I don’t listen to Shelagh Rogers as often as I used to listen to Peter Gzowski. (Actually, I never listen to anybody. Listening is not one of my strong points. People want to tell me things, people want to order me around…I become querulous and uncooperative…Maybe that’s why I don’t pay much attention to Shelagh, she’s too soft and agreeable for me, too adoring of those she interviews…)
All this to preface a piece she ran (“interview” by David Gutnick) on Patrice Desbiens, a bilingual poet from Timmins who apparently has become a star in Quebec, the best-known poet in the province, perhaps one of the greatest French language poets living. He resists interviews…has issues…but his eventual conversation with Gutnick was interesting. Gutnick, trying to get him to talk, asked him to read a poem. Desbiens replied, “I don’t feel like reading a poem.” Gutnick asked him how he comes to write his poems. Desbiens asked, “How does a hockey player score a goal?”
Here’s what I got from the CBC website: Patrice Desbiens latest book: Desarmé is published by Les Editions Prise De Parole in Sudbury, Ontario.
I really haven’t been reading much poetry lately. (Actually, I never read poetry. Reading poetry is not one of my strong points. People poeticate at me, people want to lift my soul from the depths of depths of depths of…I become somnolent and uncommunicative…Maybe that’s why I’m in the Yoni School…)
Where was I? Oh yeah, Desbiens…I think I’m gonna try to find some of his stuff. Practise my Français. Oui oui…ja ja…nay nay I say…bonjour qu’est-ce qui se passe?
Hey Larry, I've been in my own little "mental blog/fog" for the past five days - been ill with this dreadful bug. Just starting to rejoin the land of the living. I'll look the poet up on Chapter's online - see if there's a translation. Believe it or not, Chapter's is quite pleasant and quick online. Wonder why the guy agreed to be interviewed in the first place? It sounds a bit like watching an Al Pacino interview - that's painful. I once heard Charles Grodin do a deadpan interview - he never uttered more than a yes or no answer. It was so funny. The interviewer tried so hard.
Anyway, what I really wanted to say was this -- I've been making an effort to read poets within the past few years or so - not voraciously, but every few books is poetry. I find I'm learning from them. Spent an awful lot of money for a poetry book by Robert Bly, but it is beautiful to the touch and eye. I hadn't realised he was a poet - just knew him as the "Iron John" guy, the men's answer to the feminist movement. The book is "My Sentence was a Thousand Years of Joy," - love that title. Actually also am enjoying Natalie Goldberg's latest poetry book. Want to look up a book by Robert Haas. And whenever I think of it, I go to a site called Monday's Poem - by Leaf Press, a Canadian Publisher of poetry chapbooks. Each week they post a different poet and work. So often, I am humbled. The work is gorgeous.
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