Monday, December 29, 2008

Eileen Argyris' Depersonalization

The double standard continues to prevail at the Cobourg Daily Star. Editorialista, Eileen Argyris, attaches her name to her editorial, (article ID# 1351388) and includes her mother as a significant part of the subject matter of the editorial;

"It reminded me of my late mother's feelings about former prime minister Brian Mulroney. 'Somebody should shoot him in the backside,' Mother always maintained. 'Not kill him, just teach him a lesson.'
Mr Argyris concludes her column with the following:

"Let's face it, even if the shoes had connected, they would not have harmed the president physically. Dubya should just be glad he ran into Mr. al-Zaidi, instead of my mother."
With all that personalization in her editorial, (to make it homey, no doubt), one would think that reader's could address the central issue of concern -- that two women of the same family give the nod of approval to low level violence against men. Like father, like son, but in this case, it is like mother, like daughter. Although the editorialista can invoke her familial solidarity into the public domain, it cannot be addressed. The newspaper's editorialista depersonalized my letter to the editor.

Below is the letter that I had sent to the Cobourg Daily Star. I have placed into BOLD the text that was deleted. Enjoy.

I always find it interesting how easily a woman advocates and accepts violence against men. It seems to run in the Argyris family – the daughter admiring the mother’s advocacy of gun violence, not for protection, but just to teach a man a lesson.

Let’s face it, a hard heeled leather shoe can break skin, can break a nose, or the edge of the heel or toe can puncture an eye. Perhaps Ms Argyris will let me test her theory that a thrown shoe to her head will not harm her physically. I’m willing to meet her anywhere, any time. The shoe was not a sandal or sneaker or slipper and it was thrown with strength.

Low level violence against people we don’t like is so common in culture that editorialistas have no problem giving the nod of approval. News reports of the Middle East street reaction indicates they also approve of low level violence, but only against non-Muslim leaders.

The misogynist dictators of Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai, West Bank, Gaza, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, are exempt from being on the receiving end of such a show-throwing assault.

I got a wide smile-on when I saw news images over the weekend of Canadians throwing shoes at the image of the President of the United States of America. I’m 61 years old and I cannot recall ever seeing news images of Canadians throwing shoes or any other object against the image of a dictator. What does that tell us about ourselves as a democratic people living next door to another nation of democratic people.

I am so grateful to live in a culture where only leaders of democratic societies are assaulted in more ways than one. And dictators around the world get a free-pass from the dime-a-dozen Argyris’ of the world.

The dictators do not have press conferences where they open themselves up to journalist’s questions. They regard George Bush as a fool to expose himself to such unprofessional, unbecoming questioning. And Argyris smiles with them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


. . . Reta May Keeler (01/11/1912 - 01/24/2004)

In your beginning was the blood and breath,
the sharp inhalation of the carnal chaos of life.
Born 6 lb., 6 oz. in the pubescence of a century
of unprecedented carnage and creativity,
the state marked the occasion with certificate 12 05 037696.

In the unelectric world,
devoid of devices of diversion,
you flourished in family
and began your career
pushing placenta and parenthood
onto the open palm of life,
swaddling your children in an abundance
of cuddles, caresses and embraces.

And so you earned
your Bachelor of Mom degree,
graduating into grandchildren
for the Masters of Mom,
but the world wasn't finished
with your dissertation of lineage
and great grandchildren won you
the Doctorate of Motherhood

As I walked along the avenue of my life,
a time came when my knees weakened
(a fallen leaf on the sidewalk)
then onset type2 diabetes
(another leaf on the pavement)
then diminishing virility
(another fallen leaf)
then a stroke
(a litter of leaves)
My trees are not yet barren
because it is September,
but for you, my mother,
a cold wind swept down
with January ferocity,
liberating your soul
for post graduate work with the angels.

Your spirit is a kite tethered with umbilical love
and gentle unto the good days,
memories like random breezes tug
-- what is the wind but a woman
loving us with caressing directions.

Your life straddled two millennia.
Your children born in peacetime
bracketed the world's worst war;
so I enjoyed your memories
of the pre tek world,
of the pre penicillin world;
from pre flight to post lunar landings,
your life was grounded
graceful as a backyard garden.

I regularly visited to mine your memories,
plucking nuanced nuggets of ageless gossip.

On the weekend of your death
I meant to ask you about your first kiss
but you replied with your last three diminishing breaths,
like the ellipsed ending of a love long life sentence...

Defiant of Death Certificate 422 372 045
you will remain an unfinished poem
carried into the interstellar future
on the crest of code of dna,
forever in a state of becoming . . .

Tuesday, November 18, 2008



2008 I occupied space
on Pizza Palace patio across from
Cobourg District Collegiate Institute, West
where 1966 I occupied space
in my grade 12 history class
chin cupped in hand
like a soft boiled egg
and nothing on the blackboard
worth deflecting my interest
away from the house fly
frantic for escape
out the window,
she sneaked up on me,
the teacher, I mean,
ambushed my pre occupation

“Well, Wally, it seems you’re not with us.
Are you stoned on something?”

. . .“Excuse me ma’m, I’m NOT on drugs;
. . .I’m on poetry.”

. . .
So . . .
. . .against the advice of Guidance Counsellors
. . .I failed to graduate
. . .preferring the business
. . .of trafficking in poetry
. . .fool time
. . .permanent.


Click on image to enlargeIt was announced this morning that Jacob Scheier has won the Governor-General's Award for Poetry (English).

