Welcome to this cyberplace, set up as a space for news and reviews of A Gentleman of Pleasure and occasional jottings about John Glassco. Five years have now passed since publication, and I've moved on to other projects, but I'm leaving this up with the thought that those drawn to Glassco's writing will find something of interest.

07 February 2011

'Glassco In Quebec' - Todd Swift

It's an honur to present the debut of this new verse by Todd Swift, poet, critic, lecturer and the man behind the invaluable Eyewear. His most recent book, Modern Canadian Poets (Carcenet, 2010), co-edited with Evan Jones, features two poems and three translations by Glassco.

Glassco In Quebec (Huysmans In France, Brummell In England)

A pastoral, obscure dandy
Observes the barns decay
As if an aging roué
With the ladies of his parish.

The wood is blond skin, Sapphic,
The fields of hay grand streets,
The locals in their carts
To market, jaunty toffs

Bowing to all the prettiness
Their rutted courting meets;
The rows of tools, sparkling scythes
Are canes made of the finest stuff;

The farm’s sunburnt dust motes
Setting off the nose like good snuff;
The daughters to their waist in grain
Are dancers for a grinning queen

Who demands they begin again.
These provincial details
He disciplined with classical romance,
A young buck from Paris back

From hanging out that took
Half his chest away.
Rich slow sanatoriums
Bought with ancestral bonds, language

Wilder than childhood’s golden pear trees
Allowed notebooks to accrue;
A growing account; and a lung’s
Complicated tug – coughing up

Green that desire brings.
Style kept him sane.
Style exposed his lack –
His luck to beach south of Montreal

In pairs of three, even so
Acquiring like a servant or opinion
A quaint normalcy that ran
Seasonal as farming, as

Eternally tough, basic.
Released from artifice,
Whipped into being finally natural,
Or, it may be, infamous, a bit rough.

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