The Essential Don Coles

By Don Coles

© 2009

Don Coles' Forests of the Medieval World (PQL 1993) won the Governor General's Award for poetry. Kurgan (PQL 2000) won the Trillum Prize in Ontario. The Essential Don Coles presents an affordable collection of the poet's very best work.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Porcupine's Quill
  • Page Count: 64 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.6in x 0.3in x 8.8in
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SKU# DT061160

  • PUBLISHED FEB 2009
    From: $12.95
    ISBN 9780889843127

Quick Overview

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.

The Essential Don Coles

By Don Coles

© 2009

Don Coles' Forests of the Medieval World (PQL 1993) won the Governor General's Award for poetry. Kurgan (PQL 2000) won the Trillum Prize in Ontario. The Essential Don Coles presents an affordable collection of the poet's very best work.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Porcupine's Quill
  • Page Count: 64 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.6in x 0.3in x 8.8in

`Poetic pragmatism is a strong element of Don Coles' poetry. Coles' voice, according to critic Robyn Sarah, is ``civilized yet informal,'' for Coles neglects any attempt to ``primp'' and aestheticize his language.'


Alexis Foo
Canadian Literature

Don Coles was born 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 Lon

[Sometimes All Over, 1975

Photograph in a Stockholm Newspaper...
Divorced Child
How We All Swiftly
Death of Woman

[Anniversaries, 1979

Sampling from a Dialogue
William, Etc
Codger
Not Just Words but World
Gull Lake, Alta.

[The Prinzhorn Collection, 1982

The Prinzhorn Collection
Mishenka, from Tolstoy Poems
Major Hoople
Abandoned Lover
Abrupt Daylight Sadness
(from) Landslides I, IV, V, VIII, (X), XI

[Landslides, 1986

Walking in the Snowy Night
Somewhere Far from this Comfort

[Forests of the Medieval World, 1993

My Son at the Seashore, Age Two
Someone Has Stayed in Stockholm
Forests of the Medieval World
My Death as the Wren Library
Self-portrait at 3:15 a.m.
Untitled

[Kurgan, 2000

Kingdom
Marie Kemp
Flowers in an Odd Time
Reading a Biography of Samuel Beckett
Nurseryschoolers
On a Caspar David Friedrich Painting
Botanical Gardens

Forests of the Medieval World

Forests of the medieval world, that's
where her mind will wander
the three dissertation years, lucky girl --
Forest of Bleu, which crowded around
the walls of Paris and stretched 10,000 leagues
in every direction; the great Hercynian forests
of East Prussia, from which each year
334 drovers bore the logs for the fires
in the Grand Duke's castles of Rostock,
of Danzig and, furthest east of all, guarding
the borders towards the Polish marshes,
Greifswald and Wolgast. I'm so sad
I could die, you said as you left, but
my children, how could I bear it --
and I know, I know there are ways
of losing children, of seeing them stray off
among the trees even now, especially now!
Every fleet needed for its construction
the razing of an entire forest --
lost forests meeting on the tilting hills
of the Caspian, the Baltic, the Black Sea,
over the mountains of water the file of forests
comes. Your face is a mobile mischief,
do you know? Your eyes mocked before
they entreated, your lips rendered
both comedy and its dark twin
in microseconds, and your tongue
harried my mouth's bays and inlets.
The Oberforstmeister of Kurland promised
the King `at least half-fabulous' beasts
for the hunt, his forest measured
140,000 arpents and even on the swiftest mounts
horsemen could not traverse it
in a month. My mind runs fast
down its arpents and leafy corridors,
seeing no one, I should slash
tree-trunks to procure my safe return
but I can't stop. My mind is running
on pure grief and pure love, I want you
to know this. The Forest of Othe
was so still you could hear a shadow
cross a face at 60 leagues distance --
it had linked the Lyons Massif with
the Woods of Gisors but after a hurricane
levelled a million trees in 1519 the diligent
peasants moved in with plows and those forests
were never reunited. And
the forests of Finland, have you thought of those?
All the way to Archangel and the White Sea?
They can show you how you were
before these excuses. What can you do
about this, your exigent look said
in the doorway, I am going do you realize
I am going? And that both of us will survive this?
When the Swedes needed cash they cut down
the forests of Pomerania, the result in
many cases is sand-dunes. This for day-trippers
is nice, in your rented Strandkorb there is room
for everybody, also for dressing and undressing
when the beach is crowded. In the forest of Morois
Tristan lies with Iseult, they are waiting
for the King her husband who will tell history
they were only sleeping. In
the Black Forest dwarf trees and greenheart
still flourish -- as for the Rominter Heide
it was so huge that most of its lakes
and forests were `held in reserve',
not listed or even mentioned, so for generations
all that those lakes and forests could do was
grow uncontrollably in the imagination. I
would take you with me into the Rominter Heide
if you would come: there
each child we must not hurt will
wear a rose in sign of her ardent, forbearing
heart, in sign of his calm-eyed ascent through
our extreme, necessary years.