Wednesday, November 29, 2006
John Pass: Winner of the 2006 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for "Stumbling in the Bloom"
One world, here and beyond us
so that reaching for it, into it
hog-ties the shaman blind in his blanket
face-down on the floor, seals out every sliver
of light from the windows to sound the rattles
from everywhere, the muffled voices, sparks
and crescendos erratic in the air. Whether spirits
or apparatus who can say with the fine threads
of the four directions stretched among the supplicants
miraculously intact next morning, and by morning
we're boating, skeptical, talking metaphor, joking.
There's our parallel universe: the bluffs
of arbutus and shore pine slipping past,
the island we're approaching friends call
"going to Greece" when we go there
for its shimmering slopes in high summer
of dry moss and gold, flattened grasses,
its hollows here and there as welcoming
as a wife's body, as sharply aromatic.
Wet rock, yarrow, manzanita.
I've no vows, no chanting but this
to hold these shocking constancies, expanses, open
spaces between the trees complete
and sadder than made places...
------the trees-------just where
------house posts----would be.
Stepping amidst them, within, I'm over-
hearing my own voice disown me, "yes,
--------you belong here
--------but cannot stay."
John Pass's poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies in Canada, the U.S., and Ireland. In 1988 Mr. Pass won the Canada Poetry Prize, an international competition sponsored by Canada/India Village Aid. He was Visiting Poet at Utah's Brigham Young University in 1990. His book The Hour's Acropolis (Harbour, 1991) was short-listed for The Dorothy Livesay Prize (BC Book Award), while "Reprieve for the Body," from his most recent book, Radical Innocence (Harbour, 1994), won second prize in The League of Canadian Poets National Poetry Contest 1994. In 1996 he received a British Columbia Cultural Services Award to work on Water Stair , to be published by Oolichan Books this year.