Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Poetry on the Summer Solstice

It was a very memorable evening, the weather perfect for the first day of summer. It was my turn to host BPYC book club, on the night of the summer solstice, just one day after the full Strawberry / Honey Moon.

People came to share one or two of their favourite poems, along with a short explanation of why they held special meaning. What a pleasure to hear everyone read their selections. Poems read in French, Polish, Spanish, Swedish, and even ancient Greek. The invite had been extended beyond the regulars, and there were some new faces and even some male voices: Rob entertained everyone when he recited the Ballade of the Skunk, dressed in character, with a moustache and odd hat; Neil, Laura's son, surprised and impressed us all with a scene from the Illiad at the end of the evening.

Poetry from 1600 B.C., the Renaissance, and contemporary times. Mournful, melancholy, joyful, musical, hopeful, funny. Many of the poems were special because they had been childhood stories or mother's favourites. Some were tied to heritage, others to travel, some to song, others to rites of passage or moments of quiet and contemplation. Inviting poetry into our lives, listening to the words, appreciating the moment, spending time in great company.

In honour of the strawberry moon, I made strawberry/cherry/basil bruschetta and strawberry/mango salsa. An easy bean salad from Noble Pig. Delicious bites from the Sultan of Samosas. Caroline brought some doubles from Michidean.
A bubbly brachetto called Acquesi, with notes of strawberry (such a pretty bottle!).
The Poems:

by Tomas Tranströmer (Swedish poet, who won the Nobel prize in literature in 2011)
Chosen by Maj-Lis S.

by Eugene Field (American poet, 1850 – 1895)
Chosen by Barb P.

by Al Purdy (Canadian poet, 1919 – 2000)
Chosen by Laura B.

by Leonard Cohen (Canadian poet and singer-songwriter, 1934 - )
Chosen by Kaarina L .

by Robert Frost (American poet, 1874 – 1963)
Chosen by Laura B.

by Souvankham Thammavongsa (Canadian poet, 1978 - )
Chosen by Ann M.

The Journey
by David White (English poet, 1955-)
Chosen by Gwen H.

The Linden Tree 
by Jan Kochanowski (Polish Renaissance poet, 1530-1584)
Chosen by Halina W.

by Gerard Manley Hopkins (English poet and Jesuit priest 1844-89)
Chosen by Maureen G.

by Emile Nelligan (Quebec poet 1879-1941)
Chosen by Caroline L.

by Alan Gould (Australian of Icelandic descent, 1949-)
Chosen by Cheryl C.

by Mellinger E. Henry, collected by RW Gordon c1925
Chosen by Rob C.

by John Masefield (British poet, 1878 - 1967)
Chosen by Rob C.

by e.e. cummings (American poet, 1894-1962)
Chosen by me!

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