from Celestial Migrations In The Empire…’ Casting Runes Consisting Of The Landscape’

Born a second time on stones, over
grown cold and rough; stunted
self-regarding souls
bare moss hung on the indeterminate
hillside, while above or below, world

Carries on, you wake no longer weightless
unloved, at most a familiar comfort
paralysed or a ghost unseen; invisible,
deluged by complaints,
groaning over the abyss, its larger unwillingness

To hold onto anything you celebrate,
polishing the bones
of flesh hieroglyphs telling the same
story: casting runes consisting of the landscape,
to witness or map never enough

© Dean J. Baker

CELESTIAL MIGRATIONS IN THE EMPIRE $14.99 print, $5.99 ebook

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from DARK EARTH… ‘ A Tourist Observing Ruins’

 

 

 

 

 

 

This house is so broken,
with the images
of what might have been;
the last experiment
a scientist’s shattered facilities,
a chemical residue

There is no cure for what
you think of tomorrow:
the hero in northern absences,
abandoned on an R.C.M.P post; perhaps
dying of tuberculosis in Rome,
longing to say ‘I did return’

While you and I are two guests
in the burned-out town,
survivors open to investigation;
departing into no sudden sunsets,
amid this most ordinary life:
of quarrels, and lovers gone

©Dean J. Baker

Nothing I Know

John Newlove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An insult to the brain;
sun’s injury, this waking
before noon,
beneath the browed indifference
of Time, adventurer of our lives.

Who can tell that will? Each
whore and man
must dine amid swill and swallow
all: drown until
one rises where another fell.

Run, dark horse,
follow the body’s teachings:
how children have accomplished this,
turned back once, and turned into us:
nothing matters, now but results.

Dean J. Baker

-excerpt from The Lost Canadian, Vol.1, 112 pages, $14.99

*JOHN NEWLOVE

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Links to My Print and Ebooks

BIOGRAPHY

LITERARY PUBLICATIONS

Irving Layton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The thing could barely stand. Yet taken
from his mother and the barn smells
he still impressed with his pride,
with the promise of sovereignity in the way
his head moved to take us in.
The fierce sunlight tugging the maize from the ground
liked at his shapely flanks.
He was too young for all that pride.
I thought of the deposed Richard II.

“No money in bull calves,” Freeman had said.
The visiting clergyman rubbed the nostrils
now snuffing pathetically at the windless day.
“A pity,” he sighed.
My gaze slipped off his hat toward the empty sky
that circled over the black knot of men,
over us and the calf waiting for the first blow.

Struck,
the bull calf drew in his thin forelegs
as if gathering strength for a mad rush…
tottered…raised his darkening eyes to us,
and I saw we were at the far end
of his frightened look, growing smaller and smaller
till we were only the ponderous mallet
that flicked his bleeding ear
and pushed him over on his side, stiffly,
like a block of wood.

Below the hill’s crest
the river snuffled on the improvised beach.
We dug a deep pit and threw the dead calf into it.
It made a wet sound, a sepulchral gurgle,
as the warm sides bulged and flattened.
Settled, the bull calf lay as if asleep,
one foreleg over the other,
bereft of pride and so beautiful now,
without movement, perfectly still in the cool pit,
I turned away and wept.

©Irving Layton

The economy of language, the spirit of truth; sociology, philosophy: the distillation of experiences reflected, and altered, in one brief poem – that’s the magic of poetry, and a great poet.
Irving Layton is a poet everyone should read, and hear reading his own work.  http://irvinglayton.ca/Recordings/index.html

Irving Layton was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, twice. He was friend and mentor to Leonard Cohen. Leonard called him “Canada’s greatest poet.”

Looked up to by Allen Ginsberg, Williams Carlos WilliamsMichael Hamburger, and many other fine and great writers for decades.

Disclosure: Irving was my friend for decades. He once said of my very early writing, ” Dean is a combination of thought and torment that has made him write more than a baker’s dozen of fine poems.. he might produce a collection that could astound us all.” And he did not play favourites.

my books http://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM

alternatively, direct from – https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/links-to-my-books-in-print//

****if you wish to add me on any social media sites –*** Facebook, Twitter,*** etc., – feel free to click the relevant links****

Everywhere I Go – John Newlove

jnewlove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are people talking about. Everywhere I go they whisper.

They stick their eyes at me, right at the base of the breastbone,
when I’m not looking.

The breastbone seems flat, pointed like a dagger to the top
of my stomach.

O, my stomach, my stomach… when the knife rips you open
it will find coffee and four strips of bacon, pieces of chewed
beard and a handwritten note saying I have left town forever
again.

©John Newlove
– excerpt from his brilliant work, Lies, jnewlovelies1972 and from A Long Continual Argument, The Selected Poems of John Newlove

John was a friend of mine – yet I had only said hello back him when I heard him read this live one time at York University. I’d been searching for the room in which the reading was to be held, and came around a corner to come face-to-face with him, and Joe Rosenblatt.

https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/links-to-my-books-in-print//

The mothership: http://deanjbaker.wordpress.com

©Dean J. Baker

The Truth In Certain Poetry – A.M.Klein, Irving Layton, Joe Rosenblatt, Yehuda Amichai, Margaret Atwood, Gwen MacEwen, Louise Bogan….

DarkEarth

There is a certain elegiac clarity and a dignity of purpose in certain poems, and poets possessed of a forthright manner and a lack of the contrived innuendoes that construct an approach to poetry or a facsimile of a poem.

