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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

"AcornFest" update posted on OPEN BOOK ONTARIO site

PurdyFest to celebrate the life of Milton Acorn

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Purdy Country Literary Festival (PurdyFest) will be honouring Milton Acorn at its 6th annual festival this summer.
The festival’s symposium will highlight Acorn’s work and life. Festival organizers are hoping Acorn’s sisters, Mary and Kay, and his brother Robert, will be attending and presenting at “Acorn Fest!”
This year is the 50th anniversary of Acorn’s hand in organizing the Free Speech Movement in Toronto. Mosaic Press is releasing In a Springtime Instant, a new selection of Acorn's work, with a forward and introduction by James Deahl and Terry Barker.
To learn more about Marmora’s PurdyFest visit the Literary Landmark on Open Book: Ontario's map and PurdyFest organizer, Chris Faiers', website.
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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Death Knock - Gail Taylor

                                    Death Knock       
                                      by Gail Taylor

                                   Seldom when death

                                    comes a knocking,

                                    does he call ahead,

                                    but recently he arrived

                                    quite unannounced

                                    pounding at the door.

                                    He barged right through

                                    with nary a thought,

                                    flaunting his disdain

                                    upon paths he crossed.

                                    Rattling his final decree,

                                    he snatched that which

                                    had become now his

                                    and stole away

                                    with my lover’s soul,

                                    leaving in his wake

                                    just a gaping hole

                                    of emptiness

Hi Gail,
This is sad ... thanks for sharing your very heartfelt poem
on the recent death of your partner.
- Chris

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Milton Acorn is Full of Poetry - Chris Faiers

Milton Acorn is Full of Poetry

even tho
you repeat yourself
thinking even your mumbles
are more important than
the truths of beginning poets

& even tho you've never even
acknowledged that I write poetry
you old fart

I am still a student of
even if you are too
goddammed proud to officially open it

So the only way I could join
was to declare it
in this poem
So here it is, Uncle Milty

& even tho I've said
a nasty thing or 2
in this dedication
More Poems for People is still
the only book I read often enough
to hide my money in

- Chris Faiers
introductory poem to my chapbook
College Streetcar Runs All Night
August 1979, Unfinished Monument Press 


why Milton Acorn is important:

Good friend Morley Ellis asked me today why Milt is important, and
was he less favoured by academics than Al Purdy? I explained that
Milt was 'the real thing', he was genuinely homespun, whereas
Purdy had more successfully popularized this rural poetic persona.

And Milt was controversial. There's not much in the poetry of Al Purdy
anyone could take offence to. But Milt, Milt stood his ground - he was
POLITIKAL - he was anti-imperialist - which in those times, and still
today, means "anti-American".

Milt challenged the 'elephant in the room' of American imperialism, and this
was crucial to me as a war resisting draft-dodger who grew up Canadian in
the U.S., and who never assimilated into their jingoistic mentality.

Milt was perhaps only the second 'real' poet I had met. At the University of
Miami I had enjoyed a performance by Allen Ginsberg - chanting and
praying his way through the mystical Tibetan bardos of existence.

And then Milt. In my brief tenure at University of Guelph in 1973, the writer-
in-residence had been Irving Layton. Layton supported the Vietnam War!
What an a-hole I thought. Then I joined the Canadian Liberation Movement
at a campus  book table, and eventually met Milt.

At this time Milt was like a rock star - when the Yurchuks and I organized a
campus reading by Milt, the small hall was filled to overflowing! Milt spoke out
to a generation of Canadians who were sick of American control - this meant
American profs who controlled many Canadian university departments, American
unions which controlled Canadian workers, and American culture which denied
the existence of the growing importance of Canadian writers, singers, actors -
HISTORY - quick, who won the War of 1812? -  Canadian textbooks called
it "the war nobody won". Well, they invaded, we repelled them, and then burned
down the white house.

gotta go help Morley with some chain saw work ... rural myth-making of my own  : )

maybe more later ...
peace & poetry power!
Chris - Feb. 23, 2012

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

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 hoping Milt's sisters, Mary and Kay, and his brother, Robert, will be in attendance and presenting at "AcornFest"!

