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Exploring Amazement
Exploring Amazement ~New and Selected Poems~

by Alan Pearson

Also see Alan's previous book Flashing On All Facets

Alan Pearson was bom in Yorkshire, England in 1930, Pearson moved to Canada in the early 1950s at the age of 22. It wasn't until his early 30s that his passion for poetry developed in earnest. As a young man, he'd read the works of famous poets like T.S. Eliot and Philip Larkin, who he credits as being the poet who first. inspired him to write.

Living in Montreal during the 1960s, Pearson became acquainted with many poets at that time who have since gained international recognition as some of Canada's most respected names: Irving Layton, Frank Scott, and Leonard Cohen.

Poet alan Pearson in the yard of his Muskoka home

"We used to meet at poetry readings, cocktail parties and coffee shops, it was very friendly and very stimulating. That started the poetry fire within me."

The 'poetry fire' continued to burn inside Pearson as he moved to Toronto, where he worked as a literary and business journalist and made a living through freelance writing for the Globe and Mail and the Financial Post. He has also worked as a scriptwriter for the National Film Board and written various articles for magazines to earn his keep, but poetry has always been his passion. He now lives in the Muskoka region of Ontario.

What people are saying about Alan's poetry:

Alan Pearson once admitted, "Beauty has always been my goal when writing poetry." It is safe to say he has attained this goal, as unpopular as it might be these days, with poets mumbling under their breaths or bellowing with full lungs, telling trite stories in "platform poems" or losing themselves in intricate linguistic mazes. Alan's work is quite unlike this and quite unlike the man himself. (Note that I am using his first name here, as I believe he would encourage old and new readers alike to do the same; it is not that he is informal in manner, far from it, for he is rather reserved and still rather 'English,' but that his poems are other than that.) The poems are remarkable because all of them are immediately accessible to the attentive reader, for they celebrate the world as we generally perceive it: the attraction of attractive places (Muskoka), the plight of people (Conrad Black), the thrill of airplane travel ("I'm free awhile from multifarious earth"), and the sturdiness of a handy walking stick ("The root that grew inch by inch / as decades came and went"). I could go on, but Alan has done that for me—and for you. Be sure to read the work called "Poems are a Pencil Game" because it manages to skate upon the surface of life yet sound its depths to an amazing degree ... "all thanks to soft black lead and pine / and the patience of a poet."

John Robert Colombo, author and anthologist

Sincerity, faith, wisdom. Is there still room for these words in the clever canyons of contemporary poetry? When we are in search of them, we might well go to Alan Pearson's poetry, a thin gold beaten out of life's duress and ecstasies, a sustenance when we are in need of something beyond the fracas of the times. Pearson remembers the ages, has culled from the past, takes joy in the daily gift and has arrived at the peace so many will hunger to reach. Here is the point of art, to live well by the craft of words and silence.

Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, poet laureate of Toronto

"Poetry he [Pearson] defines as an amusement meant to delight a reader and provide the poet with an excuse to use language. It is the old Audenesque idea of poetry as a game —perhaps The Great Game— and Pearson plays it with zest."

George Woodcock, The Globe and Mail

One recalls with great pleasure the fine shorter poems which distinguished Alan Pearson's 14 Poems (1970) for which he won the Quebec Ministry of Cultural Affairs poetry prize. Since that time Pearson has published sparingly while continuing to produce carefully crafted poems that celebrate with acuity and passion the everyday experience. The present selection gathers a lifetime's thought and dedication to the art of writing.

Michael Gnarowski, professor emeritus, Carleton University

ISBN: 9781894747424 | WMPub# 1040 | 6" x 9" | 136 page trade paperback | $11.95 CDN


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Table of Contents

9 Introduction

NEW

12 Conrad Black

14 His True Subject: Leonard Cohen

15 Waiting Room

16 Walking Stick

17 Poems are a pencil game

18 How to Look at a Painting

19 Goodbye Denia

20 Florida Afternoon

21 March Day

22 Lake of Bays

24 In the Coffee Shop

26 The Go-between

28 Marriage?

30 Group Portrait

31 Silly Incident

32 A Xmas Gift of Fibrositis

33 February

34 The Mysteryv

36 Retirement

FLASHING ON ALL FACETS

38 Muskoka

39 Blue Mountain

40 Parry Sound

42 Highway Bus Stop at Twilight

44 Huntsville: Big East River

45 Old Jetty

46 May Days

47 Flying

48 Celia Montales

50 Seedy Poet

52 Haikus

53 Private Eye

54 I will be there

56 Siesta Key, Florida

58 Fellow Passenger

59 Walk to Work

60 Flightpathv

61 Father and Son

62 Winter Mood

63 Fall Haikusv

64 Postcard from Cuba

65 Lana Paneros

66 African Sketchbook

70 Izis' Photograph of Jacques Prevert

71 To the Palms, the Palms

72 Shabby Documentary

73 The Mother

74 The Trip

75 The Diaries

76 Celebrities

77 To Bed

78 Pub Thoughts from Abroad

80 This Place

81 Waiting

82 Early Spring: Golf Course Road

83 The Waiting Period

84 Sketch of Steven

FREEWHEELING THROUGH GOSSAMER DRAGSTRIPS

88 Poetry

90 The Oldest Enemy

92 Riding High

94 For Do-Do who wanted it

96 Tiger

97 Ode (after Pablo Neruda)

98 Scene From Another Time

100 Night of Jack the Ripper

102 The Girl on the Metro

103 Swifts v

104 I went to a lovely party

107 To get there take the boulevard

108 They can make you happy

109 Trina

110 Memo on Nubar Gulbenkian (1896-1972)-a rich man

112 Satyr in a bus full of mini-gyms

113 Spanish Dancer

114 Memories of Denia (Spain)

116 Greece

119 Back home

120 Words

14 POEMS

124 Dead Gull

125 Spring

126 Bush Plane

128 Bus ride

130 Waiting for sleep

131 In the museum

132 May evening

134 Self portrait