C.P.Cavafy, Yeats, George Herbert, John Donne. A lot of the work of Gwendolyn MacEwen, and in the Greek writers she tended to enthuse over, for instance Yannis Ritsos, whom I met at her apartment one time. Also, a contemporary of hers, Irving Layton, much admired himself by Allen Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams, and an endless procession of very unique writers, not the least of which was Leonard Cohen who called LaytonCanada’s greatest poet”(and definitely not only because he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981).
That elegiac quality exists in Raymond Souster, F.R. Scott, John Newlove.
Louise Bogan’s The Blue Estuaries. Almost anything by Mark Strand.
George Seferis‘ work certainly.

The occasion for saying this is I’ve been re-reading Yehuda Amichai, and reading through the works of C.K. Williams. Not that these stand alone, but they stand singularly. I’d say I first encountered such qualities in the works of A.M. Klein. Another true, but rarely acknowledged master.
And you can find these qualities in certain poems, observations of Joe Rosenblatt.

The stillness encountered, the sense of profundity, the ‘whack’ that C.K. Williams speaks of in his poem of the same title: that sudden, yet familiar clarity that sweeps clean and leaves you more of your true self than you’d ever been up to that point.
Even the ringing of a certain bell, as at the beginning of ‘Starting Over’ by John Lennon.

Every writer, poet, songwriter, recognizes it when it occurs. But the scarce rarity of it inhabiting simple forthright lines with a certain regularity is the prize.

The work may seem oddly non-poetic when first encountered, or alternatively, exactly what you might expect. Preceded by distant rhythms and certain algebraic formulations of words, but it always come to that moment, this time, these words.

That is poetry: music, and song integrated with the silences and rhythms necessary to establish a poem in the world that exists like a very unique, and distinct world. Not separate, but so far inclusive the boundaries are not only contained but delineated without any injury to the work.

Discovering such as these, you can feel without the false discussions of literati, academics, or others useless opinions, the absolute necessity for poetry.

Making mention in the introduction to Poems, by Yehuda Amichai, is Michael Hamburger who very graciously himself lived the words he’d put to paper, in his translations as well, whether discussing Isaac Singer (present at the time), Irving Layton (for whom I’d said I’d get Singer’s autograph), Margaret Atwood, or the latest reader at a few literary festivals we talked about.

To read these poems, therefore, is to both be reminded of things one has tended to forget and to discover things that one has never known.” – Michael Hamburger
And lest it be taken that knowing, in regards to literature, scripture, history and the world are distant and apart from a poet’s life, know that Yehuda Amichai served in two wars, and while experienced in the truest sense found no exclusivity in certainties of any faith, or outlook.
You would find a semblance with very distinct differences in the works of Paul Celan.
A true view of being Israeli therefore, as well as a great awareness of European recall while standing firm in the very alive knowledge of the Kings and Prophets of his history in an individualistic manner likely disdained by nationalists and those against anything but a blanket stance on history and contemporaneity.

This makes for a great poet. And great are the poets also mentioned here whose work is a statement against any assumptions by virtue of its uniqueness and craft.

©Dean J. Baker

**note: click on the names for links to their work

Latest book: https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/latest-book-of-poems-in-riparian-fields/

#poetry #literature #MarkStrand #HenryMiller #AllenGinsberg, etc. Poetry & How It Gets That Way

Poetry has been an essential art in history and is in danger of being trivialized into extinction.
Several seminal events in recent literary history are detailed in illustrating how poetry is not merely an adjunct to history and culture but can elucidate and influence those same events and deeds.

buy one, I’ll buy the coffee – Dark Earth: great reviews!

DarkEarthPrint <– Ebook<– you deserve it
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Meeting Gwen MacEwen, Marian Engel, Judith Merrill – introduced by Joe Rosenblatt

I was reminded the other day of meeting and getting to know some women writers whose work I admired.
Specifically, Gwen MacEwen, Marian Engel, and Judith Merrill.
I’ll be writing something of an autobiography at some point which will be inclusive of a lot of things and events, personally and professionally.

I was introduced to two of these writers through Joe Rosenblatt, and Gwen MacEwen.
(One thing about Gwen is she did a reading of the book whose photo you can see here, without the book, in its entirety at a place where earlier I saw Led Zeppelin – that size venue.)

One cold New Year’s day in Toronto, I headed over with Joe Joe (for whom I’d rewritten pages, and edited a few books of his) to Gwen’s apartment on St.George St. to meet up with her, and her wonderful cat, Dingbat.

Walking in the door, Gwen called me over to the living room where there were two women sitting on the couch. Little did I know.
Next thing I hear is Gwen saying, “This is the poet I’ve been telling you about.” And then she introduced me. Marian Engel! wrote that classic, Bear. Judith Merrill.
Marian Engel said, “Hi, Dean. So you’re the poet Gwen has been raving about, saying you’re great and brilliant.”

Now I’d been reading Gwen’s work for ages it seemed, and this was the first time we met. Mr. Joe had been telling her about me, my work – and she’d pestered him to bring me over. So I was taking in the first flush of meeting a poet whose work I loved, plus getting to meet Marian Engel, whose novella Bear I thought fantastic. And I was aware of Judith Merrill through the work of other science fiction writers, and the fact that at the time she lived just a block or so away on Spadina Road.

At this point, Judith said hello, and smiled. Likely anticipating Marian’s next statement.

Marian next said, “SO, say something brilliant and notable.”

Which I apparently did, to her satisfaction and Gwen’s and Judith’s, because we all started relaxing over coffee, etc.
What was said then and other times in more detail will be in the book… though there are various representations scattered throughout my poetry.

©Dean J. Baker

*note: Works of the writers that are a must read:

Dream Craters  +  The Voluptuous Gardener, etc etc etcJoe Rosenblatt

http://www.joerosenblatt.com/

Magic AnimalsGwen MacEwen

http://canpoetry.library.utoronto.ca/macewen/pub.htm

BearMarian Engel – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_Engel

some of my work… http://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM