The Essential Charles Bruce explores the clear, direct verse and vernacular imagination of Maritime poet Charles Bruce, whose practical, no-nonsense lyrics audaciously eschewed the trappings of modernist poetry.
About the authors
CHARLES BRUCE was born and raised in Port Shoreham, Nova Scotia. After graduating from Mount Allison University he worked as a journalist, first for the Halifax Chronicle Herald. After working as a war correspondent in Europe during the Second World war, he moved to Toronto where he was the general manager of the Canadian Press news agency. His six volumes of poetry won him the 1951 Governor-General's award for Poetry. The Channel Shore is Bruce's only novel.
Carmine Starnino is the author of three collections of poems: The New World (which was nominated for the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry and the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award), Credo (winner of the C A A Jack Chalmers Poetry Award), and With English Subtitles. His reviews and essays have appeared in a wide range of newspapers, magazines and literary journals, including the Globe and Mail, the Montreal Gazette, Matrix, Arc and The Montreal Review of Books. Starnino is the editor of Vehicule Press` Signal imprint, poetry editor at Canadian Notes and Queries, and editor-in-chief of Maisonneuve. Starnino lives in Montreal.
- Runner-up, eLit Awards
Excerpt: The Essential Charles Bruce (by (author) Charles Bruce; selected by Carmine Starnino)
Nova Scotia Fish Hut
Rain and blown sand, and southwest wind
Have rubbed these shingles crisp and paper-thin.
Something has stripped these studding-posts and pinned
Time to the rafters. Where the woodworm ticked
Shick shick shick shick
Steady and secretive, his track is plain:
The fallen bark is dust; the beams are bare.
Bare as the bare stone of this open shore,
This building grey as stone. The filtered sun
Leaks cold and quiet through it. And the rain,
The wind, the whispering sand, return to finger
Its creaking wall, and creak its thuttering door.
Old, as the shore is. But they use the place.
Wait if you like: someone will come to find
A handline or a gutting-knife, or stow
A coiled net in the loft. Or just to smoke
And loaf; and swap tomorrow in slow talk;
And knock his pipe out on a killick-rock
Someone left lying sixty years ago.
He stands and walks as if his knees were tensed
To a pitching dory. When he looks far off
You think of trawl-kegs rolling in the trough
Of swaying waves. He wears a cap against
The sun on water, but his face is brown
As an old mainsail, from the eyebrows down.
He has grown old as something used and known
Grows old with custom; each small fading scar
Engrained by use and wear in plank and spar,
In weathered wood and iron, and flesh and bone.
But youth lurks in the squinting eyes, and in
The laughter wrinkles in the tanbark skin.
You know his story when you see him climb
The lookout hill. You know that age can be
A hill of looking; and the swaying sea
A lifetime marching with the waves of time.
Listen-the ceaseless cadence, deep and slow.
Tomorrow. Now. And years and years ago.
Other titles by Charles Bruce
Other titles by Carmine Starnino
The Book of Malcolm
My Son's Life with Schizophrenia
The Essential John Glassco
Selected Poems 1997-2016
The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2012
Essays & Reviews on Contemporary Poetry
This Way Out
New Canon, The
An Anthology of Canadian Poetry