Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

I like people. When I meet them, I say “Good to meet you,” because my view is that it’s good to meet them, until they prove otherwise. I even like dogs. I never had one until I was forty, and while I initially found a puppy exasperating at times, now I shower him with affection, […]


The publication of Pride and Prejudice is 200 this year, but another widely admired author isn’t too far behind: Charlotte Bronte will have a 200th birthday in 2016. I’ve long admired Jane Eyre for having the kind of clarity and potency of storytelling that allows her to begin a chapter with four simple words: “Reader, […]


Originally published on Bookninja, and in different editions of Reader’s Choice (Pearson Education Canada). There are two types of graffiti: one rambling, obscure, and sometimes offensive, the other more tangible, more political and accessible. Whatever negative associations people sometimes have of graffiti and whatever steps are taken against it are usually the result of a […]


Dear America: you’ve made some of the best films I’ve ever seen, and produced some great writers. With such heart-wrenchingly good stuff out there, I’m finding it odd one of your country’s major political parties doesn’t recognize social justice when it’s staring them in the face. Republican responses to health care reform in the States […]


Warehouse

01Apr10

Originally published in the Globe and Mail, 1999. The spring that I graduated from university I was handed a diploma, crossed the stage and stood there, stunned.  I’d been working toward that day for so long without really thinking beyond it that its arrival felt like the air after a precipice.  A heartbeat later I’m […]


Revised since publication in The Danforth Review, 2002. Ezra Pound called poetry “the most concentrated form of verbal expression.”  William Stafford noted that “we must have ready proof in the lines that the author is worthy company.”  Randall Jarrell (who approved of some poets because reading them meant “one long shudder of recognition”) wrote “a […]


Ten days in Paris were something of an awakening, recently. I wanted to take a photo every minute until I was more used to the atmosphere of the city, and I finally recognized why — Paris is a city that feels like it’s there for people, not the other way around. You can stand almost […]