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 www.susanmccaslin.ca and at Alan Twigg’s ABCBookWorld website at www.abcbookworld.com. More information is available about David at his website at www.davidzieroth.com 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.
classics or trash,
print rolls my head around.
I read in my sleep.
Words, my profession,
words, my accusers
word heated and chilled.
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).
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