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From the Noticeboard

5th Etsy Made In Canada Day

On September 29 there will be pop up markets organized by local Etsy sellers taking place in dozens  [ ... ]

Arthritis Awareness

September is Arthritis Awareness Month and this fall the Arthritis Society will offer free education [ ... ]

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.

A gift of Island poetry: Edward MacDonald

KNITTING HEADS

I remember my father knitting heads.
Broad back pressed flat
against the rails of his chair,
he leans back,
one knee-bent, woolen-footed leg
braced against the window ledge.
Tension flows down
the sweather-thickened arm,
along the ladder of cotton twine,
to a nail anchored in the window sill. 

January thaw is come and gone
and frost thickens on the window panes.
Outside the yard is rusty iron.
A sea of wind tears at the seaweed
banked about the house,
as if to drive it back to the shore again.
A mile away the bay’s throat
is thick with ice
as the life beneath it crawls toward spring.

The fire in the woodstove hisses and pops,
and my father whistles
as he binds his twine wall row by row.
He works the polished wooden gauge
in and out and in again,
loops the boat-shaped needle
around and through, pulls taut:
each cotton knot rough
against the calloused ridges
of finger and thumb.
Come closer—
can you hear the needle faintly rasp
across the quivering twine?
Not too near the sawing elbow
or the quick, rough voice.
The sea teaches patience
slowly—if at all.

Out in the barn four hundred traps
are stacked in tiers a man-heave high:
alder bows bent nearly double
into sills, torn heads unmended.
Chinks of daylight shine like stars
in the dirty board-and-batten walls.
And all around them, dusty coils
of hemp, still salty to the taste,
sag from wharf-spikes, waiting.

The head is done.
My father cuts it free,
and slides it off the starter loop.
He stretches it for size;
a moment
the diamond mesh defines the air,
then joins the heap upon the floor.
The wind rattles the windowpanes,
but the winter sun is gaining strength.
My father begins to whistle again,
and knits.

—Edward MacDonald. The New Poets of Prince Edward Island. Ragweed Press, 1991. 

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

A gift of Island poetry: John Smith

SIGNS OF LIFE ARE

Signs of life are everywhere. The garden
won’t stop growing. When we turned our backs, moss,
heather, thyme, violets, forget-me-nots, and strawberries
took over. As gardeners, they’ve proved among the best.

The text goes on repeating itself: the walls
are made of it. The dead were the designated
auditors, but since we’ve ceased to believe in them,
it’s become a way of life for the living.

He’s the oldest monk. No one is left who remembers
when he first materialized at the gate. The finger-stops on his flute
are a sunny April evening after six days’ rain. He plays

his own hills and valleys now, woods ways, waters ways.
The sacred books are pasture rocks against which
his sheep card their fleece into strands the length of the wind.

—John Smith. Strands the Length of the Wind. Ragweed Press, 1993. 

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

A gift of Island poetry: Julie Dennison

Curated by Deirdre Kessler

STORMY WEATHER, GEORGIAN BAY
after F. H. Varley, c. 1920  

You chose this vantage. Run with it: the wind—
from frail and clinging to the rock, to whatsoever
face a rippled world insinuates. Yes, run. Swirl
the cloak of many needles; green it green and,
reeling, ever greener; swing your sweeper to the
far-off, white-capped cohort, curling sage and wily
olive strokes into a spatter, flat against the split-rocked
shore. An azure streak? A scumble? Yes, but never roots

beyond the blue horizon. Who cares if the very blast that
whips white mist into a frenzy of philology, wrapping limbs
about you in a coat that is impossible to tear, then scuds you— 
close as you have ever been to scudding—into the stippled grey
of matter? For the moment, you are sunning on the outcrop,
running on the spot. And it is good for clouds to know their place.

—Julie Dennison. The Medium. Saturday Morning Chapbooks, 2003. 

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

 

A gift of Island poetry: Beth Janzen

Curated by Deirdre Kessler 

GHOSTS

They stood looking out
from every line
and nothing spoke to them.

They whispered to each other
and let their eyes roll up.
They ate the alphabet.

The trees budded, leafed, and coloured
The seasons passed unsung

The snake chewed a little more
of its tail each day until it disappeared.

It was so dark.

I waited and watched the trees.

Tonight the blossoms fall
like fireflies on my skin
and I hear again those syllables
that others have forgotten.

Beth Janzen. Night Vanishes. Saturday Morning Chapbooks, 2004.

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

 

Events Calendar

September 2018
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Some Upcoming Events

Projections on the Plaza

Until September 29
Confederation Centre Plaza The public is invited to enjoy two outdoor film screen [ ... ]

Backstage Pass Series

The Small Glories and Lloyd Spiegal in October October 13 & 24
Harbourfront Theatre Harbou [ ... ]

Trailside Café 2018

Select dates
Trailside Café  Tomato/Tomato | September 21 Hang onto your hats because th [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

Drawing the line

Profile: Sandy Carruthers by Jane Ledwell Retired for a year now after twenty-five years teaching  [ ... ]

Filmworks Summerside

Film series is back for 7th season Filmworks Summerside opens for their 7th season on September 12  [ ... ]

An Island wish

On August 23, 4 year old Cooper Coughlin will arrive on Prince Edward Island soil for a once in a li [ ... ]