The Essential Don Coles by Don ColesThe Essential Don Coles by Don Coles

The Essential Don Coles

byDon Coles

Paperback | February 15, 2009

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Don Coles' Forests of the Medieval World (PQL 1993) won the Governor General's Award for poetry. Kurgan (PQL 2000) won the Trillum Prize in Ontario. The Essential Don Coles presents an affordable collection of the poet's very best work.

Don Coles was born April 12, 1927, in the town of Woodstock, Ontario, to Alice Brown and Jack Coles, the second of four children. (Another might-have-been brother, stillborn, preceded Coles by a year and is the subject of one of his poems.) His paternal grandfather came to Canada from England at the tender age of fifteen, worked in var...
Title:The Essential Don ColesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:64 pages, 8.75 × 5.6 × 0.25 inPublished:February 15, 2009Publisher:Porcupine's QuillLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889843120

ISBN - 13:9780889843127

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Read from the Book

Forests of the Medieval World Forests of the medieval world, that's where her mind will wander the three dissertation years, lucky girl -- Forest of Bleu, which crowded around the walls of Paris and stretched 10,000 leagues in every direction; the great Hercynian forests of East Prussia, from which each year 334 drovers bore the logs for the fires in the Grand Duke's castles of Rostock, of Danzig and, furthest east of all, guarding the borders towards the Polish marshes, Greifswald and Wolgast. I'm so sad I could die, you said as you left, but my children, how could I bear it -- and I know, I know there are ways of losing children, of seeing them stray off among the trees even now, especially now! Every fleet needed for its construction the razing of an entire forest -- lost forests meeting on the tilting hills of the Caspian, the Baltic, the Black Sea, over the mountains of water the file of forests comes. Your face is a mobile mischief, do you know? Your eyes mocked before they entreated, your lips rendered both comedy and its dark twin in microseconds, and your tongue harried my mouth's bays and inlets. The Oberforstmeister of Kurland promised the King `at least half-fabulous' beasts for the hunt, his forest measured 140,000 arpents and even on the swiftest mounts horsemen could not traverse it in a month. My mind runs fast down its arpents and leafy corridors, seeing no one, I should slash tree-trunks to procure my safe return but I can't stop. My mind is running on pure grief and pure love, I want you to know this. The Forest of Othe was so still you could hear a shadow cross a face at 60 leagues distance -- it had linked the Lyons Massif with the Woods of Gisors but after a hurricane levelled a million trees in 1519 the diligent peasants moved in with plows and those forests were never reunited. And the forests of Finland, have you thought of those? All the way to Archangel and the White Sea? They can show you how you were before these excuses. What can you do about this, your exigent look said in the doorway, I am going do you realize I am going? And that both of us will survive this? When the Swedes needed cash they cut down the forests of Pomerania, the result in many cases is sand-dunes. This for day-trippers is nice, in your rented Strandkorb there is room for everybody, also for dressing and undressing when the beach is crowded. In the forest of Morois Tristan lies with Iseult, they are waiting for the King her husband who will tell history they were only sleeping. In the Black Forest dwarf trees and greenheart still flourish -- as for the Rominter Heide it was so huge that most of its lakes and forests were `held in reserve', not listed or even mentioned, so for generations all that those lakes and forests could do was grow uncontrollably in the imagination. I would take you with me into the Rominter Heide if you would come: there each child we must not hurt will wear a rose in sign of her ardent, forbearing heart, in sign of his calm-eyed ascent through our extreme, necessary years.

Table of Contents

[Sometimes All Over, 1975

Photograph in a Stockholm Newspaper...
Divorced Child
How We All Swiftly
Death of Woman

[Anniversaries, 1979

Sampling from a Dialogue
William, Etc
Not Just Words but World
Gull Lake, Alta.

[The Prinzhorn Collection, 1982

The Prinzhorn Collection
Mishenka, from Tolstoy Poems
Major Hoople
Abandoned Lover
Abrupt Daylight Sadness
(from) Landslides I, IV, V, VIII, (X), XI

[Landslides, 1986

Walking in the Snowy Night
Somewhere Far from this Comfort

[Forests of the Medieval World, 1993

My Son at the Seashore, Age Two
Someone Has Stayed in Stockholm
Forests of the Medieval World
My Death as the Wren Library
Self-portrait at 3:15 a.m.

[Kurgan, 2000

Marie Kemp
Flowers in an Odd Time
Reading a Biography of Samuel Beckett
On a Caspar David Friedrich Painting
Botanical Gardens

Editorial Reviews

`Poetic pragmatism is a strong element of Don Coles' poetry. Coles' voice, according to critic Robyn Sarah, is ``civilized yet informal,'' for Coles neglects any attempt to ``primp'' and aestheticize his language.'