(How Poems Work, November 2003)
“Tigers Know From Birth” appeared in Anne Wilkinson’s 1955 collection, The Hangman Ties the Holly–the second of only two volumes of Anne Wilkinson’s poetry to be published during her lifetime. Happily this poem, along with the rest of her work, is readily available in a new collection of her poems from Vehicule Press.
Wilkinson’s death from cancer in 1961 at age 50 robbed Canada of one of our finest poets. She began publishing in literary journals in the late 1940’s, and from the start her poems were met with high acclaim by many of the most influential critics and poets of the time.
A.J.M Smith, in his introduction to The Collected Poems of Anne Wilkinson (Macmillan, 1968), noted that “one aspect of her poetry [is] its intimate sensuous identification with life as a growth out of the earth;” and that “the body and its senses were the instruments through which nature and reality entered the mind and became a part of being” …