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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.

Pearl Pirie asked if the above should be submitted here?:
(I said sure!)

Call For Papers

Mount Allison University, Sackville NB, 20–23 September 2012
***UPDATE: Sina Queyras to give Keynote*** [more info]
***UPDATE: Diana Brydon to give Keynote*** [more info]
Poetic discourse in Canada has always been changing to assert poetry’s relevance to the public sphere. While some poets and critics have sought to shift poetic subjects in Canada to make political incursions into public discourses, others have sought changes in poetic form as a means to encourage wider public engagement. If earlier conversations about poetics in Canadian letters, such as those in the well-known Toronto Globe column “At the Mermaid Inn” (1892-93), sought to identify an emerging cultural nationalism in their references to Canadian writing, in the twentieth century poetics became increasingly focused on a wider public, with little magazines, radio, and television offering new spaces in which to consider Canadian cultural production. In more recent decades, many diverse conversations about poetics in Canada have begun to emanate from hyperspace, where reviews, interviews, Youtube/Vimeo clips, publisher/author websites, and blogs have increased the “visibility” of poetry and poetics.
Acknowledging the work that emerged from the 2005 “Poetics & Public Culture in Canada Conference,” as well as recent publications considering publics in the Canadian context, we are interested in examining a growing set of questions surrounding these and other discursive shifts connected with Canadian poetry and poetics. How have technological innovations such as radio, television, and the Internet, for example, made poetry and poetics more accessible or democratic? How does poetry inhabit other genres and media in order to gesture toward conversations relevant to political, cultural, and historical moments? What contemporary concerns energize those studying historical poetries and poetics? How do commentators in public and academic circles construct a space for poetry to inhabit?
The conference sets out to explore the changing shapes of and responses to poetic genres, aesthetic theories, and political visions from a diverse range of cultural and historical contexts. In the interest of reinvigorating conversations about the multiple configurations of poetics, poetry, and the public in Canada, we invite proposals for papers (15–20 minutes) on subjects including, but not limited to:
–Public statements/declarations of poetics
–Publics and counterpublics in Canadian poetry
–The politics of public poetics
–Tensions between avant- and rear-garde poetics in Canada
–Shifting technological modes of poetic and critical production (print/sound/video/born-digital)
–Poetics of/as Activism
–Public Intellectualism and Poetics
–Recovery and remediation of Canadian poetry and poetics
–Poetics and collaboration in Canada
–People’s poetry and/or the People’s Poetry Awards
–Poetry and environmental publics in Canada
Proposals should be no more than 250 words and should be accompanied by a 100-word abstract and a 50-word biographical note. Please send proposals to by 29 February 2012.
PDF version of Call for Papers
Word version of Call for Papers


Hi Gail,
Thanks for our quick response :  ) To help Milt's legacy & Canadian People's Poetry, we need to spread the word of the new 'selected' of Milt's poetry far & wide - oh, & buy a copy at "AcornFest" or from your friendly neighbourhood bookseller.

Also please read up further on Milt (& his best bud, Big Al Purdy ... and his wife, Gwendolyn MacEwen etc.). Show up at "AcornFest (PurdyFest #6) and read your favourite Acorn poems at the Symposium and at the ANOTHER DAM POETRY READING  in Marmora on the islet in the dam on the Crowe River.

nice to hear from you ... see you this summer in Marmora and Malone (ZenRiver Gardens) for "AcornFest".
peace & poetry power!
Chris ... and Chase ... wrffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff! (thanks for volunteering!)

On 2012-02-22, at 6:28 PM, HearOurWords wrote:

HearOurWords has left a new comment on your post "beginning the Resurrection of Milton Acorn ... Pur...":

Honouring Milton Acorn sounds like a great idea. What can I do to help?

