February 2: Howling in the dog days of February

Some people like poets who are talkers while others don’t. Some listeners want an uninterrupted stream of verse while others like hearing from the personalities behind all the typing.

In either case, it was clear that the three otherwise very different poets liked talking – Bruce Meyer about the snows of Barrie, his mishaps with publishers and his dogs; Bunny Iksov about experiences and personalities that inform her poetry and Sankofa about the failings of language to describe the world and its failures of justice.

Stephen Humphrey

No-one can accuse Barrie-based poet and pedagogist Bruce Meyer of missing the little things. He doesn’t mind devoting an entire book of poems to the subject of bread, a table he wrote on as a child or a volume of verses to his dog Daisy, accompanied by epigraphs from Shakespeare. His poems are epic odes to daily life and love poems to a cellar of books.


Vaughan poet Bunny Iskov spoke about seasons – sapphire and otherwise, old loves, lost friends and departed mentors such as beloved Toronto poet Ted Plantos, the first lifetime member of her brainchild, the Ontario Poetry Society. Also, in their own gentle, observational way Bunny’s poems appealed quietly and plaintively for justice.


Sankofa says he doesn’t write poems “for jokes”. Not that his sets are not full of one-liners. As he questions absurdities he finds in words of the comfortably powerful humour and indignation mix. As a sort of standup revolutionary Sankofa takes aim at many headlines, including press about Haiti – a nation he calls rich in culture, but poorly treated the continental neighbours who ignore the island state between disasters.


Hear Sankofa’s poem “Haiti” from his CD, Ancestral Callin


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