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.
“The End” (with audio)