dimecres, 29 de juliol de 2009


La setmana del 20 al 22 de juliol, va tenir lloc a l’EMD de Jesús un curs de LITERATURA EBRENCA ACTUAL, d’una durada de 15 hores, dintre de la relació de cursos de la Universitat d’Estiu URV-UETE 2009.

El curs va estar dirigit per l’Emigdi Subirats, professor d’anglès i d’alemany, escriptor i crític literari; coordinat per la Montserrat Corretger, professora del Departament de Filologia Catalana URV, i ha comptat amb les ponents Dolors Queralt, mestra i regidora de cultura de l’EMD de Jesús, i la Mònica Subirats, professora d’idiomes i traductora. També va comptar amb la presència voluntària d’alguns dels autors ebrencs de més renom, l’obra dels quals també es va analitzar durant les ponències: Jesús M. Tibau i Vicent Pellicer.

Els destinataris eren estudiants de Filologia i d’altres carreres d’Humanitats, universitaris en general, mestres, professors, escriptors i persones interessades en el món literari.

El curs va voler reconèixer l’important paper que estan jugant tot un seguit d’autors del territori que tenen una notable vàlua literària.

El programa ha abraçat diferents aspectes de la literatura de les Terres de l’Ebre. Dilluns va començar amb “La novel.la a les Terres de l’Ebre”, i una segona ponència sobre “Emili Rosales, novel.lista i editor”, per acabar amb una taula rodona, “La difusió de la literatura ebrenca”, amb la participació de l’Emigdi Subirats i la Montserrat Corretger, i la moderadora Dolors Queralt, que va animar les darreres hores de la primera jornada d’aquest cicle de conferències.

El dimarts va ser un dia amb varietat de temes; es va començar amb la “Narrativa curta i juvenil a les TTEE”, per continuar amb “Infraestructura literària al territori”, i va acabar amb “Lletres del Matarranya”.

El dimecres va ser el dia culminant del curs i es va fer les següents ponències: “La poesia a les TTEE”, “El Grup de Gèminis”, “Dos poetes: Albert roig i Joan Elies Adell”, i es va acabar amb “Port i Delta, fons d’inspiració literària”, amb un record especial als cinc bombers que van morir mentre lluitaven per apagar l’incendi al Port, al terme municipal d’Horta de Sant Joan, i per a la gent de la zona que estan patint una desgràcia mediambiental difícil d’oblidar.

Com a conclusió de tot el curs, i sempre des de la meua opinió personal, ha estat d’un gran èxit, començant per l’elevat nombre d’assistents i continuant pel gran ventall de temes i autors sobre els quals s’ha parlat. Així mateix, s’ha d’agrair la participació dels assistents a les lectures de les obres exposades i l’ajut proporcionat quan es van donar alguns petits problemes tècnics.

El curs va ser bastant dinàmic, amb ponències que van ser quelcom més que un ponent parlant per a la resta del públic, i que van acompanyar-se de lectures de textos, de poemes musicats, d’opinions del públic assistent, per a fer uns actes que no semblessin ni massa llargs ni massa feixucs, i on el públic assistent pogués tenir l’oportunitat de participar-hi.

A causa de l’interès que hem vist en la majoria de participants, esperem que aquest èxit i interès per la literatura ebrenca i els cursos d’estiu de la URV-UETE puguin continuar i augmentar els cursos següents. Creiem que a Jesús s’està sembrant una important llavor quant a la difusió de les nostres lletres. Ens complau moltíssim el fet que l’únic curs literari de la UETE-URV se celebri al poble de Jesús, mostra del dinamisme i motivació que es porta des del govern de l’EMD.

Mònica Subirats

dilluns, 27 de juliol de 2009


Lampman’s world-view was simple. Like many of his fellows he had lost his faith in Christian dogma and institutionalized religion; the shadow of the Cross does not lie upon his poetry. What is left is a burning idealism, a secular but lofty humanism which looks less to the glory of God than to the glory of man’s soul as it journeys towards peace and justice and freedom in a transcendent relation with nature, called in many poems the Earth Mother. Indeed, of all the strands of 19th-century thought that entered into Lampman’s make-up, transcendentalism was probably the most important. That mode of thought was in the air; it did not need to be specifically Emersonian. At the cutting edge of his mind, Lampman was acutely sensitive to social problems, and about these he wrote forcefully in an essay on socialism (not published in his lifetime) and in two visionary poems, “The city of the end of things” and “The land of Pallas.” But most of these concerns, as also the impedimenta of aphorisms and moral imperatives he inherited from a sententious age, were shed like debris from a comet when he entered his world of nature. Here the structure of attitudes and values becomes elementary and undogmatic as he moves from sensory exposure to mystical identification. He had picked up and nourished from his early reading of Shelley the idea of contemptus mundi, the rejection of the world. In many of the best Lampman poems the city is there, and it is evil, the haunt of materialism and greed and cruelty among men. But the city is characteristically at Lampman’s back. He faces nature, and nature, at first simply restorative to body and mind, becomes in the end sacramental, the means whereby the Soul (and the word is usually capitalized) “Feels upward to some height at last,” aching for union with “the Master Spirit of the world.” Thought there is, but it is of a certain transcendental order. In the concluding lines of the poem “Heat,” one of the best known of Lampman’s poems, the speaker says: “In the full furnace of the hour / My thoughts grow keen and clear.” What thoughts? We are not told. The short poem “The choice” begins with a rejection of the “conflict” and “pomp” of the world and ends with the lines: “I sit me in the windy grass and grow / As wise as age, as joyous as a child.” At the core of Lampman’s best, the thought is the poem.