Poet Scheier, recently moved to Brooklyn, New York, won for his collection, More to Keep Us Warm. (ECW Press). The citation for his work reads: "More to Keep Us Warm invites the reader into a world of hope, pain, laughter and forgiveness – elements that reconcile the human drama through the power of love and sheer poetic invention. With deep affection for his work, Jacob Scheier manages his debut collection with precision, grace and stunning metaphor."

The jury for the English poetry award consisted of Di Brandt (Brandon, Man.), Pier Giorgio Di Cicco (Toronto), and Connie Fife (Nanaimo, B.C.).

Jacob Scheier and myself participated with "blurbs" a couple years back in the making of a video about Robert Priest for the Heart of a Poet tv series. I had recently caught up with Jacob a month ago, and he kindly participated in my FREE SPEECH propaganda blog.

The beginning of the FREE SPEECH project by the Peoples Republic of Poetry was kicked off in Cobourg last September with Manfred Schumann and Louis Stover.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


My long-time poetent friend, Robert Priest is a poet, playwright, song-writer, and novelist. You can view his expansive imagination and poetic gift in these videos.

Robert Priest also known as Dr Poetry on CBC’s Wordbeat has performed his exciting mix of poems and songs all over the world. His words have been debated in the legislature, posted in the Transit system, quoted by politicians, turned into a hit song and widely published in text books and anthologies.

The author of fourteen books of poetry, he won the Acorn People's Poetry Award for his now classic Mad Hand (1988).

In his alias as Dr. Poetry he wrote and performed thirteen segments for CBC radio's spoken-word show Wordbeat.

As a songwriter, he co-wrote the number one hit, Song Instead of a Kiss,for Alannah Myles. You may even have seen him recently singing topical songs on CBC Televison's Sunday Night News.

He teaches a lyric-writing course at U.of T.'s School of Continuing Education. His Aphorisms have already appeared in The Farmer's Almanac, and Colombo's Canadian Quotations.His musical play Minibugs and Microchips received a $25,000.00 Chalmer's Award.

His novel, Knights of the Endless Day got an 'Our Choice Award; from the Canadian Children's Book CentreBoth of his books of poems for children: Daysongs Nightsongs, and The Secret Invasion of Bananas are on the CBC's recommended reading listAs a teacher/workshop leader he has been described as "Ontario's most popular poet in the schools" by Today's Parent Magazine.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008



You are invited to the launch of Issue 10 of the literary journal, Misunderstandings Magazine. I will be one of four featured poets performing
November 12, Wednesday evening, 8pm, at Cervejaria, 842 College Street, (just west of Ossington), Toronto.
It will be my farewell-to-Toronto performance. I am moving to Montreal end of November, to be with the woman I love, Bonnie Sharpe.

My performance will begin with 422-902-510 reading the “prayer”, a tradition since the first safe landing of the Peoples Republic of Poetry in 1972. It will be followed with Elegy For My Mother, then through 3-4 poems, after which there will be a break for a brief commercial flogging FREE SPEECH. I will take an overdose and dedicate the end of my performance to Barbara Hall, her Text Tyrants and their TXT Tribunals; ending with APOETCALYPSE NOW followed by THE WAL-MARTYR. This is the script for THE WAL-MARTYR.

The WAL-MARTYR made an appearance at the 2007 Nuit Blanche, by walking down Queen Street West circa 2am, entering galleries to confront mediocrity. The WAL-MARTYR was briefly detained by police. This is not the first time this poet has been engaged by authority. The Peoples Republic of Poetry, in a poetic event, BIRTH OF A CLEAR VISION, the CN Tower was brutally attacked with safe satire on it’s opening day to the public no less; ludicrously, the police were called in to disinfect. Then there was the 1970’s pro-longed Orwellian tit-for-tat with various Canadian security authorities.

I would enjoy your presence to witness my performance. FREE SPEECH cards will be handed out to all for the price of a photograph to be posted with the growing collection of images at I HAVE FREE SPEECH.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled banalities.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Poetry group banned from pub by council on health and safety grounds.
By Stephen Adams, 30 Oct 2008

A poetry group has been banned from performing in its local pub on health and safety grounds after the council said the landlords had the wrong licence.

The Royal Standard in Ely, Cambs, has been threatened with a £5,000 fine because it only has an entertainment licence for singing and not speaking.

The threat forced landlord Richard Whitmore to call time on the poetry group, called Turning Point, which has been drawing in customers on quiet Tuesday evenings.

Rest of story here: The Telegraph

Friday, October 31, 2008


Doug Lloyd, in a letter to the Cobourg Daily Star, recently played with the idea of a name-the-fountain/rink pad contest. Among his suggestions was "Peter's Puddle." I would take it up a notch, in homage to former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, and name it PETER'S PUDDLE DUDDLE. Political satire is such fun.

There once was a mayor named Delanty
who voted an expenditure of insanity
made a concrete puddle
spurt with a duddle
and blessed a town with his banality.

He was followed by sock puppet Spooner
who posed as a cash prudent pruner
his critics he dismissed
you can rotary on this
and we found the crooner out of tuner

Poetry is Poetency!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


In the Introduction to poetry Anthology II by the Local Lot, James Pickersgill cleverly posits that “the fact I write poetry does not mean I am crazy in society’s eyes.” Pickersgill clarifies that the assembly of poets in this anthology, published by Ink Bottle Press, have a social function, reassuring each other that they are “not alone in this gentle madness.”

My employment in the Centre of the UnitVerse always prevented me from attending the poetry readings the Cobourg Poetry Workshop has hosted. Last month was my first. It was welcoming, warm, comfortable, intelligent and everyone spoke with bits of eloquence pirouetting off their tongues. They’re poets, eh?

