-- the telling of story -- has always been a strong driver of my work.
Combined with that is an intense evocation of landscape," Betsy
Struthers says when describing her poetry. "A lake in the summer
but also urban and foreign settings, places I've travelled and lived
in. I am an imagist poet, using landscape -- real things in the world
-- to reflect on experience both erotic and political, personal and
universal. I mostly write in free verse but I also find formal structure
On Thursday, November 19, Ms. Struthers will be the Guest Poet at the
Cobourg Poetry Workshop's 3rd Thursday series at "Meet at 66 King
East." Doors open at 7 p.m. and the readings start at 7:30 p.m.
Also reading poetry on November 19 will be 2 local poets, Grahame
Woods and Marta Cooper Burt. "I love the atmosphere
of Meet At 66 King East. It's a safe place to read and I'll be in the
company of two fine poets, so it'll be a challenge," observes Mr.
Woods. "Most of all, it's the audience. It's encouraging and supportive
and reading there is very different from reading at the members-only
gatherings of the CPW. I think we raise our game quite a bit in that
environment, always aware that writing it is one thing; reading it to
an audience is another challenge."
Ms. Cooper Burt puts it more succinctly, "I am excited and a little
"Widely in print and well-respected in Canadian poetry circles,
Ms.Struthers gives this overview, "I've published eight books of
poetry and three murder mystery novels. My first book of poems -- Censored
Letters, 1984 -- was a narrative series of poems set in World War
I. 'Still,' which won the 2004 Pat Lowther Memorial Award for the best
book of poetry by a Canadian woman, again has a strong narrative arc.
In my book In Her Fifites, I combine poetic stories about childhood
in the 1950s with more traditional poems about what life is like when
one is in the sandwich generation between aging parents and growing
children. Now I am working on a series of prose poems / very short fictions
called Relay as well as another series of poems about family."
Ms. Struthers is also a past president of the League of Canadian Poets.
Her books have appeared under the imprint of Wolsak & Wynn and Black
Moss, some our country's most impressive literary presses. Betsy currently
makes her home in Peterborough, Ontario.
Other local poets, who have been at it longer, often comment that they
are envious of Mr. Woods' progress over a relatively short period. He
is humble about that, "That's very encouraging. The thing is, I
started writing poetry late in life so I have to make up for lost time.
I also had to find out for myself if I had it in me."
"There's a great risk, in all forms of writing, of deluding oneself
that what you have on paper, on the screen, is better than it really
is," Grahame says, reflecting further. "Writing poetry calls
for a great deal of self-examination and honesty"
Ms. Cooper Burt explains, "In the 90s, I wrote poetry about sexuality,
gender, relationships gone wrong and sexual abuse. Then writer's block
kept me silent for almost a decade."
"Now I'm finding the voice of Marta-the-35-year-old," she
continues. "Motherhood is emerging as a theme. Marriage is another.
I'm more tentative about writing about marriage, though. A stay-at-home
mother of a three-year-old is in the thick of her parenting journey,
whereas a wife in a five-year-old marriage has barely walked around