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Labelled with ICRA

Since 1979 logo

book cover

6 X 9 inches, 88 pages

ISBN 1894131088
Out of print

Letters on Birchbark

Translation of: Briefe auf Birkenbast

Uta Regoli

Translated from the German by Henry Beissel

Penumbra Press Poetry Series, No. 49

IT IS ALWAYS EXCITING when a new voice becomes audible in the landscape of poetry, a new instrument to enrich the orchestra's celebration of life in all its ambiguities, reminding us that we are all alone, and yet not at all alone, on this journey into the dark. Uta Regoli's voice is that of the immigrant woman. Not surprisingly her poetry is a search for home. Using her own experience as well as that of an earlier fellow-traveller, Susanna Moodie, as her coordinates, she sets out to find her bearings in a largely hostile world.

... I went out,
called into the wind,
wrote into the forest,
followed the birds with my eyes,
bit into a fruit,
called freedom,
came upon its core,
and became
slowly very slowly
more aware.

from Prologue '85

My hills
the wavy ones
glued like
scissoring on
a burning scene

in which world

in the shadow
of the sun I grab
a part of the moon
the sickle
and swing myself
to Cassiopeia
seat myself
at her feet
and become

New Start


Uta Regoli


Daughter of a Dutch mother and a German father, wife of an Italian pharmacologist, mother of four, Uta Regoli resides in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, where she moves through many languages and cultures, never at home in some, no longer at home in others, and not yet at home in her new, many-faced country.


Henry Beissel


Henry Beissel was born in 1929 in Cologne, Germany, and came to Canada in 1951 via London, England, where he studied philosophy. He tried his hand as warehouse packer, apple picker, door-to-door salesman and film maker. He resumed studies at U of T in English literature, writing his Master's thesis on Henry Vaughan. He is now a widely published poet, playwright, translator and editor with over thirty titles to his credit.

F.R. Scott thought that his Cantos North was the first epic to see the Canadian north "in its entirety, as a matrix which binds the whole together in a national mythology." His play Inuk and the Sun had its premiere in Stratford in 1973 and continues to be performed the world over.

Helmut Markus (Göttingen), Settlement and Survival: Henry Beissel's 'Cantos North'
Settlement and Survival: Henry Beissel's 'Cantos North'

Writers' Union


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