Anthology II is quite a hash of poetry, from the sublime to the bland, from sharp to dull, and levels in between.

In Vexatious Stack, poet-photographer, Ted Amsden is brilliantly insolent about the labour conditions at the local newspaper, concluding

I could certainly do better than drag my ass into that
old word mill on King Street just to get in line
. . . . . . . . . . to pass the buck.
. . . . . . . . . .oh dear
. . . . . . . . . .so much memory
. . . . . . . . . .and oh so
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . little motivation

Paul Brown, in his poem ‘a softer sound’ has this gem of an image:

a crow in the overhanging maple
disturbed by the new air
makes a noise like a spike being pulled out of wood

What a wood-wrenching sound that would be, especially in a poem titled, ‘a softer sound’. But then again, 'Haiku is a one-night stanza'. Mr Brown recently told the Cobourg Daily Star that his "poetry attempts to be accessible to everyone, rather than exclusionary or esoteric. In current times, poetry is marginalized and completely off most people's radar."

Bridget Campion’s two poems are narrative in nature. There is none of the poetic clutter (metaphor, simile, alliteration, rhyme, etc) in her poems. Life Cycle is a wonderfully crafted narrative, right from the opening line, “My hands span the flat backs” all the way through to the closing lines “like a baby.” The narrative opens with baby and moves on to grandfather and neatly ties them together. The poem gives good closure.

Mark Clement has a great opening line, “The remembrance of spring is held by the earth.” This holds immense possibilities. What if the earth had a season of forgetfulness?

Marta Cooper’s poetry is rich with childish charm, notably, ‘turn’ which is a highly charged erotic poem about two frolicking kites making out in the heavens. In her poem, ‘scissors’, she captures the visceral urban grit of “alley garbage smells don’t wander through open windows to squat in our apartment.”

Glenda Jackson’s poem, Chocolate Seduction, has the heat of eroticism, but cleverly distributes it by avoiding any gender identification whatsoever. Is chocolate a man? Or is it a woman? I’m not prone to write poetry in rhyme, but Glenda pulls it off very well; it adds a flouncy charm of a summer dress. The hyperbole in the last stanza is excessive, but works.

Deborah Panko’s, Related, is another narrative poem that is deliciously subtle to the last line, a clever cinch: “This birdwatching thing, it runs in the family.”

James Pickersgill has a great opening stanza in Small Trance:

These flowers in beds enter me
In some glory of germination
Like preparing to seed themselves
From the tips of my fingers...

The way this poem reads, lends itself to conjecture that it’s a performance poem to be read aloud in the best oral tradition. In a recent Cobourg Daily Star interview, Pickersgill says that "much of the time the creative process happens while I'm running," perhaps as a fugitive on the run from mediocrity, and escaping quite diligently, I might add. He continues, [creativity] "can occur at anytime, while I'm having a bath, daydreaming at work." Poetically stricken.

Eric Winter has written a long poem. There are speed bumps of obscure references along the way, but the last stanza of the poem is a clincher, a diamond in the rough:

Time to work at the word bench
Among sharp edges
The blunted ambiguities
The slow turned word,
The ambiguous foundation,
The fabric of the thought
That is the father to the deed.
Time now for time past,
For standing on the shoulders,
For another sort of usefulness,
For getting back to the good old stars,
The celestial ones.

Grahame Woods’ poem, Winter Dusk, contains this striking image, “scanning corn field’s snow-lathered 5 o’clock stubble.” If this is not enough, he goes on to write, What If?, a poem of sharp dark satire, a good sense of humour with a smirk. “What does God do when the Germans pray to win the war?” Truth is child’s play for a child.

The Local Lot aka Cobourg Poetry Workshop have a good thing going. It’s small, it’s intimate, and doesn’t have a well-financed outreach program. Back in the day, when Foster Russell was publisher/editor of the Cobourg Sentinel-Star, he filled empty spaces for poems, continuing in the tradition of R.D. Chatterton who published Susanna Moodie’s poems in the Cobourg Star in 1833.

It’s a great anthology of a Local Lot of poetry.
It’s a great anthology of a Lot of Local poetry.
It deserves more attention -- in local schools.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Click on image to enlarge

Susanna Moodie Arboretum proposal goes to Council

From: Lorraine Brace
Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 9:41 AM
To: Wally Keeler
Cc: Stephen Peacock ; Steve Robinson
Subject: Re: Letter to Cobourg Town Council
Wally Keeler:
Thank you for your letter to the Town of Cobourg Council and supporting documentation. Please be advised that your correspondence will be placed on the Executive Committee Agenda for the next meeting scheduled on Monday, October 20th. You will be informed of the outcome.
Yours truly,
Lorraine Brace

Lorraine V. Brace
Municipal Clerk / Manager of Legislative Services
Town of Cobourg
55 King Street West
Cobourg, ON K9A 2M2
T. (905) 372-4301 ext. 4401
F. (905) 372-7421
C. (905) 373-5751


>>> "Wally Keeler" 1:55 PM 10/14/2008 >>>
Hi Lorraine;

Attached is a letter to the Cobourg Town Council.
The letter is supplemented with a 3-page supporting document.

The letter and supporting document can also be accessed at my blog COBOURG OF ALL THINGS

Please confirm when placed on the agenda.

Wally Keeler
314 -- 37 Eden Place
Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2V6

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The Corporation of the Town of Cobourg
Victoria Hall
55 King Street West
Cobourg, Ontario K9A 2M2

October 14, 2008

Mayor and Town Councillors;

I thank the Council for their illumination of the fact that private individuals or private organizations providing sufficient money can purchase the naming rights of public property in perpetuity.

