The Guest Poetry Blog Series #2 – Introducing the Second Contributor, Canadian Poet (Among Many Other Varied Life Roles!) Daniel Scott– Part One of Two

Victoria-based poet Daniel Scott at Lake Bolsena, Lazio, Italy, May 2022

Please allow me to introduce myself” sang the Rolling Stones a long time ago. And so here is some background on me: Daniel Scott. I am husband ( married to Christine) father, grandfather and twice retired – once as an academic and the second time after a stint of 6 years as Artistic Director of the Planet Earth Poetry reading series in Victoria.

I have been writing poetry for decades and can honestly say it has saved my life more than once. The first time, in my early thirties, I had a bad case of glandular fever (mononucleosis) and was overwhelmed with repetitive dreams. When I was down to ten hours a day sleeping (from eighteen plus hours) I bought a little notebook and started to write. Out came poetry in a steady stream – as many as six poems a day. What a relief to get so much from inside out on the page. I have been writing on a regular basis since then.

The second time poetry saved my life was when one of our children faced serious psychiatric challenges in Europe and I wrote myself through the journey initially and then over the years. Here is one of those poems:

finding him

the clack of my shoes hollow
echo my heartbeat
ice slush ice slush
unsteady on sore feet
i might fall
there would be two of us
in hospitals
miles of cobblestones between us

all the dark
my face February cold

the drub drub drub of the barge
carving the canal
the alarm on the bridge
a gate falling
the bridge rises

i have to buzz to get in
hear the lock click open
click closed
another door a button to push
a face behind the wired glass
another click
behind me now

one more door
keys and i am in
he’s there dishevelled
i hold him
smell his sweat
a scuff of medication odour
bites my nose
i can hear my pulse
racing

Daniel Scott from from Random Excess, Ekstasis Editions, 2018.

I have published six full-length poetry collections, the latest, Travels with Athóma, through Aeolus House, Toronto, just released; four chapbooks, and was an editor of the 2020  poetry anthology, Voicing Suicide. Other poems have been included in chapbook anthologies, journals and online.

As an academic I used poetry in a number of my academic publications while at the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. My primary area of research was children and adolescent spirituality with an interest in personal narratives as a way to understand experience.

Prior to a midlife return to school I have had an eclectic working life having been an actor, a theatre artist-in-residence, a carpenter’s assistant, sold wood stoves and solar panels, did a little over a decade working as a youth and family life program officer for the Anglican Church as well as some radio and print journalism. I have had several plays produced and won a one act play competition in New Brunswick in 1984.

And one more poem, this one more playful in tone and content:

a scone of time

i don’t know how all those days got rolled up into dough that blos-
somed in my kitchen baked in a brick oven blue flame hissing, weeks
swelling like bread and i don’t know if the days are ones from the past fin-
ished and milled to dust or if they are from the future caught out of time to sit
on the cooling rack golden brown speckled with cranberry blood drops,
and orange rind ground off the sun beside a cookbook that lies open to Mrs.
McKim’s Buttermilk Biscuits, next to a few shreds of a calendar, the
inner workings of a wall clock scattered around a stainless mixing
bowl, spoons, spatulas and a diary with all its pages missing but the
lock intact.

Daniel Scott from Aftertime, Ekstasis Editions, 2019

 

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