Friday, November 23, 2018

Erin Mouré

I was trying to educate myself in the poetry of Erin Mouré, but I hadn't found it all that easy... There's lots of audio/video/image material online, but not so much text. When you're going easy on the data downloads it just has to be text.

Besides, she's quite an uncontainable poet: when it's her writing, it's often someone else's too. When it's her poetry, it might also be literary theory.  Many of her writings are in more than one language. Even her name has no definite spelling. And all this is the point, obviously.

Anyway, I did find this.

XX The Humber is pretty fabulous, really

The Humber is more fabulous than the creek under my avenue.
And the Humber is no more fab than the creek under my avenue.
You can't mix up the two when on my avenue;
For that matter neither of them are very big…

The Humber is too small for ships
Yet on its waters they still ply
For those who see the "not there" in all things:
The memory of canoes.

The Humber descends from up north
And the Humber enters Lake Ontario.
You always hear people say this on buses in the afternoon.
But few know the creek that races under Winnett
And where it heads
And where it came from.
And, as such, because fewer people claim it,
The creek of my avenue is more grand and free.

You can take the Humber out almost to Niagara Falls;
Beyond the Humber is America
Where fortunes are made.
No one ever thinks about what's beyond
the creek under Winnett Avenue.

The creek under my avenue makes no one think of anything.
Whoever goes to the edge of it has only reached the curb.

From Sheep's Vigil by a Fervent Person (2011)

This collection transforms the poetry of Albert Caeiro, himself one of Fernando Pessoa's heteronyms, the one who wrote "bad Portuguese".

(Sourced from rob mclennan's blog ,


And then, as a last resort I tried PoemHunter... and there were 28 poems, including eight of the Little Theatres (2005) ! So here's one:

Theatre of the Hope of a Cebola (Santiso)

On the hill there is no hay
but rain

no hay for a hayrick but
small rivulets singing the grass down

An onion has toppled off a high cart
the chest of the high cart has gone on past the hill

if pressed with a shoe an onion toppled
may take root

Will a shoe ever find it
how can we know

will the onion find a mouth to eat it
how can we ever know

In the channels of water :
small blue rivulets of blue.

PoemHunter, I should explain, is not the place you'd normally go to for poetry by linguistically innovative poets. It's impressive that Erin is here in such quantity. But this is only an aspect of her work: it isn't representative of the whole. Or maybe, in a way, it is. I'll go on thinking about that.

In the mean time, here are some other glimpses:

Excerpts from O Cadoiro :

Sections 1 - 6 of "The Acts", from Furious (1988) :

Barbara Berman's review of Planetary Noise: Selected Poetry of Erin Mouré :

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