I don`t have the power of money to make a similar purchase to have the arboretum located on Elgin Street, east of Burnham, which currently exists without an attached honourific, to be named Susanna Moodie Arboretum.

Attached is a three page synopsis [below] of Susanna Moodie and her significance. There are valuable hyper-links in the text which can be accessed if this letter is read on-line, or off-site, it can be accessed at

I appeal to Cobourg Town Council to name the arboretum on Elgin Street: Susanna Moodie Arboretum.

Wally Keeler

Monday, October 13, 2008



Why Susanna Moodie?

The University of Western Ontario, set up a CANADIAN POETRY website to exhibit poetry and poets of the confederation era of Canada. Wanda Campbell focussed on Susanna Moodie, the poet, and presents many of her poems, especially those relating to Moodie’s experience of Canada. Ms Campbell wrote,

“Primarily because of Roughing It in the Bush; or, Life in Canada (1852), an account of her arrival and settlement in Upper Canada, Susanna Moodie has become one of the central figures of nineteenth-century Canadian literature, attracting considerable critical attention and achieving reincarnation in such texts as Margaret Atwood’s Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970) and Carol Shields’ Small Ceremonies (1976). Both Roughing It in the Bush and Life in the Clearings Versus the Bush (1853) contain a substantial number of poems that Moodie included “in order to diversify [her] subject and make it as amusing as possible” (Introduction to Roughing It xiii).

Most of these poems had previously appeared in newspapers and periodicals including the Albion (New York), the Literary Garland (Montreal), the Palladium (Toronto), and the North American Magazine (Philadelphia). In 1833, she complained to the editor of the Albion of Canada’s “chilly atmosphere” that was “little favourable to the spirit of Poesy” (Letters of a Lifetime 90), but her poems were, in fact, warmly received. In March, 1833, R.D. Chatterton, the editor of the Cobourg Star, reprinted two poems that had just appeared in the Albion: “With us the beauty and chief attraction of Mrs. Moodie’s Poetry arises from the delicacy of sentiment and the enthusiastic feelings, that pervade it. We meet not the lofty, gaudy, oriental language, which so illuminates the poetry of Mrs. Hemans, but a simple and energetic language which cannot fail to reach the hearts of every true lover of poetry.”

Ms Moodie was middle class in genteel Britain and an activist for the anti-slavery movement. She was the author of several anti-slavery publications, including THE HISTORY OF MARY PRINCE, A WEST INDIAN SLAVE (1831) and NEGRO SLAVERY DESCRIBED BY A NEGRO (1831). That same year she also had her first book of poetry, ENTHUSIASM AND OTHER POEMS, and married. The following year she landed on the wharf at Cobourg.

Thus began the life of Susanna Moodie’s greatest contribution to Canadian culture and history, a heritage that is worth considerable gigabytes at the Library and Archives of Canada which collects and preserves Canada's documentary heritage, and makes it accessible to all Canadians. The specific Susanna Moodie site has this to say:
“Susanna Moodie had four children (Agnes, Dunbar, Donald and John) while living in the backwoods and still managed to pursue her writing career. She sent poems and stories to several newspapers and magazines in North America, notably the Albion (New York), the Cobourg Star, and the North American (Quarterly) Magazine. A vital opportunity came when, after several of her patriotic poems appeared in a Toronto newspaper called the Palladium of British America and Upper Canada in 1837–38, she was asked to write for a new monthly Montreal magazine, the Literary Garland.”
So there she stands on the wooden wharf of Cobourg harbour, disembarking from a small wooden ship of minimum comfort after endless days of travel. No health insurance. No dental care. No antibiotics. No social workers. No assistance whatsoever. “You’re on your own, baby.” So she and her husband buy a field outside town and set up house from the raw. ROUGHING IT IN THE BUSH or Life in Canada, became her signature work, which went on to inspire contemporary Canadian poets of the first order.

CBC’s opus, CANADA: A PEOPLE’S HISTORY, described Moodie’s book as capturing “the hardships of her own pioneer experiences in this collection of reminiscences that have become synonymous with the Canadian pioneer experience.”

Referring to the inspired Journals of Susanna Moodie by Margaret Atwood, CBC wrote: “Atwood's famous book of poems written in the voice of the pioneer author Susanna Moodie, depicts the hardships and the internal life of the character as she attempts to make a home and raise a family in the unforgiving wilderness.”

So how is this anti-slavery immigrant poet/writer who survived and transcended the merciless pioneer experience honoured by her contemporaries in Cobourg, Northumberland, south-central Ontario? In the early 1990’s she inspired Susanna Moodie Elementary School in Belleville which provides a charming Flash presentation of Susanna Moodie.

The University of Manitoba hosts a web-site for CM (Canadian Review of Materials) which is an "electronic reviewing journal (of) Canadiana of interest to children and young adults, including publications produced in Canada, or published elsewhere but of special interest or significance to Canada, such as those having a Canadian writer, illustrator or subject." The site hosts a review by Mary Thomas of the ECW Press book, Susanna Moodie: a Life written by Michael Peterman. The review begins with this excerpt: "While her husband was thus engaged [in attempting to find an affordable farm in the vicinity of Coburg], Susanna endured her 'unpleasant' residence in the crowded 'house of public entertainment' as best she could. With leisure and..."

For those interested in downloading and reading the full text of Roughing It In The Bush click here.

FEMINISTS: In the zeitgeist of the times, Susanna Moodie displayed a civic mindedness that went beyond the kitchen and parlour. Her anti-slavery activity was up-front. Her loving and lasting relationship with her sister, Catherine Parr Traill, all speaks of a woman who lived life head-on, and transcended. If she’s good enough for Margaret Atwood, she’s good enough for all feminists.