There are several reasons for Lampman’s durability. The first, which may not have much to do with his poetry, is that he comes through to us as a thoroughly likeable person. The recent publication of his correspondence with Thomson has confirmed a picture, long ago projected by Scott, of a person of great integrity, wit, and charm; and, one must add for the record’s sake, considerable courage. He was above all, perhaps to his cost, always honest with himself. The second reason has to do with Scott’s role for almost fifty years as custodian and promoter of the Lampman record. For it was Scott who was the prime mover in bringing out the memorial edition of 1900 by means of which the extended Lampman œuvre in poetry was established; and it was Scott who brought out a handsome selected edition of the poems in 1925, and another edition, more rigorously selected, in 1947, the year of his death. Most important, Scott joined with Edward Killoran Brown* to bring out in 1943 a final culling (as they thought) of hitherto unpublished texts, At the Long Sault and other new poems; and on this occasion, as on other occasions previously, he did not hesitate to make what he felt were improvements on the manuscript versions of the poems. Both Lampman the man, therefore, and Lampman the poet, as we know them, are in a real sense creations of D. C. Scott. Neither could have been in better hands. The third reason is more substantive. Lampman, at his best and in the chosen field of his concern, was a master of his craft. His many revisions between draft and final copy show this. The result was a poetry of precise yet evocative imagery and, overall, a kind of directness that was shorn of the sentimental and didactic trappings of much of the poetry of his time. He therefore survived handily the transition in Canada from traditional to modern poetry, which in the late 1920s led to heavy attacks on the frequent fuzziness of the so-called Maple Leaf school of poets of the confederation years. Lampman was all right. And with what great pleasure Louis Dudek and Irving Peter Layton, in their “social conscience” mood of the 1940s, discovered at least the glimmerings of a like conscience in Lampman’s “To a millionaire” and “Epitaph on a rich man”! In On Canadian poetry (Toronto, 1943), Brown had no difficulty in rearranging the pecking order for the “poets of the Confederation”: Roberts and Carman were dethroned; Lampman was ranked high with Scott. It was an important critical judgement, and it has on the whole been sustained. Finally, there are all the intangibles that are rewards in the presence of excellence in whatever age or place. Lampman’s sonnets, particularly those on the subject of nature, are among the best in the English language. Memorable lines may not be a reliable touchstone of fine poetry, but they tell us something; and Lampman is full of memorable lines. The concluding line of a poem on the autumn season stuck to Brown’s mind like a burr: “October with the rain of ruined leaves.” The Lampman flame is small, but it is clear and bright, and it will burn for a long time.

On July 1, 1867, a fledgling nation not only experienced a geopolitical birth, but a cultural one as well. The Confederation of the newly formed Dominion of Canada included Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. With the physical and political formation of a country comes the incarnation of a certain domestic mindset, and atmosphere. This mindset strives to identify, and subsequently express, the identifying characteristics unique to the environment in question. Throughout history, in any nation or other culturally exclusive group, forms of art such as music, literature, dance, painting, sculpture, etc. have served to give a voice to national identity.

diumenge, 26 de juliol de 2009


Lampman wrote more than 300 poems in this last period of his life, although scarcely half of these were published prior to his death. For single poems or groups of poems he found outlets in the literary magazines of the day: in Canada, chiefly the Week; in the United States, Scribner’s Magazine, the Youth’s Companion, the Independent, the Atlantic Monthly, and Harper’s Magazine. In 1888, with the help of a legacy left to his wife, he published Among the millet and other poems. In 1895, after many delays and difficulties with a number of publishers, Copeland and Day of Boston published Lyrics of earth (it actually appeared the following spring). A third volume, Alcyone, and other poems, in press at the time of his death, was held back by Scott

