Saturday, September 12, 2009

Poetry, Jazz and Toronto Skyline at Night

Days end and another wonderful day it has been! Spent a good deal of the afternoon sipping beer with a friend on the patio of a pub watching the world walk by on the Queen Street Strip. The Toronto International Film Festival - or TIFF as it is known, started on Thursday and lots of beautiful people are out and about. The TIFF is among the world's foremost film festivals and it is 10 days of glitz, glamour and fun here in the city. I have a list of maybe 20 films I really would like to see - sadly, I suspect I will not get out to more than maybe one.

After my fabulous afternoon, I wandered home with great intentions of working on my novel, but got sidetracked taking some photos and reading my book. LOL... and reading blogs and also writing this one... However it still is not late and so next I spend an hour or three novel planning.

I keep saying this, but at risk of rolling eyes, I will again say how lucky I am for where I live and what I have. Even if now and again, I moan out loud for want of my Prince Charming, I have to admit, life is good.

Tonight I am happily working away in my home office (a recently re-acquired 2nd bedroom which was vacated by my daughter who is happily living not too too far away) enjoying the view to the east. Wish I could bring you as spectacular night picture as my eyes behold, but that is just not possible with my camera and camera skills...

This is the best I can do - it does give you some sense of the of the Toronto night skyline, but of course, you will need to come visit if you really want to experience its beauty!

Poetry and a Love Story

I just finished reading Canadian author Elizabeth Smart's book of poetic prose "By Grand Central Station I sat down and Wept". For the Wiki on this fascinating author go here.

The original was published in 1945. I have a 1966 reissue of the book, with a forward by Brigid Brophy describing it as one of the half dozen masterpieces of poetic prose in the world. Incidently, her preface to the novel provides some excellent insights into Smart's prose. The novel is both an ode and a lament to Smart's utter surrender in love to George Barker, an English Poet. It was written whilst she was "away" to birth the first (of four) illegitimate children he fathered by her. Their affair was to last her lifetime. It is a epic tale of a love so consuming she is driven with it blindly and without control. Somehow, in her prose, Smart is able to marry stanzas of poetic words testament to the heady, passionate and intense love with the very mundane day to day business of living. A slim volume of 112 pages, I devoured it in two short sittings.

Interestingly, it appears that while George Barker was on the receiving end of such searing love for so many decades, he had a very different viewpoint on it. He wrote a counterpoint novel of prose in 1950, The Dead Seagull. I have not read it, but suspect by the title that it was not of the same mood as Smart's novel. Barker, in my mind, is an undeserving recipient of such boundless love. Through research I found he was as much remembered for his numerous love affairs and fifteen children by several different women as for his very large body of poetry. It seems that he was prolific, and not only in the literary sense.

Interestingly, I was able to obtain Smart's book second hand through Amazon for $1.65. Barker's book (also poetic prose) is selling for $116. Both are out of print. I would like to get a copy of Barker's to read - from my research it is a "must read". I will have to check out the library.

I found a quote on The Dead Seagull from an anonymous reviewer on Amazon:

"...these two novels are as convenient as they are breathtaking. As you may probably have guessed, i cannot recommend these novels enough. In fact they would be in the top ten of all novels i would recommend concerning mid 20th century literature."

And now some very wonderful Jazz Music:

I have been captivated by an artist who has been getting air play on CBC's Radio 2. Her name is Melody Gardot. According to Wiki:

Melody Gardot is an American jazz singer, writer and musician who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was disabled at 19 after being struck by a car while riding her bicycle and began writing music after using music to aid her recovery. She has been influenced by such blues and jazz artists as Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin as well as Latin music artists such as Stan Getz and Caetano Veloso.

This You Tube video includes 3 of her songs and illustrates the range of her repertoire and her utterly sweet yet Jazzy voice. I am enchanted by the first song, Les étoiles.

Les étoiles

Les étoiles les étoiles les étoiles
Dites-moi étoile, pourquoi je vous regarde?
Les étoiles les étoiles les étoiles
Dites-moi, étoile qui vous regardera?
Les étoiles les étoiles
Si seulement je savais
Dites moi étoile de qui obtenez-vous la lumière
Les étoiles les étoiles
Vous qui êtes belle dans les cieux
Dites-moi étoile, qui vous donnera l�'amour?
The stars the stars shining up above
Tell me stars who will give you love
The stars the stars lights of white and blue
Tell me stars why I look to you

More Air Show Pics:
A previous post included pictures of the Air Show from my viewing last Sunday. I did take some more photos on Monday and caught a pretty good shot of the F/A-22 Raptor which is the United States Air Forces' fifth-generation fighter aircraft. It really looked incredible in the sky - I can't but help post these two which both show the general shape of the aircraft and also how close it was to my condo as it flew by.


  1. I have difficulty capturing decent night photographs too. I see so many GREAT night photography pictures, and I want so much to be able to do the same.... in time!

  2. Beautiful post. A real homage to your city. And with a film festival in town to boot! it brings back memories of how the Latin American Cinema Festival used to take over Havana in December. It still does, but I'm not there anymore to enjoy it.

    Greetings from London.


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