Prof. Henry Beissel (Concordia University, Montreal): "Seasons of Blood: Humanity at the Croassroads. A Canadian Poet’s Perspective"

Tuesday 11.06.2013, 4:15-5:45 p.m., U5/00.24

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Bayrischen Amerika-Akademie.

A solitary poet, in the isolation of his study in a Canadian forest, explores contemporary consciousness in the world in which he lives. The journey takes him to many nations and many cultures because Canada is a land of immigrants and the multiracial and multicultural Canadian society puts him literally in touch with all the people of this world. He sees them daily, walking in the streets of Canada’s cities, carrying the burden of their histories.

The poem unfolds three perspectives: those of nature, politics and science. The first is a celebration of the order of nature of which humanity is a part and on which its survival depends. The political perspective is elegiac because it confronts what we have made of the world we inherited, and science offers a vista of an awesome universe teetering at the edge of the incomprehensible. These different voices interact throughout the poem as it takes us to Africa, the Middle East, Latin-American, Europe and always back again to the pristine landspace of Canada, searching for a viable path into a human future.

Henry Beissel is a poet, playwright, essayist, translator and editor. After completing his graduate work at the University of Toronto in 1960, Henry taught English literature as a specialist in the medieval and modern periods for 36 years. From 1960 to 1962 he taught at the University of Munich in Germany. From there he went to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and from 1964 -1966 he was Canadian Aid Professor at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. In 1966, he joined the English faculty at Sir George Williams, now Concordia, University, in Montreal, where he established the Creative Writing program that is still flourishing. He became a Full Professor in 1976, and was promoted to Distinguished Emeritus Professor upon his retirement in 1996. For more information about Henry Beissel and his work check out his website.