Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

POEMS FOR EYES AND EARS

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Every poem implies two creative acts: one by the poet, one by the reader. Put another way, the poet performs one creative act; the reader, many.

Plentiful examples can be found on Reely's Poetry Blog and Reely's Audio Poems, also findable as Reely's Poetry Pages. They are owned by Valerie Smith, a New Jerseyan who lives in Houston, Texas and has a day job in a law office.

I hope the above clues will allow you to find Reely’s. No doubt to the inconvenience of some, I vowed to myself not to supply links in my own blogs. I’m vain enough to want people to concentrate on my words, and not go haring off in all directions. Indispensable as the Web may be, it is a kind of flypaper that creates its own flies.

The Reeley blogs publish poems from 10 national traditions, including Canada’s. Disclosure: Reely’s includes one of my poems. My fellow Canadians include E. Pauline Johnson, Marjorie Pickthall, William Henry Drummond, Robert Service, and Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Lots of blogs and websites publish compendiums of poems, but Reely’s adds value. It matches the poems with drawings or paintings from many sources, or provides audio files of readings by Smith, her daughter, or others.

The blogs are thus an anthology of Smith’s personal taste; again, not so unusual. In any case, anthologizing is mainly a critical, not a creative, act. But, as well, Smith imaginatively mates each of her verbal selections with visual or audio illustrations, extensions, or projections. In offering poems to our eyes and ears, she does externally what every perceptive reader does internally.

I don’t know if Smith writes poetry. I hope not. We need more poetry readers than poets, and more readers like her.

3 comments

Karen, a sharp-eyed copyeditor like you will quickly spot that I committed a typo, or possibly a Freudian slip, in the second paragraph of my reply. For "such attentions" read "such intentions."

Karen, if bloggers want their blogs to have the same gravitas as their work in print, shaped by the same art and carrying the same weight, they shouldn't encourage Attention Deficit Disorder.

If they don't have such attentions, then the more links the merrier.

One of my correspondents places links at the end of her blogs. This could be a useful compromise. The viewer can then read the blog in a smooth flow and, reaching the end, use the links to gambol over the Web like a newborn lamb.

Hi Fraser. I respectfully disagree with your notion that links distract a reader from a blogger's words and sentiments. Links are not distracting to the attentive reader; they, instead, provide "added value." I always read a blog thoroughly through before I go back and look it over again and click on any links that spark my curiosity. As well, I think that the addition of hyperlinks is a major part of the art of blogging. They are part (not all) of what distinguishes a blog from a garden-variety newspaper column. The imaginative blogger need not slavishly send the reader to expected sites-- finding imaginative and surprising links can be a major source of fun for the blogger.

Mmmm... I wonder, for example, what Lucy Maud would have thought had you linked her name like this?

Mind you, I do feel that a blogger can throw in too many hyperlinks, cluttering up her blog like a lovely house that's furnished with too many tchotchkes.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Fraser Sutherland

At last count, Fraser Sutherland has published fifteen books: one of them short fiction, four nonfiction and ten poetry, His most recent poetry collection is The Philosophy of As If. A freelance editor, he may be the only Canadian poet who is also a lexicographer. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, he lives in Toronto.

Go to Fraser Sutherland’s Author Page