|Vancouver Magazine - May 1986|
Quizá del fr. poésie, este del lat. poēsis, y este del gr. ποίησις poíēsis.
1. f. Manifestación de la belleza o del sentimiento estético por medio de la palabra, en verso o en prosa.
Real Academia Española1. A manifestation of the beauty or the sentiment of the esthetic through word, verse or prose.
Death is only an incident in life.
Death is the grand leveller.
Death aims with fouler spite at fairer marks.
Death opens the gate of Fame and
Envy over it.
Death rather than a toilsome life.
Death does not take the old but the ripe.
Death makes equal the high and the low.
Death will seize the strawberry too…
Selected Strawberries and Other Poems – Susan Musgrave 1977
It was sometime in 1985 when my friend Ian Bateson invited me to a poetry reading at the Italian Cultural Centre that I became aware of the value of poetry. It featured Allen Ginsberg. I did not warm up to the poet or his concertina playing. It was Vancouver poet Gerry Gilbert that cleared my vision and ears to appreciate poetry.
I went to his readings and then discovered Susan Musgrave. My new interest in poetry took me to the poetry within my family of my maternal grandfather Don Tirso de Irureta Goyena (who wrote passionately about my grandmother) and from there to my mother’s poetry who even dedicated a poem to me.
By 1986 I suggested to Vancouver Magazine editor Malcolm Parry that I wanted to write and photograph and essay on local writers and their children and how they would have written a poem on one of them. Two poets were in my list. One was Gerry Gilbert who wrote a poem about his daughter Tamsin and the other Susan Musgrave writing about daughter Charlotte.
Since then I have been a fan of poets like Brad Cran, Evelyn Lau, Jamie Reid, Peter Trower, Esta Spalding, Marion Quednau, Diana Hayes, JoyKogawa, W. P. Kinsella, P.K. Page, George Mc.Whirter and especially my friend George Bowering. I even managed to meet up with a then Vancouver resident, the beat poet Ted Joans. I have been lucky to have photographed all the above Vancouver poets and Ted Joans.
In my now 5500 blogs I have lots of fun mating my photographs with poets like Jorge Luís Borges, Homero Aridjis, Julio Cortázar, Eduardo Galeano, W.H. Auden, Mario Benedetti, William Carlos Williams, Dag Hammarskjöld, Robert Frost , Alfonsina Storni, Alejandra Pizarnik, William Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda and especially Emily Dickinson of whom I may have at least 75 blogs with all the links in that blog here. Poems give my photographs an added personal value for me.
So now I arrive at the crux of this blog. Why is it that I am not aware of poetry readings? What happened to the poets in my above list? I do know that P.K. Page, Jamie Reid, Peter Trower, Gerry Gilbert,W.P. Kinsella are dead. But what of the others?
When I tell people that I am friends with George Bowering they ask me who he is. I tell them that he was the first Canadian Poet Laureate. Sometimes they reply with a question, “Do we have a Poet Laureate?
I know that both Brad Cran and George McWhirter were Vancouver Poet Laureates. Why are we not told about the others and do Vancouver Poet Laureates have a presence in this city with a poor memory?