Posted by HearOurWords to Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens at 22 February 2012 15:28

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Saturday, 18 February 2012

A BRANCH OVER THE PATH - chad norman


 A certain morning has her
tending not only spring beds
but the path going through
a property I use to find a way
back to an old belief in short-cuts,
a path I found based on directions
another man shared, another man
thought was an easier way home.

Her name is Ruth,
unmistakably kind,
 path owner of sorts, ready
to leave the bulbs and soil
in order to try and have me stop,
stop using the easy way to the job.

I listen to her reasons, her voice
nothing more than the cold morning,
her voice never saying my choice
to cut through the property she
wants  to take away from humans
is a wrong choice, a choice I
think  resembles  the deer's,
how the does were the first to
invade the forest, Ruth said,
is a piece of her family's privacy.

No signs hang from the branch,
and what would it matter, I have
become a deer, and "Keep Out"
wouldn't have caught my eye.

Casa Harris
Nov. 21, 2011

- chad norman

Chad Norman writes and walks in Truro, N. S. His poem is taken from a manuscript, The Book of Awe. Last Fall he founded Grant Block Press, in order to reexplore a more DIY
approach to bringing out his books. The first title is Hugging the Huge Father.

                                                    * * * * * * * * * * 

Thanks, Chad
excellent - great poem & perfectly in tune with the blog

I moved out here almost 23 years ago, & with hopes of getting some advance understanding of the rural mentality, I bought the book LIFE AFTER THE CITY. The author discusses this very thing - how in rural areas paths have been used for generations, & property rights don't mean much - esp. if the new owner is from the city. I've observed this time after time - some bigwig will buy a 100 acres, fence it in, & then the locals (myself included to a lesser degree) will just ignore the structure at best, degrading it is standard practice (I've even found myself pissing on a particularly obnoxious & threatening sign in the middle of a remote favourite trail!), & at 'worst' locals just tear the damn thing down. I've observed some feats of destruction which would put Hercules or Prometheus to shame - huge cedar gate & fence monoliths ripped apart & casually left lying by the snowmobile tracks  :   )

Please send more poems anytime you'd like them posted. Send a bio note if you'd like one included. Every few years I dig thru my boxes & heaps of TO lit memorabilia & revisit the past.  Old issues of THE SHIT always bring a smile.

thanks again for sharing,
peace  & poetry power!
Chris ... and Chase ... (wffffffff tired after nitely walk around the village)

Friday, 17 February 2012

1st Anniversary of Riffling & Rippling - CHEERS!

Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens was born one year ago today, Feb. 18, 2011.

Happy Birthday & many thanks to our contributors, readers, followers and commentators!

Almost 11,000 readers have clicked on the blog, proving this oddly eclectic mix of Canadian People's Poetry, Buddhism & politikal activism has gained a wide audience. Surprisingly, we are read on all continents except the Arctic & Antarctic.

Many poems have debuted on the blog, as well as several poets. Special thanks to the following poets for letting us present their work:

Simon de Abreu
Katharine Beeman
Conrad DiDiodato
Morley Ellis
Chris Faiers/cricket
Katherine L. Gordon
John Hamley/snowflea
Hans Jongman
Jim Larwill
chad norman
Stuart Ross
Stan White
Anna Yin
"Chase" (dogku rules!) 

Thanks to our photographers as well:

Warren Fraser
Peter Rowe
RD Roy
Melanie Skene

The blog has regularly presented petitions on a wide variety of progressive causes, esp. those coordinated by AVAAZ and Amnesty International. It has provided reports on The Arab Spring and fodder on our Canadian federal election (Arrggggghhhh) and on an Ontario provincial election (aarggh).

Poets have published powerful epitaphs on Jack Layton, Christopher Hitchens, some old Canadian Liberation Movement (CLM) comrades (Peter Flosznik and Jon Penner), the four victims of the sharia 'honour killings', Zainab, Sahar, Geeti and Rona, and athlete Sarah Burke.
 RnR was also instrumental in organizing last summer's PurdyFest #5, which quickly led to the very successful Tribute to Raymond Souster at Runnymede Public Library in Toronto on November 22.

