All posts in Poetry

John Pass and Theresa Kishkan (High Ground Press) at Wayzgoose

(The Alcuin Society Wayzgoose will be held Sat. Nov 4, 1030-430, Vancouver Public Library Central Branch)

At this year’s Wayzgoose High Ground Press will be offering a letterpress broadsheet FREE with every book purchase. Many of the sheets are from very limited editions of first publications of poems by Canadian poets dating back to the 1980’s. The books for sale are authored by the Press’s proprietors, Theresa Kishkan and John Pass, in several genres: poetry, fiction, essay, memoir. Kishkan and Pass have won many awards for their writing, including the inaugural CNFC Readers’ Choice Award, The Edna Staebler Personal Essay Prize, The Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and The Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Continue Reading…

Book collecting: Rationalizing Collecting #2 – The Vancouver Poetry Society

In my last “Rationalizing Collecting” post, I started by noting that as a long-time student, book buying is hard to do on a limited budget unless you can justify the collecting as contributing towards your research. Most of my friends from the Master’s in English program at UBC fall quite heavily into this category, as their apartments burst at the seams with lovely books of all kinds. I was the only one of the group who actively collected antiquarian books, which to their amusement, often consisted of rather bad early Vancouver poetry. Hold your judgement: there is a good story behind this.

Continue Reading…

Merton College Library, Oxford

Quaint gloomy chamber, oldest relic left

Of monkish quiet, like a ship thy form,

Stranded keel upward by some sudden storm; Continue Reading…


It is not surprising that poets who are passionate lovers of words should also be passionate readers as well. It follows in turn that their poetical muse should occasionally lead them to reflect and write on the subject of books and reading. Two highly proficient B.C. poets who have done so are Susan McCaslin and David Zieroth. Susan, a Fort Langley based poet, has authored eleven volumes of poetry, seven chapbooks, a children’s book and is the editor of two anthologies. David, a North Vancouver poet, is the author of seven books of poetry, two chapbooks and a memoir. Both, of course, have appeared in numerous literary magazines. More information is available about Susan on her website at and at Alan Twigg’s ABCBookWorld website at More information is available about David at his website at or at the ABCBookWorld site.

Susan’s poem “Bookishness Banished” first appeared in the literary journal A Room of One’s Own in December 2002 (Vol. 25, No. 4). It was also published in her volume of Poetry A Plot of Light published by Oolichan Press in Lantzville, B.C. in 2004.


Book bag woman
nose in book

in the grocery line up
or on the toilet

after making love
or with a flashlight, tenting.

Fiction, biography,
classics or trash,

print rolls my head around.
I read in my sleep.

Words, my profession,
words, my accusers

and champions.
Word-haunted woman

word heated and chilled.
Itinerate wordsmith’s

open shop and season.
Zen feats of mindful

eating and reading.
Libraries relax me

more than boudoirs.
Secrets on vellum.

Heart is a hand press.
Letters set me dancing.

Alphabets fall from my ears
like from God in the beginning.

I am crazed with codes.
No wonder my Maker

is a silent word.
No wonder this opening

behind purple drapery
is to sumptuous silence.

David’s poem entitled “How Wise” will be newly published as one of seven heroic sestets in an upcoming issue (Vol. 36 No. 3) of Event magazine which will be ready in January 2008. Hopefully it will also take pride of place in a future book of poetry.


How wise to give away your books!
To keep yourself free from boxes
when you move, paradoxes
in every one: those words look
light and lovely on the page but turn out
leaden when you have to mess about

schlepping old classics up new stairs.
Better to hand them off one by one,
the novels to your sister, John Donne
to anyone who still says prayers.
Keep back a few, the special heroes
of your heart who soar past the common Joes

like yourself – like me – and make a life
we couldn’t make. One box of words will do,
to fill your need for guidance into
the new home, along with knives,
pillows, pants and postures, lamp and bed.
Sad tales of the old place stay behind (to live unsaid).