“Placid” is another matter. Lampman’s spirit, from the end of his university days, had become increasingly troubled, beset by what he called a “morbid sensitivity.” Ironically, poetry was both a main source of his suffering and its therapy. Before he had left Toronto for Ottawa, he had written to a friend: “Good or ill – poetry is to some men like the magnetic sea mountain in the Arabian Nights, that drew the very nails out of the ships to their distraction. This same delusion will doubtless ruin me, unfitting me for any solid profession, and yet in the end fulfilling none of the vapoury hopes I have founded upon it.” Lampman was certainly not “ruined” by poetry, yet what he had said in his letter was to become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. By the end of the 1880s he was in full command of the type of short nature poem on which his reputation was ultimately to rest. Always, however, he had wanted to do something on a grander scale, poems with “more human life” in them, as he put it, and now, urged on by his friend Thomson, he laboured over a series of long dramatic narratives, some of them drafts from earlier days, based on ancient tales and biblical lore. They did not work; Lampman knew, as his critics were to know later, that there was not a spark of life in them. By 1893 he was thoroughly depressed. “There is one kind of work I can do,” he wrote Thomson, “nature work, as they call it and I had better confine myself to that.” The long delay in finding a publisher for Lyrics of earth increased his sense of failure. Meanwhile, his private life was disturbed by a “personal drama” only recently disclosed in its particulars: for some time he had been having an affair (if that is the word) with a fellow-worker at the Post Office, Katherine Waddell, whom he had met in 1889, and it was becoming clear that they must break the connection. In the face of all these trials one is inclined to say, as Scott said on occasion, “Poor Archie!” Critics were later to draw parallels between Lampman’s afflictions and the afflictions of Keats. But Lampman, though often hard up, was never poor; nor was he ever reviled by the critics. He had friends in reasonably high places, and he was well served by the incomparable loyalty of Scott and Thomson. Although he despised, and lampooned in his letters, the intellectual environment of Ottawa (“I am suffocated. If I had the genius of Milton, I could do nothing.”), it must be remembered that, besides Scott, the environment included John George Bourinot*, Campbell, William Dawson Le Sueur*, Ritchie, and like men of culture and learning, all of them known to the poet. Lampman’s Angst was nevertheless real enough to him. With talents to match his zeal, he is the first Canadian poet (Isabella Valancy Crawford* might have an equal claim) to whom nothing really matters but the world of the poetic imagination, and to the extent that this is so he reflects the problems that arose in the latter part of the 19th century when a hobby became an obsession. The effect on Lampman was to make him push the world, which he had always held at arm’s length, still farther away. His retreat was to nature and the poetry nature engendered. Mercifully, in the year before he died he was tranquil. He was working on one of the finest of his nature poems, “Winter uplands,” in his last days.

Lampman achieved excellence in only a relatively small body of poems, perhaps one-third of his total output. Take these away and the residue, which would have to include the long narratives such as “The story of an affinity” and “David and Abigail,” and many of his aphoristic and quasi-philosophical poems such as “Strife and freedom” and “Good speech,” would scarcely qualify him for serious biographical attention. The literary influences that shaped his consciousness at the outset were those to be expected from the offshoot of a literate and solidly anglophile family of the time: Shelley, Wordsworth, Keats, Coleridge, Tennyson, and Arnold, to a lesser extent Byron, Browning, and Swinburne. Of these, Keats and Arnold were the most important: Keats for the restraint and intensity of his imagery (“Keats has always had such a fascination for me and so permeated my whole mental outfit that I have an idea that he has found a sort of faint reincarnation in me.”), and Arnold for his lofty idealism and moral tone. But in the end it was the core of poems he fashioned in his own way that counted. Like Antaeus, Lampman found his source of strength when his feet touched the ground. He made nature his boon companion; he observed, he felt, he recorded. The effect is that of looking through a small window at a piece of landscape carefully ordered and exact in detail. Claude Thomas Bissell has aptly called it “picturesque realism.” This description, however, is too simple. The observed detail, if we include access through sound as much as sight, is certainly there: when the wind comes, the “glimmering leaves” of the poplar “beat / Together like innumerable small hands”; into “the pale depth of the noon” on a heat-soaked day “A wandering thrush slides leisurely / His thin revolving tune”; the “dry cicada” becomes “that crazy fiddler of the hot mid-year”; as the poet walks in a winter forest “A branch cracks now and then, and its soft load / Drifts by me in a thin prismatic shower”; lying in a field of timothy at harvest time he hears “the crackling rustle of the pitch-forked hay”; on a river, canoeing, he watches seven ducks break from the water and “With a swivelling whistle go.” But these honed and crafted images, and there are many of them, would not be enough; taken by themselves they would constitute only, as Arnold observed of the flashy Spasmodic School of poetry in the mid century, “a shower of glittering images.” In the end it is the extraordinarily organic and unified field of apprehension to which these poems attain that marks them as high art. Characteristically, to paraphrase Whitman, the poet loafs and invites his soul. The mood is dreamlike; and surely the word “dream,” or some derivative of it, is the most pervasive of all key words in the Lampman canon. Then, dreamlike becomes trancelike, and the observer, still fixed in a vantage point and quartering his field, flows by some mystic process into the very essences of the picture observed. The symbiosis is astonishingly complete. Seemingly effortless rhymes, deft metrics, and sure harmonies endorse the unity of the canvas.

dissabte, 25 de juliol de 2009


He is widely regarded as Canada's finest 19th century English language poet. Lampman's poetry concerns Canada's rural life and the wonders of nature and can be compared to British romantic and nature poetry contemporary to his life. Lampman's ability to write detailed, meaningful poems that depict traditional Canadian and Native American life was one of his greatest triumphs as a poet, and probably one of the reasons why his work has had lasting impact in the Canadian canon.

Archibald Lampman is commonly identified with a group of early Canadian poets which included William Bliss Carman, Charles George Douglas Roberts, and Duncan Campbell Scott. They have been variously referred to as the “group of the sixties” or “poets of the Confederation.” Born within a year or two of one another, 1860–62, they all grew up in the benign shadow of an act of the British parliament that gave the British North American provinces the status of a nation in 1867. Nature figured prominently in their work, and a vague transcendentalism, but they were not otherwise closely linked. Lampman was intimate only with Scott, and it was this friendship which illuminated his life between his coming to Ottawa in 1883 and his early death in his 38th year.

