Tuesday, 11 September 2007

A Lover's Discourse, Maybe

I said I thought it was a lover speaking: Di Brandt in her essay about the prairie (in the Pamela Banting anthology, Fresh Tracks). That's why it's so full, I suggested to my class. So excessive "in a good way," I claimed. So rambly, overwhelmed, wide. But the students weren't so willing to go with the writing. "I can't process it," one student said. "These long sentences, these lists, all the commas, running on and on."

"Well, if you're in love," I continued, "and if it's the land you're in love with, this land . . ."

To be continued in tomorrow's class.


Anonymous said...

Does Brandt explore what it means to be a prairie poet, or do we define ourselves by that which we love, or does being in love create a sense of affiliation with all that surrounds us? Nicole Brossard said this summer there are realy only two states from which we write: grief and love. Perhaps this is so.

Gerald Hill said...

Right on all counts, I'd say. Brossard's comment reminds me of an Al Purdy story. In the early 1950s, one of his manuscripts was rejected by a publisher on the grounds that it "was about nothing but sex and death." Purdy was devastated, but eventually realized there IS nothing other than sex and death. And he published a book by that name in the 60s.