Sunday, June 7, 2015

Griffin Poetry prize winner - Jane Munro

I learned just the other day that Jane Munro had won the Griffin Prize for Poetry for her collection Blue Sonoma.  This is one of the better paying awards around, so it is quite something to win.  News stories here and here.  Part of me is a little annoyed that I didn't get around to reviewing Blue Sonoma yet -- I have a partially completed review started back in February.  I managed to get around to reviewing her other collections (here and here), and I have always planned to complete this review in June.  But I have been busy and so got scooped in a sense.

I do find it a very curious collection, with roughly half or even two-thirds of the book comprised of poems inspired by meditation or yoga and the rest a elegy of sorts to her husband who had just died of Alzheimer's Disease.  While there is no way of knowing, I will speculate that the prize was probably awarded on the basis of this section ("The Old Man Vacanas") and not the yoga poems, which certainly didn't do all that much for me.

I'll move my personal response to the rise of the yoga-poets of B.C. to this post, and I'll have a more formal review ready in the next week or so (famous last words...).  Anyway, this poem (mine not Munro's) is meant to be good-natured (as least I hope it is viewed that way):

So imagine your mom --
no let's say it is your friend's mother --
who you hear about in a casual way,
and probably see every three or four years
at weddings or graduations,
has taken up yoga.
That's nice you think,
wondering if this is just another sign from the cosmos
you should be spending more time at the Y.
(If only it wasn't so
embarrassing having to change
in front of everybody
in the locker room.)
Then you hear she goes everywhere
with her yoga mat.
Well, that isn't so strange
Almost every third girl has a yoga mat
poking out of a backpack
or clenched under her arm.
And again you wonder when you can get to the Y.
The next time your friend brings up his mom,
it turns out she is flying out to India
to learn about yoga and mediation
for a month.
That's hardcore, you mutter,
half in sympathy, half in envy.
And later that day, you call up the Y
and cancel your membership.

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