The Morpeth that Lampman knew was a small town set in the rolling farm country of what is now western Ontario, not far from the shores of Lake Erie. The little red church just east of the town, on the Talbot Road, was his father’s charge. Lampman was of loyalist stock on both sides of the family. The European roots were German on his father’s side and Dutch on his mother’s, but in the more immediate line of descent both of the poet’s grandmothers were Scottish.

The stock is honourable, typical of pioneering achievement at its best, and if the young Archie, as he was affectionately called, is to make little mention, of it in his writings it is probably because he took his roots, firmly bedded as they were in the North American experience, for granted. He was to worry about many things but not at all about his Canadian identity. Of the personality shaped from these diverse inheritances, one can say only that in it the intellectual, contemplative, and active parts were in decent equilibrium.

At the university Lampman was to win prizes in the first year, but he was to complete his degree, in 1882, with only second-class standing. His enduring love was Greek and the Greek masters. He would be translating Homer in the weeks before his death. Early in the first term he joined the Literary Institute and soon came to know the staff of the college paper Rouge et Noir, to which in 1880–81 he contributed an essay on Shelley and a treatise on “Friendship,” his first published pieces. His first published poem, “Verses,” appeared in the February 1882 issue of the paper. Meanwhile, he pursued his vagrant reading, practised writing (he tried his hand at a novel), and enjoyed his new freedom; the best gift of this freedom may well have been the companionable talk in rooms filled with pipe smoke and the smell of beer and cheese. Indeed, the sense of being a part of a community of like minds was all-important. John Almon Ritchie, who would later write for the theatre, became a close friend; also Joseph Edmund Collins, soon to be a successful journalist and biographer. In the city which ringed the university, moreover, a literary awakening was under way. Goldwin Smith*, political journalist and man of letters, a few years out from England, held court at the Grange. Smith had launched the Bystander, which he edited and largely wrote, about the time Lampman came to the university; and in 1883 he was to begin the Week, a journal of literature and criticism to which many Canadian writers would contribute, including in due time Lampman. The first editor of the Week was Charles G. D. Roberts, and it was in Toronto in these years that Roberts and Lampman first met, became friendly, and talked about poetry. Lampman was ready for the encounter. A memorable passage in a lecture called “Two Canadian poets” (Roberts and George Frederick Cameron), delivered in 1891 in Ottawa, records his sitting up most of a May night ten years earlier reading and re-reading Roberts’s recently published first volume of poetry, Orion, and other poems, in a state of “wildest excitement.” The impossible had proved possible. “It seemed to me a wonderful thing that such work could be done by a Canadian, by a young man, one of ourselves. It was like a voice from some new paradise of art, calling to us to be up and doing.”

But if these were heady times for Lampman, there were also constant reminders that his days at the university were numbered and that he would soon have to find a job. Teaching was a possibility, although he viewed the prospect with no enthusiasm, and indeed the letters of application he wrote to school-boards hovered on the edge of self-mockery. He was accepted at Orangeville, and he taught high school there for three unhappy months in the fall of 1882. He left his job in December and moved back to Toronto. Through the influence of his friend Archibald Campbell, whose father, Sir Alexander, had recently been postmaster general, he was offered almost immediately a position as clerk in the Post Office Department in Ottawa.


que xales un munt, que vingue molt carregat i que se converteixi en un dia memorable per a tu!
Així que:
Molts besets,


divendres, 24 de juliol de 2009

Presentació del llibre de rutes de Campredó

Demà dissabte 25 de juliol, a les 11'30 hores ii al temple parroquial, se presentarà el llibre Rutes pel terme de Campredó, que han compilat els campredonencs Marga Estorach, Joan Carles Balagué i Mossèn Víctor Cardona. Ha estat una nova iniciativa cultural i literària de primer orde del rector de la parròquia Sant Joan Baptista de Campredó, que permetrà donar a conèixer espais bellíssims del terme campredonenc, desconeguts fins i tot per a aquells que hi hem residit tota la vida. Ens cal felicitar, doncs, de l'aparició d'un llibre excel·lent per difondre Campredó, i per continuar aportant autoestima als campredonencs.
A Marga Estorach la felicitem igualment pel fet que serà aquesta nit la pregonera de les Festes Majors, com a reconeixement a la seua participació en l'expedició femenina i ebrenca a l'Aconcagua durant el mes de febrer d'enguany.
Molt bones festes majors a tots els campredonencs i campredonenques, i a tots aquells i totes aquelles que ens vulguin acompanyar durant la setmana gran campredonenca.
(del bloc de l'Emigdi Subirats)

dijous, 23 de juliol de 2009


A Canadian poet and prose writer. Besides his own body of work, Roberts is known as the "Father of Canadian Poetry" because he served as an inspiration for other writers of his time. Roberts, his cousin Bliss Carman, Archibald Lampman and Duncan Campbell Scott were known as the "Confederation poets".

Together, these four poets became known as the "Confederation" poets.

His two best collections of verse, In Divers Tones and Songs of the Common Day and Ave! An Ode for the Shelley Centenary . In this latter work, Roberts recreated Maritime life with vivid sensitivity.