MULTICULTURALISTS: This is the story of an immigrant, with nostalgia, miseries, significant joys, but especially as a role model, not only surviving, but thriving, transcending. She stood for freedom, individual equality, expressed in her anti-slavery work.

POETS/WRITER: Let’s face it, her stuff is not the quality to find parking space in the Oxford Concise Anthology of English Poetry. Her value is literate observation of her life within the time and place she found herself. Nevertheless, she chose poetry as a vehicle of expression, and she was not without some competence – bits o poesie. If she was able to inspire Margaret Atwood, then she should writely inspire the members of the Cobourg Poetry Workshop.

Why, she’s almost a leftist’s dream come true, except that she’s white skinned & Anglo, but then again, she’s a dead white poet, so that should even things out. But then again, she’s Christian, and we know how too many of them are regarding abortion, euthanasia, birth control, and other human rights, etc. But then again, check it out, Ms Moodie did not address any of these issues – she`s clean.

She certainly deserves to have her name attached to something in Cobourg. Unlike Belleville, which has a Susanna Moodie Elementary School, Cobourg has been inclined traditionally to name its public buildings after politicians or administrators. Part of the good ole boys payoff honour. Bureaucratic inbreeding. Bureaucraps and adminiscastrators are not an inspiring lot.

Irving Layton Library. Perhaps a bit too rich for Cobourg. Keep it local and call it Susanna Moodie Library. What are the connections?:
1. Moodie writes & gets published in London & New York.
2. Moodie is well-known in the Canadian literati.
3. Moodie has a very local connection.
4. Moodie is Canadian culture.
Cobourg preferred to be inspired, and named it Local High School Principal Library.

One day, in 1965, a high school principal called me into his office; made me an offer: cut your hair, or I deny you an education at this school. So I cut my hair and got an education – the unintended one.

Historically, Cobourg politicians, have been culturally illiterate. The only reason Cobourg has a Birthplace of Marie Dressler is because of the work of a private individual. Is there a Marie Dressler Street? Council after Council after Council of cultural illiterates preferred naming streets after themselves as politicians/businessmen/administrators. That is what passes as hand-me-down culture by the good ole boys of Cobourg Councils. Old codgers marking turf, making a lasting impression; their stains are a public display of mediocrity on most street corners in Cobourg.

Go to any European community and you will find streets, avenues, blocks, parks, subway stations, etc named after their culturati; composers, artists, poets, writers, the creative class. Yes, there was the usual crap of politicians and generals on horseback extolling themselves, but there was room for cultural honours. In Cobourg, the good ole boys don't know culture from a Philistine sinkhole. Sadly, English teachers and English dep'ts of Cobourg schools have little cultural depth or spine to promote a local literary icon of national significance. It's actually quite pathetic, tragic, and worst of all, typical. No wonder poetry has become nothing more than an obscure parlour act with the pizzazz of porridge. If it's not poetent, it's not poetry.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Click on image to enlarge
This is the first clear cut evidence that the imagine nation of the Peoples Republic of Poetry (PRP) was behind the textual assault of Cobourg's east pier.
Robert R. Mason found a crumbled piece of paper littering the west pier and immediately turned it over to the local dissidents. It appears that the PRP had been documenting its operation, which is part of a long serving program called Watch Your Words.
The photo shows the shipping container blocks that had been unloaded onto the pier during the night, with no other purpose than to be photodocumented as soon as possible in the daylight, then to disappear, ephemera. The PRP moves all its supplies around the world in container blocks, a practice it has been doing for the past 25 years. It is a proprietary system called Child's Play.
It is not often that the PRP is clumsy in its operations. They have been known for their stealth and dedication to details.
Below is a digitally enhanced picture of the textual assault that occurred on Cobourg's east pier.

Wally Keeler, a unit of verse of the universe, asserted that the photo "could well have been planted there by an agent of the pulp friction industry, with the purpose of stalling the momentum of the current Watch Your Words pogrom."

The Minister With Poetfolio declined to comment on the photo-find as we went to blog.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


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Click on image to enlarge
"It was so easy; almost without effort; life wiped out like that. There's something psychopathic about it" said Doug Curran.

"It looks so casual, like the dismissive gesture of a royal hand," declared Terry Woolf.

It was unrelenting. No sooner was LIFE engraved onto the face of the earth, when a wavelength tongue licked it away. It was so natural, so organic, so lethal," said Wally Keeler.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


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The picture with this story in the Dec 30, 1987 of the Cobourg Daily Star, displays the poetic slogan in a state of considerable deterioration. The graffiti had been aerosoled.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008


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Many thanks to Ted Amsden, for documenting, in an effective and evocative manner, some splendid graffiti that recently appeared on the east pier facing in towards Cobourg harbour.

Ted Amsden is one of the members with poetry in Anthology II by the Cobourg Poetry Workshop, a chapbook edition of poetry from 15 poets in North Slumberland, east of the Centre of the Unit Verse. There is fine stuff in that collection.

I know the individual who did the graffiti. He is young. He loves Cobourg. He loves fun. He loves poetry and he loves courage.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008


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Friday, September 19, 2008


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Rhyme Scheme Instigators from the Creative Intelligence Anarchy erected a SONNET BY CHANCE on the former site of the cenotaph in Cobourg, Canada. The Poetburo of the imagine nation of the Peoples Republic of Poetry approved it's erection in a unanimous vote, Sept18, 2008, declaring that the sonnet, configured in the Shakespearian rhyme scheme, fully complied with the policy of Poetry Proliferation and Proselytization. "This manifestation of the imagine nation of Poetry, takes poetry off the dusty shelves of school libraries, and out of the nooks and crannies of backroom bars, and placing poetry front and centre in daily lives. Eloquence should always prevail over pulp friction," said Wally Keeler, who was visiting his home town, Cobourg for the week.


