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  • Point No Point
  • Written by Jane Munro
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  • Point No Point
  • Written by Jane Munro
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9781551996691
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Point No Point

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Poems

Written by Jane MunroAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jane Munro

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List Price: $9.99

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On Sale: May 13, 2014
Pages: 88 | ISBN: 978-1-55199-669-1
Published by : McClelland & Stewart McClelland & Stewart
Point No Point Cover

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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Point No Point’s title comes from a landform — an actual point on the west coast of Vancouver Island, which seems, when approached from the other side, to be no point at all — and it alerts us to the fact that Jane Munro’s poems are situated in a deep sense. They live in situ in the way they inhabit their native place, intimate with its mists, its mosses and lichens, with the salmonberry and false lily-of-the-valley of their ecosystem. They are also situated temporally, evoking sharply etched memories, visions, and dreams: a real-time visit to her father’s boatyard, a dream visit with her mother from a time before the poet was conceived, a flashback to the sixties rendered in extreme close-up. By their musical attunement and the acuity of the focus, they demonstrate how such deep situation may come about, how we might bring language to the task of living in a way which is fully present. In the long culminating poem, “Moving to a Colder Climate,” Munro brings all these elements into play, summoning her father’s bold obstreperous ghost to be present as a new house is built — situated — in this language. Her gifts as a poet — acuity, candour, musicality — make Point No Point a work of unforgettable witness.

Excerpt

HALF A CONTINENT AWAY

a scratching
outside his window
toenails on a wooden beam —

the little raccoon
who climbs like a squirrel
drops onto the tray of seed
and starts to eat,
messy as the jays who toss
showers of millet, pick out
black sunflower seeds —

their oiled hulls
upturned boats
on an ochre beach

A Word About the Poem by Jane Munro
I think of “Half a Continent Away” as a little love poem–though you might not read it as a love poem at first. From our bed, we look out a row of casement windows into trees. No curtains necessary. One of our pleasures is quietly watching birds, who seem not to notice us if we keep still, as they feed from a tray attached to the window sill. The summer I wrote this poem, a young raccoon had discovered the feeder. He was quite an amazing gymnast with a bright face and curious gaze, but still adolescent and a bit reckless. We’d hold hands under the covers and try not to laugh aloud while he rummaged about in the seed.

How the Poem Works by Lorna Crozier

“Half a Continent Away” is a companion poem to “Listen with the Ear of the Heart.” In the latter, the reader is immediately informed that the speaker, who is far from home, is thinking of her husband. She claims in the first stanza that she hears him as he turns over in sleep. In “Half a Continent Away,” as the title lets us know, she is still far from home. This time it isn’t the lover she is attuned to but what is going on outside his window. In the first stanza she draws our attention to “a scratching” that she identifies as “toenails on a wooden beam.” Like the one who lies in bed, listening, trying to figure out the source of the sound, the poet makes us wait for the length of a stanza break before we learn what bird or animal is responsible for this wake-up call. The empty space in the poem creates a moment of suspense, the reader mimicking the husband, asking “What is it?”

Stanza two begins with a three-word line: “the little raccoon.” The next six lines go on to describe his messy feeding habits in the tray of seeds meant for birds. So far the speaker has stayed out of the picture, but you know from her exact description that she is recalling what she herself has heard and seen outside their window. Missing her husband, she recreates his presence not through describing him or her feelings about him, but through imagery from the natural world. In fact, with admirable discretion, she refers to him only once: “a scratching/outside his window.” There’s a cleanness to this approach, a delicacy of touch, and a pleasing simplicity that is difficult to achieve.

The only metaphor in the poem appears in the final short stanza, where the speaker compares the oiled hulls of sunflower seeds to “upturned boats/ on an ochre beach.” Thus the poem begins and ends with something small and unassuming. The final image, however, invites us to go one step further in our reading of the poem. It reminds the reader once again that the poem revolves around a journey. It is the seeds that attract the raccoon who makes the sound the speaker imagines her husband hearing. Little upturned boats, they are what transports her from half a continent away to where her husband lies. They carry her back home.

Lorna Crozier’s latest book is Whetstone.
Jane Munro

About Jane Munro

Jane Munro - Point No Point
Jane Munro has published three previous books of poetry, including Grief Notes & Animal Dreams and Daughters, a finalist for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. She lives on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Praise

Praise

“Lyric, contemporary, steeped in memory. . . . Munro is a versatile poet. She moves with ease between prose poems grounded in memory and free-form lyric. . . . Superb . . . [she] delights with blues riffs, imagist jottings and a terrific tribute to Al Purdy.”
Globe and Mail

“There are poets writing in this country who deserve to be better known. . . . Jane Munro is one of them. . . . A fine poetic talent.”
Books in Canada

“A rare, sensitive, and gifted narrator. . . . An accomplished poet.”
Quill & Quire

  • Point No Point by Jane Munro
  • March 07, 2006
  • Poetry
  • McClelland & Stewart
  • $12.95
  • 9780771066788

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