Friday, November 28, 2008

Arts Hamilton Literary Awards

Arts Hamilton held their literary awards evening Wednesday night. Before the presentations we were given, instead of the usual speech, a video display of the plans for a permanent "Art Walk" along King William St. (See CITY and ARTS 2 below.)

My recent book In Times of Changing Seasons was nominated for poetry book of the year. It lost. The winner was A Bundle of Life by Joanna Lawson. Irony? It was published by Serengeti Press, and I provided any needed editorial work. If someone else had to win, no better choice.

I did win for one poem I submitted that had been published in the anthology Cats, Cats, Cats, and More Cats, a poem called "Sandburg's Fog" written in reply to Carl Sandburg' famous imagist poem.


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

My poem was written as a "performance piece," and as such had been performed at many venues over the past 12 years or so but hadn't been available in hard copy until I was asked for poems for an anthology about cats. It was very disconcerting to hear the presenter read it as if it was a group of words on paper; it is so much more!

Anyway, here is the poem.

(The fog comes on little cat feet...)

Sandburg, your poem
its simplicity and quiet image
may work in your mind
in your city
but not in mine.

My black cat has oversized feet.
He never silently slips
into a room but hurls himself
under and over the furniture
with the force and roar
of a tornado.

Up and down stairs he thunders.
You keep an eye out for flying glass,
suspect the tremors of earthquakes.

And fog never sits
over this harbour and city.
It rolls, swirls, breaks
against the mountainside
and rips into its own belly with anger.

A foggy morning here, Carl,
is seldom less than full-scale war.

So much depends upon your city
and your cat’s feet.

And my older bigfoot cat:

1 comment:

annaken said...

I would like to see it performed as well. I think how a poem is read out loud makes all the difference.

As a cat lover myself (having two, had three) I can appreciate this poem very much.

Write more about your cat sometime!

There are a lot of cat lovers out there who would appreciate that!