To contact the author, click here.

ROOTS

I was born in Toronto to parents of English, Irish, and Dutch descent. At the age of twelve my parents and I moved to Saint-Lambert, a French-English town on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River across from Montreal.

Riverside Walk—January, 1952

We are walking, my parents and I,
on the shore of the St. Lawrence River
air so cold, our lungs burn with
every inhalation, our foreheads ache
from the keen edge of a piercing wind
our mottled cheeks inflexible as marble.

......

We are on our way, my parents and I,
into our futures, a land of snow and glitter
to a place on the riverbank where crackling
river ice pours out of the heart of a continent.

Excerpt: Inland Waterways, 2010

 

PROFESSIONAL LIFE

Degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto prepared me for a career as a librarian and information consultant. Initially, I held positions in public and academic libraries but as soon as the digital revolution hit, I turned to writing technical manuals for computer users and consulting for government and corporations in the organization of digital content. While the scope and vocabulary of technical writing eventually proved too restrictive, I learned how to write clearly for maximum understanding. 

 

AND THEN CAME POETRY

Years into my professional career—and entirely by accident— I was singed by the fire of poetry. I did not seek it, nor did I expect it—at least not consciously. Almost overnight, reading and writing poetry opened me to a new way of expressing what the psychologist Carl Jung called "the undiscovered self". This miracle of sorts arrived during weekends I spent at a yoga ashram in the Pennsylvania countryside. [Note: These visits took place long before yoga became mainstream and practitioners wore cute multicoloured outfits.]

The incredible poems of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman sent me in search of other poets who echoed the call of the sacred. This desire often pushed against the logical constraints of my professional life and made me long for something-other-than.

Sacred Space

she’s frantic
       to tear down
       to explode through
       to punctuate
the blandness of this space

........

she envisions
the moon’s double
bobbing
on the simmering surface
of the evening’s soup.

Excerpt: Inland Waterways, 2010

 

 

 

 

LIFE AS A POET

The self-directed apprenticeship for a poet typically rests on four pillars: reading the world's best poetry; attending workshops and courses; studying the craft; and, most importantly, writing and workshopping new poems.

As I absorbed thunderbolts of meaning from such great poets as Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Rainer Maria Rilke, William Carlos Williams, and Gerard Manley Hopkins, I worked at building a strong scaffold of craft. I soon discovered that behind those perfect poems on the page lay the language and tradition of poetry including meter, rhyme, verse and line breaks not to mention diction, sound, and structure. While inspiration and revelation are key to creating great poetry, you also need the tools of the craft to make a poem sing.

Sylvia Plath and Me

the bright, talented girl
in the graduation photo, 
the page-boy blonde
with the wrap-around smile,
Sylvia at 18,
my twin sister,
my bright shadow.

those eager letters home to mother,
those letters with their clear,
hard, Johnson-wax shine,
that's where I caught you out, Sylvia.
you hated her but didn't see until
the secret turned on you
and sank its wet fangs
into your eye of innocence
and blinded you a third time.

but your secret's safe with me, Sylvia,
to the grave, Sylvia, to the grave
where we can plot revenge together
and cry on the lap
of the One Great Mother
and beg forgiveness.

Excerpt: Inland Waterways, 2010   

I attended workshops at the University of London and the Arvon Foundation in England and on my return to Canada I took part in poetry sessions at York University and the University of Toronto.

Books on the craft of poetry helped me as much or more than classroom learning. Such books are numerous. For a short list of my personal favourites see TOOLS.

For over eight years I’ve hooked up with a local poetry group where we critique each other's poems and perform them in public venues.

With a full time job and a splendid family life to enjoy, compiling my first book of poems was a slow business. Finally, in 2010, my first collection of poems was published:  Inland Waterways: Poems From a Peaceable Kingdom, IOWI, Inc.

AND THEN CAME A NOVEL

In 2011 I began to write my first novel, a modern day mystery inspired in part by the story of the ancient Sumerian goddess, Inanna, Queen of Heaven.

The mystery novel, entitled The Long Revenge, is now complete and circulating to potential agents and publishers. For more information about the mystery novel see FICTION.

 

LindaBronteCreek2010.jpg

WHAT'S NEXT?

I continue to write poetry and prose and work to improve my writing skills—a fascinating, exciting, and never ending discipline.

At the moment, I’m working on a narrative that calls on the combined power of poetry and prose. In gathering source material for this new project I’m listening for the magic rumblings of white thunder.

Surface Tension

the lake awakens
to splash
of trout

rings of commotion

the lake slumbers
under cast of line
stern of boat

silent trout
still on patrol
glide in deeper depths

fisherman abides

 Excerpt:  Inland Waterways, 2010

WHEN I’M NOT WRITING

When I’m not writing, I’m reading, hanging out with local writers, or watching varied TV fare including mystery series, Anthony Bourdain’s travelogues, or the bizarro world of American politics.

Reading interests run towards mythology, the works of C. G. Jung, mysteries (especially P.D. James and Michael Connelly), biographies of poets, and any novel with a spiritual, mystical twist. I firmly adhere to Shakespeare’s credo as expressed by Hamlet: There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Cooking, gardening, and yoga have been my lifelong passions. Of course, watching the family grow and having grandchildren arrive is right up there with the stars and the angels.