In this collection of poetry by Glen Sorestad, a once-comfortable world takes on a startling and dreamlike quality when removed from the usual surroundings of home. These are poems about places encountered, from the oil donkeys rocking by the runway in Calgary to the fields of France seen through a train window. They are also about people observed and the nature of travelling. They move from his silent reflections on the nighttime street sweepers of Frankfurt to raucous encounters in the beer halls of Amsterdam, from airport departure lounges to secrets offered en route by anonymous strangers.
In these poems, the foreign world encountered is filtered through the perspective of home. Distances are measured in prairie miles; an Austrian hayfield is felt through the itch of Saskatchewan foxtail. The traveller arrives at unexpected destinations, and home is seen in a new and unfamiliar light upon return.
About the author
One of Canada's most revered poets, Glen Sorestad has been writing for over 30 years from his Saskatchewan home. Also the co-founder and president of Thistledown Press, he helps to expose the talent of emerging western poets. Sorestad's work has appeared in countless journals across Canada, in the United States, Australia and Europe. Recently one of his stories was produced for the Bravo! cable network and another was broadcast on CBC Radio One. He holds a master's degree in education and has edited many short story and poetry anthologies.
Excerpt: Air Canada Owls: Travel Poems (by (author) Glen Sorestad)
In a Montreal Bistro
We were all on verbal flights
winging on myths of our own.
She said her pen could fly
(as she served us another drink).
I liked the image, tipped to excess.
I told her only poems could fly,
quoted a colleague of mine as proof.
She doubted my sincerity. And said so.
Her proof employed no artifice.
Just a spring-loaded ballpoint pen.
And when she jammed it on the table
it flew on the wall of the fluorescent sun,
came to rest at my feet --
left me to ponder
the merits of myth-making
in a world that worships technology.
The dogs own Nice. Everywhere
the evidence lies. Dogshit grows
on sidewalks, steets and grass.
The dogs of Nice are impartial,
indiscriminate. At the entrance
of the park a sign warns owners
of penalties against this burst
of flower-turds. The dogs
scorn the sign and consequences,
pretend they do not recognize
the artist's graphic depiction
of "Dog Squatting Over Turd"
The dog Xed out in heavy black
like a victim on a Mafia hit list.
When the dogs assume control
over the rest of the world, will
they address the human problem
with similar signs?
In Paris, Texas, Christ rises above
the final rest of Willet Babcock.
The long-dead rancher is well anchored
for fierce winds. He cares little
about the three of us, drawn here
not for prayers over Babcock's bones,
but to stare, as we do now, up
at this sculpted Christ astride
Babcock's massive headstone
that derricks twenty feet against
the wintry Texas sky, His shoulder
against the cross, flowing robe
to His feet. We are poets all, two
fled south from a frozen country
to follow our Texas colleague here.
to scuff the stoney path to Babcock
though the pebbles we dislodge above
are bootless to his ears as we
assume the perfect vantage point to see
beneath the robe of Jesus -- His left foot,
His cowboy boot. Why shouldn't I believe
that in Texas even He would wear boots?
For the moment we are silent as Babcock,
gathered here around the feet of Christ.