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Category: 15. Norma West Linder Tribute


In Praise of Norma

The year is 1977. That’s when I recall a certain WIT (writers-in-transition) meeting at one of our members’ homes. As we settled comfortably into our host’s living room waiting for the ‘official’ start to our evening of reading, Norma — a usually calm voice in the midst of writers’ babble — held up her arm

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On Writing

for Norma When I arrived at her door, she called from her chair, Don’t take off your shoes— but I did out of habit, sinking into the couch, bewildered with half-finished poems—mostly, she let them walk into the dark but one time she said, A poem wants life. I’d stand beneath cottonwood trees, listening to

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Where Are You Now

In memory of Norma West Linder I have photos of us standing by painted moose in Toronto, standing next to Pierre Burton, beside other poets, in taverns and living rooms. I wonder where you are now, Spirit Island girl. Arranging letters in some heavenly Scrabble game? Sitting on a park bench under lemon trees humming

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From Teacher to Friend

I first met Norma West Linder at Lambton College in Sarnia when I attended her evening Creative Writing class. I had never taken a writing class—I hadn’t even told anyone I wanted to be a writer. Just the thought of meeting someone who was a writer made me nervous. I had written a long poem

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At The Lake Alone

In loving memory of Norma West Linder September 4, 1928 – August 26, 2023 Winter entered with November, the first frost falling on All Souls’ Day. Overnight, the yellow leaves of my mulberry became clenched brown fists, late-blooming coneflowers shriveled. For once the lake lay subdued, its great trout rising towards the surface, the air

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Great Memories

Norma and my late Mom, Peggy Fletcher, were best friends. I can remember many writers meetings hearing their voices carefully dissecting and critiquing with wisdom and grace. Their adventures, first starting in the seventies with her first partner, John Henry, were epic. From her kitchen wall, painted with a personalized Peanuts cartoon to the photos

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I first met Norma West Linder at a local writers’ group called Writers in Transition. Over the years, she was a kind, gentle, and encouraging mentor who assisted many with the craft of writing. In addition to being a prolific writer, she was an avid Scrabble player. I regret not playing the game with her,

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1223 Willa Drive & Re-Imagining Norma in Eight Tercets

(On Cabbages and Kings, Poems 2012-2019, Aeolus House) Dusting a book shelf, I came across a poem venerating life in simple phrases hopeful even in the face of illness. From time to time lines from them return to haunt me. We had a lot to say that wouldn’t keep till morning. Always we have questions

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For an Elder, Turning, Returning

As she flows in and out, we wait. Attending. Attentive. A tension. What is to be paid? What owed? The river is shallow for the season but its current runs deep. Consciousness flickers, will-o’-the-wisp only altered by constant choice. Sharp shards hold us close to home since she is almost ninety -five, almost ready to

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A Riff on Changing Times (for Norma West Linder)

shorts and sandals on a hot October day 30.1 degrees Celsius this is a riff on changing times on changing ways on changing days salmon are jumping and people are oohing the weir too high, they spawn and die the water runs swift like the beat of a riff cormorants soar while cascades roar susurrant,

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