Actress Mae West once said "I’ve been things and seen places." Poet Douglas Burnet Smith might well be able to lay claim to the same boast. In his latest collection of verse he takes the reader on a kaleidoscopic journey through Amsterdam’s antique streets and canals, Tuscany’s sun-soaked landscapes, Paris’s Gallic gabble of monuments and madcaps, and the title poem’s Finnish auditory and aural delights. In one poem we play Scrabble with Dadaist Tristan Tzara. In another work, "Sophia," we encounter "the mangy wisdom of wild dogs on every street,/skulking, pawing rabid piles of garbage/choking gutters, begging at the front doors of restaurants/like reeducated ideologues." In still another verse the poet’s persona contemplates Italian artist Giotto in Colorado, citing "the copper hogbacks" in which "he sees layered/trecento shale-engraved depictions of Egypt and the Exodus." And everywhere his Muse takes him, Smith injects his stopovers with fresh perspectives, lending credence to seventeenth- century English essayist Sir Thomas Browne’s dictum: "Ready to be anything in the ecstasy of being ever."
About the author
Douglas Burnet Smith (1949) has served as President of the League of Canadian Poets and of the Public Lending Right Commission of Canada. He teaches at St. Francis Xavier University. Smith was nominated for the Governor General's Award for Poetry in 1993 for Voices from a Farther Room (1992) and for the Atlantic Poetry Prize for his most recent collection, The Killed (2000).