amongst books

amongst books

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Peter F. Yacht Club Sails to Calgary

PFYC # 5 (or 6 apparently-see rob's march 12 entry) is the newest issue from the Peter F. Yacht Club workship, a group of writers plus guest yachtsmen and yachtswimmin (their words, not mine).

I thought I had all the previous issues, but I am missing #4.

Stuff I dog-eared in the newly released issue, with ex-Ottawan Laurie Fuhr at the helm:

The playfulness of Montrealer David McGimpsey in Cherry Red Bus Pass which makes me think both of Raspberry Beret and Little Red Corvet all at the same time.

Anita Dolman’s haunting poem, Focus. There’s beautiful language here, vivid imagery and a story in moments. Dolman is so skilled at evoking tone through her writing. She has these little gems: “the elation of cold glass” and “Daniel’s story goes unpassengered.” Stuff that is supposed to be perfect is; stuff that is supposed to be choppy or clunk is.

Stuart Ross’s accumulation piece, I Open The Lid. Yep, there’s his trademark humour and surrealistic bent and strong rhythms and words that makes me laugh out loud in a melancholy kind of way.

Jennifer Mulligan’s side by each poem “xorcizm” with its interesting repetitions and old ghosts. I like the experimentation here very much.

ryan fitzpatrick ars poetica piece “the Metaphorist” mainly because I love this: “...These galleries begin/as poems.” fitzpatrick’s morse code style of fragments works perfectly in this poem in paragraph form for each stanza. I find this piece refreshing. “Just before the canoe hits the paddle,/the water paddles itself.” I don’t know if that’s deep or not, but it struck me as very profound and yet not to be taken too seriously.

Sharron Proulx-Turner’s excerpt from the long poem “your wind a song & deep inside the hand hills”. A title like that makes me curious to read more. I like the play between paragraph and stanza and the image of playing hopscotch underwater. A lot of Calgarians are talking about water.

Richard C. Gorecki’s “winter oak” interests me because of the uniformity of his imagery: still, cold, death and this lovely little stanza: and when the wind rises/you whisper secrets of rebirth/speaking in confident tones/about source and circle”

Weyman Chan’s poem “Shawl” got me hooked by the second line: “the fighting fish are plumes in their bowls.” and then later “and the dew drop of my mother’s passing/held the spine/of its elder snowflake.” Powerful language and imagery that lingers with words that are straight forward and unpretentious.

Stephen Brockwell’s flawless language in “Scarecrow.” This poet does not careen, he marches along a straight line. This is a tight poem: “the relentless crush and stretch of freeze and thaw” is exactly how it is. I can hear and see winter through the eyes of the narrator. The poem evokes pathos about aging and frankly, it scares me a bit. A powerful piece of writing. I admire Brockwell’s perfection, but there are times when I’d like to see his words off balance, a bit clumsier, more drunken. What would happen if he let loose? I think it would be a powerful thing too. [hoping he doesn't mind my saying this, she whispers]

rob mclennan’s long piece “a map of the obscure” with its repetition, accumulation and the hint of lyric scattered throughout. The words here could seem careless in places, but they are deliberate. After a standard phrase like “a dead horse or dog,” you get “a dead house.” That makes you jump a bit and read again. Then there’s the beautiful bits: “a breath that became you”, “a comfort of trees”, and the silly bits: “a studhorse hydrangea.”

Jesse Ferguson’s (Re) Vise is a saucy and playful little number. It’s good he feels comfortable taking risks. That’s as it should be.

Joanne Underwood’s “culture choc” is a grand juxtaposition of food I absolutely want to eat: “milk medallions nuts-on top for you” with wonderful rhythms, and words that snap together like Lego bricks.

What I like best always about the PFYCs is that the writers push themselves and share work that is risky and pushes their writing. In other words, they go overboard. (Couldn’t resist a final nautical pun, me heartees.)

Pick this new issue up before it goes out of print via the store or via rob. It just might inspire.

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