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While the citizens of Cobourg were focussing their attention down the street in front of Cobourg's famed Victoria Hall, watching the filming of the Murdoch Murders, units of verse of the uniVerse were busy enhancing the gates to the former Victoria Park. In a ceremony of unbridled impudence, the Minister With Poetfolio, declared Poetry Park open for the enjoyment of poets, postasters, poetry lovers, poetry sluts, and everyone who loves and appreciates being textually assaulted. This is the place where poets can indulge in unsafe textual intercourse.


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Shakespearian Sonnet by Chance: this sonnet has been approved by Rhyme Scheme Investigators of the Creative Intelligence Anarchy of the imagine nation of the Peoples Republic of Poetry and installed in Victoria Park.

CHILD'S PLAY: Gateway to Victoria Park

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Council defends redesigned park name Wed. Sep 10, 2008, NORTHUMBERLAND NEWS

COBOURG - Council was asked to consider what’s in a name after a letter from Cobourg resident Wally Keeler criticized the name of the Rotary Waterfront Park.

“What a weary, dreary, uninspiring name for a park,” Mr. Keeler stated in a letter presented at the Sept. 8 council meeting. “It reflects one thing — that Cobourg council is in the pocket of the local Rotary Club.”... Full Story

By contrast the Cobourg Daily Star drops the ball. On Friday morning, Sept 5, reporter Valerie MacDonald leave a voice mail: "Hello Mr Keeler, Valerie MacDonald from the Cobourg Daily Star. I'm just reading your letter that is going to our Councillors on Monday night. I just wanted your comments."

So I call her back that morning and leave a message, I do it again that afternoon, that evening, the next day and the next. Nothing. It was normal business practice for professional to have the ability to call back to their office to be in touch with incoming business, bot not in this instance.

So Monday morning, 8am, Valerie MacDonald leaves me a voice mail: "Hi, this is a message for Wally Keeler. It's Valerie McDonald calling.

I received your series of messages. I'm sorry that I missed you. I was out of the office and no I don't check over the holidays and especially when I'm up to my ears on an election call.

So, uh, just to let you know that the story I had written was for Monday's newspaper, so that's come and gone already.

I was wondering your connection with Cobourg and that's why I was calling you. I have since found out that you are a former resident. That is all I was looking for and I appreciate your calling back. Bye Bye now."

Of course, Valerie MacDonald and the Cobourg Daily Star have a competency and credibility problem. Contrary to Ms MacDonald's assertion, there was no story in Monday's paper, nor in the Tuesday paper.

In her first call she said she wanted my comments, but in her second call, all she wanted was my connection to Cobourg. This is a floundering reporter who doesn't appear to know what she is doing. Sigh!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


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Teen with rainbow hair faces 'punishment'
September 4, 2008 by Rhiannon Meyers / Galveston County Daily News
GALVESTON, Texas — Stifled by a standardized dress code, April Barton said she chose to express herself by coloring her hair pink, green, blue, purple and yellow.

April Barton, said Ball High [School] administrators told her to lose her colorful hairstyle or face punishment. Her friend, Vanessa Sliter, has dyed her hair to get rid of the fuchsia streaks.
But administrators at Ball High School in Galveston think her rainbow-striped hair is too distracting and therefore a nuisance, Barton said.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Forty years ago, it was a "terrible" thing.
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The Sentinel-Star asked the question: “What should society do about pot?”

Mrs Viola Cooke, 390 Division Street stated, “I wouldn’t know what to do. It is a terrible thing and something should be done.”

Mrs Ken Beardsley, 880 D’Arcy Street: “I don’t know the answer. It is terrible and the young people will be sorry for the harm they do to themselves and to others. I don’t know what the answer is.”

Mrs Robert Davis, 18 Spencer Street West, “It should be illegal and abolished.”

Ray Gallagher, 22 Swayne Street: “By publishing stories on it, people become aware of it. It should definitely be abolished.”

Mrs J. Downs, 437 William: “We should stop it by all means. It’s terrible, but what can we do about it? It has a good start here in our own little town and in the schools. I don’t know what should be done but I would like to do lots.”

Bob Young, 6321 Ruth Street: “It’s very bad. It has been abolished by law.”

Mrs L. S. Usher, 186 Albert Street: “I don’t know what the answer is but I’m just disgusted with it. It is dreadful when people are sick and dying and then someone who doesn’t need it deliberately takes it. It is a dreadful sin but how can we control it. I wish I had a thought on that.”

“Smart young people should have better brains. I don’t understand what prompts it. I don’t think they have enough to do. They are bored to death. If they would get interested in outdoor sports they would be different people.”

“When we were young we had to work harder for less but we were no worse off. Our money bought three times more then, than it does now.”

“Times have changed . . . “

Mrs Harvey Gordon, 651 Hayden Crescent: “We are definitely against it, however, we haven’t really given it much thought as our children are younger. I believe the control of the child and the love and understanding in the home has a great bearing on the matter. It is for escape or to be one of the crowd. It is definitely bad.”

J. J. Burns, 82 James Street West: “There’s not a lot people can do about it. It is all done on the quiet. There should be some plain clothes detectives around to investigate.”

Mrs G. Moon, 154 James Street East: I am against anything that will downgrade the young people. It is destructive but can we avoid it? Some authorities know more about it and should do something.”

