War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele


I’ll be AWOL off and on for the next few months… currently, I’m preparing a course … I lie awake every night with course anxiety because the topic is very, very rusty for me… (what WAS I THINKING???)

I’ll be away on ex. with the battalion, brigade and battle group in the near future, as well as giving talks on being a war poet… I’ll be addressing a high school social justice group as part of a poetry festival and am very excited about this… I can’t wait to hear what their idea of this gig should be… I anticipate a lively discussion

my plan is to take the group through the process of writing August Widow, step by step, and I’m very interested in learning what they get out of it…

so many thoughts on writing, on what I am doing with this work… so many things to explain (or not to explain)… always aware that this will appeal or not appeal to some… I keep remembering an early comment on how annoying my casual punctuation etc. is, and I debate from time-to-time on cleaning up my grammar, punctuation etc. and ultimately decide against… this work is written spontaneously… I want it to be impermanent, informal (maybe annoyingly, and if so sorry, but that’s the way it is)… just as this war is impermanent, just as this tenure is impermanent

I try very hard not to take a political view, not to judge our involvement in the war… this annoys some very much, but as I continually say, some will like my work, others will hate it… I read the papers, I listen to analysts, I listen to opinions (and oh my God, are opinions ever heaped upon me,) but still I try not to make judgements… perhaps this is wrong, I don’t know, it’s just the way I am choosing to approach this… I am trying to understand the soldier’s life, the modern Canadian soldier’s life, as she/he prepares for war, deploys to war… what does it mean to be a Canadian soldier at this time in our nation’s history?

ultimately, all of this yearlong War Poet website project is a sharpening of my pen for the real writing which will begin once I’m home from Afghanistan… I’ll probably write for years after I return… who knows

1 Comment (Closed)

Alex VanderWoude

It seems to me that judging is just what people do. One of the things that distinguishes us from animals, you could say. And there is good reason for this: it enables us to fit things into our mental frameworks and keep going without wasting too much effort. If the antelopes had a big philosophical discussion about whether or not the lion running toward them was planning to eat them they’d be lunch in short order. But the down side is that sometimes you make an incorrect judgement due to the haste and what-not.

The wonderful thing about excising your opinions from these pieces, sms, is that you are allowing the rest of us to make the judgements ourselves uncolored by yours. This seems to me to be a very difficult thing to do, and I respect the effort you make. As far as I can tell you aren’t even trying to slant things, laying out all the dots one by one except for the very last one — you’re telling it the way you see it, warts and all. Brava.

Apr 08 2009 · 15:11

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled AWOL. It was posted here on April 05, 2009.


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