BUZZon.com
Submit Event

From the Noticeboard

Seniors Active Living Centre

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

Diversity Workshop

NDP PEI will hold a Diversity workshop for members and supporters of all genders. The event will foc [ ... ]

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.

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.

Events Calendar

November 2018
S M T W T F S
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30

Some Upcoming Events

What They Had

November 26–December 2
City Cinema PG, coarse language
Dir: Elizabeth Chomko, US, 101 min. Hilary S [ ... ]

Eptek Lunchtime Films

Thursdays
Eptek Centre  The Friends of Eptek Centre’s Lunchtime Films are screened each Thurs [ ... ]

Rainbow Valley—An Island Musical

ACT presents Hank Stinson’s adaptation at The Guild November 16 & 17
The Guild As PEI’s pro [ ... ]

pei symphony

Recent News & Articles

Acadian showman

Profile: Christian Gallant by Jane Ledwell Forty-six musicians and step dancers took the stage at  [ ... ]

The St. Lawrence

The Cove Journal by JoDee Samuelson We lean against the rails as the Island slips by. Souris, Litt [ ... ]

The same mistakes

The Nature of PEI by Gary Schneider When I’m teaching the UPEI course on ecological forestry, I  [ ... ]