pesbo since 2005.

Pearl Pirie’s book lists, interviews, event write-ups, poems and more.

Loved Then: Loved Now: Last at Bat

Last at Bat

I remembered the right thing
then I didn’t do it
because I was hungry or lazy
my selfish self sucked in the day
as though I owned it
as though the sun rose for me alone

next door the dog lounged on the porch
licked his own balls
just because he could

two doors away
the mailman approached

from Low Centre of Gravity by Michael Dennis (Anvil Press, 2020)

Some poems bear rereading. It’s a perilous balance, self-blame and accepting human nature and being caught in its molasses.

Michael had a way of saying the complex plainly and comically.


My books read tends to go up by title on twitter while #TodaysPoem tends to go up at Instagram.

Annually, since 2012, I have shared the metrics of what I consumed. I track by nation, age, genre, gender, queerness, colour, format, source and rating.

Data gradually got more granular over the years.

In 2012, I read 65 titles, 94% white, 72% poetry. Top favs were: Charlotte Perriand: A Life of Creation, Rain; road; an open boat (M&S, 2012) by Roo Borson, The Obvious Flap by Gary Barwin and Gregory Betts (Book*hug, 2011), The Hard Return (Insomniac, 2012) by Marcus McCann and In the Orchard, the Swallows by Peter Hobbs (Anansi, 2012).

I noticed I tended to read 10% more books by men and rate them higher. I was particularly weak in Indigenous reads.

I tended run between 10 and 40% of reads being Canadian, with about 3/4 being older than a decade.

All that was holding firm and consistent for 4 years over 700 books. Colonial bias sub-program successfully internalized. I pressed myself more to choose against default type.

In 2017 I read more Canadian than not, and more female than male, often going to a library or bookstore, and realizing I picked all males, mostly white, so went back to the shelves. My proportion of new reads increased. A third were then by BIPOC authors.

Top reads in 2019 included, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 years by Sarah L Delany and Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth (Dell book, 1993), The accidental chef: a memoir by Caroline Ishii (2016), Love lives here: a story of thriving in a transgender family by Amanda Jetté Knox (Viking, 2019), The Kennedy Moment by Peter Adamson (Myriad Editions, 2018), Binti: The Complete Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor (DAW, 2019), The Allspice Bath by Sonia Saikaley (Inanna, 2019), No one can pronounce my name by Rakesh Satyal (Picador, 2017), Fish in a Tree: a novel by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (Penguin, 2015), Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson (alfred k knoff, 2017), Journey of a Thousand Steps by Madona Skaff-Koren (Renaissance Press, 2015).

I’m not looking for a cookie. I’m looking for self-awareness of what the default white supremacy does to the world-building that is daily life. We have to challenge defaults with what we feed ourselves. Whole worlds are otherwise invisible.

In 2020 I realized my top source for books was Amazon. Being housebound with concussion at the time near a community with no bookstore didn’t bolster my rates. Correcting course, when I found a book I liked from title, description and Amazon sample, I ordered directly from the publisher or my indie. If I were not attending to that, and tracking it, I wouldn’t have noticed.

Chapbooks were up to 1/5 of titles. So was haiku, not the same 20%. Poetry was disproportional so I tried to select more non-fiction and novels.

What will 2022 show? Numbers will soon be in. Clear is that I’ve read more this year than any given year of my life, by number of titles or by page count.

Loved then, Loved now: My Neighbour

My Neighbour 

the cops were here
took George’s five kids away
I saw George in the window
waving goodbye to his children 

his 400-pound frame
looked like rain 

it’s quiet and dark
there now
and sometimes
I can hear George weeping 

by David Groulx p. 22,  A Difficult Beauty (Wolsak And Wynn, 2011) 

It doesn’t matter how many times I read this poem, I feel it. The slant rhymes, the eh, eh, eh going through the poem like muffled cries themselves. The helpless sense of being witnesses to each other and at the same time unable to do anything but bear witness.