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Questions and Answers

What inspired “Giralda”?

I think what kicked-started this poem was the word itself. I liked it. (You don’t pronounce the G… you say it rather like an H, so it’s a soft word.) Giralda is Spanish for “the turning one.” Originally, it referred to the weathervane (which turns) on top of a square tower which is beside the cathedral in Seville. Eventually, the tower itself became known as the giralda.

I remembered the way my mother pronounced the word Seville, and that made me think of oranges (as in orange marmalade), and that made me think of a poem by Al Purdy, which he says the Cariboo horses produce “golden oranges of dung.” My poem was a way of linking all those things up.

What poetic techniques did you use in “Giralda”?

This is a poem about memory. The memory of the first poem I wrote (and lost). The memory of my mother’s way of saying Seville. The memory of Al Purdy’s poem.

There are a lot of words in this poem that end in a, you’ll notice—Giralda, Canada, Rhonda, Cordoba, Sevilla, Columbia. I think that helped bring it together as well.

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