Poetry Month: The Bookmarked Poetry on the CanLit Trail

Several of the Bookmarks on the CanLit Trail are from poems, and since it’s April I thought it was a good time to read them. I will also be able to check all of these off the list in one go!

“Mexican Sunsets” by Bronwen Wallace, from her collection Common Magic

Bookmarked at the corner of Clergy and Princess Streets, Kingston, Ontario on September 23, 2010.

Somewhere in Mexico, a volcano erupts
spewing dust that drifts northward
disturbing the atmosphere of Southern Ontario
so that all this autumn, small, grey
English-speaking towns are startled
by inordinate sunsets: shameless
fuchsias, brazen corals flaunt
their outlandish origins in a country
where anything can happen.

You can read the entire poem here.


“Essentialist” by Ken Babstock, from his collection Airstream Land Yacht

Bookmarked at St. George and Bloor Streets, Toronto, Ontario on October 21, 2010.

I got past enjoying a civilian’s recoil
from things military, brutal, conformist, and took
a peek at what my soldier was so engrossed in—

Thoreau’s Walden—imagine him, rubbing oil
into a Sten gun’s springed bolts, working through
his chances at a life away from men: berries

plumping in among their thorns, night’s
curtain drawn across the window of the lake…

You can read the entire poem here.


“Song for the Field Behind Mississauga Valley Public School” by Jeff Latosik, from his collection Tiny, Frantic, Stronger 

Bookmarked at Mississauga Valley Public School on September 30th, 2011.

The field that stretched beyond
goalposts. The field that redrew
lines in us.

You can read the entire poem here.


“Giants” by John Terpstra, from his collection Two or Three Guitars 

Bookmarked in Hamilton, Ontario on October 6, 2011.

There used to be giants,
and they loved it here. They’d sit
their giant hinds in a row along the top edge
of the escarpment, and pick at the loose rock
with their hands or their feet, then throw or skip
the smoothest stones across the bay, to see who could land one
on the sandstrip, three miles away;

You can read the entire poem here.


“The Sea Breeze Lounge” by Al Pittman, from his collection Thirty-for-Sixty

Bookmarked at Woody Point, Newfoundland and Labrador, August 2012.

It’s a warm overcast Bonne Bay afternoon.
There’s a slight north-east breeze on the water.
Inside, Black Hat George is tending bar.
He, myself, and one other patron are the only
people here. The younger man has made his way
to the gambling machine with the aid of some
awkward machinery designed to keep him
upright. A truck ran over him in Toronto
and he’s come home to learn to walk again.
The pool table stands staunch on its crutches.
The juke box is silent, all its hurtin’ songs
sung to silence because pain can be fatal
and machines and people do break down.

You can read the entire poem here.


The Cat and the Wizard by Dennis Lee This is a children’s book, but I have included it on this list, because it is also a poem (accompanied by cute illustrations).

Bookmarked at Casa Loma, Toronto, September 29, 2016.

For round & round
The rabbits dance,
The moon is high
And they don’t wear pants;

The tuna fish
Patrol the hall,
The butterflies swim
In the waterfall,

And high and low
With a hullabaloo
The castle whirls
Like a tipsy zoo!

My dog wishes it was called “The Dog and the Wizard”.

You can read the entire passage used for the Bookmark here. But for the whole poem, you’ll have to read the book!


“The Gable Window” by L. M. Montgomery, from the collection The Poetry of Lucy Maud Montgomery 

It opened on a world of wonder, When summer days were sweet and long, A world of light, a world of splendor, A world of song.


This poem by L.M. Montgomery is an upcoming Bookmark. To be placed at the site of Montgomery’s childhood home in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, it describes the view outside her window. The poem was first published in The Ladies Journal in 1897, when Montgomery was 23 years old. The Bookmark will be unveiled on Sunday, June 24, 2018 at 4 p.m.


More information about all of these Bookmarks, poems, and authors can be found at Project Bookmark Canada.

What poetry have you been reading?

17 thoughts on “Poetry Month: The Bookmarked Poetry on the CanLit Trail

  1. FictionFan says:

    I think it says a lot about my troubled relationship with poetry that the one that appealed to me is the picture book poem! I want to go to a tipsy zoo! What a hullabaloo, indeed! 😉

    • Naomi says:

      I love children’s poems! A.A. Milne was the one my mother read to us a lot.
      I brought a couple of Shel Silverstein’s books home from the library not long ago, and it had me and my daughter giggling away. Especially “Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook”. 🙂

    • Naomi says:

      So much poetry!! And of course it is good! 😉
      Most of it is very much like the poems she includes in her books about Anne and Emily (who both like to write poetry). There are many descriptive poems about night and day, the seasons, landscapes – some of it quite flowery, using words like “‘Twas” and “Hath”.
      She also wrote poems for children, like “The Grumble Family”.
      And here’s a good title: “Which Has More Patience – Man or Woman?”

  2. Debbie Rodgers @Exurbanis says:

    I have very good intentions with regard to reading poetry, but seldom do.

    I’m intrigued by the Wallace – and perhaps the Terpstra since we lived 12 years in Hamilton.

    Thanks for picking these out of the Trail for us. 🙂

    • Naomi says:

      I’m not so good at reading poetry, either. But I made a point of gathering these books for the post, so I could read at least a couple other poems from each collection. And I found myself flipping through quite a bit!

  3. buriedinprint says:

    Lovely post: and I bet that took a bit of work to gather them all up and sink into the project! Did it make you want to read more poetry or did it make you want to read more of the Project Bookmark selections that aren’t poetry?

    • Naomi says:

      It did take time to gather up all the books, and there was one or two I couldn’t get, but I wanted to read more than just the one poem from each author. It was totally worth it. Right now, I’m reading Sheree Fitch’s “In This House are Many Women” and I love how each poem is a woman’s story!

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