Saturday, 13 February 2016

Gwendolyn MacEwen and the "Poem": 'Let Me Make This Perfectly Clear'

Dark & Stormy Night 2 by Ken McMillan.Used under Creative Commons license. 

One of Canada's great poets, Gwendolyn MacEwen was associated with other key Canadian literary figures such as Northrop Frye and Margaret Atwood. She died at the age of 46 but left her incisive, mysterious, beautifully written poems.

'Let Me Make This Perfectly Clear' is a favourite of mine, and it goes out to anyone who doubts the motives of artists, or indeed anyone who writes just because they want to be a "Poet". It's not about a title or an act, says MacEwen - it's something much bigger.

I love the humorous-angry tone of the poem which gives way, in the final lines, to the unfathomable darkness which is both the source and the conclusion of art. The ending of the poem stops me in my tracks.