Kaleidoscope is the first in a series of ten volumes to be published over the next ten years as a complement to an online hypermedia edition of the Collected Works of P. K. Page. Listed chronologically by date of composition, the poetry in Kaleidoscope is fluid, wondrous and technically exquisite, drawing on subjects great and small, and it offers a comprehensive look at one of Canada’s most beloved and brilliant poets.
About the Book
The name P. K. Page is synonymous with ‘artist’: she won the Governor General’s award for poetry in 1957, was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1999, and her paintings are found in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario, among others. Her voice is luminous, her focus grounded in reality, and her mastery of poetic form is nigh unmatched in Canadian literature.
Selected by Zailig Pollock, the poetry in Kaleidoscope is elegant, technically exquisite and full of marvels, and the chronological presentation reveals Page’s growth as a poet over her long lifetime. This collection is more than a mere re-publishing of previous work; Kaleidoscopeincludes poetry hitherto unpublished, and Page involved herself with the process of editing certain pieces until her death in January 2010.
Kaleidoscope: Selected Poems is the first in a series of volumes to be published over the next ten years as a complement to an online hypermedia edition of the Collected Works of P. K. Page. The online edition is intended for scholarly research, while Kaleidscope offers a beautiful and inspiring text to be enjoyed by those who love and wonder at the achievement of Canada’s greatest poet.
2011—ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year,
Praise for Kaleidoscope
There’s something in this collection to spark new interest, remind those familiar with her well-loved lines and introduce readers to her evolving style over the years. From the dazzling word-work of the early poems, to the gorgeous complexity of her glosas, her skill at fitting line to image and colour to sound is nothing less than stellar -- especially in the way she could make rhyme steep in the vowels and tickle at the back of the mind. Musicality and understanding of rhythm pervades her work. From her beginnings as a poet with an imagistic approach, to the broadening and deepening of the later years, these spiritual, seeking, overcoming poems are compelling. Privileging natural imagery and a disillusionment with contemporary obsessions, the poems reveal a poet who rarely falters.
—Heather Craig, St John Telegraph-Journal
What the book presents is a poetic tour de force. It illustrates how firmly accomplished Page’s work was from the beginning of her career.
—Jay Ruzesky, Event
‘If you are interested in seeing the developments in the long career of an exemplary poet this book is a gem. If you want to celebrate World Poetry Day by enjoying the products of a fertile, original mind, again, this book is for you. As Page is a wonderful Canadian poet who needs to be even more widely read, this collection of her work is something I will be recommending for all poetry lovers for a long time to come.’
—The Indextrious Reader
‘Whether in this print edition--the first in a ten-volume series of Page’s Collected Works--or the forthcoming online compendium, Kaleidoscope marks a stunning representation of Page’s career. Readers new to her work will quickly find themselves situated, thanks to a thorough introduction and comprehensive textual notes; those already acquainted with Page have her unpublished work to discover. As the poet passed away early last year, the collection serves as a commemorative retrospective as well as a book of poems that explores humanity’s darker moments even as its playful diction reminds us of life’s joys.’
—Rachel Mennies, ForeWord Reviews
Read an Excerpt
In the dream it was the seraphim who came
with eyes of aquamarine
and set my hair aflame
and spoke in a language which written down --
an elegant script of candelabras and chalices --
spelled out my name
but it was not my name
The mornings following were bright as wings
sky’s intricate cirrus
the feathers under his wings
the wind’s great rush
the bladed beat of his wings
Mare’s tails traced the passage of his seraphic chariot
Hummingbirds ruby-throated roared and braked
in the timeless isinglass air and burned like coals
high in the fronds of a brass palm sunbirds sang
girasoles swung their cadmium-coloured hair
and I heard the seraphim telling once again
the letters of my name
but my name was lost in the spoken syllables
by Summer, 1976 1997
About the Author
Credit: Barbara Pedrick
P. K. Page wrote some of the best poems published in Canada over the last seven decades. In addition to winning the Governor General’s Award for poetry in 1957, she was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1999. She was the author of more than two dozen books, including ten volumes of poetry, a novel, short stories, eight books for children, and two memoirs based on her extended stays in Brazil and Mexico with her husband Arthur Irwin, who served in those countries as the Canadian Ambassador. In addition to writing, Page painted, under the name P. K. Irwin. She mounted one-woman shows in Mexico and Canada. Her work was also exhibited in various group shows, and is represented in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Victoria Art Gallery, among others.
A two-volume edition of Page’s collected poems, The Hidden Room (Porcupine’s Quill), was published in 1997, and the full range of her richly varied work is being made available in a digital resource, The Digital Page, supplemented by a series of texts in print and e-book format published by The Porcupine’s Quill.
P. K. Page was born in England and brought up on the Canadian prairies. She died on the 14th of January, 2010.
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