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January 31, 2009

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Thank you to Tightrope Books for initiating this series and to you Molly for taking on its editorship and this guest blog. I’ve known you and your work for years and we’re lucky to have your generous advocacy at work north and south of the border. Like you I’m a poet of the continent, French-Canadian by birth and a New Yorker by choice. The question of Canadian identity in poetry is one that I’ve thought about in my own work and lately I’ve come to think that the work of poetry is immune to or sheltered from this kind of question. In that sense I tend to agree with Zach Well’s comments in his post earlier this week. I wonder if the idea of national poetries becomes relevant only when poetry becomes a commodity and the poet tries to trade it with publishers, foundations and government agencies. (Maybe you can guess I’m reading The Gift by Lewis Hyde.)

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