From the Global Village and the Global Theatre to the Global Membrane
Prose Percepts, Lyric Responses by B.W. Powe, in collaboration with Marshall Soules, on NEW MEDIA, EMPATHY, IDENTITY, REFUGEES, NATIONALISM, THE DONALD TRUMP PHENOMENON, JUSTIN TRUDEAU, A-LITERACY, THE WILD INTERNET, PARANOIA, POETRY AND INTIMACY, BOB DYLAN, PATTI SMITH…
Street Art Photos by Marshall Soules
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