Monday, November 30, 2015

Goodnight Judith Fitzgerald (1952-2015)

Today's book of poetry would like to say goodnight to
 Judith Fitzgerald.





Ms. Fitzgerald died suddenly, but peacefully, at her Northern Ontario home on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 in her 64th year. Cremation has taken place. A Celebration of her Life will be announced at a later date. Judith Fitzgerald was the author of twenty-plus collections of poetry and three best-selling volumes of creative non-fiction. Her work was nominated and short-listed for the Governor General's Award, the Pat Lowther Award, a Writers' Choice Award, and the Trillium Award. Impeccable Regret was launched this year at BookFest Windsor to critical acclaim. Judith also wrote columns for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star, among others. "Her work is incredible...entirely inventive, deeply moving, and universally attractive." -- Leonard Cohen. For further information, to make a donation, order flowers or leave a message of condolence or tribute please go to www.paulfuneralhome.ca or call Paul Funeral Home, Powassan, ON (705) 724-2024.

* * *

I met Judith back in the late 70's at Artspace in Peterborough, Ontario.  Dennis Tourbin had arranged for Judith to do a reading at CityStage or perhaps even in the main gallery, I don't remember.  Dennis introduced me to Judith because she wanted to meet poets from Peterborough.  Judith was extremely kind and supportive from our first meeting.  It really was the first time I'd met a real published (with an established press) poet who had taken a genuine interest in my work.  We corresponded for a long time because writing letters is what you did back then and I miss getting and sending letters.  Now I'll have to miss Judith as well.

We were friends for a while and then fell out of touch like many people do.  I'd see a new book of hers and hope she was doing well.  

It saddens me to the core when poets I know pass away.   

Today's book of poetry wants you to remember her name, at least for today.

* * *

Touch
you touch me
inside and out
shower me
inside and out
bringing in the evening
through your hands
like sheep and sheep dogs
in the hills
bringing in my love
like crazy hills
dropping the sky
into our hands

- Judith Fitzgerald
Lacerating Heartwood, Coach House Press, 1977)

* * *

Here is the Wikipedia list of Judith's work:

Poetry[edit]

  • 1970: Octave. Toronto: Dreadnaught
  • 1972: City Park. Agincourt, ON: Northern Concept
  • 1975: Journal Entries. Toronto: Dreadnaught Press
  • 1975: Victory. Toronto: Coach House Press
  • 1977: Lacerating Heartwood. Toronto: Coach House Press
  • 1981: Easy Over. Windsor: Black Moss Press
  • 1983: Split/Levels. Toronto: Coach House Press
  • 1984: The Syntax of Things. Toronto: Prototype
  • 1983: Heart Attack[s]. Canada: privately published
  • 1984: Beneath the Skin of Paradise: The Piaf Poems. Windsor: Black Moss Press
  • 1985: My Orange Gorange. Windsor: Black Moss Press
  • 1985: Given Names: New and Selected Poems 1972-1985. Ed. Frank Davey. Windsor: Black Moss Press
  • 1986: Whale Waddleby. Windsor: Black Moss Press
  • 1987: Diary of Desire. Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press
  • 1991: Rapturous Chronicles. Stratford, ON: Mercury Press
  • Ultimate Midnight. Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press
  • 1992: Habit of Blues: Rapturous Chronicles II. Stratford, ON: Mercury Press, 1993
  • 1993: walkin' wounded. Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press
  • 1995: River. Toronto: ECW Press
  • 1999: 26 Ways Out of This World. Ottawa: Oberon
  • 2003: Iphigenia's Song (Adagios Quartet vol. 1). Ottawa: Oberon Press
  • 2004: Orestes' Lament (Adagios Quartet vol. 2). Ottawa: Oberon Press
  • 2006: Electra's Benison (Adagios Quartet vol. 3). Ottawa: Oberon Press
  • 2007: O, Clytaemnestra! (Adagios Quartet vol. 4). Ottawa: Oberon Press
  • 2015: wtf,

Prose[edit]

  • 1997: Building A Mystery: The Story of Sarah McLachlan and Lilith Fair. Kingston, ON: Quarry Music Books
  • 2000: Sarah McLachlan: Building a Mystery. Kingston, ON: Quarry Music Books, Millennial Edition
  • 2001: Marshall McLuhan: Wise Guy. Montreal: XYZ

Edited[edit]

  • 1982: Un Dozen: Thirteen Canadian Poets. Windsor, ON: Black Moss
  • 1986: SP/ELLES: Poetry by Canadian Women. Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press
  • 1988: First Person Plural. Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press
  • 2000: Bagne, or, Criteria for Heaven, by Rob Mclennan. Fredericton, NB: Broken Jaw Press

* * *

It's a sad day here in our office.  Milo is sitting in the corner.  We have fourteen or fifteen of Judith's titles on our shelves and Milo is plowing through them with a "do not disturb" sign taped to his forehead.  Kathryn is making lists of dead poets and has the Cure blaring some sad song.

Tomorrow is another day.  Goodnight Judith, goodnight Judith, goodbye Judith.