The blog gives readers a chance to share book reviews and reminiscences, & info on poetry readings and gatherings such as Jim Larwill's Wolf Fest, as well as general rants and raves. One book I reviewed, Living and Dying in Zazen, inspired a prof to order 40 copies from the author.

Further thanks to Dr. John and Conrad DiDiodato. Without their help & encouragement RnR likely wouldn't  exist.

So begins our second year ... please continue sending items and contributing however and whenever you can ... keep reading ... keep writing ...


Chris & Chase ... wrooooooooooooooooof! (dogs still rule!)

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

When the beatings stopped - Conrad DiDiodato

Sunday, February 12, 2012

When the beatings stopped (a poem for K)

"Victims of spousal abuse are not to blame for the violence they have been forced to endure. They deserve dignity, freedom from fear and compassionate acceptance by the community." (from the "Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime")

     The thief is never whole-souled
nor into a Why
            and so: thinking
a mood's like cat moult, or a good
    st. basil coming from 

              the corps (she hoped!),

    she'd try rather perching on a ledge
                 jabbed at
                 til dawn,
                 a burning beneath fur,
                 an angel's blurry-eyed wetness
and all that--

    Now nothing but the only truly singly
                  could've stopped it, and   (god!)
the Kerl could've

                   She hoped

    So ledge-perched she sat
waiting for mr. moroseness, years older,
    to die--
                  strangely silent now.

                  No, she never took
    the way to his Why:
which only made a hole in one pretty eye,
                  the swampy glare


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Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "When the beatings stopped - Conrad DiDiodato":

I can write a better poem.

Posted by Anonymous to Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens at 16 July 2012 19:11

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Hey, Anonymous

Write a better poem & I'll post it. In fact, send your poem,

better or not, & I'll publish it on the blog!

Chris (the blog 'maestro')

p.s. if you're such a great poet, why the anon. disguise?

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Monday, 6 February 2012

pls Contribute to PurdyFest Scrapbook for Literary Map of Ontario

thanks, Ashliegh!
The site looks great -many thanks for your time & energy on this  :  ) It feels great to be an officially recognized piece of CanLit history.

I'll forward this far & wide to as many poets as I can, with hopes they'll contribute & spread the invitation to contribute even further afield. I'll also post this on my blog.

I'm sure this will evolve into one VERRRRrrrry IInnnnterrrrresting literary scrapbook ...

peace & poetry power!
Chris ... and Chase ... wrffffffffffffffffffffffffff! (back from a great sunny hike to the ancient iron bridge on the old Marmora-Cordova train trail)

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On 2012-02-06, at 12:39 PM, Ashliegh Gehl wrote:

Dear Chris,

Great news, the PurdyFests page on our Literary Ontario Map is now online, you can see the link here.

Thank you so much for all your input, and now you and everyone can add content to the scrapbook anytime! Here are the instructions for adding to the scrapbook, and please encourage everyone who enjoys PurdyFests to  post their comments, video, audio or photos. This will make your PurdyFest page a lively hub for the community to post and share.

1) Create Account
2) Make sure you are logged in, then:
3) Click on the "Contribute" button on the upper right of the Scrapbook, then add content from there (a page offers photo, video, field note, audio)

We look forward to seeing new content in the PurdyFest online scrapbook! Of course, just let me know if any questions at all.

Best regards,

                                                      * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Ashliegh,
After some struggles, I was able to post a hotlink from my well-read blog to the spiffy new Landmark site for PurdyFests. I also copied the email to about 25 'key' PurdyFesters.