Eleven Cobourg citizens had no comment. They did not wish to be involved.


The foghorn moans like a taken virgin

I'm here, sitting on a bench, facing Rochester
wondering where that old man is I saw here last year
the one with ragged pockets containing tales like lint and dust

Serpently the fog steals up the beach -- a threat between its teeth

The cacophony of kids tumbling into each other
bounce off blue-bell waves into trees
like a happy plague of bees

. . . . Hey Bobby: Bobby!

. . . . Mom! Mom! Billy just...

. . . . Mom! Mom!
. . . . Look at me mom!
. . . . MOM!! LOOK!!

The fog was as harmless as Sandburg made it
I should have remembered

From the waterworks to the coal-coated piers,
like beads on a necklace, lovers stroll the shoreline
murmuring private psalms,
eyes happy as laughter from children on swings

The foghorn moans like a taken virgin

Then there are the hippies, stoned, scattered
like autumn leaves on the green-wave hills.

The wind is perched
waiting in the trees
to ambush unaware children

The lighthouse
a messiah draped in a toga of white-washed metal
stands gathering waves around its concrete knees
The gulls are parables

Along the shore waves curl around splinters of sun
casting them before the feet of passing lovers

The foghorn moans like a taken virgin

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


It was July, 1960; Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins had just released ‘Summertime’ on the same day the Woolsworth counter in Greensboro, North Carolina became the site of a sit-in that sparked the civil rights movement in the USA. The Sixties were on. Meanwhile, on a quiet summer day, the Peterborough Examiner, on their dedicated Lakeshore News page, carried a human interest story about some good ole Cobourg boys.
Way back then, long before men walked on the moon, the concept of re-cycling meant getting back up on your bike after an elbow-bleeding spill. Environmentalism was an undeveloped theology. The motive was money, tax-free income. Everyone understood the rules.

So let’s do some math. The boys earned $8.80. Returning an empty pop bottle netted $0.02 each. That comes to 440 empty bottles. That works out to 110 bottles per boy. That meant 110 bottles per bike -- no indication of a wagon being pulled. Quite a feat with only paper bags. I’ll wager you’re beginning to suspect something.

I know some of you pre-pensioners are thinking to yourselves; well, what about the nickel-worth jumbo bottles? In terms of bulk these bottles would replace two of the regular size. The nickelers were less likely than regular bottles to survive the toss from a moving car. The nickelers fail to undermine the story.

How many bottles would fit in a large grocery bag? 10? 15?. Hmmmm. That would be several bags per bike. Would all those paper bags fit on a bike, even if the bike has a newspaper-sized jumbo front basket? Can’t hang paper bags from the handle bars. So how was this feat accomplished? Are you beginning to smell, as N.A.S.A. puts it, the post-nutritive disposal substance?

The reporter failed to dig deeply, and ran with the story. I was just a kid, more like The Beaver than Eddie Haskel. The story had intrinsic uplift. Four good boys use their energies to clean up drive-by trash to make money. That is a sunshine moment, and the men and women of our good community should be aware of what our lads are doing. Perhaps other boys looking for fast cash, will cover the Baltimore to Cobourg route, or the Grafton to Cobourg route. The power of suggestion and fine example.

The following day, the other three boys were telling me about their parental interrogations, mostly pertaining around the issues of “What did you do with the money?” “Why didn’t you tell us?” “I didn’t know you would do a fool thing as to go to Port Hope and back, all on a dangerous stretch of highway. You coulda got yourself killed.

Yep, I did a lotta splainin' that day. I did quite well, I thought to myself, for my first fiction performance. So, this is my coming out. 48 years later. I dread telling this now to the local news media; mostly because of the poetential for hammy headlines: LOCAL POET FESSES TO FICTION. I recall the exhilaration when I saw my lies published in rock solid print.

The first and foremost Law of Lies is: Remember Everything! No problem, here is the newspaper clipping attesting to all the details of the incident – exhibit #123. It’s quite the peculiar power that media have, to turn fiction to fact by mere publication. Their worthy credibility fuelled the power of authentification.

And there I was, starting off my uber-career as a media liar at the very time I entered the world as a full-blown hormone under restraining orders set down by the theological totalitarianism of the day. Elvis made a public spectacle of displaying his hormones, so the trickle down theory only served to agitate an already raging storm, and the screaming response of girls was well-noted. How do you tell your parents that it’s like holding back a herd of wild stallions with harness made of dental floss?

So, just to make a turbulent situation worse, I plunge into white water rapids – I meet a girl on my Peterborough Examiner paper delivery route. I was Norman Rockwelled. I was skinny-girled. I had just turned 13; she was a whole year older. She was just as my mother described her -- "a sweet young thing".

She was the first house on my paper route, and every day she opened the door in full bloom, pollen clutter and all. It took an hour to deliver that one newspaper, delivery done when dad called her to dinner, then I went on to late-delivery everyone on my route. I only noticed that I was riding on the softest tires of silk, wondering when it would be okay to ask her over to my place to see my model car collection -- and what girl wouldn‘t want to see that?

A few weeks later I was called to carpet by the newspaper boss. Irate subscribers were complaining about late delivery. It was ‘suggested’ that I do my delivery route in reverse, and make the house of the girl the last visited. I kept to this for a few weeks.

The courtship continued. It’s difficult to be a hero when one is not qualified. So when Monday’s delivery brought me to her doorstep, she asks, “So what did you do on your weekend?” It was easy to answer that toss-away. Fiction. “Oh me and the boys biked to Port Hope and back collecting bottles and made a lot of loot. Want some licorice?”

