OTTAWA—Words are Michael Caesar’s business. A former journalist and editor for years now, Mr. Caesar, originally from Little Current, has plied his pen in service to our country as a speechwriter for the Office of the Governor General and more recently has delivered these same services at Foreign Affairs…a heavy responsibility given the current state of tensions on the world stage.
But Mr. Caesar is also both a writer and a poet in his spare time, and The Expositor reached out to him about his latest work, “Perpetual Ideal.”
“It’s just a little reading book, about 20 pages or so,” Caesar said when contacted by The Expositor about his latest publication via Anstruther Press. A chapbook, he explains, is a small publication with an interesting past.
A chapbook is generally defined as a small publication of around 40 pages (sometimes saddle-stitched) and in early modern Europe was a type of printed street literature which became a very popular form in North America.
Poetry itself was a much more popular form of literature in the days when radio, movies, television, and lately the internet were not invading the field. Today, most poetry is expressed in pop form through song, with hip hop and rap being the most prevalent.
“Poetry interests me,” said M. César. “Words are such an interesting material to work with. There are many meanings of so many words.
These words are more than just narration, he notes, comparing good poetry to something more like a painting. Imagery evoking emotion and often a sense of belonging. His latest work was inspired by the North Channel, located there, but also tracing images and images in the mind.
Unlike most writing, poetry is meant to be said out loud, Caesar said. Ideally, when the words are spoken, the rhythm and meter will introduce a number of images. “One of my favorite Irving Layton tenets of poetry is, ‘Anything else, poetry is freedom.’ Whenever it’s good, you feel liberated.
Mr. Caesar describes poetry as being a “lifelong profession”, but entirely accessible. “Anyone can pick it up,” he said. “Anyone can write a poem, all you need is a pen and a paper.” Mr. Caesar cited the annual Expositor Valentine poetry contest as a good example.
He noted that there is a long and rich history of collections as a means of making poetry accessible.
Exhibitor has a number of copies of Mr. Caesar’s “Perpetual Ideal” available for purchase in our Little Current office.