The Essential Don Coles

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The Porcupine's Quill, 2009 - Poetry - 64 pages
The third in a celebrated Porcupine’s Quill series of ‘Essential Poets’ that already includes The Essential George Johnston (2007), and The Essential P. K. Page (2008). Volumes in preparation include The Essential Margaret Avison, The Essential James Reaney and The Essential Richard Outram, amongst others.
 

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Contents

Foreword Sometimes All Ove r1975
7
Photograph in a Stockholm Newspaper for March131910 Divorced Child
11
Death of Women
14
Sampling from a Dialogue
15
William
16
Codger
17
Not Just Words but World
18
Gull Lake Alta
19
Mishenka in two versions
28
Major Hoople
30
Abandoned Lover 32 Abrupt Daylight Sadness
32
Landslides six excerpts
33
Walking in the Snowy Night
38
Somewhere Far from This Comfort
40
My Son at the Seashore Age
42
Someone has stayed in Stockholm
43

The Prinzhorn Collection
20

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About the author (2009)

Don Coles was born on April 12, 1927, in the town of Woodstock, Ontario.


Coles entered Victoria College at the University of Toronto in 1945. He did a four-year history degree, then a two-year M.A. in English, spending two undergraduate summers in Trois-Pistoles, Quebec, learning French, and one summer travelling in Europe. He had several courses with Northrop Frye and Marshall McLuhan, whom he recalls as the best teachers of his life. In between the two M.A. years, he spent a year in London working in a bookstore, then enrolled at Cambridge from 1952 to 1954, and upon graduating was awarded a British Council grant to live in Florence for a year. It was in Stockholm that he met Heidi Golnitz of Lubeck, Germany, whom he eventually married; they lived in Copenhagen and Switzerland before coming to Canada with their daughter in 1965—supposedly for a visit, but they stayed.


It was only around 1967, in tandem with teaching, that Coles began writing poems. His first collection appeared in 1975 when he was forty-seven. It was followed quietly by several others, but he resisted becoming a public poet-persona. He was sixty-five when Forests of the Medieval World won Canada’s premier literary award. As a poet, Coles has always marched to his own drummer. He was never enamoured of the modernist poets, looking instead to what he has termed the ’Hardy-Larkin line’, those who were able to move their art back towards accessibility and the general reader. Besides his ten poetry collections, Coles has, since retirement, published a novel and a collection of essays and reviews, and translated a collection by the late Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer.


Coles resides in Toronto, but has lived close to twenty years in western Europe, with sojourns in Munich, Hamburg, and Zurich besides cities already mentioned. A deeply private man, he lists family first among his pleasures.

Robyn Sarah was born in New York City to Canadian parents, and has lived for most of her life in Montréal. A graduate of McGill University (where she majored in philosophy and English) and of Québec’s Conservatoire de Musique et d’Art Dramatique, she is the author of seven poetry collections and one previous collection of short stories, A Nice Gazebo, published by Véhicule in 1992. The same year, Anansi published The Touchstone: Poems New and Selected, a collection of her poetry spanning twenty years. Robyn Sarah has also recently published a collection of her essays on poetry, entitled Little Eurekas.


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