His most successful prose genre was the animal story, in which he drew upon his early experience in the wilds of the Maritimes. Along with Ernest Thompson Seton, Roberts is credited with inventing the modern animal story. He published over a dozen such stories between Earth's Enigmas and Eyes of the Wilderness.

Roberts’s "tales of animals are symbolic...not with the artificial symbolism of ‘Aesop’s Fables’..., but by revealing in the simple truth of animal life a universal meaning. The symbol is not invented; the thing is found to be symbolic".

Earth’s Enigmas participates in two of the discourses that shaped Canadian almost as much as American writing in the eighteen eighties and nineties:

(1) the discourse of anti-modernity that valorized pre-and undercivilized spaces as realms of emotional and spiritual intensity anterior or adjacent to the materialistic and artificial world of the modern city;

(2) and (2) the related discourse of therapeutics that encouraged writers to produce books set in such spaces that would medicine the minds and nervous systems of the victims of modernity.

During the pre-Confederation period, Canada’s popularity as a destination for tourists seeking picturesque and sublime scenery grew as a result of various literary and transportational factors.

“The Tantramar Revisited” is Charles G.D. Roberts’ poetic masterpiece and is divided into five stanzas of irregular length, each containing variations on what has variously been seen as the hexameter or the elegiac metre. In view of the great metrical variation in the poem and of the fact that the elegiac metre itself consists of alternate hexameter and pentameter lines, it seems both prudent and felicitious to say simply that in “The Tantramar Revisited” Roberts first opens with and then plays against a hexameter norm.

When commenting on the verse form of “The Tantramar Revisited” most critics cite the hexameters of Longfellow’s Evangeline as Roberts’ precedent and model, usually ramarking that the poem is derivative and reminiscent without being original or innovative. Longfellow was one of the poets whose work inspired the Canadian writer “in his earliest days with the love of poetry” . He described Longfellow as “the greatest of New England’s poets” and Evangeline as an instance of the way in which the Maritime Provinces and the New England States had “acted and reacted upon one another. . . .”

While Roberts did not invent a new form for his poem, his decision to remember and to echo in “The Tantramar Revisited” the verse form, the cadences, and even specific details of Evangeline is both apt and appropriate, not only because his poem takes as its theme “nostalgic remembrance,” but also because it takes as its subject a portion of the landscape of the Maritimes, and indeed precisely that portion which Cappon appositely calls “the land of Evangeline.” The suggestion, then, is that the verse form of “The Tantramar Revisited” is more than mere “masterly” handling of the form that Longfellow had made his own Evangeline; it is a suitably allusive use of the hexameter by means of which the Canadian poet echoes the American poem and, in so doing, adds historical depth and resonance to his meditation on the effects of time and memory in the region of the Tantramar marshes on the Bay of Fundy. “The Tantramar Revisited” thus gains an historical dimension (and it is worth remembering here Roberts’ well-known fascination with the history of the Maritimes) through an allusion inherent in its verse form and its cadences.

The verse form of “The Tantramar Revisited” is interesting for reasons other than its allusiveness. Remark upon the facility and skill with which Roberts handles his metre. By setting up the expectation of a hexameter rhythm and then playing against it the rhythms dictated by the verbal sense and the reading voice, or, to be more specific, by establishing a hexameter norm at the beginning of the poem (the first line has a full sixteen syllables) and then proceeding to modify it with more natural rhythms, (few lines in the body of the poem have more than thirteen syllables). Roberts serves the reader’s ear notice of what, in effect, is the imaginative adventure of the poem: the speaker’s discovery of the disjunction between his expectation and the reality, between his expectation that the marshlands have not been affected by Time and the reality that, of course, they have. Put somewhat crudely, the suggestion is that, just as the classical metre, which as a classics metre might seem immune to the forces of “change” is, the reader discovers, far from immune to change in “The Tantramar Revisited,” so the speaker of the poem comes to realize that even in the landscape of his youth the same forces are at work.

dilluns, 20 de juliol de 2009


During the Second World War, Klein published two more books, Poems and The Hitleriad, both in 1944. Poems developed ideas forecasted in Hath Not a Jew but also reflected Klein's anxieties over current events and the plight of Jews in the wake of the Holocaust. Poems such as "Polish Village," "Meditation Upon Survival," and "Elegy" were thoroughly contemporary accounts of persecution and suffering with which Klein, despite his relative safety in Canada, deeply sympathized. The Hitleriad was a very different work, a mock epic written in a satricial style reminiscent of Alexander Pope in such works as The Dunciad. In it, Klein attempted to satirize Adolf Hitler and his Nazi cohorts, although later critics often noted that the inescapable bitterness of the subject caused Klein's humorous intentions to run ary.

