Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Marginalia by Billy Collins

I don't know who Billy Collins is, but I just found this poem in an archive of stuff from my old computer, and thought YES! This is amazing! I can't remember who gave it to me, but thanks, person I forget. This poem is awesome.


Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have manage to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love."

Billy Collins

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sistahood Slam on YouTube!

For those of you who missed the Sistahood Slam this past Monday, i am really sorry for you. The good news is that Warren Dean Fulton was lovely enough to compile a teaser from the evening similar to the one from the WOWPS playoffs, so you can see what you missed.

Never fear though, more poetry is always to come. I remind you to check out my radio show, AudioText, to get your fix (which you can access through my website, jcpeters.ca) and to keep an eye on Cafe Deux Soleils, Cafe Montmartre, and the Cottage Bistro for events coming up. Tonight, for example, there is a poetry event featuring Afua Cooper down at Raw Canvas in Yaletown. It's one of my favourite places to read poetry, so I'll most likely be there on the open mic, recording everything at the same time. So stay tuned.

here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wte3pbcYquA

News! Yoga! Life!

Hello everyone!

It's been a little while, and I've been slack with keeping up on this here blog. Lots has been going on. Lots.

One thing is that I've been working on my website a fair bit: jcpeters.ca. Check it out if you like and you can read poems, listen to and watch perfomances, even read my academic articles! Crazy I know!

Now, onto the news portion of the evening:

I've been spending a lot of time doing things like meditating and yin yoga, getting massages and trying to get back to my roots and figure all my shit out. Things like, what do I want out of life? What direction should I be going in? As it turns out, you can get this kind of perspective without escaping to a cabin in the woods (though that helps)--the magic is in not dating for a while. Or just getting rid of whatever is cluttering your thinking to give yourself some space. I can't recommend this 40 day revolution thing enough--i'm on day 39 and I feel like my whole life has changed. I think we all know what we need to do to get that kind of perspective, we just have to figure out how to tap into it.

In any case, the obvious solution presented itself to me: teach yoga! Of course! I'm starting an intensive certification course at the end of May, and then I'm gonna be a YOGA TEACHER!

On that note: check out this awesome picture of me and my biceps made out of fighter jets! This was from an excellent Anusara workshop with Chris Chavez, by the way.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Hey! Hey bloggers!

Nice to see ya. I never get comments from you, so I forget to check back, but I hear you guys are listening: look: 48% or so of people who saw my stuttering poem on youtube heard it here first, apparently. How awesome! Hey thanks for reading great people! I like you a whole lot.

In any case, I have lots to say, and will do over the next little while, but first I just wanted to say thanks for listening. I remind you all, too, to check out jcpeters.ca for updated a/v like they used to say in high school and news that's happening in the world. And by world I mean around Julie Peters. That's Julie Peters. Got it? Yes you do. I like you.

More soon, I promise!

and thanks, sincerely, as always.