BC Poetry 2017: "Shakespearean Blues" by Shirley Graham (Mother Tongue Publishing)

Blue Ophelia

I think it was the flowers
that sent her over the edge, 
not the other way around. 

She’d thought to be wooed properly, 
gallantly, with roses offered at her feet, 
her nose, her bosom.  

When this wasn’t the case, 
she left the would-be lover, 
went out to the wide world, and saw them,
gorgeous, seductive on their stems, and knew 
a love that cracked her open, 
all she needed of wooing there in the buds.  

She offered blossoms here, there, anywhere to spread her love, 
And when this too was not enough, she took herself 
to the waters to become what the flowers would drink.


Shirley Graham has been writing, publishing in literary magazines and giving readings in Canada and the U.S. for three decades. She studied writing and literature at UC Irvine, UCLA, Brown University, the Sorbonne in Paris, and in private workshops with a range of writers, including Galway Kinnell, Sharon Olds, Robert Haas and Mark Strand. Her books include Blue Notes, What Someone Wanted and Book of Blue. She is a psychologist and lives on Salt Spring Island with her husband, poet Peter Levitt, and son Tai.


Celebrating the four hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, Shakespearean Blues is a modern romp through the state of mankind, drenched in Shakespeare's words and characters. At turns joyous, tragic, witty, solemn, mysterious and wry, these poems are wide ranging like the quotes and characters that inspire them. Graham returns to the blue world of prior volumes, and uses the bard as a springboard to explore our human condition, seeing us somewhere between Puck's "Lord what fools these mortals be" and Miranda's "How beauteous mankind is!"

"Graham has the virtuosic skill of rendering a moment eternal."–Don Domanski


Arrived November 2016.


Book Launches: May 26th, 7:30 PM, Victoria, Planet Earth Poetry.

Purchases: From the Mother Tongue Publishing website or at your local bookstore. $19.95.


Romping through the state of mankind, drenched in Shakespeare.

The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

1 comment:

Popular Girl said...

Beautiful poem. Thanks for the shiver at the last line.