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From the archives

The Trust Spiral

Restoring faith in the media

Dear Prudence

A life of exuberance and eccentricity

Who’s Afraid of Alice Munro?

A long-awaited biography gives the facts, but not the mystery, behind this writer’s genius

When Sylvia Plath said . . .

Full title: When Sylvia Plath said “People or stars regard me sadly” I think she mostly meant “people”

 

Poetry’s not hard. All you have to do is,

instead of saying things like “I washed my clothes

at a motel laundromat in Orchard Park,

NY,” say “I ate gold in Milan.”


Tell it slant. You don’t have to use old-fashioned

phrases like “Write down Prince John a villain!”

Just imagine you’re at a seminar

with Prince John, making fun of fat people.


Show don’t tell. Saying “my feelings were hurt

when you winced at my Burger King jokes”

is very telling. Saying “You have great taste

in movies!” shows us more with fewer words.

 

Make it new. You learn from the old masters,

taking, say, Keats’s “I believe you had

liked me for my own sake” and updating it

as “Can I be on your panel at AWP?”

 

David McGimpsey lives in Montreal and is the author of five collections of poetry including Li’l Bastard (Coach House Books, 2011), which was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. He is also the author of the short fiction collection Certifiable (Insomniac Press, 2004) and the award-winning critical study Imagining Baseball: America’s Pastime and Popular Culture (Indiana University Press, 2000). Named by the CBC as one of the “Top Ten English Language Poets in Canada” his work was also the subject of the book of essays Population Me: Essays on David McGimpsey (Palimpset Press, 2010) edited by Alessandro Porco. Asbestos Heights, a new collection of poetry, will be available in spring 2015 from Coach House Books.

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