Posts Tagged "poetry"

Father’s Day

Posted by on Jun 15, 2014 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Father’s Day

My Dad, Allan Cooper, reading poetry at the Universit√© deMoncton library. “Everyone knows Allan Cooper.” That was how my father was introduced on Thursday, April 24th, when going up to read his poetry at a Frye Festival event here in Moncton. Something about that moment filled me with such immense pride that, I couldn’t help but beam and clap loudly as he went to the front to read. Those few words summed up my childhood with Allan Cooper pretty well. If I went anywhere with Dad, you could be sure that we were going to run into at least one person he knew, and he’d have a chat with them. It was, and still is, an inevitability. He’d even spend a few minutes catching up with the woman working the counter at the post office if he was just popping in to get the mail. Anywhere I went with Dad would end in a slightly longer trip than expected.  Sometimes, though, it wouldn’t be because we ran into people, but because we went on an impromptu adventure. He’d tell me stories about when he was a kid and his father–my grandfather John Cooper, who I sadly never met–would take him on adventures. They’d get to the bottom of a street, and Grampie John would ask Dad “left or right, boy?”. Dad continued this tradition on with me, and we still do this sometimes on my days off. My Dad loves to golf, too, and often spends a sunny day in the summer time on the greens of Fundy. My Dad is a social animal, but he is also well known for his talents. He’s is a poet–that’s his full-time job. He’s written 14 books and won literary awards. As previously mentioned, he’s read at the Frye Festival, on numerous occasions. In addition to being a poet, he’s also a musician. He started out with a blues trio and went on to do his own solo projects. He’s been nominated for Music NB awards and has played showcases for both Music NB and the East Coast Music Awards. Dad wanted to be a poet since he was a young man, and the fact that he’s been able to follow his dreams his whole life has been an immense inspiration to me. Me and Dad a few years ago, heading out to see the bandMother Mother in concert together. Dad also was the one in charge of cooking, most of the time. Being a poet, he would stay at home while Mom went to work. Most of the time, she was working as an English professor, but early on she did some freelancing. Dad would stay home to do the cooking and the cleaning while I was at school, and I would often come home and plop myself in front of my Nintendo 64 while he worked on one of his delicious suppers. I attribute my cooking ability today to Dad’s influence. Being an artist himself, Dad always has encouraged me to pursue my own dreams of becoming a writer. He has helped me edit and proofread my own poetry and helped me find my voice, in addition to all the guidance he gave me growing up. Now, spending time with my dad isn’t just like hanging out with a family member–he’s a good friend. We still spend a lot of time going for hikes together, which we did when I was in high school–this, and his influence, helped me have an appreciation for the woods and nature. We used to go on the back of the hill and pick blueberries to make pies together. We’ve played many, many hours of Mario Golf and Mario Kart together. Besides the serious side he displays while reading poetry and playing music, many friends and family members can account for his silliness and fun-loving attitude. One of my favourite early memories of Dad was when I was very young–probably only 2 or 3. Dad had a big garden in our lower lot in Riverview. He grew big, beautiful tomatoes, and one day had picked...

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Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference

Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

I mentioned in an earlier post that this was going to be a year of opportunities for me. This past weekend, I had an opportunity to represent Universit√© de Moncton, along with three of my fellow English department students, in the Atlantic Annual Undergraduate English Conference that was held at Dalhousie University in Halifax. On Friday night, we listened to Lynn Coady deliver a keynote address, approaching the topic of being unafraid to write despite having people against you. The next day opened the floor to the students from the Atlantic region, and I had the privilege to hear interesting papers about everything from mental illness through aerial dance, to comparisons of Monty Python’s Life of Brian to the Second Shepherd’s Play. Creative panels displayed the talents of students, who wrote about family war-time stories and read aloud their diverse and thought-provoking poetry. On Saturday afternoon, I had the opportunity to read my own poetry in front of the crowd. Interestingly, that same day was my father’s birthday. Allan Cooper is a poet, and because of him, I’ve been exposed to poetry my whole life. I have never read a selection of poems in front of others; I’ve always been reading just one or two. It seemed fitting that, on his birthday, I take the opportunity to read fully for the first time. This weekend, it hit me just how much I miss being an English student. I’m still an English major, but I finished my required courses ages ago and am just ticking off all my necessary, required courses, now. I especially miss writing critical papers–analyzing works of literature, or articles, and trying to find the mysteries in each. I think I might do a few on here–for fun–over the next little while. Why not? I have a few ideas in mind already. Attending and reading at this conference was a fantastic experience, and I highly recommend it to any Atlantic Canadian English student. Submit you paper or creative works next year, and take pride in your...

