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Seniors Active Living Centre

Events continue at the Seniors Active Living Centre, Bell Aliant Centre, UPEI, Charlottetown: Janua [ ... ]

PEI Sociable Singles

PEI Sociable Singles is a non-profit, non-denominational, social group with members age 40 and over. [ ... ]

A gift of Island poetry: John MacKenzie

The Feet of Blue Herons

If you happen to live in another town,
Or country, or even galaxy
As dim and distant in time as in space
From these words, this language, the narrow
Range of pitch across its plosive phonemes,
Do not worry if you’ve never heard of me. 

I only make things of quiet lies arranged
To describe the folding and unfolding
Wings and limbs continually attempt
In lust and flight and contemplation;
I have layered these in slow variations
One atop another for year after year.

Do not attempt to distinguish them, one from
Another: If you do, you may see the seams,
For instance, where I have placed marshes
Between the slopes of hills and the sea; you may
Peer, puzzled, at how I hold it together,
Pinned with the feet of blue herons in shallows. 

You may only live down the street from me
And smile when we pass in the evening under
The soldering moon I use to fasten
All the crows to the harbour after sunset
And still not know my name, nor I yours, and yet
We both know the sound of gulls at turn of tide.

But I can tell you it doesn’t matter
Who we know. Or if these are my lies or yours.
What matters is the sound of separation:
An endless tearing like the night by stars
Turning in it, or the friction of feathers
Slowly pulled apart by gravity. 

—John MacKenzie. Mumbling Jack, 2017 (mumblinjack.wordpress.com).

PEI poet laureate Deirdre Kessler selects a poem a month by an Island poet for readers of The Buzz.

A gift of Island poetry: Judy Gaudet

Curated by Deidre Kessler

Anticipation

Outside my window the world is hovering
on hummingbird wings beating such a quick time
it’s as if it’s standing still, holding its breath
until it lets go and roars and batters through
this still scene with snow flying and winds baffling
the house, the garden disappearing in a blind
whirling robe of white fire. The geranium, the begonia,
David and Star and I stand watch at the window,
grateful our house is standing quiet, holding steady.
Our house nestled in the village, our village nestled
in farmland, our land nestled in the inlet, in the strait,
in the Gulf, H²0 risen up and returned in the wind
as white curtains billowing at the window.

—Judy Gaudet. Conversation with Crows (Oberon Press) and 150+: Canada’s History in Poetry (Acorn Press, 2018) are Judy’s two most recent collections.

PEI poet laureate Deirdre Kessler selects a poem a month by an Island poet for readers of The Buzz.

A gift of Island poetry: J. J. Steinfeld

Curated by Deirdre Kessler

There Are Questions I Would Like to Ask

How can you imagine gunfire and poetry
in one line
a longish rather awkward line.
This is not a question
merely an observation
under duress
and a desire to admit
any of a hundred
fantastical sins
and errors in judgement.

There are questions
I would like to ask
such as what is the nature of love
and lovelessness
in the face of conflicts
and theologies
that treat Heaven and Hell
as real estate?

How do you negotiate with a demon
when you both watch the same TV shows
applaud the same ads
and shop the better part of the evening
at the same stores in the mall?

Oh no, the gunfire and poetry have resumed
and I cannot translate either.

—J. J. Steinfeld, Misshapenness, Ekstasis Editions, 2009. J. J.’s new poetry collection, A Visit to the Kafka Café (Ekstasis, 2018) will be available this month.

PEI poet laureate Deirdre Kessler selects a poem a month by an Island poet for readers of The Buzz.

A gift of Island poetry: Chris Bailey

Curated by Deirdre Kessler

Things My Buddy Said

Oh, brother, growing up I’d get into trouble
like you wouldn’t believe. Like you never seen.
One time I got out of the car. I was 15, 16

and I was with my father. It was hot, man.
A hot summer. We were at the grocery store,
in the parking lot and this guy cut us off

and I went over and hauled him out and just
hammered him. Got back in the car and my father,
he says, What the hell is wrong with you?

I liked acting and music. I worked and I boxed,
you know. The size of my hands, you wouldn’t believe.
Take Sinatra. He was the real deal. The poet laureate

of loneliness. Here, listen to this. I think you’ll really
get it. I think you’ll get a lot out of it. Heartbreak, man.
You’ll get over that broad. Just listen to the words.

Hey, you see these shoes? You like them?
I got ’em off a drug dealer. Really. Don’t know
what he laced ’em with but I been tripping all day.

—Chris Bailey, What Your Hands Have Done, (Nightwood Editions, 2018). 

PEI poet laureate Deirdre Kessler selects a poem a month by an Island poet for readers of The Buzz.