I suspect a lot of poets will add material to the scrapbook - this takes a load off me, as over the years people have kindly sent me pics & poems etc., but I've lacked the technical proficiency to put most of this online. Now visitors to PurdyFests can do this themselves!  In effect everyone can contribute to an ongoing archive of Canadian literature, esp. poetry - almost immediately.       VERY DEMOCRATIC & PARTICIPATORY!     .....   (which is what we hope PurdyFests are)

I'm extremely pleased with the look & content of the site - thanks again to everyone at Books Toronto and Books Ontario for being so helpful!

peace & poetry power!
a healthily tired Chris ... and Chase wffff (now napped out after our major hike)

p.s. it may be a good idea to post my blog on the site as well -
Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver gardens:

I'm also comfortable having my email address Posted on the site:

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On 2012-02-06, at 12:31 PM, Ashliegh Gehl wrote:

Hi Chris,

Your outing with Chase sounds lovely. Quite jealous of your wintery walk. Here in Belleville it's sunny and snowless.

Here's the link to the landmark! Now it's time for fellow poets to start filling the scrapbook!

If there's anything you'd like me to add or alter, let me know.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

2010 tour Eel Pie Island - stilL p*Sy*ch^^eDe..lic!!!!!!!!!!

Exploring Eel Pie Island

If you take a short ride on the R68 bus from Richmond, alight at King Street and turn the corner, you’ll come to a narrow footbridge arching over the Thames. This leads to the magical and eccentric Eel Pie Island with an off-beat name just right for its off-beat story.
Bridge To Eel Pie Island
This mysterious little slice of traffic-free land has a musical history that tosses about names like John Mayall, Mick Jagger, Cyril Davies, Eric Clapton, David Bowie. Even before their time, Charles Dickens was said to enjoy a beer over that bridge and Henry VIII was rumoured to pop by the island to fill his stomach with eel pies on his way to entertain his mistresses.
Rainbow Shed
The island’s Eel Pie Hotel became the phenomenon that started it all with hundreds of revellers flooding the island to see The Who or The Stones in the hotel, to drink, dance, get high, sleep around. It started with ballroom dancing, progressed to jazz followed by the Mods and rock ‘n’ roll. Eventually, when the party scene got out of control, a mysterious fire burned the hotel to the ground.
In his memoir “Eel Pie Dharma” about his time on the island, Chris Faiers explained that the site was briefly re-opened as Colonel Barefoot’s Rock Garden where Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd took to the stage. Then the squatters took over. “200 dossers, hippies, runaway schoolkids, drug dealers, petty thieves, heroin addicts, artists, poets, bikers, American hippy tourists, au pair girls and Zen philosophers from all over the world’, who consumed vast quantities of LSD and opened a sex room for orgies”, he wrote.
Blue Eyes
Of course, that has all has changed now. The island has calmed down and is home to a mixed and creative group of just over 100 people. Some are retirees who live in sweet little cottages near the water.
Paintbrushes in Artist's Studio
Over 20 artists live and work in studios further down the island and there’s another group who work in the shipyard.
Eel Pie Ship Yard
Twice a year Eel Pie Island welcomes the public to visit the artists in their studios. Last weekend was one of those times so I went to explore.
Skeleton in Cage
Crossing the footbridge, I was already in another world. I picked up a hand drawn map pointing out the studios from a stack of papers weighed down by a smooth rock and started walking down a winding path. Lush shrubs and flowers formed the edges of the pathway which was empty besides the occasional dog-walker.
Love Shack
The first obvious sign of what was to come was the Love Shack, with colourful tiled front steps and an alligator on the front of the house about to eat a dangling gnome.
Gator and Gnome
There was a sign nearby on a tree that said “Wrong Day, Go Back”. I walked on.
Wrong Day
A green shed with old advertisements for Star Cigarettes, HMV and Punch stood next to a similar building called The Lion Boathouse.
Side of Ship Display
There are a few shops on the island selling necessities like firewood and paint supplies, but residents have easy access to Twickenham shops just over the other side of the river.
Star, HMV, Punch
The most eccentric part of the island was the artist’s community – an organised mess of colourful painted shacks, sheds and old boats where these people live and work. Barbie doll head on the ground, skeleton dangling in a cage outside a house, a broken kitchen sink, a stack of metal spoons, shipyard tools littering the ground.
Watch on the Wall
The people were lovely – chatty, welcoming, friendly, eager to talk about their work. They sold large paintings, sculptures, handmade greeting cards, jeweller, ceramics and photography.
Rosa Diaz
There’s even costume designer called Rosa Diaz famous for collecting Barbie dolls. Many of the artists have been living on the island for years and years. It’s a brilliant and supportive little community.
Nude and Mirror
After walking the complete trail, I turned and headed back under the afternoon sun. I walked slowly back down the green, twisting path.
I Can't Remember
An old man with a walker stopped to smile and nod in my direction before I headed back out of the psychedelic world across the lazy grey Thames. I bet he has some good stories to tell if he’s been living there a while. The crowds have poured out, but there are stories there, unspoken history, memories.
Home in an Old Ship
The island closed back up a few hours after I left, private once again for the rest of the year.
No Cycling
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8 Responses to Exploring Eel Pie Island

