Saturday, June 23, 2007
Today I'm packing to go away for another stint at Bishop's University (Sherbrooke, Quebec), teaching in its summer adult English Second Language immersion program (they call it the Executive Program: every summer we have a few top execs and occasionally, a minister of gov., but most are middle-managers, small businesspeople, & the like). My CV tells me this will be my 7th summer in that program (I'm actually its head teacher), although I also taught two other summers in other programs on the same campus. This time though, for personal reasons, I'll be only four weeks in that idyllic place, rather than the usual six. Unlike the last two summers, I'm not declaring a hiatus for this blog. Entries may be more sporadic than usual, but I have plenty of drafts on hand. I'm also planning a series of posts on "easy reading poets" I enjoy. So stay tuned...
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What exactly are you teaching there?
Have fun, safe travels.
How to talk good the English. You know, the Shakespeare tongue. :)
The official language of Quebec is French, but of course in reality it has to deal with the outside world, which is English. People here use an island metaphor: Quebec, they say, is a French island in an English sea. (That makes of course us English in Quebec -- are there a half million of us? -- a little lake inside the island, a backwater some might say.) Many managers spend all their time at work in French, but then are called upon to communicate in fluent English when dealing with that world. That's where people like me come in. At Bishop's, the students have to speak English all the time. Our classes and activities stimulate them to live in English for the week or weeks they're here. I correct them, teach them some of the fine (& not so fine) points of grammar, have them do presentations (some of them give presentations they've already prepared a dry run, so to speak), show interesting films for which I've prepared vocabulary lessons, etc. Did you ever hear our last Prime Minister? Or our current Liberal leader? Because of retrogressive educational policies, and because it is a big province (the biggest, actually) where someone living in say Trois Rivieres or Quebec City has about as much contact with English as you or I do with Portugese, people here have an intermediate or high intermediate level of English at best. (Actually, worse than most Germans, I have the impression.)
... I should say most people.
... and I should say might have as much contact.
Thanks for the explanation!
Hmm.... Enjoyable easy reading poets.... For me, such a list would have to include a lot of haijins (i.e., haiku poets)--particularly female and/or elderly haijins; e.g., Angela Leuck and Elizabeth St. Jacques here in Canada, the late, great Elizabeth Searle Lamb in the U.S.
Lamb was also known for her light verse, which reminds me just how much I enjoyed the journal 'Light' when it was on the go. Well, at least I enjoyed it until they rejected some of my own submissions. Apparently, it folded shortly after. (Black magik at play? Am I a wizard...?)
Here's one of my all-time favorite little aphoristic light pieces (I think it originally appeared in The American Legion Magazine!):
by Rosemarie Williamson
Every Fall the same old image--
Pretzels, beer and line of scrimmage!
Poems like this one appeal to my 'other side'. Friday night may be spent reading litzines and listening to John Coltrane or Frank Zappa; Saturday afternoon may be spent slurping Molson Canadian and watching the Argos and the Ti-cats kick the snot out of one another!
Angela Leuck would be one to add to my list. I read her "Flower Heart" a few months ago.
Maybe "Light" is reconstituted. I sent a submission to them a few months ago, but I guess it was too light for even them. Andrew Shields is a regular contributer. Andrew, do you know the current status of Light? I think it's still running...
If you check on my sidebar, you'll find "Light Quarterly". It still seems active.
Yes, it DOES appear to be active--or reactivated; however, this is one poet who will not be helping perpetuate its activity. (Under regular circumstances, editors only get one chance with me!)
Weeding through your sidebar, I couldn't help but notice your listing of Descant. Descant gets my vote for most empty, pointless piece of cretinous crap being currently published in Canada--and that's counting xeroxed anarchy zines produced by gothy 9th graders (who, generally speaking, tend to have far more on the ball than the folks who churn out Descant). This publication is the quintessential example of grab-the-Canada-Council-money-and-run (make that 'crawl'). A shiny, polished, preternaturally red apple with absolutely no core. Production values to eclipse many paperback novels, but completely devoid of any real, meaningful content.
Angela Leuck sent me a copy of Flower Heart, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I'll probably do a review of it for the next online edition of Lynx, and publish it in the next issue of The Morning Dew Review, which I have a large hand in producing. We used Angela as the Featured Poet for Morning Dew #2, complete with a brief interview, a selection of new and previously published haiku, and a review of her 2004 book Tulip Haiku, which I liked very much.
The Morning Dew Review is a 16 to 20 page 8" X 11" zine which serves as a mouthpiece for our little circle of Gen. X poets and bohemians here in central Newfoundland. Cheaply produced in both cardstock and paper cover editions, Morning Dew attempts to combine various types of Asian poetry with free verse, reviews, comic strips and essays--all presented from a social libertarian perspective. It's heavily influenced by 1950s and '60s beat magazine The Evergreen Review (which has been relaunched as an e-zine). We're currently putting together #3. If anyone would like a sample copy of #2, send me $2/twonie (paper cover) or $3/twonie + loonie (cardstock cover) at P.O. Box 111, Moreton's Harbour, NL, A0G 3H0, Canada. Feel free to include a few submissions, too, if one wishes....
Rob, I'll do that, when I get around to it (which will probably be later this summer). It'll be interesting to see what you've chosen to produce.
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