Klein's greatest achievement as a poet came in 1948 with the publication of The Rocking Chair and Other Poems. The book earned Klein a Governor General's Award in poetry and sold in numbers far exceeding the norm for a book of Canadian poetry. The success of the book owed much to Klein's new-found focus on domestic Canadian subjects, particularly the culture of French Canada, which Klein, fluent in French and sympathetic to their minority status in North America, understood better than most English-Canadian writers of his day. Along with the oft-anthologized title poem, "The Rocking Chair," a poem that uses the chair in a rural Quebec house as a synecdoche of French-Canadian heritage, the book included such poems as "Lookout: Mont Royal," "Grain Elevator," and "The Cripples," all of which showed Klein at the height of his creative powers and survived long after as lyrical encapsulations of specific aspects and locations of Montreal. A lengthy elegy at the end of the book, "Portrait of the Poet as Landscape," reflected Klein's indignation at the general indifference of the Canadian public to its own literature. Much of Klein's verse (Hath Not a Jew, 1940; Poems, 1944) was infused with Jewish images and ideas. In The Hitleriad (1944) he vented his spleen against the Nazis. His last and finest collection, THE ROCKING CHAIR AND OTHER POEMS (1948), is a satirical portrayal of Québec. His short allegorical novel The Second Scroll (1951) was based on his 1949 journey to Europe, Israel and Morocco. Klein also published many newspaper articles, stories, book reviews and translations from Hebrew and Yiddish. His work is remarkable for its linguistic exuberance, wit, learning and moral fervour. Klein has rightly been called the "first contributor of authentic Jewish poetry to the English language." His writings articulate the feelings of a generation that witnessed the destruction of European Jewry and the fulfilment of the Zionist dream. Despite his protestations, Klein is still largely remembered as a Jewish poet — and not without justification. As both a person and an artist, he was deeply in love with the heritage he received from his parents and from his teachers, a fact fittingly reflected in his nostalgic recollections of his childhood in the once heavily Jewish Montreal neighborhood surrounding Saint Lawrence Boulevard. His poetry dealt with cultural synthesis and the problem of expressing one culture in the language of another.

But while much of Klein’s writing did, in fact, take Jewish themes as its subject, his quest for general literary acceptance was also fulfilled. As delegates at a recent international conference on Klein indicated, his contributions to Canadian and modernist literature went beyond the Jewish content of his poetry.

The most enduring part of Klein’s legacy is undoubtedly his 1948 collection, “The Rocking Chair and Other Poems,” which received Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award. The collection dealt not with Jewish subjects but with the province of Quebec and its people. While many of the poems are written in Klein’s frequently complex style, such as the multilingual homage to the city of Montreal, some of the collection’s most powerful pieces are simple and direct, such as Klein’s critical portrayal of Quebec nationalism in “Political Meeting,” or the rural nostalgia of the titular “The Rocking Chair.” The collection also includes what many consider to be Klein’s finest poem, “Portrait of the Poet as Landscape,” a haunting meditation on the fate of the poetic vocation in the face of modernity. Along with his acclaimed novel “The Second Scroll,” the poem represents the zenith of Klein’s literary career, though its allusions to paranoia and madness also foreshadow its author’s mental collapse in the mid-1950s and Klein’s ensuing retreat into silence and solitude for the final decades of his life.

Though Klein is celebrated today primarily for his foundational role in Canadian letters (The Quebec Writers’ Federation Prize for Poetry is named in his honor), he was a man of many talents, many interests and many occupations. By profession he was a lawyer, having studied law at the Université de Montréal, and for a few years he lived in the small Quebec mining town of Rouyn, where he opened a modest legal practice. For two-and-a-half decades he was also the editor of the Canadian Jewish Chronicle, the English counterpart to the seminal Yiddish newspaper Der Kanader Adler. In his weekly editorials, Klein commented on such topics as antisemitism both at home and abroad, Canada’s involvement in the Second World War and Zionism, of which he was a life-long supporter. Though Klein’s artistic aspirations remained primarily poetic, the editorial position served as an important creative outlet for him and as a channel for his essays, reviews and translations of Yiddish and Hebrew works. His career also included a three-year stint teaching poetry at McGill University, two unsuccessful forays into federal politics under the banner of the socialist Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (later to develop into the New Democratic Party) and speaking engagements all over North America on behalf of the fledgling State of Israel.

While for the most part, Klein was able to reconcile his multiple activities and obligations, they eventually took a toll on his personal life as well as on his artistic sensibilities. In addition to his literary work, Klein was a longtime speechwriter and public relations consultant for business magnate Samuel Bronfman, head of the Seagram Company, and president of the Canadian Jewish Congress from 1939 to 1962. In a 1942 journal entry, Klein lamented his role writing souvenir programs for philanthropic banquets.

As a socialist candidate he believed in the power of the people, and as a young rabbinical student in the power of God. But it was the power of language that fascinated him most of all, a power to which he gave lasting expression through his true vocation — poetry.

In "Political Meeting" A. M. Klein describes an orator addressing an anti-conscription rally in Quebec. The image of the sunflower seeds has the power to call up the complex mood of the poem, and, in particular, its ambivalent attitude to the Orator.

Klein's ambivalent attitude to the Orator, deep distrust mixed with fascination, even with a kind of admiration, comes through especially in the detail of the sunflower seeds.