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Dakinis sing at ZenRiver (haibun)

Groundhog Day/2012

Two days ago I picked up the book Re-Enchantment: Tibetan Buddhism Comes to the West by Jeffery Paine. Good friend and people's poetry biographer Terry Barker had earlier bought a copy at a Toronto used book store.  Terry recommended I also read it to facilitate our ongoing dialogue on spirituality. As the "guru" of Canadian People's Poetry, Terry and his close friend, poet James Deahl, have organized several "controversies" on people's poetry, the most recent having been held in Marmora, the village where I live on the edge of the Canadian Shield.

Terry's interest in poets and poetry is based on his belief that poets aren't bullshitters - that there has to be close to 100% of truth in what poets write and believe, as there is little chance for financial gain or fame  in Canada as a poet. Terry is also a lifelong investigator of the esoteric, and at the Marmora controversy, held in the summer of 2007, he asked participants to examine the sources of our poetic truths. My basis is Buddhism, and Terry and I initially found little common ground, or even a common vocabulary, to continue our dialogue.

I haven't been reading much since forced into early retirement by a rural Ontario witch hunt, but last night I read until my 63-year-old eyes could read no more. Half the book has been absorbed. Re-enchantment is re-opening and extending my 'Buddhist' consciousness, and today my little dog familiar, Chase, and I visited my retreat, ZenRiver Gardens.

My ostensible reason for the visit was to check on the pines I've planted at ZRG, which were dangerously snow-bent. Several days ago I carefully dug out the pines, many bent double with their tips looking like snow-bound ostriches. On our inspection today I was pleased that most have returned almost upright. So after 'weeziling and wooziling' around ZRG, Chase and I followed the trail to the sacred cedar grove.

small dog sniffs
wild pee scents:
fox den entrance

Chase wandered off, attracted by the scents of a fox den. I collected him from his dangerous explorations, and floundered through drifts, while old Chase, much lighter and operating with 4-wheel drive like my Subaru, danced like a puppy over the cold white drifts.

snow inspires
puppy memories

After an hour's exploring we returned to the car, where I hesitated, wishing to prolong our visit. From the Sube's trunk I retrieved a bottle of Zywiec beer. We were now on the south bank of ZRG, and I sat on the narrow green seat facing the river, sipping away. This is the seat where Thay, the venerated master monk of nearby Zen Forest Monastery, had first sat on his visit two summers ago. I felt honoured to share this seat and vista with such a bodhisattva (Thay would undoubtedly reproach me for calling him this).

silent sitting
Buddha sitting:
same seat, same  thoughts

Chase begged biscuit after biscuit while I sipped my strong beer. The sun had finally decided to shine, and I congratulated myself on the decision to linger by the icy banks of the river.

The rippling river sounds began to mesmerize, and I felt myself slipping into a state between reverie and meditation. Memories floated of earlier meditations and sittings on this spot.

