Canadian poets offer campus unique views

From locker room rivalry to marijuana and tacos, a poetry reading on Nov. 12 proved that the topics of poetry include anything and everything.The Canadian Studies Program and the Canada Council for the Arts sponsored Canadian poets Randall Maggs and Greg Williamson to read from their works and provide insight to current undergrads.  Randall Maggs read poems about hockey from his latest compilation “Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems” — something that he feels is better expressed through poetry than through fiction.Although poetry about a sport that consists of sweaty gear, fights on the ice and missing teeth might seem strange, Maggs paints an image with his poetry that puts the reader on the ice, in the goal next to NHL legend Terry Sawchuk.Maggs captures the essense of his characters, comparing the game now to the game when Sawchuk guarded the goal.  “Goalies … jeez … what do they look like?  Guys from the bomb squad,” Maggs said.The rawness of the words in his poetry and his prose captured a startling reality.  Maggs’s poems are conversational and rife with intense  imagery of  sportsmanship and Canadian culture.Maggs’s poems were constructed from numerous interviews with hockey players, allowing Maggs to present the game from both on the ice and in the stands.Poet Greg Williamson also captured a unique perspective and elicited laughs with his witty sonnets and quick remarks.  His poems in traditional form conveyed surprising depth underneath a clever surface.Williamson read two series of poems from his book “Error in the Script,” which is set up like an encyclopedia.  One series began with a short poem entitled “man,” followed by “woman,” followed, lastly, by “baby;” the other series followed a less serious note, including poems entitled “marijuana,” “taco” and “beer.””Until you take your last exhale, a spectacular case of the munchies,” Williamson read as the audience giggled.Williamson’s otherwise hesitant tone became strong and followed a subtle cadence as he recited his poems.   His reading makes the reader feel joyful like  having a conversation with a playful seven-year-old who makes up stories. In “The Yard of Constant Sorrow,” Williamson composes a childlike narrative that describes his battle with his untamable lawn.  His characters range from foraging ants to two-headed snakes, adding piece by piece to the story.While the poetry and prose read by both poets were far from the norm, it presented a unique view of different cultures — whether it was the perspective from inside of a face mask or from a man attacked by his unruly lawn.