On Writing Poetry

I began writing poetry when I was barely in my teens. I used it mostly for therapeutic purposes, to vent and also to explore the new emotions that come with puberty. I had some of it published in anthologies put out by one of the colleges at the University of Toronto. The anthologies were all called Scarborough Fair, but there were several editions, all numbered. I really put the poetry aside for several years while I adjusted to the stresses of my career. However, when my father died, the urge to write came back, and while I am sorry he isn’t here to see my book, it was good to be writing again. Mostly I showed my poems to friends and family. I did try publishing through a Globe and Mail competition and had a second attempt published after Pierre Trudeau died–he was the subject. Since then I have begun to wish I had tried publishing, and at last Under the Oak began to take shape. It actually began with an experiment using Facebook. I put poems up and waited to see how they were received. To my surprise, they were reasonably well received, and I have a core group of people who read me there still. Some of them are in Under the Oak. Other content was made up of poems my wife liked. She’s been a huge help in that way. So Under the Oak is kind of a compendium of things I wrote and made public and others which I wrote but kept ‘private’ until we put the book together. I hope to have another book ready by the spring, so stay tuned!