, Milt's sister and literary executor, poet Joe Rosenblatt, publisher Howard Aster and behind-the-scenes eminence Terry Barker have done their work. Others have helped where needed, including Toronto poet Anna Yin, Milt's other sister, Kay, his poet brother, Robert, and me in a minor role as tub thumper. 

It's been over a quarter of a century since Milt passed, and we are concerned how best to resurrect Milt and his poetry through sales and distribution of this book.  

If you would like to help Mosaic with this project - book sales &/or launches, reviews, readings, radio or TV interviews, or even anecdotes about Milt  - please email me and I'll forward your information to Howard at Mosaic.

Or contact Howard directly, or any other member of the book committee.

Thank you for your help with this. Peace and Poetry Power in Milt's memory!
- Chris Faiers
from blog Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens:


following is an earlier posting on the new Selected

beginning the Resurrection of Milton Acorn ... PurdyFest #6=AcornFest

Our 6th annual Purdy Country Literary Festival (PurdyFest) will honour the life and legacy of Canada's People's Poet, Milton Acorn. Following is my review of Terry Barker's 2006 book to give readers an idea of the importance of Milton Acorn to Canadian poetry.

Mosaic Press will be releasing a new selected of Milt's work, In a Springtime Instant, in 2012. The 250 page collection will be introduced with forwards and introductions by James Deahl and Terry Barker. 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of Milt's organizing the Free Speech Movement in Toronto, along with fellow poet Joe Rosenblatt and many others.

This summer's Symposium will feature the life and work of Milton Acorn, and we are inviting presenters to participate.

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The Unacknowledged Acorn

"Beyond Bethune:
People's Poetry and Milton Acorn's Metaphor for the Canadian Fate"
by Terry Barker

review by Chris Faiers

Milton Acorn received Canada's highest literary honour, the Governor General's Award for Poetry, in 1975. A few years earlier a motley congregation of fellow writers, including Margaret Atwood and Al Purdy, had laid the foundation for Acorn's overdue recognition by presenting him with the unique "People's Poet Award" at a disreputable bar on Spadina Avenue.

Terry Barker is an academic who was a longtime friend of Acorn and other practitioners of "people's poetry". Barker, too, is deserving of special recognition for his ongoing contributions to analyzing Canadian poetics - in a time when poets and their art are completely marginalized and ignored.

The essays in Barker's book add up to a full-bodied historical forum on the philosophy, poetics and practice of people's poetry in Canada. Unfortunately, his book is likely too academic, too unhip and obscure to register on more than the most sensitive of antennae.

But the messages Acorn thundered from the ether of the northern lights, the power of the spirit of the true north, strong and free, will be read and intuitively understood by those crucial few vibrating antennae. Barker knows poets are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, the unacknowledged legislators of our age. Terry Barker takes poets and their messages very seriously. In these final years of the American empire, the necessity of an awakened Canadian spirit with a backbone as strong as the Shield are a requirement for our northern survival. Acorn preached this, and every Canadian worth their salt should learn more about Milton Acorn, Canada's People's Poet.

Barker's book will stretch you philosophically, socially, politically, poetically and spiritually. Terry, Uncle Milty the raven shaman, is cawing his thanks!

Beyond Bethune is published by Synaxis Press
37323 Hawkins-Pickle Road
Dewdney, BC
Canada V0M 1H0
174 pages; paperback. $30

Review "The Unacknowledged Acorn" is copyright by Chris Faiers.

Reviewer Chris Faiers received the inaugural  "Milton Acorn People's Poet Medal" in 1987. His poetry has been widely published, anthologized and broadcast. Faiers spent a decade as the head librarian in the village of Stirling, Ont.

and another earlier posting


the Uncles are bird spirits now (poem for Milt & Al)                                                                                                                                                            

the Uncles are bird spirits now
flying thru realms
tricksters, obvious in their choices

Milt, the raven spirit
and Al,
the gawky blue heron

your poems foretold this
Milt cawing angrily at the dense humans;
Al, more sanguine
more grounded,  multi-dimensional:
heron lives in water
air the daily flightpath home

these only two of the incarnations
you love to fool us with now …
Uncles, so many days you visit
flying, laughing free
through the spirit world
only poets & shaman
can begin to comprehend

we earthbound beings
yearn to fly with your flocks

raven, heron floating above
trickster turtles swimming with awkward strokes
sun basking in A-burgh’s millpond

poet friends transform
before my inner eye …
Jim D. chooses heron
as does John B.
while Larwill is the new raven king

the sun shines too brightly
through your new kingdoms
water transparent
as these words

heron zazen stalks
while turtles meditate
all deeply carved
into the teaching rocks
at Petroglyphs Park

we would miss you
except you visit so often
you are almost as annoying
in the next world
as you were in this one 

Chris Faiers

From my blog: Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens

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