Selected Poems 1970-1995
Poems by Gary Geddes
“His work has the political edge of the best writing of the 20th century. His passion and outrage are controlled with a sure hand, and his craftmanship is brilliant.” - Timothy Findley
“A sharp eye for physical detail, a keen and uncompromising intellect, and a poetic sensibility that balances subjectively and objectively, the personal and the impersonal, and criticism and compassion.” - David Staines, The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature
Active Trading spans a quarter-century of Gary Geddes's remarkable career. His fifteenth book of poetry, it contains representative works fro either books, poems beloved by his audiences, and poems that have won him international acclaim. The Terracotta Army won the 1985 Best Book Award, Americas Region, in the Commonwealth Poetry Competition, and Hong Kong won both the 1987 Writers' Choice Award and then the National Magazine Gold Award. “What Does A House Want?” was shortlisted in the 1994 Arvon/Observer International Poetry Competition. In 1995, Geddes received the prestigious Gabriela Mistral Prize for his writing and his contributions to Chilean culture.
Gary Geddes poetry readings are popular across Canada. He has lectured and read in the US, South America, the UK, Europe, and the Far East, and his work has been broadcast on CBC and BBC radio. The editor of 20th -Century Poetry and Poetics and The Art of Short Fiction, he teaches at Concordia University in Montreal and lives in Dunvegan, Ontario.
Sandra Lee Scheuer
(Killed at Kent State University on May 4, 1970,
by the Ohio National Guard)
You might have met her on Saturday night
cutting precise circles, clockwise, at the Moon-Glo
Roller Rink, or walking with quick step
between the campus and a green two-storey house,
where the room was always tidy, the bed made,
the books in confraternity on the shelves.
She did not throw stones, major in philosophy
or set fire to buildings, though acquaintances say
she hated war, had heard of Cambodia.
In truth she wore a modicum of make-up, a brassiere,
and could, no doubt, more easily have married a
than cursed or put a flower in his rifle barrel.
While the armouries burned she studied,
bent low over notes, speech therapy books, pages
open at sections on impairment, physiology.
And while they milled and shouted on the commons
she helped a boy named Billy with his lisp, saying
Hiss, Billy, like a snake. That's it, SSSSSSSS,
tongue well up and back behind your teeth.
Now buzz, Billy, like a bee. Feel the air
vibrating in my windpipe as I breathe?
As she walked in sunlight through the parking lot
at noon, feeling the world a passing lovely place,
a young guardsman, who had his sights on her,
was going down on one knee as if he might propose.
His declaration, unmistakable, articulate,
flowered within her, passed through her neck,
severed her trachea, taking her breath away.
Now who will burn the midnight oil for Billy,
ensure the perilous freedom of his speech?
And who will see her skating at the Moon-Glo
Roller Rink, the eight small wooden wheels
making their countless revolutions on the floor?
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: "Rebuilding a caravel" by Theodore de Bry, 1594.
Publication: 1996 (122 pages laminated paperback)