David Bromige

This anthology is not representative. It is not "the best of Canadian poetry" in 1998. My ignorance of the territory -- especially Quebec and the Maritimes, but the East generally -- and the time constraints, which made research into these areas unlikely, prevented us from any such achievement.

That said, let me now say how glad I am Jack Kimball and I have assembled such fine poets as are to be read here. I feel privileged to bring them to the reader's attention. I feel proud of them, as a Canadian and a poet, as a human being. Of these Canadian human beings and their poetry. The endeavour to live in a fast-receding present, in words, the endeavour to have the words stay alive on the greased slide, in the singing elevator, the telephone Mozart, in our rainy hearts, our brainy parts, succeeds! I am encouraged.

I can't take space to lay out my poetics here. The DB issue of the journal The Difficulties, 1987, is available from its editor, Tom Beckett, at 132 N. Pearl, Kent, Ohio. That is the most comprehensive set of assertions and queries from me on the topic of poetry. As for Jack, previous issues of The East Village Poetry Web are accessible, and reveal his vector.

There are poets I know of, whom we missed, either through their disinclination, or prior commitment to matters more interesting -- or demanding -- than figuring how to e-mail stuff from their hard drive. I miss them still. And there are the poets we don't, Jack nor I, yet know about. Let's hope we can do this again, augmented. But to speak of what's here, an amazing range of approach, means, execution, age -- it makes me happy that the first two poets I ever knew, Maxine Gadd and Gerry Gilbert, met at UBC in the 50s, contributed writing ever young, if young can mean fresh, new, volatile. And that other of these poems are the creation of persons who hadn't, then, even been born, whose 50s were the 80s, whose 60s, these baffling 90s. If my generation came to know the paralytic threat hidden in the information-glut we wanted to wallow in, few dealt with it free of the resentment of the unanticipated. The youngsters here accept it as a given, and to me these poems are marvelous accomplishments: the appearance of ease with which they bottle chaos and perform confidence as they stand a hair's breadth from absolute erasure, brings pure joy.

In their Canadian ways, all the poets in this issue define, playfully and seriously, a present -- a future! -- far beyond the borders of our ineffable, but inevitable, country; yes, for our world, these poets define, in their Canadian ways, a present they know at once as local and global. I thank them for their participation, and their poetry.

It only remains to thank Jack Kimball, friend and stranger, for including me in this project, and for publishing these splendid poets in a justly thought-out format. Hallelujah!

Poetries of Canada Index
The East Village Poetry Web
Volume Four