The poetry of Abraham Moses Klein springs from the roots of a consciousness where Hebrew and legal lore have become strangely and exotically intermingled with Shakespeare and T. S. Eliot. Klein's passion for English literature was second only to his love for Judaism, and in each the feeling was supported by a refined and extensive scholarship. His early work is thronged with Elizabethan locutions, some appropriate in that they fit in with the rhetorical Jewish tradition, others embarrassing or painful. Shelley was an influence on the tone of his radical verse, Eliot and then Auden on its phrasing. Klein was a peculiarly conscious writer, and there can be few indeliberate or accidental reminiscences in his writing. He was for many years fascinated by Joyce, whose medieval mind was in some ways similar to his own; and Joyce's linguistic psychiatry—and pedantry—have certainly influenced Klein's autobiographical-mythical novel The Second Scroll. Certainly the finest poem in his Poems (1944), "In re Solomon Warshawer," owes much of its form and manner to Browning; and it is in no respect inferior to the liveliest of Browning's production in this mode. Lengths of time and spans of experience are condensed in the poem's two hundred lines, and the whole tradition of the persecuted is concentrated in the single figure of Solomon Warshawer…. Solomon is seen to represent not simply the Jewish but, in his striving and imperfection, the human race.

And, further, the desperation which screams through the poem is not just for intolerable suffering, but for the horror that it is his merely human life that has been selected for destruction, so that what should have above all been preserved by man is precisely what is selected for abolition. The fear and the horror, in fact, are for a universe revealing itself as fundamentally irrational. It is this fear of an insane world—something unspeakably horrible to a mind like Klein's … which agitates the poem most deeply.

Klein is a product of three rich and distinct traditions, all of which formed his mind and imagination, determined his response to time past and present, to place, and to religious and literary forms and values. As a consequence, his contribution to the Canadian mosaic reflects the same elements. His major contribution stems primarily from his presentation of Jewish experience, historic and present, with its inherent ideas and values. It is a unique contribution, reflecting the religio-cultural heritage of his people and his own deep, passionate attachment, his on-going concern.


El 20 de juliol de 1969, l'home va arribar per primera vegada a la Lluna. I quan el dia 21, l'astronauta Neil Armstrong va trepitjar la superfície lunar, va pronunciar unes paraules que resumien la importància històrica del moment i que han quedat en les nostres memòries per sempre més: 'És un petit pas per a un home, però un pas de gegant per a la humanitat.' Armstrong era el comandant de la missió Apol.lo 11 de la NASA, i l'hi acompanyaven Buzz Aldrin i Michael Collins.
Aldrin i Armstrong van allunar amb la nau Columbia, i Collins se va quedar a la nau de comandament, l'Eagle. Tots tres havien sortit de Cap Canaveral (Florida) el 16 de juliol, a bord del coet Saturn V, i van arribar a destinació, a 380.000 quilòmetres de la Terra, quatre dies després. Vuit dies més tard, eren de tornada a la Terra.

En aquell temps a Campredó hi havia solament una tele, la del Cafè de Machí, i la meva mare ens contava de ben menuts com tot el poble va anar a veure-ho al bar. N'hi havia de força escèptics que deien que tot allò era un montatge dels americans i que en realitat no hi havien arribat a la Lluna, d'altres s'ho van creure tot i s'ho miraven embadalits, i d'altres no en feren ni cas, era un altre acte més que sortia per la tele i com a tal van aprofitar el moment per sortir de les seves cases i anar a fer un traguet al cafè. Jo era força menuda, encara no havia fet els tres anys i no en tinc cap record d'aquell dia, però sé que jo tambè hi era al cafè i encara que no ho recorde, me sento part de la història.

diumenge, 19 de juliol de 2009


During the 20th century, predominant patterns of habitation in Canada shifted from rural to urban settings.

In Canadian literature, a corresponding shift can be seen in fictional settings; and transitions from pastoral to urban settings have been associated with new themes and archetypes, as well as a revised approach to realism. However, given that this country’s perceived literary identity itself has been shaped by a deep and abiding contact with nature, it is interesting to question the extent to which a shift to urban settings automatically marks ‘new ground’ in Canadian fiction.

Narratives “portray man in conflict with a forbidding land and a forbidding climate, in conflict with his own inchoate impulses…and in conflict always with time which quickly eats away that which he builds.

With the creation of a Canadian nation in 1867 a self-consciousness arose, a desire to define the "Canadian", to create a "national" literature. Handily enough, this coincided with a period of European thought in which the virtues of the "northern" were being heavily promoted: the superiority of the strong, manly, active "northern" peoples — the "Anglo-Saxons" and "Scandinavians" — over the weak, feminine, passive "southern" peoples; the heroic qualities of the old Icelandic texts and the Ring cycle. So the intellectual mood was receptive to precisely those qualities which Canada could naturally boast. There was increased emphasis on the "northern" roots of the Canadians; in a spirit of generous tolerance. In literature, the obvious subject was, of course, the land. Much of what was written then — subsequently referred to disparagingly as "the maple-leaf school" — is, as might be expected, very bad, but in the best work one sees the beginnings not only of a kind of modus vivendi with the land, but of an appreciation of it on its own terms: powerfully accurate descriptions in the poetry of the "Confederation poets", gradually a new kind of realism shorn of romantic diction and attitudes, a reversal of values that sees the beauty of the clear, cold winters, the spare ruggedness of the wilderness, and finally the admission that this is not a land to be tamed, an acceptance of the land on its own terms, without any imposition of human purpose or even human relevance. This is a slow development, but the end state is perhaps best caught in a passage in Hugh Mac- Lennan's The Watch That Ends the Night. The subsuming of the human in the animal world that Purdy suggests so subtly here is highly appropriate, for one of the key stages in this development of the relationship of Canadian literature to the land was marked by the invention around the turn of the century by Ernest Thompson Seton and Sir Charles G.D.Roberts of the modern animal story, in which for the first time animal tales are based on observation and dispense with sentimentality and didacticism; the attempt to see animals naturally in their environment is then paralleled by, and strengthens, the effort to achieve the same for humans.

