Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Phrases - E. D. Blodgett

Today's book of poetry:  Phrases.  E. D. Blodgett.  Edition du Noroit, Buschek Books.  Montreal, Quebec.  2012.

Edward Dickinson Blodgett (1935 - ), is a writer with an established reputation.  Born and raised in Philadelphia, Blodgett studied at Rutgers University before moving to Canada in 1966.

Since then he has published the following books:

Take Away The Names 
Beast Gate
Musical Offering
Da Capo
Apostrophes: woman at a piano
Apostrophes II: through you I
Apostrophes III: alone upon the earth
Apostrophes IV: speaking you is holiness
Ark of Koans
Apostrophes V: never born except within the other
Apostrophes VI: open the grass
In The Heart of the Wood
Practices of Eternity
A Pirouette and Gone
The Invisible Poem
Poems For A Small Park
Apostrophes VII: sleep, you, a tree

E. D. Blodgett has twice won the Governor Generals Literary Award.  His 1996 winner, Apostrophes: woman at the piano, is full of poems that are meticulously crafted and deep with grace.

Last Things

Let me speak of simplest things, assurances of tables, the space
they make.  Let me remember hands, yours perhaps, at rest upon
the wood of such old tables, and something in the wood that enters in
your hands.  If there were time, time would be a table, the endless knowing
of wood possessing us, trees, the wind that they have breathed, and rain,
the seasons of the sun.  Thus I bid you, friend, ask nothing else

of me.  To speak of what we know is not within us.  Words fall
forever from our mouths, a rain of ancient music flowing through
our bones.  Sometimes in early winter evenings the young moon comes
briefly into sight.  The light over the snow is shadowed, and what
we breathe is what the moon gives.  The silence that it sheds becomes
imperative.  Its disappearance is possession.  Nothing else endures.


I am very lucky to own a signed copy of Apostrophes: woman at a piano and a hard cover copy of Sounding, Blodgett's second book from Edmonton Alberta's Tree Frog Press, published in 1977.  Unfortunately I don't have the dust jacket.  But I prize both of these books, they come from a body of work this highly polished to a jewel finish.

Phrases is much like any other Blodgett title.  They all seem pre-ordained, fully formed and copied out in full blooming flower, as though he found them that way in some philosopher poet's old chest.  The poems appear in both French and English.

     certaines statues                                                       some statues
     dans de vieux jardins                                               in old gardens
     possedent une musique                                            possess a music
     qui evoque                                                               which recalls

     les obseques des rois                                               the funerals of kings
     qui tiennent entre leurs mains                                  who carry in their hands

     les tresors de leur vie                                               all their life's treasure
     ensoleillee                                                                full of sun

     descendus avec eux                                                 going down with them
     en sourdine dans leurs cryptes                                 hardly heard into their crypts


These poems are precise, written with wisdom and articulate brevity.  This new book,  Phrases, a bilingual edition from Editions du Noroit, Buschek Books, continues Blodgett's fine tradition of excellent books.  E. D. Blodgett has written a river of good poetry,  Phrases fits comfortably into Blodgett's canon of exceptional work.


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