- Canadian Ideas
- About the consultation
Perhaps Orphic Hermit Crab would do better for the Title.(!) But I've always been a bit of an Outsider--what artist isn't, in some sense, after all--though included in the fabric of the community of which I am a part as I age and mild a little: all's woven in order at last. And I give Thanks to Canada for that, for perhaps a little less indifference to the arts than some other countries, if not quite a European reverence. Thanks to Canada for much, above all for the the natural cornucopia that has inspired me immensely. Since I was twelve I have been writing poetry, it is really the only language I know--inborn, an penetrative means of responding to the mysterium. Although of course one doesn't have to write--or attempt to write--poetry in order to be a poet! (Finally, one never says one is "a poet," or "a shaman," for that matter; that is for others, the readers, to decide.) It is a way of being, a religious response to things. And isn't that what the whole thing is about: response? One is, despite the stresses and pain, always most taken with the intrinsic strangeness and mystery and wishes to respond, so turns to something--most deeply to the arts--poetry, painting, sculpture, short story, musical composition, et al--and in Canada there are outlets still for these inmost ways of expression, even in a world so obsessed with technology and gadgets. I have published a few books, about seven altogether, but the important thing for me has always been TO WORK. And I have never held a day job that consumed all of my energies--only two or three days a week, at most, freeing up most of my time for the Real Work. When I sit before the blank manuscript paper, it acts as a sort of drug to get me dreaming of composing a poem for the Very First Time, even though I have written so many pieces. It is work, but a different sort of work, work that is also the highest play. To quote Margaret Avison, when asked what her favourite poem of hers was, replied, "I hope to write one!" Canada has a unique flavour and humour and is a vast canvas, both inward and outward, for the further exploration of much territory: one counts one's blessings to live in an environment where that is possible.