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Cover of issue #223

Current Issue: #223 Agency & Affect (Winter 2014)

Canadian Literature's Issue 223 (Winter 2014), Agency & Affect, is now available. The issue features articles by Ranbir K. Banwait, Paul Huebener, Lisa Marchi, Veronica Austen, and Andrea Beverley, as well as an interview with Laurence Hill by Kerry Lappin-Fortin, along with new Canadian poetry and book reviews.


by Cyril Dabydeen

The wild bull's
on his way, I do not
give myself too
The lasso-man
enters the scene
trying to grapple
with horns.

My father hammers
at the portals
of his mistress's
womb; the bull
bellows across
the fraudulent

My mother spins her
machine like
a solitary queen.
I merely join
with the spinning.

Questions & Answers

What inspired "Taurus"?

It's a sort of confessional poem, the time of one's early childhood, and the tension between a mother and father, and the father is seen in association with the bull: this image being echoic (my father actually dealt with a few cattle most of his life; my mother worked long hours on the sewing machine: I kept recreating them); but it's far more than autobiographical. It's symbolic, I feel.

What poetic techniques did you use in "Taurus"?

The American confessional poets—a movement—at the time in my writing of "Taurus" I was imbued with. Writers like Robert Lowell, Theodore Roethke, Sylvia Plath and others I kept reading—who believed that any subject, no matter how personal, was grist for the poetic mill. So the technique was based on direct expression of feelings... to bare every emotion, no matter how private. The image of Taurus, the bull, is like an objective correlative, too, to symbolize maybe hidden demons that's around us, and our humanity too. The stanzas indicate the obvious divisions; but the white space between the stanzas has significance—time and space overall.

More poems by Cyril Dabydeen:

"Taurus" originally appeared in Canadian Literature #76: Sources (Spring 1978)

MLA: Dabydeen, Cyril. CanLit Poets: "Taurus" by Cyril Dabydeen. canlit.ca. Canadian Literature, 13 Nov. 2008. Web. 7 Oct. 2015.

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