A gift of Island poetry: David Helwig

Curated by Deirdre Kessler

WAKING

Morning light, and in soft
strokes of oil pastel,
rose, coral, summer wheat,
a face quiet among the ruffles
of crumpled bedding,
eyelashes of your shut eyes,

as my wakened nerves stir
morning into meaning
by all such secular mandalas,
the new occasions of weather,
abrupt particulars, the shock
of scalding coffee,

each day sure to grow
sleek and gargantuan
with its excessive possibilities,
a garland of fret,
and the habits, hard work,
the required names,

but we are rich as thieves
in the immediacy
of the first awakening
before we remember time
and words expire
into only what they say.

—David Helwig, Sudden and Absolute Stranger, Oberon Press, 2016. 

PEI Poet Laureate Deirdre Kessler selects a poem a month by an Island poet for readers of The Buzz

On September 25, 2018 at 7:30 pm at The Carriage House, 2 Kent Street, Bookmark and Deirdre Kessler, along with twenty Island poets and writers, will celebrate David Helwig and his literary accomplishments. This event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

A gift of Island poetry: Richard Lemm

Curated by Deirdre Kessler

Poems Should 

stain your tongue
    like pomegranates’ crimson
hearts, sacrifice to the countless
    gods no one remembers
sit in the back of MBA classes
    humming “Love for Sale”

show up stoned on magic
    mushrooms at scientific
conferences on consciousness, check into
    rehab for bleeding
heart syndrome, transfuse
    puritans with sensual passion

poems should incubate
    forgiveness, inject it
into the veins of the bitter
    scar with the pox of humility
the self-righteous, unblind those
    who think they own the Earth

poems should open fire, spare
    no one feeling entitled
to extravagant wealth, gloating
    over their good fortune
leaving others to pick up the pieces
    of their creative destruction 

campaign for candidates
who promise simple decency
dancing and clean water
    be left unattended at airports
    operate without anaesthetic

—Richard Lemm, Jeopardy (Acorn Press, 2018).

—Prince Edward Island poet laureate Deirdre Kessler selects a poem a month by an Island poet for readers of The Buzz.

Gift of Island Poetry: Leon Berrouard

My Coffee in Aix-en-Provence 

Just past the Renaissance Cathedral
And across from the school gate
There was a small & warm café 
And that’s where I’d have morning coffee

I remember the narrow stone street
And the limestone buildings
As I watched the way things are
Drinking my demi-tasse of café noir

Before classes in the Université courtyard
I’d lock my bike and then go to a bench
And sit and study French
As time passed I’d have more to say
And sometimes drank a café au lait

—Leon Berrouard, Epiphany on Route 70 (Red Wheelbarrow Press, 2018).

Prince Edward Island poet laureate Deirdre Kessler selects a poem a month by an Island poet for readers of The Buzz.

A gift of Island poetry: Steve McOrmond

Cats and Dogs

Rain, rain, rain on the roof
like a noise machine – you’ve been listening
but you can’t hear the loop.
You aren’t alone. The past holds itself aloof
like a cat, absolutely certain
it’s the most captivating and misunderstood
creature in the room. Present
company included. The future is the twin
that couldn’t be more different.
Anxious as a dog leashed to a lamppost,
it knows its master, who’s just run in
for cigarettes, might not be coming back,
that things are always in the process
of never being the same again. This,
like a bowl on the verge of empty, warrants
hypervigilance. The past drapes itself
around your neck, a suffocating,
purring pelt. Of course it’s self-satisfied.
It’s made it this far. The future twitches and jerks
in its sleep, chasing some small frantic
thing that leaves the perfume of its panic
on the air. No one tells you how
hard it will be to ignore them, pawing
at the door to be let out, in, out, in, out again.

—Steve McOrmond. Reckon published by Brick Books, 2018.

P.E.I. poet laureate Deirdre Kessler selects a poem a month by an Island poet for readers of The Buzz.

Events Calendar

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Some Upcoming Events

Bluegrass at the Carriage House

February 3
Beaconsfield Carriage House Janet McGarry and Wildwood, a favourite PEI band, will be fea [ ... ]

Jack Frost Winterfest at Eastlink Centre

February 15–18
Charlottetown Emmy-Award winning entertainers, Imagination Movers, will bring their [ ... ]

The Charlottetown Film Society & L’Ipéen...

Select dates
City Cinema Tickets at the door, cash only, $7, or visit Eventbrite.ca for advance [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

Music PEI Canadian Songwriter Challenge

In partnership with ECMA 2019 Music PEI and ECMA 2019 have announced a partnership bringing togethe [ ... ]

The facilitator

Profile: Steve Bellamy by Jane Ledwell “Arts are ways into emotions. Arts are where we connect, [ ... ]

A gift of Island poetry: John MacKenzie

The Feet of Blue Herons If you happen to live in another town,
Or country, or even galaxy
As dim and  [ ... ]