EJP interviewed by Jed Adams
recorded 1 May 1958
1. What do you answer when people ask you how you write? [2:13; 1,750Kb]
2. Carl Sandburg said once, "... a poet must write what he must." How do you feel about that? [1:17; 747Kb]
3. Do you think your poetry will abide? [2:07; 1,368Kb]
4. What, in your opinion, is the worst word? [0:43; 470Kb]
5. How about adjectives? [1:35; 1,024Kb]
6. Of your many poems, which is your favourite? [0:49; 530Kb]
7. EJP introduces "Magic in Everything" [0:25; 280Kb]
8. EJP reads from "Magic in Everything" [2:38; 1,705Kb]
How freely came belief when we were young!
From parents who were wise and old
We simply took what we were told.
That Santa with his reindeer should arrive
From his far northern drive,
Seek out our very house and come
Down through the chimney and deposit
Around the hearth or in the bedroom closet
A few years passed and we began
Half furtively to question one another,
And still more warily our dad and mother:
How did the old man stand that polar race,
Enter a house that with no fire-place
Had but a kitchen stove? ...
Only the Lord could push a body through
A passage narrow as the kitchen flue.
And when our parents could not satisfy
The older sceptics with a sane reply,
... ended with one answer long prepared,
An answer which we dared
Not question -- "Back of Santa was the Lord."
The Lord! He knew all wherefores, all the whys.
In some strange way
He was related to the Christmas day.
For early on that morn
The steeple chimes were ringing
And choirs were singing
"Unto us a child is born."
Under the charm of that celestial sound,
Within the story of his life we found
The riddles of our youth
Were tongued from higher ground
And solved by proclamation of an Act.
For painlessly the changes came
Though Santa Claus was still allowed his name.
So, when we found ourselves bereft
Of childhood fantasies we still had left
The memories that years could not corrode --
Behind the celebration of the Day
Were living hands that had bestowed
The gifts, and love behind the hands, and then
Something our reasons could not rub away --
The story of a Birth bequeathed to men.
How could we question that under the spells
Woven around us by the Christmas bells?
9. Do you think that people today have forgotten where they came from? [1:07; 732Kb]
10. Many have described you as Canada's leading poet. Would you agree? [1:09; 747Kb]
11. Do you recall a silver medal which once went to pay for a dinner party at the old Queen's Hotel? [2:42; 1,755Kb]
12. Do you recall how you paid for your first year at Victoria College? [2:46; 1,793Kb]
13. Do you feel Death to be a major preoccupation? [3:43; 2,402Kb]
14. One feature of your writing is its comprehensibility ... [1:04; 692Kb]
15. Are you hopeful for the future of Canadian poetry? [3:00; 1,947Kb]
16. Would you have any words of counsel to give to the youngsters of Canada? [2:03; 1,331Kb]