To the Editors of the Stouffville Free Press: How One Wrong Vowel Can Change the Meaning of a Sentence
In your kind and generous article about my work in your last issue, I found a serious and misleading typo.
In the second column, paragraph two, when Hannalore Volpe cites The Guardian piece that quoted me about Canada´s promise and post-nationalism, the copy says:
“…its connection to blood and soul…”
The line should read:
“…its connection to blood and soil…”
The error, I realized, was in The Guardian essay. Nevertheless, its repetition here concerned me.
That emphasis on “soil” is all-important in this context. I was referring to the Neo-Fascist declaration that a state should be built on “blood and soil.” And I was placing the Canadian cultural-political experiment in passionate opposition to this racist notion. It´s a nativist obsession which, tragically, is gaining currency again in North America and Europe. The notion of “blood and soil” is to me soulless–without compassion, a sense of justice and cosmopolitanism, lacking in generosity, warmth, welcome, kindness, and a respect for Otherness.
One wrong vowel in a word can make a damaging difference. The Guardian´s inaccurate use of the word “soil” creates the impression that I´m exalting Canada in an anti-spiritual way. This is not the case. A quick glance at any of my recent books–including the ones that Ms Volpe has so faithfully covered in your pages–would tell you how deeply concerned I am with the soul. Truly my work is about a wrestling with what means to be charged with the soul´s poetry.
B. W. Powe
Department of English
York University, Toronto
Where Seas and Fables Meet is an extraordinary book. Brave and beautifully written. Your reflections on the Structure I found very powerful, prophetic. I loved your pages on Kubrick, as I am a fan too. Your observations are illuminating. The first piece of mine to be published was an essay on Kubrick that I wrote for the web magazine Reality Sandwich, so I felt a strong kinship when I read this material. I could go on about the rest of the book — the parabolic stories, the aphorisms. I found it very moving and inspiring.
Marshall Soules, writer, artist, scholar, critic (2017)
…is the world a poem
we’re all composing?
Leonard, you said Mystery lives Lorca lives
in New York City
in the way Magic is alive God is alive
But today on el Paseo de los Tristes
sightseers swear they saw uncanny figures,
kindred shades, one chanting
the other playing a flamenco guitar
their lyrics and strings striking light
in the white-stone place
the gypsies call
the area of morning
From B.W. Powe’s Andalusian poems, a work in progress
“Evocative of amazing and hitherto unsuspected modes of communication and communion… I hope it receives the notices and reviews it deserves… A distinctive and stylish accomplishment.”
-John Robert Colombo, author, critic, poet, chronicler of quotations
“… A third-eye on fire.”
-Elana Wolff, poet
“My god. I am blown away by the bardic power if this poetry. Thank you so much for putting it out into the world, which needs it so… Simply numinous.”
-J.F. Martel, critic, author, essayist, filmmaker
“The poet sings throughout the book, which is a strange mixture of the elegiac and the celebratory -a cacophony of voices, murmurs, whispers, cries… All of Powe’s book, in prose or poetry, incarnate being that sings.”
-J.S. Porter, poet, essayist, columnist for Dialogue
“An extraordinary work.”
-Philip Marchand, author, critic, National Post columnist
“[Powe] uncovers dimensions that are so obviously a part of our experiences yet so rarely commented on… Whatever fragments of life or vision we have, we’ve got to hold onto them as what we’ve got… We’ve got to search for what’s left over, what inspiration remains… That’s when we find ourselves ‘decoding dust’… in emotional arches and longings, yearning… in the language that speaks to the gravity of life. The gravity that the spoils of our contemporary early 21st century existence sometimes allows us to float through effortlessly, carelessly, unremarkably. [Powe’s] work is in defiance of the blah. I was reached by the sheer imagination and the attention to detail in this work. Whatever changes it’s made in me are just beginning. … This is writing for out times.”
-Karl Leschinsky, writer, teacher, film-critic