In Want of Poetry

     It’s almost midnight and I’m on my way down to let my dog Balzac out one last time before bed. My eyes are smarting from staring at the computer screen too long and I’m developing a headache; worst of all, I’m feeling decidedly grumpy: I don’t like it when I can’t have my own way! So it’s just as well I’m all alone at home, or I might bite somebody’s head off…

     Earlier on, I was looking up the Greek myth of Halcyon (if you really must know, I was actually doing some research on kingfishers, but one thing led to another, as it inevitably does). I came across a reference to the nineteenth-century Canadian poet Archibald Lampman, who – apart from a momentary interest in the afore-mentioned Halcyon – seems to have been much appreciated for his nature poetry. Now as it happens, I am trying to include more poetry in my reading, and nature poetry is exactly what I am in the mood for – not Wordsworth’s dratted daffodils, but the vast woods and lakes of the Canadian wilderness.

"Halcyone" (1915) by the English painter Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

     Archibald Lampman is one of a group of poets now known as the Confederation Poets, because they were born in the 1860s, the decade of Canada’s Confederation, and so became linked with the emerging nation. Others include his close friends Duncan Campbell Scott and William Wilfrid Campbell, Charles G. D. Roberts, also called the Father of Canadian poetry, and his cousin, William Bliss Carman. The more I read about them, the more interested I became. I resolved to order a few titles to add to my August reading list.

     But here’s the rub, the prickly source of my irritation, the root of my midnight discontent: all their works are virtually unavailable! Or if they are, they are horribly, student-crushingly expensive. Scott’s works weren’t even to be found. I could have resigned myself to one disappointment, but to meet with rejection at every turn is hard. I had already been complacently picturing myself in my mind’s eye, curled up in an armchair with Campbell’s Lake Lyrics or Carman’s maritime Ballads of Lost Haven, and I wanted to buy Roberts’ New York Nocturnes for the beauty of its title alone! I feel thwarted.

     If anyone has any suggestions as to where I might procure decent copies of these elusive volumes, they will be heralded with the heartfelt gratitude habitually reserved for winged messengers of heaven!  In the meantime, I’m stomping off to bed…

© Florence Berlioz 2011

About Miss Darcy's Library

I love books - buying books, reading books, discussing books, and generally admiring them from all angles (except the e-book). I also love tea, roses, and my dogs, and seldom pass up an opportunity to slip them into the conversation.
This entry was posted in Buying Books Galore and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to In Want of Poetry

  1. Anbolyn says:

    Oh, how frustrating! Have you had any luck tracking them down for a decent price yet? Are you set on owning them or can you possibly ILL them through your school library?

  2. No, no luck yet! And unfortunately, with my luck, even my university library probably won’t have these… 😦 But I’ll keep looking and hoping!

  3. Pingback: Friday Potluck | As a Linguist…

  4. Pingback: When the Poets Speak | Miss Darcy's Library

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s