Sunday, January 1, 2023

George Bowering : Dressing Ruby Wounds


In an issue of his poetry magazine Mouse Eggs, Endre Farkas published a few of the Ruby Wounds poems and introduced them this way:

I was looking through Artie Gold’s archives at the McGill University library and came across his long lost ms. Romantic Words. Ken Norris and I contemplated getting it published. We agreed on asking George Bowering to write an introduction. George had written introductions to a number of Artie’s books, so we expected that he would agree. What we didn’t expect was what George did with the ms. He engaged in a poetic exchange with Artie’s poems. He wrote his version of Artie’s poems. It was an ekphrastic monologue dialogue. I know there have been poets who have done this as a one or two off. Jack Spicer comes to mind with his engagement with Garcia Lorca. But George did this with (118 +) poems. This is something unique in Canadian (perhaps in all of) poetry. Some of them are “rewrites” of Artie’s poems and some are George’s poems on the topic/theme.

Thank you, Endre.

The more I worked at this peculiar task, the more aware I became of Artie's suspicion that some of the poems were not really part of Romantic Words. So I gathered the typescripts that did not have the handwritten letters RW on them, and named them with a phrase that had come from their author.

Thank you, Artie. It was worth the craziness and death fear and deeply painful beauty.





In Spring of 2023 NeWest Press will publish George Bowering’s anthology of English language poets from Wyatt to Avison, with one-page essays on each of the poets, Good Morning Poems.


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