Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gay Allison: a feminist and a poet

To finish off Poetry Month, a lovely occasion: a poetry reading at my library. Stratford is jam-packed with artists, and this one, Gay Allison , is a poet who has worked in the literary field for many years. This is a quick bio, as it appears on our library website:

Gay Allison was born in Saskatchewan and grew up on the prairies. She has lived in Saskatoon, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto. She has an M.A. in English, and taught all Grade levels in schools across Canada. She has been fiction editor of The Canadian Forum, poetry editor of Waves and is founding editor of Fireweed. She is also a founding member of the Women's Writing Collective, and is on the Advisory Board of Tiger Lily, a magazine by women of colour. She was a poetry instructor for "The Women and Words Writing Retreat" in Vancouver in 1991. She conducts poetry workshops across Canada as well as in the Brunswick House B&B. She evaluates manuscripts and works with writing students on an individual basis. She lives in Stratford, Ontario

I'd like to share the opening poem from her 1986 collection, The Unravelling.

Holding the World

My mother unravels a sweater
And dyes it green
a pile of wool
at her feet
in the shape of butterflies
released from cocoons
and ready for flight

When she moves her chair
the threads shape into waves
that resemble the horizon
of a Saskatchewan sky

My father slams the front door
enters the kitchen with shirts
that need fixing
She gathers them in her lap
in the shape of a globe
She could be holding the world

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