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A reading

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Life in Writing | 1 comment

A reading

A few weeks back, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing a group of people that I knew from all walks of life read before an audience. There were five people in total: one is the head of the Writer’s Federation I’m a member of, one was my professor, one a customer, one a co-worker, and one is my father. Seeing these five people, all of whom have affected my life in different ways, work together so flawlessly was inspiring. The five of them had been meeting together to discuss poetry and draw inspiration from one another. What came from these meetings was beautiful poetry–some of which was read that evening. Cafe Aberdeen was filled with people, some of whom knew these poets, as well. It was very well-attended, and the cafe workers actually had to bring in more chairs to accommodate people. While the poets read, the audience, rapt and attentive, said nothing. The magic of poetry hung heavy in the air like snow on a branch. No one dared speak out of turn to break the spell. It was an inspiring night, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who left with an unfinished poem in my head. In fact, I saw a woman scrawling notes down during the reading, probably for later use. In honor of that evening, I wrote this one unfinished and unedited poem. It’s aptly named, I think; I call it “At a Poetry Reading”. Perchedlike a cat watching a birdon the edge of the stoolyou listen and watchattentivelyheld in balancesuspendedabsorbing every wordand never losing focusor waveringfrom the person who reads before you. When the poems are doneyou do not clapbut continue staring aheadin the pose you assumethat looks so uncomfortable to mebut you hold so effortlesslyit must be a second natureto you. Do you refrain from clappingbecause you didn’t enjoy it?Or ratherwere the words so powerfulthey shocked you into stillnessand led you to believethat no soundof appreciationcould really do them justice? Do youlike so many others in this roomhave your own wayof keeping the silent magic? This winter has been a bit strange for me, and finding inspiration for writing has been scarce. This reading was like a shining beacon in the (literal) storm that has been the past two months.  When I say literal storm, I mean that my house is currently sitting under a good six feet of snow! I’m not kidding!  I have a week of vacation next week, so there may be more blog posts forthcoming. In the meantime, I’m still regularly updating thisindiegameblog, as winter is a perfect time of year to sit inside and play...

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End of an Era

Posted by on Sep 29, 2012 in Life in Writing | 1 comment

End of an Era

I like to go walking–sometimes for hours at a time. It takes a bit longer than jogging but there’s something about it that makes me prefer it. Perhaps it’s the little details I catch along the way, or the opportunity to stop and smell the roses. I’ve never been much for moving fast. I always took the moral of the Tortoise and the Hare to heart: slow and steady wins the race. So, I give myself a bit of extra time and I walk, leisurely. Normally, I walk to work, but in the summer time, all I do is walk around and explore my surroundings. Walks become more difficult in autumn and winter, when the days are shorter, but I usually get one or two in on my days off. I don’t like to walk after dark quite as much, mostly because it’s harder to see your surroundings and pick out those neat little details that you could see more easily in the daytime. Occasionally, though, something special will happen during a nighttime walk. One time, I saw a friendly cat with a scratchy voice, running toward me on only three legs. She let me pat her for a moment, but then I heard a door across the road open, and a woman calling softly to her. I don’t remember the name, but it was a cute, feminine name, like Amelia, or Annabelle. The cat went running back across the street and I thought to myself that she was probably well-loved and well-taken care of. While on my walks, I have a number of notebooks that I keep close at hand in case of sudden, inexplicable inspiration. This happens fairly often. One of these books is a little brown Moleskine that I use to write poetry. It’s a bit faded now, but it features a design that I put on to decorate it. Inside is poetry that I’ve been writing since 2010. My father gave it to me one day when we were on a little excursion together in Sackville. He bought a little three-pack and handed one to me for use on my travels, and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s an interesting assortment of poems, because they were written during various periods of self-evolution. One of them, for example, was inspired by how excited I was to try and find a new job. One was written when I really didn’t want to go to work. I wrote one while visiting a graveyard in the town of Charlbury, England, based on the idea of walking with the dead. I have a page dedicated to haiku. All of these poems I can look back on and associate with a time in my life. I will, now, share with you the final poem I wrote in this little book. I wrote it yesterday, pausing on my walk to work. It needs editing, but perhaps publishing this unfinished version of it will force me to finish it! It is currently without a title. Head filled with numbers–Crammed full of stupid little things that, years from now,Will not matter to meNor, really, to anyone.How is it that we humans are able to fill the blanks in our livesWith such useless informationThat we end up becoming defined by it?Our society corrupt,Driven by cars spewing pollution of one kindAnd the media spewing pollution of a whole different kind.How can I write poetryWhen I’m too busy worrying aboutToday’s sales, orWhat hairstyle to wear tomorrow, orWhat to think of the woman who walked by alone, having an animated discussion with herself? How can I focus on someone else’s personality, their mind,And the creative jewel withinWhen I can’t stop thinking about how stupid she looks in that outfit?Society has trained us all to be mindless and shallow.The defining moment comes when we are able to break free of those restrictions.– Sept 28, 2012 I wouldn’t call it a positive poem by any stretch, but more of a “catching myself in the act” poem. Have you ever caught yourself thinking something about a certain topic that, under...

