8 X 10 inches, 84 pages
Ten blank ink drawings
Artwork by Tony Urquhart
Penumbra Press Poetry Series, No. 37
HERE ARE CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF WARTIME EXPERIENCES recalled by Stuart MacKinnon or relayed from family members who were survivors of the First and Second World wars. The first two sections re-enact trench and air warfare, as exemplified by the battle of Vimy Ridge and the bombing of Dresden. The third section, "Reconstruction," meditates on the after-effects of these events on family, culture and society, and on the way in which the wars of this century have shaped Canada's national character and destiny.
This work was a true collaboration of a painterly poet and a literate artist, as art critic Robert Stacey observes: "How much the poet moved the painter/ sculptor/ draughtsman to this transformation of the source motif, and how much the painter/ sculptor/ daughtsman influenced the poet, must remain conjectural." Stuart MacKinnon recalls the process: "Tony Urquhart and I swapped stories and books and observations over extended meals, talking well into the night, and our work here seems to me more like a collaboration, as his art took me into places I had only guessed from the vigour of his squiggly black lines, and from the assurance with which he drove his motorboat through Hell."
I went up to the high desert where it gets cold at night
Daddy stayed down at Palm Springs playing golf
with the boys
nobody know his name but you step out of line
where no courts reach and Daddy give you such a boot
Put all your savings with Daddy, you been savin up?
you better count on Daddy, stay on his side
everybody free to take care of himself, and his family,
Something missing from the air
he's not hidin but he ain't here
he too busy,
but if you get right out of hand
and cross his plan he show up
take you into his stretch limo
explain quite simply where you sit
in the greater meatball
He buy me, he buy you, he buy the president
if you ain't seen him it because you ain't interfered
with his plan yet
Stuart MacKinnon was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Prior to his long-awaited new book of poems Warbrain, his most recent book had been Mazinaw published by McClelland and Stewart in 1980. He works at the University of Waterloo and lives in Kitchener, Ontario.
'Tony Urquhart shares with his friend and colleague Stuart MacKinnon an interest in war and its memory that in both cases dates back to their boyhood years during World War Two. He became an expert at aircraft-recognition and could draw with precise accuracy all the major flying machines of the Allied and Axis powers....'
Tony Urquhart was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario. An artist and teacher he lives with his partner, the poet and novelist Jane Urquhart, in Stratford, Ontario.