The Exile's Papers: The Duplicity of Autobiography by Wayne CliffordThe Exile's Papers: The Duplicity of Autobiography by Wayne Clifford

The Exile's Papers: The Duplicity of Autobiography

byWayne Clifford

Paperback | September 1, 2007

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Let's say, in greening weather, on the street,
you pass and glance a townsman up and down
who meets your glance with his distracted frown
and, granted urban manners, doesn't greet
your centred presence but with a discrete
annoyance. Call him s.o.b. or clown
or asshole later, call him any noun
will vent your pique to citizens you'll meet,
but guess he marks the borderlands of chance
and choice. Alone here in the traffic noise,
he navigates his sphere to geomance
such as you'd choose not risk might shake your poise,
or upset staged constructions of your toys.
But your annoyance bumped him from his trance.

Is your beginning clear? Do you recall
the passing thru warm close of mom to fear
and wonder till you got used to them? The Here
and Now's not such an easy load to haul
that you can discount his. And by the fall,
after your summer's sunglassed drinks by water,
ready again for winter's everafter,
you know you'll see him differently, tho his jaw'll
work the chawing on that bite. Of course,
all changes. Winter warms. Some critters find
urban opportunities; rural mores
die out. The drinks get watered. Screens blind
the plural you to the distance of your wars
against the peopled struggle in his mind.

Wayne Clifford was born in Toronto in 1944. He studied English at University College at the University of Toronto in the mid sixties during which time he came to be associated with a small coterie of students that included Stan Bevington, Dennis Reid, Doris and Judith Cowan, and David Bolduc. Wayne also remembers Tangiers Al, but not c...
Title:The Exile's Papers: The Duplicity of AutobiographyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:144 pages, 8.76 × 5.55 × 0.52 inPublished:September 1, 2007Publisher:Porcupine's QuillLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889842973

ISBN - 13:9780889842977

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! If we had three more books as good as this, we'd have a real literary culture in this country, instead of a faux culture of US wannabees awarding each other prizes.
Date published: 2007-10-31

From the Author

Ezra Pound, a native son, many of whose jingles have become wisdom, advised his peers to make it new. That Modern man fashioned his exile out of his Idahoan accent, and prestidigitated his charisma into a disguise for what was otherwise a romantic troubadour. Fashion's, of course, what comes 'round again, and sonnets, especially in sequences (which Ezra wished to make as passé as Chicago's District Attorney now intends to show is the seigneural capitalism demonstrated so nobly by our very own Connie, Lord VeryCross) have sprouted through the concrete slabs of the mall-mindedness of this continent's verse. Since the sonnet was first defined into English by another, more convincing lord -- Surrey -- about 500 years ago, it has acquired turns and springings and enough washings, foldings, stretchings, twistings and shrinkings to have its sizing leak out to the chaos that reclaims us all. As a hairshirt, it's become as pliant as any vestment for covering an ass in a day busy about money-earning, kid-care, mate-talk, and household chores. Books are again being written about the sonnet, its strategies explained by degreed, tenured and funded experts. Anthologies of its examples are being compiled. Young writers are unafraid to use it. And, because, as form-muse for the responsive craftsman, the sonnet demands clean lines to the thinking it takes in, convincing volume for the feeling it embraces, purity of each whole-at-once `Wow!' that intuition pulls from its commodious sleeve, the making of a sonnet honours a long, an historical, conversation held wherever fine English is spoken. In his preface to the collaboration with Coleridge, W. Wordsworth (who expressed the need for honest feeling in verse, but would wait for Ez to tell the rest of us `Only emotion endures.') wrote that those willing to be pleased by the poems would likely read them with more than common pleasure, and `those who should dislike them would read with more than common dislike'. Here for your judgment is the first of four sequences of sonnets, many singularities and passages of which require you as reader to step well outside your conception of an ordinary book's boundaries, and the whole of which is a long, but decidedly not linear, journey. Some who've read these sonnets have reported a very much greater pleasure than they've had or could expect from a book of poetry written recently on this continent. Some of those, of course, are politely acquainted with the author. And some really hated it. One, who collects lists of clichés from his peers' work, suggested I cut the collection down to twenty-five. None, thank the fates, have been, so far, indifferent. I'll be dead before we see who's right. This gathering together of sonnets isn't a journal, nor a novel, nor straightforwardly a record. It's a system, closer to what Blake tried in the prophetic books, what Whitman bragged in his inventions, what Pound, it is largely agreed, failed at in the Cantos. And any writing of a group of sonnets after Berryman necessarily acknowledges that raggy man. Any poetry anywhere in any English, after the far-off Eliot, must know its place. Since I'm a Canadian, also a native son, well enough educated to write sonnets, curious enough to see where they take my evolving questions, and far enough outside the organized leagues of the national and other collectives to have very little to lose of celebrity, or prizes, or arts grants, I'll present to you this exile, who, like Ez, like Thomas Stearns, speaks quite inventive English, and has some things to say of, for, and to his age. In the uncountry that's English-speaking Canada on a continent the neighbours claim entirely by referring to themselves as Americans, it's easy to be exile. But since I'm fully American, too, born in Toronto, North America, and brought to adulthood understanding the long noses looked down all the way from London and New York, then by that peculiar delusion out of which a poet knows the worth of the offering, I am who can understand the exile of Emily Dickinson's example. Rex Murphy, the CBC's marvellously opinionated and animate thesaurus, has told me, today, that Connie Black is one of the greatest personalities this country (by which he means my part of the fragmented colonies well away from the Centres of Real Power) has ever sent on to the great stage of the world (meaning London and New York, the Centres of Real Power). The exile's gone the other way, but the stories of his journey are always the story of each of us about to fall from the friendly acquaintance of the administrators of the polity. I'll thank here the many who read versions and by comment or its lack, helped shape the still ongoing collection, and thank those who as models came directly into text. I'll name none save the dogs and the dead. If the rest can figure out who you are, and take offence, I'l

Editorial Reviews

`This essay does not make an argument that Clifford is our best sonneteer (although that argument could indeed be made), nor does it try to place him in a formalist tradition in Canada. What it is concerned with is the father's role and responsibility as it manifests itself in Clifford's poetry. It also deals with the beauty wrung into poetry by this role, this song of experience.`This experience is particularly valuable in terms of its relative rarity: women are far more likely to write about motherhood than fathers are about fatherhood.... Indeed, history is only catching up with fatherhood, with a spate of academic books written about the subject just in the past few years, some of which are referenced in this essay. Thus Clifford's poems provide an invaluable guide, even a countervailing one ... for as Boose makes clear in Western canon, ``Tyrannical paternity seems to mar the father-daughter text''.'