In April, 2000, when the celebrated Canadian poet Al Purdy died, Alberta writer Tim Bowling decided that the best way to pay homage to Purdy would be to devote an entire book to the many fine poets still living and writing in Canada. Where the Words Come From is a comprehensive collection of eighteen interviews, in each of which a younger, less widely known poet questions an older, more established peer on a wide range of issues related to what Chaucer called "the craft so long to learn." Why does a person become a poet? Where do the ideas for poems originate? How do poets feel about such matters as publication, reviews and prizes? What influences and interests drive a poet's creativity? And what value does poetry have for the individual and for the community at large? Poets are rarely given such an opportunity to discuss what matters to them most in their art, and this alone makes Where the Words Come From an important contribution to Canadian culture. But, in addition, the bringing together of generations, from poets in their late twenties to those in their mid eighties, and including all the decades in between, makes this gathering of voices a unique representation of the past, present, and future of poetry in Canada. Among the poets interviewed are many of the most honoured who have ever published in this country: P.K. Page, Margaret Avison, Phyllis Webb, Don Coles, Don McKay, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and Patrick Lane. And the poets asking the questions form the nucleus of Canada's poetry future, including Stephanie Bolster, Carmine Starnino, Ken Babstock, Helen Humphreys, David O'Meara and Julie Bruck. A highly readable treasure trove of talk and insight for affirmed fans of Canadian poetry, as well as for anyone interested in learning more about this most intriguing of art forms, Where the Words Come From celebrates over a half-century of wonderful writing while it looks ahead to a future that promises continued excitement and excellence.
Used availability for Tim Bowling's Where the Words Come from
March 2002 : Canada Paperback