Remembering poet Mark Strand

Yesterday Mark Strand died, a poet whose work I greatly admire. I first came across Strand’s poetry in my first year of university, where we read and discussed one of his most popular poems, “Keeping Things Whole.”

A couple of years later, a classmate and I went to see Strand read. It was the first time this classmate and I had spent any time together off campus, but it certainly wasn’t the last. We became very close that year and remain good friends. In a way, that night at the reading was when we became friends, or at least it marked a shift in our friendship: We moved from being school friends to becoming all-the-time friends, if that’s a thing.

On our way home that night, we talked about how cool Strand had looked and sounded on that stage. There was no other word for it: He was a cool guy. He reminded us of Clint Eastwood, or of how we imagined Clint Eastwood would be if he were reciting poetry in a dimly lit theatre in downtown Toronto.

I spent some of this weekend remembering Strand by reading some of my favourite poems of his, and I wanted to share a few here. I was reminded of how cool Strand really was and of how brilliant and beautiful his poetry is.

“Lines for Winter”

“From the Long Sad Party”

“The Idea”

“Man and Camel”

“The End” (with audio)


4 thoughts on “Remembering poet Mark Strand

  1. Thanks Nicky. Poets deserve to be rock stars or movie stars, but they’re still playing the small rooms. I loved Lines for Winter — I hope Strand was feeling that before he died. Thanks for sharing this.

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