Blaine Marchand has produced a loving elegiac memorial to his mother who lived for over a century (1913-2016). Kathleen Dorothy, a childhood victim of diphtheria (“the strangling angel”), claimed to have had “a long and lucky” life, though she and a younger brother, Robert, were placed in an Ottawa orphanage after her parents separated and their mother had fled to Montreal. “Adopted” by the Irishes (who had seven children of their own), she learned etiquette, enunciation, and deportment before she graduated in 1931 from Rideau Street Convent, eventually marrying and starting her own large brood. This three-part story is one of perseverance and love: the first (covering 29 years) being Kathleen’s point of view as projected through the poet; the second (spanning the next 12 years) being the poet’s lyrical remembrances; and the third (the mother’s final three years, darkened by old age and the spectre of death) serving as a moving document of last days, where time and memory also reach a point of exhaustion with the dying mother.
Which came first: awards or great poetry? A chicken-and-egg review of the 2010 nominees for the Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry Feature Review ~ Brenda Leifso Blaine Marchand. The Craving of Knives. Ottawa: BuschekBooks, 2009 Susan McMaster. crossing arcs: alzheimer’s, my mother, and me. Windsor: Black Moss Press, 2009 Barbara Myers. Slide. Winnipeg: Signature […]