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Steven Heighton: It’s a poem that even Don Cherry might like

There's a picture on the living room wall in the A-Frame of Al, dressed in big dark sunglasses and an unbuttoned shirt, laughing heartily and standing with his arm on the shoulder of a young man with long, curly dark hair. Almost every one of my guests commented on this photo - who was this man with 'the hair' that Al seemed to enjoy so much? That young man was Steven Heighton, a Kingston-based author who met Al in his twenties and went on to become a much lauded poet and fiction writer. Heighton visited the A-frame to chat with me on a chilly August evening near the end of my stay, choosing to read Al's poem "The Dead Poet." When I asked him why he chose this piece, he explained that he'd composed a Cento for Al's funeral (a Cento is a poem composed of lines from other people's poems, but put in a new order, though Heighton used only Al's work for his Cento), and it ended with the last lines of this poem: "and know where the words came from." Before he began the reading, he did take issue with the line "their women are meek and mild," which he said he felt was probably inaccurate. I agree.

 

If you haven't read Heighton, you really should. Check out his stuff here. And if you want to see a rather rough HowPedestrian video of a fisherman reading a Heighton poem, go here.
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