Sunday, April 14, 2013

Late Moon - Pamela Porter

Today's book of poetry:  Late Moon.  Pamela Porter.  Ronsdale Press. Vancouver.  2013.

Pamela Porter is the author of six collections of poetry.  Her work has won the 2012 Malahat Review University of Victoria 50th Anniversary Poetry Prize, the 2012 FreeFall Magazine Poetry Award, the 2011 Prism International Grand Prize in Poetry, the 2010 Vallum Magazine Poem of the Year Award.  She has been shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award and won the 2005 Governor General's Award and the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award and the TD Children's Literature Award.

The following are snippets, tastes of Porter's Ronsdale Press volume Late Moon.  The poems in this book struggle to identify a father, fathers and fatherhood.  Porter fights through various notions of what family is and her place in it.  These poems are a personal search for her own redemption.

Consider the following as though they were sounds bites and you were thinking of buying the album:

I didn't know then all the ways
leaving resembles arriving.
     The River Asked Me

Those who have died and come back
say, I understood everything,
what slips away while we sleep,
what the sea prays for under its breath.
     Standing in the Sky

It is the weight of a locked door,
the lightness of the hand
          without a key,
the swiftness of a bird
          rising beyond sight.
     The Shape of My Father's Face

I had heard of the embroidery of spider
in the air between barn and window.
     Why I Came Down

I was watching my dead father
walk from the street to the house
          in his deliberate shoes.
     The Heart of the Matter

I'll say I learned to read
from the book of tears

learned to pray
          to a God
whose back was turned,
busy praying to his own God
          and so on.
     A Cloth The Colour Of Earth

My thinking, frequently flawed, was that these snippets might give the reader a taste of the tension Porter is able to sustain over the course of this entire book.  It is the quiet we reserve for when we listen to things we don't necessarily want to hear, but we know the importance of the saying.

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