“National Poetry Month” #12: Phil Hall

from THANKS ALL THE SAME

Where #7’s survey tangent
                                               cuts across the old lumber draw-roads
through limestone highlands to the Ottawa

 a starling picks at a blood-orange
thrown half-eaten to the gravel from a car ages away now

 up close – outcrops do down pink & grey profiles in shadow

to the north – unclaimed swamps
                                                         a broken throttled-smock blue

 always about to get dark or rain – the blacks & greens
suspended – flinch – in a yellow-grey pectin

 that is distance or history – hesitance or distory

indifference
 that has never held a date or signature – nor will

except this relentless bifurcation


The above poem comes from the heart of Phil Hall’s 2007 book White Porcupine, his self-portrait of the artist from the age of 50 to 54.

PHIL HALL’S first small book, Eighteen Poems, was published by Cyanamid, the Canadian mining company, in Mexico City, in 1973. Among his many titles are: Old Enemy Juice (1988), The Unsaid (1992), and Hearthedral – A Folk-Hermetic (1996). In the early 80s, Phil was a member of the Vancouver Industrial Writers’ Union, & also a member of the Vancouver Men Against Rape Collective. He has taught writing at York University, Ryerson University, Seneca College, George Brown College, and elsewhere. He has been poet-in-residence at Sage Hill Writing Experience (Sask.), The Pierre Berton House (Dawson City, Yukon), & elsewhere. In 2007, BookThug published Phil’s long poem, White Porcupine. Also in 2007, he and his wife, Ann, walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. He is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, and lives near Perth, Ontario. Recent books include An Oak Hunch and The Little Seamstress. The Governor General’s Award jury called Killdeer “a masterly modulation of the elegiac through poetic time.” The Small Nouns Crying Faith is forthcoming.

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