I could see the story dazzled her. Not only was I brave for going the distance on a dangerous stretch of highway, but demonstrated the get-er-done gumption to bring his sweetheart a bouquet of licorice sticks. Of course girls know that boys lie. And I know this also. I’m a boy. I lie. Girls collaborate with enticements. Girls are the enticing on the cake.

The next day I tell my story at the Peterborough Examiner office. Yep, they responded well to it. The next day, a reporter asks me some questions about the story. I give him details, pulled $8.80 right out of a hat. And with that, fiction became fact, and the next day I brought it to my girl as substantiation of my lie.

I quickly learned that the employment opportunities for liars is quite restricted. Free lance liars seem to have unpleasant visitations once in a while. Men lie to women, but sometimes this has the unfortunate consequence of acquiring a sentence to marriage, followed with perpetual parole conditions.

But under cover of poet, I could lie through my dentures to my heart’s content. One did not need a certificate in advanced bs to be a poet. Besides, I got the goil. So lying to the news media had a lifetime effect on me. I saw that there was a future in this for me.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Below is the acknowledgement that my letter has been placed on the agenda for Cobourg Council's meeting for September 8. The Cobourg Daily Star today published my letter-to-the-letter, [Susanna Moodie: a role model for both genders] which addressed the misandry of the feminist community. Interestingly and perhaps significantly, the female editors that rule the roost there deleted my reference to the published remarks of Marc Lepine's mother, Monique, who commented on her daughter's suicide, "Nadia, who died of a drug overdose in 1996 at the age of 29 ... was continuously exposed to classroom discussions about the Polytechnique massacre. She witnessed all these things that were being said about her brother."

From: Lorraine Brace
Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 10:53 AM
To: Wally Keeler
Subject: Re: Letter to Town Council

Dear Wally Keeler:
Your correspondence is received and will be included in the Council agenda for the September 8th Meeting as requested.

Lorraine V. Brace
Municipal Clerk / Manager of Legislative Services
Town of Cobourg
55 King Street West
Cobourg, ON K9A 2M2
T. (905) 372-4301 ext. 4401
F. (905) 372-7421
C. (905) 373-5751

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Susanna Moodie Park; letter to Cobourg Town Council

August 25, 2008
Cobourg Town Council;

Rotary Waterfront Park. A satirist would rename it Rotary Affront Park, because that is the appropoetic name.

The people of Cobourg deserve a name that is distinctive, unique, something that differentiates Cobourg from anywhere else on the map of Canada. Rotary Waterfront Park is the opposite. It is a dreary dollar-a-dozen name, indicating that this Council dances to the tune of sponsors instead of independently serving ALL citizens.

Check it out:
There is a Midland Rotary Waterfront Trail
There is a Cobourg Rotary Waterfront Park
There is a Yellowknife Rotary Waterfront Park.
There is a Prince Rupert Rotary Waterfront Park
There is a Halton County Rotary Waterfront Pond
There is a Penetanguishene Rotary Waterfront Park

Rotary Waterfront,
Rotary Waterfront,
Rotary Waterfront,
repeat after me,
Rotary Wastefront.

What a weary dreary uninspiring name for a park.
It reflects one thing that Cobourg Council is in the pocket of the local Rotary Club.

I would recommend Susanna Moodie Park. Who? I can't imagine a town councilor who hadn't read Moodie's Roughing It in the Bush. It describes the story of Moodie, an anti-slavery English immigrant who arrived in Cobourg in the early 1800's and built a home on the outskirts of Cobourg. Publishers in New York City and London published her children's books, poetry books, story books. This is a woman of accomplishment, who left a relatively gentile life in England, to immigrate to Canada to start a life in the toughest, rawest manner. She is an immigrant every Canadian could point to with pride.

What a pity that the soft butts on this council, who likely hear bigoted complaints of recent immigrants swarming Cobourg parks, moaning the blues that these immigrants have it easy, don't work to integrate, etc, etc. With Susanna Moodie, this town council has the perfect example of an exemplary immigrant, yet it is my guess, that councilors are abysmally ignorant of this fine woman. The ignorance of councilors is understandable, because nothing was taught about her in any of the Cobourg schools when I attended. What a pathetic pity!

One of Canada,s most accomplished authors, Margaret Atwood, established her lit-cred with a collection of poetry, entitled The Journals of Susanna Moodie.

There is a statue of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in New Brunswick, a statue of Robbie Burns in Allan Gardens and a statue of a Ukrainian poet in High Park in Toronto, a statue of Ukrainian poet, Taras Shevchenko in Oakville, a statue of Shakespeare in Stratford, a statue of G.B.Shaw in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and a statue of Leo Tolstoy in B.C. erected by Doukhobors. Only this year a Canadian poet was honoured with a statue in Queen's Park -- Al Purdy. That is a first.

Canada has been much enriched by multiculturalism. Pity that Canadians care so little about their own culture, that they overwhelmingly prefer the celebration of foreign authors, instead of their own. What is the cause of this continuing contempt for Canadian culture that Cobourg cannot bring itself to honour such an accomplished woman as Moodie. Is there so much contempt for our own local culture that we cannot bring ourselves to even name a patch of land in her honour?

Although I can make a much more eloquent and detailed case for naming the park after Susanna Moodie, the naming should be left to the people of Cobourg. If this council does not have the democratic spine to sponsor a name-the-park tendering, then perhaps the Rotary Club might be willing to cease and desist with their self-aggrandizing branding of the public domain like a fast-food outlet and instead, encourage the imaginations of Cobourg by sponsoring a name-the-park poll.

Think it over.