I focused on the beautiful other-worldly sounds the rippling river was creating, and recalled last night's readings about dakinis, discarnate female spirits. And suddenly I understood and realized:

dakinis singing
river songs  



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Firstly Chris, that haiku is WONDERFUL.
  Like Terry I have always been interested in the esoterica of all we experience.
I suspect Celtic thought, myth and inspiration, fuels my muse.   I also pulsate with the inner discoveries of Buddhism. We are blessed Chris.   So great to see with a poet's other-dimension vision.
Yesterday was St. Bridget day, ancient Celtic mother goddess and patron of poets.  Today is Candlemas day,  the ancients always consulted animals to forecast the weather of the season, hence our poor imitation:  Groundhog day.  Just the same only 6 weeks till spring.

We have a bush wolf coming close to the barn.  Bigger than Jessie but Jessie barks it away.  Old lore teaches that urinating around the place will keep him away.   Your beer would help.  Love from Katherine (Gordon).

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

TISHing around ... with DiDiodato/Faiers


Post a Comment On: Word-Dreamer: poetics


"A reading of Frank Davey's "When TISH Happens""

2 Comments - Show Original Post Collapse comments  (from Conrad's blog )

Blogger Chris Faiers/cricket said...
ah, TISH & the tishites - before my time on the CanPo scene, & truthfully, I've never had a remote interest in them, but I know my old Canadian Liberation Movement (CLM) comrade Milton Acorn had a hate-on for them - but that's Milt. Heard on CBC radio last week that Fred Wah is 'our' newest nat. poet laureate ... arrggh - he read a boring, rhyming piece - lots of "K' sounds, which are supposed to be funny if I remember an old Seinfeld episode - but he mostly sounded like a dry old stick ... KATHERINE L. GORDON SHOULD BE OUR NATIONAL POET LAUREATE! She posts timely, inciteful, politikally astute, readable & enjoyable poems on my blog several times a week. But as your piece notes, the tishites are great at that circle-jerking, favour-trading thing akademics love to do, & at which they are unfortunately so often successful : (     arrrgggghh Pretty sure I shared a reading with Fred Wah a quarter century ago at Northern District (head) branch of Toronto Public Library. Ted Plantos & I were the 'local' CanPoets, & Wah and another 'westerner' were the visitors. I invited Wah & the other guy (can't remember his name) out for drinks afterwards, but Ted & I were rebuffed several times, & our invitation was NOT returned. Did finally meet George Bowering & his wife, Jean Baird, at a fund raiser in Belleville in the fall of 2010 - Jean is the guiding spirit behind restoring the Purdys' A-frame in A-burgh, & George was amiable enuff, even friendly to an old supporter of Uncle Milty. Bowering told me he had published the first treatise on Al Purdy, which, synchronistically (word?) I had been browsing in the 819.1 section of the Belle. Library before our reading. Yeah, I wish more true SHIT would happen on the CanPo scene - readable, humanistic poetry, politikally relevant POEMS (e.g. thanks for reminding me to dig out an old Alden Nowlan collection). peace & poetry power! Chris (Faiers)
February 1, 2012 12:46 PM
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Conrad DiDiodato said...
Thanks, Chris I agree with every word: TISH is a pampered academic exercise at best, overblown, its importance grossly overexaggerated. The Kootenay School of Writing, its successor, is even worse! I'll have something to say about Kootenay in a later post. Davey, Wah, Bowering are second-rate poets who've had a free (mostly taxpayer-funded) ride for too long on this TISH=SHIT bandwagon. The only poetry in Canada is the People's Poetry whose iconic figures Katherine Gordon, Milt Acorn, Al Purdy, James Deahl, Ray Souster, etc etc deserve some of the top prizes. I'd love to see a national revival of this 'people's poetry' and would sure love to be part of it. On a personal note, I don't think I'd be writing poetry weren't it for Katherine: she inspired me through kindness, encouragement and devotion to her writing. There should be no confusion in anyone's mind about how much I loathe "academic poetries" in Canada. Let's "occupy" the English faculties and give poetry back to the real 99% who write it! Have a great day, Chris, and long live people's poetry in Canada.
February 1, 2012 1:36 PM