But actually experiencing the North, getting out into the wilderness, has been through the the technological tool that made possible the extension of European control, the means by which this new space was most intensely experienced. So the frequency with which journeys by canoe appear in Canadian literature comes as no surprise. The canoe's literal function is that it enables one to move about in an otherwise impenetrable country, but symbolically it allows one to meet dangers and overcome challenges, to experience the land in the most intimate possible way, to identify with the native inhabitants, to achieve varying degrees and kinds of freedom. Interestingly enough, the earliest use of this motif to suggest some of these qualities seems to be found in the work of Susanna Moodie's contentment at being able to paddle off in a canoe and simply achieve solitude for a while. Certainly part of their delight stems from the ability that moving about in a canoe gave them to escape their usual gender roles, something that would not have applied to men. But as the century wore on, the canoe motif is increasingly found in works by men as well, in the form of poems and prose in which the writers go out to deliberately encounter and experience the wilderness (Lampman's "Temagami" is a good example of this).

Increasingly in the twentieth century these journeys are seen as retreats, or at least temporary withdrawals from civilization, spiritual journeys, journeys into a symbolic space: for Duncan Campbell Scott the journey to "The Height of Land" brings a mystic sense of the harmony of the contradictory forces of life. this corresponds to the general trend towards employing the wilderness for symbolic purposes.

An essentially sympathetic picture of the Natives was created around the turn of the century by Duncan Campbell Scott, with his poetry and tales of Indians' endurance and their dignity in the face of great adversity, and the insensitivity of Whites.

dissabte, 18 de juliol de 2009


Canadian short fiction has always maintained close associations with the popular markets provided by newspapers and LITERARY MAGAZINES. A pattern of first publication in periodicals and subsequent collection in book form was established in the 19th century and has continued to the present day.

Portions of Susanna MOODIE'S ROUGHING IT IN THE BUSH were first published in The Literary Garland before appearing in book form in 1852. Stephen LEACOCK published SUNSHINE SKETCHES OF A LITTLE TOWN in The Montreal Daily Star (Feb-June 1912), then as a book later the same year.

Since the 1920s the connections between short fiction and newspapers or magazines have remained strong, as seen in the publication of work by Morley Callaghan, Mavis GALLANT, Alice MUNRO in periodicals. Several writers have also edited newspapers, magazines or anthologies.

Some critics define the sketch as "an apparently personal anecdote or memoir which focuses on one particular place, person, or experience, and is usually intended for magazine publication." Its colloquial tone and informal structure relate it to the epistolary form employed in several early Canadian works.

One common kind is the humorous or satirical sketch, as found in the works of Leacock.

A second kind is the autobiographical, descriptive or travel sketch, as practised by Archibald LAMPMAN and Duncan Campbell SCOTT.

The most distinctive early contribution by Canadians to short fiction was the animal stories of Roberts.

Scott's work looks back to 19th-century American gothic and romantic and local-colour writing, yet its ironic tone connects it with mid-20th-century writing, and his use of imagery anticipates the poetically conceived short stories written later in the century.

Morley Callaghan was "the first and most important of the modern short-story writers in Canada". Callaghan's stories were important for his choices of subject and situation; his modern, urban, even international outlook; his understanding of the importance and the difficulty of writing about everyday life; and the intimately human moral complexities that he explored. Furthermore, the stories created a strong feeling of immediacy because of his special and new way of using words plainly. Perhaps even more important to the succeeding generation of writers was the reputation that Callaghan had made for himself.

His short stories significantly influenced Canadian writers from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, including Margaret LAURENCE and Alice Munro, both major contributors to the history of short fiction in Canada. By the 1980s, Munro had the best popular and international reputation of Canadian short story writers. She emerged as the writer most often identified with the rebirth of the Canadian short story, and as the writer most prominently concerned with trying to shape short stories into coherent books or story cycles.

The most truly international of Canadian short-story writers, however, is Mavis Gallant. Her Stories of Paris (1985) brought a more intricate internationalism, a richly textured political awareness and exquisite craft to Canadian short fiction.

Where twenty years ago Canadian stories stressed content - what a story was about - the main emphasis now is on the story as verbal and rhetorical performance. " These differences can be perceived in the evolution of some writers' conceptions of the short story. Munro's stories, for example, move from her early narrative style towards a freer, more open, more dreamlike form evident in such collections as The Progress of Love.

Canadian writers of short fiction, like authors in other genres, are subject to fluctuations in popularity. As personal likes shift back and forth between plain style and verbal play or between realism and fantasy, individual writers' reputations rise and fall accordingly - regardless of their work's quality. Furthermore, attention is rarely given to a writer's literary development, to a writer's changing views of the form of the short story.