Saturday, November 22, 2014

As if - E.D. Blodgett - University of Alberta Press

Today's book of poetry:
As if.  E.D. Blodgett.  The University of Alberta Press.  Robert Kroetsch Series.  Edmonton, Alberta.  2014.

E.D. Blodgett's As if is not the water I usually tread.  I will call his formalism precision and you should too.

Blodgett is a stone-cutter of the highest order.  Whatever gemstone it is he starts with is impeccably tailored until only the finest facets endure.  These are jewels.


how can music tell
the edge where silence ends

a colour that appears
of a sudden at

the corners of your eye
as one might pluck a string

in darkness and a sun
of music might spring up

the echo of it all
along horizons of

every living thing
rains and tree and air

whatever they are
they sing themselves in one

I am of colours that
no one can recall

and music fades into
a second silence more

profound than what had come
before without the pitch

of music that might say
what silence had been


Surprisingly, the most frequent question asked about this blog is whether or not I copy the poems from some on-line source or actually type each and every one of them out from the book.  It is the latter.  I like to think of it in the same way that old painters used to have apprentices paint copies (usually in a slightly different size) so that they could learn the Masters' strokes.

And although it may not have improved my own poetry it certainly helps me get inside the poems in a way I can't access by simply reading them.

Mr. Blodgett's poems are a perfect example of that.  To read them is a joy.  To type them out word for word is a lesson.


so the stars are
so stubborn through the night

turning through the space
of dark eternities

and right before your eyes
where all the world that you

can see moves past
the window where you sit

reach out and you can touch
the whole of night and stars

if you were blind you would
possess knowledge there

beneath your fingers stars
and where they have come from


As if is a sequence of connected poems where one poem is the preface for the next.  This seamless incantation breathes clarity.

As if reads like a cherished book of prayer until you are inside the poems and a willing participant in the conversation.

This is what happens when a masterful poet in full-bloom has honed his craft.  Perhaps it is not perfect but it certainly quietly grand, humbly majestic.


were we born for this
we were born to be amazed

to gaze forever toward
beauty that cannot

be fathomed standing in
barely visible

veils of morning mists
upon its highest height

the sun careful in
its matutinal awe

almost turning away
ashamed almost to reveal


Matutinal.  I had to look it up.  It means "of or occurring in the morning".  I love learning new words.

Blodgett is one of Canada's great poets.  If he has somehow managed to fly below your radar you can fix that by reading As if. 

Today's book of poetry is proud to write about Mr. Blodgett.

E.D. Blodgett


E.D. Blodgett, F.R.S.C. and Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, taught at the University of Alberta for 34 years. Having contributed to a number of journals both here and abroad, he has also written and edited a number of books on aspects of the Canadian Literatures. He has published more than 22 books of poetry. Apostrophes: Woman at a Piano (Ottawa: BuschekBooks, 1996) was given the Governor General’s Award and the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry. Two collections were awarded the Stephan G. Stephansson Poetry Award by the Writers Guild of Alberta. The University of Alberta Press has published six of his books of poetry: Apostrophes II: through you I, Apostrophes IV: speaking you is holiness, Apostrophes VI: open the grass, An Ark of Koans, Elegy, and Apostrophes VII: Sleep, You, a Tree. He has also published a renga with Jacques Brault, entitled Transfiguration (BuschekBooks and Editions de NoroĆ®t, 1998), which was given the Governor General’s Award for Translation. From 2007 to 2009 he was Edmonton's Poet Laureate. He lives in South Surrey, British Columbia and is married with four children and five grandchildren.

E.D. Blodgett
Reading at the Editor's Association of Canada


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