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Goodbye to an old friend.

Posted by on Oct 25, 2011 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Goodbye to an old friend.

Losing family isn’t easy. It doesn’t matter what relation they are to you: if they are gone, they leave behind a hole in your heart that can never really be filled up again. Not all family members are blood family. In fact, not all of them are even human. Yesterday, we lost a very dear family member: our cat, Jake (short for Jaqueline), who had been with us for fifteen years. She was old, and her heart couldn’t take the strain anymore. There was nothing we could do and she wasn’t in pain, she was just weak. So, Mom and Dad brought her home for the last time. She died very quietly and peacefully yesterday morning, to the sound of water from the open window. We buried her later that day in Alma, near a spot by our house where she used to go mousing. She was an indoor-outdoor cat, and she loved to hunt. She also loved us. Jake was very much a people cat. Her best friend was my father, whose nose she would bat with her paw in the morning to wake him up. She would follow him everywhere like a loyal dog and would scold him if he left for too long. She had a very big personality and was vocal; Jake’s thoughts were never a question, and she certainly didn’t need any words to let her opinions be heard. I’ll never forget the last night I saw her. It was just the other night, in fact, after they had brought her home from the vet. She was so weak, and she couldn’t move more than a few steps without getting tired. I approached her and saw her lying in her basket, staring off in the distance. When she heard my footfalls, her head popped out of the basket to meet my eyes. She greeted me with one of her classic meows, as if to say “You’re here! You came! I’m so glad to see you!”, and she didn’t sound hoarse at all, even though she was so weak. She didn’t give any hint to how tired she was with those meows. They sounded reminiscent to the older days, when I would come home from school or work or university, and she would greet me the same way. I patted her and she gave the same happy purrs she would when she was healthy. I’ll miss the sound of her purring. It was how I could tell which cat had just jumped on the foot of my bed when it was dark. Her brother, Mira, didn’t have quite as distinct a purr as Jake’s. Mira left us many years ago, a very sick cat. Jake was healthy up until about a month ago, when her heart started to fail her. She was responsive until the end, though, and her eyes would dart about wide and alert the whole time, as if she didn’t want to miss a moment of it. Jake wasn’t just family, she was a friend. She always knew me, even when I left for many months for university, and always greeted me the same way when she saw me: the same as when she saw me the other night. Some people would think it strange to mourn the loss of a pet so strongly, but I don’t believe that. You don’t need words to build a lasting bond. You don’t need to speak the same language to miss the sound of someone’s voice, or to be understood. In fact, sometimes the lack of language makes the communication that much stronger. It eliminates the need for words altogether. Sometimes it can make the bond that much deeper. So, thank you, Jake. Thank you for being a friend. Thank you for always being so vocal. And thank you, especially, for holding on until we could see you at the very end, and purring the whole time. Thank you for that one last fond memory I have and will never forget. To finish, I’m going to add in a poem that my father, Allan Cooper,...

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