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book cover

6 X 9 inches, 120 pages

ISBN 0921254261

Scenes from the Present

new selected poems

C.H. Gervais

Penumbra Press Poetry Series, No. 28

A CONSISTENCY OF IMAGE, that of the present, rings hard and true in every poem. Scenes from the Present spans writing from the late sixties to the early nineties. Although there is no denying the element of nostalgia in Gervais' verse, his concern is with the immediate resolve of human emotion in the present. Whether in the streets of Paris, the mountains of Peru, or the flat open stretches of southwestern Ontario, Gervais settles on the commonplace and the ordinary certainties of life. Here we have the solitary victims of Latin America, or an old man on the Pan American Highway, or the image of a hero riding the Paris Metro, or a child's baseball game, or the dishes left in the sink by a new bride, or the stories of a red-brick school house. With each of these, the ironies, the humour, the seriousness, all surface with startling conclusions. And with each of these, there is the desire to tell the story, to tell it as it is, with an almost reckless grace.

She is sawing branches
off the scotch pine
to make a Christmas wreath
She is hardly able to work the saw
over a large pregnant belly
to sever the limbs of the tree
Pine needles falling to
the hardwood floors are her prayers
for a perfect baby

Christmas Wreath


C.H. (Marty) Gervais


Marty Gervais was born in Windsor and grew up in Bracebridge. He received a BA from University of Guelph and an MA in creative writing from University of Windsor, where he studied under Morley Callaghan. The recipient of numerous journalism awards in his lengthy career as a journalist at The Windsor Star, and lauded for his book The Rumrunners, a history of Prohibition in Canada, Gervais has also won recognition for his creative writing. With Autobiographies he was runner-up in the Milton Acorn Memorial People's Poetry competition in 1989.

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