Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

On Being Led by a Poem

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Yesterday evening, a friend emailed me a copy of Jan Zwicky’s “The Geology of Norway” from the collection Songs for Relinquishing the Earth (Brick Books, 1998). I’d never read the poem before, and I can’t stop rereading it now. I keep returning to it in fierce swoops or languorously or in bed or with the company of an orchid and two sleeping dogs, but always insistently . . .

Here is a link to “The Geology of Norway” in its entirety, with a beautiful introduction to the poem by Zwicky:

http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/hrp...

These are some of the lines that followed me through last night and are leading me through today:

“You know, it isn’t
what I came for, this bewilderment
by beauty. I came
to find a word, the perfect
syllable, to make it reach up,
grab meaning by the throat
and squeeze it till it spoke to me.
How else to anchor
memory? I wanted language
to hold me still, to be a rock,
I wanted to become a rock myself. I thought
if I could find, and say,
the perfect word, I’d nail
mind to world, and find
release.
The hand moving is the hand thinking:
what I didn’t know: even the continents
have no place but the earth.”

2 comments

The poem was beautiful, I can relate well I love read and read again.
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The Geology of Norway Poem was really beautiful. I can feel what does the poem is all about. I read it again and again because I don't get bored with the poem.

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Julie Joosten

Julie Joosten is originally from Georgia but now lives in Toronto. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Program and a PhD from Cornell University. Her poems and reviews can be read in like starlings, Lemon Hound, Lit, Jacket 2, Tarpaulin Sky, the Malahat Review and The Fiddlehead. She recently guest edited an issue of BafterC, a journal of contemporary poetry. Her first book, Light Light, was shortlisted for the 2014 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, and the 2014 Goldie Award.

You can reach Julie throughout the month of April at writer@openbooktoronto.com

Go to Julie Joosten’s Author Page