from DARK EARTH… ‘The Herald’ with biographical notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing more than abstract ornament,
explanations and discussions
keeping us to ourselves; we were
too petty for anything else. God
and Spirit, man and God again: no
insight into the common denominators.

Stupidity categorized the crews
taking over. In Canada, one was
reduced to waiting; at best,
you sent yourself notes (not poems)
hoping they would stay closed, or
fall open revealing all upon arrival.

You are lost either way. Death
enters your life: a troubadour
strolling through the provincial town.
Each gesture of government singing
the unwanted guest to bed, who is
finishing the last bite of food.

One brought no plans for conversation,
issuing invitations in the dark
he slips from his clothes. The livery
stark amusement, leaving only the arc
of a streetlamp which constellates:
the hard vistas of distant expectation.

©Dean J. Baker

first published in Jewish Dialog

  • excerpt from

  • DARK EARTH – 142 pages, $16.99
    ” The most unique set of poems I have ever read.”Rabelais and Hieronymus Bosch look out of dark chinks in these poems… instead of Emerson’s “Whim” above Dean’s lintel we might assume “Melancholy” resides here… that dark brooding that laughs below, and rises through the bones to jerk you awake from your too lazy sleep of existence.”
  • “Dean’s books will someday be required reading for anyone who studies literature, poetry, or, human artistry.”
  • “Having read Dark Earth by Dean J Baker my first reaction is WOW. This was written for me.
    His poetry speaks to me deep down in my soul.”
    https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Earth-Dean-J-Baker/dp/150052591X

****

A few notes on The Herald: I went to an advertised poetry reading at York University where I’d only previously been to meet up with Irving Layton.
Couldn’t find the room and was wandering the halls when I turned a corner and ran into Joe Rosenblatt, Francis Sparshott, and John Newlove.

I got to know Rosenblatt and Newlove, edited two books for Rosenblatt, and traded books and drinks and food with John Newlove. Outside Irving Layton, Gwen MacEwen, Al Purdy, Alden Nowlan, & Patrick Lane, and Milton Acorn – Acorn, Purdy, MacEwen whom I would come to know, exchange letters, share food and drinks, phone calls, Christmas cards, with – these two, Rosenblatt and Newlove, were my favorites. And Giorgio DeCicco, Maggie Helwig.

One day I wrote The Herald and mailed it to John Newlove – just the poem typed out, no note. Canada Post being what it was in those days I got a phone call the next morning from John.
Fairly wordless for John anyway, he stared by saying, ‘You have got to get this published. I’m speechless about it.’ etc.

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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

if you wish to add me on any social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, etc., – feel free to click the relevant links – https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com

Links to My Print and Ebooks

BIOGRAPHY

LITERARY PUBLICATIONS

from The Lost Canadian, Vol.1, Early Poems Selected… ‘Song For Jenny’

Dean J. Baker - Poetry, and prose poems

Mad-
ness hums in my ear,
like a fly
that’s caught there.

I can’t touch you.
This is
the new ballet.
I can’t touch you.

Stay away,
I am deaf with silences.
Splintered and shining,
I go down like a stone.

©Dean Baker

-excerpt from The Lost Canadian, Vol.1, Early Poems Selected 112 pages, $14.99….first published in Northern Light.. photo is of Guelph, Ontario railway station

• my books – http://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM- buy one, do yourself a service 🙂

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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