When the four quarters shall
Turn in and make one whole,
Then I who wall your body,
Which is to me a soul
– Jay Macpherson, The Boatman
Jay MacPherson was a rare creature — one of a kind. Everyone who knew her would agree.
Eleanor Cook has spoken about her poetry. I can only add that those few who heard her read it have never forgotten the experience. She was not a person who was interested in poetry as a “career” – she wrote poems only when impelled – and that is clear from the poems themselves.
I first met Jay in 1957 because she was my English professor at Victoria College – which did hire women then, unlike some colleges at the University of Toronto and very many universities and colleges throughout the English-speaking world. Jay must have been a mere twenty-eight years old, but she seemed to me very experienced and accomplished – she had, after all, just won the Governor General’s Award for The Boatman, at the unprecedented age of twenty-seven. At…
View original post 1,084 more words