…a site I found: ArtandCulture.

I liked the fact that it has number of links in each section, though it appears that there is no Canadian poetry here. I probably won’t link it on the sidebar as some of the links don’t work, but it’s an interesting browse.
I’m busy checking out the poetry section, but heading to the art section shortly.


…is something you don’t have to be to attend the Literary Eclectic 3  September 28 and 29, 2007. The readings are free (I will be reading as well) to attend, and the keynote speaker is Di Brandt. This year each session, or most, includes a creative reading by a graduate student. That should be enough to whet the appetites and imaginations of all microbiologists and listeners alike!


…is what I’ve been reading for a week or so now. Hot Air is the official blog of the Winnipeg Writer’s Festival THIN AIR . Here is the official blog blurb: From September 23-30, Hot Air bloggers will contribute journaling on their WIWF experiences, meditations on aspects of writing and publishing, social columns, and previews of upcoming WIWF event.

For me it is something I can sneak a peek at again and again to get my fill of the festival. Maybe next year I’ll actually breathe the festival in, but until then I’ll just have to read all that Hot Air.


…or better yet, what is the prairie poetry school? Is it a school? Is it a form? Is it a style? What is it? Why am I wondering?

I’ve been reading an essay by Dennis Cooley, “Placing the Vernacular: The Eye and the Ear in Saskatchewan Poetry”, and trying to discern what Cooley defines, or who and what he includes, in his brief yet interesting definitions of “prairie” poetry. Slicing the prairie (the prairie here being defined as Saskatchewan) in half, Cooley states prairie poetry centres on two distinct forms, “the first is fairly traditional and centres on the eye. The second is more recent (in the history of poetry but less so in the history of prairie poetry) and centres on the ear”. Landscape is important to the eye and speech to the ear. Further, Cooley stresses the eye poetry as emotive, highly lyrical “expressive language” that depicts an inward/outward, often passive reflection, in short, a self reflexive view of the world, while ear poetry is expressed as more dramatic, often engaging with the reader/audience on a different, less passive level. Cooley believes the two defining halves of prairie poetry are gender specific in the writing; “eye” poems, in Cooley’s view tend to be written by women, while “ear” poems seem to be penned by men. While he admits to there being exceptions to the rule, he sticks to his argument.

While I find defining a style/school of poetry an interesting concept, and structurally, I like having boundaries to cross, I’m wondering about the feasibility of such concentrated writing that cuts us in two. Can we define writing of the prairies as masculine and feminine? Mostly I’m filled with questions surrounding the term “prairie poetry”. What is it? Who are we?

I find Cooley’s formula could work for most geographical situations; there are “eyes” and “ears” everywhere. In each community, writers tend to bounce off those writers that came before, or those writers we admired, or even those writers we loved to hate. This prairie community is something that I belong to, but at the same time, through the expansive world of the internet, I find I also belong to a country of writers. While my early influences are those writing near me, and those teaching me, there is a world out there that I am slowly learning from as well. Is prairie form any different from any other Canadian form? Certainly we all write as differently as we can, do we not? Do we need to define and label our geographical communities as distinct, and what is gained by separating ourselves as unique?

If we were all the same, shouldn’t we be cut in two?