Author Tags: Fiction, Poetry

A founding member of the Kootenay School of Writing and a member of the Vancouver Industrial Writers Union, Wharton co-edited East of Main: An Anthology of Poems from East Vancouver (Pulp Press, 1989) with Tom Wayman. He'd previously published a chapbook of poetry, Visualized Chemistry, from Tsunami Editions. His short stories have appeared in Three Songs by Hank Williams (Turnstone, 2002). He teaches writing at Douglas College in New Westminster.

His book of poetry The Song Collides (Anvil, 2011) is described as a 'metaphysical investigation' of the natural world, and also offers the reader 'lyrical and local enquiries'.

The Song Collides (Anvil, 2011) $16.00 978-1-897535-68-4
The Invention of Birds (Alfred Gustav 2014) chapbook

[BCBW 2014] "Poetry" "Fiction"

Three Songs by Hank Williams (Turnstone $16.95)

In A Thing of Beauty, Marek is tired of being an ordinary family man. “Maybe it was the way the word civilian bit into him, or maybe it was the beer and the conversation Marek had just come from, but his next sentence leapt from his mouth before he had a chance to consider it. He asked, ‘You fellas wouldn’t know where I could get a handgun?’” Calvin’s first collection. He lives in North Vancouver. 0-88801-270-5

[Spring 2003 BCBW]

The Song Collides (Anvil Press $16)

from Hannah Main–van der Kamp

By contrast, The Song Collides is a highly readable and accessible collection in which Calvin Wharton has a flair for the felicitous phrase. “The humming bird busy sewing up the morning light, birds lever out into the open sky, the jitterbug of insect wings, the subtraction that is autumn.”

Wharton is a complete contrast to Blodgett. His work is humorous, mostly local and embodied whereas Blodgett is universal and ethereal. Wharton writes of real food (Chinese, with onions and black bean sauce), whereas there’s no mention of real sustenance in Blodgett. Whereas Blodgett is metaphysical about death, Wharton visits the palliative care ward with its masks and the tubes, “the lungs’ noisy dream of oxygen.”

Whereas Blodgett’s serene words are those of an elderly sage, Wharton’s phrasing retains a youthful sparkle. This is not so much a difference in chronological age as in perception. The world has room for both perspectives. One cannot know stillness unless one has been raucous.

And again, trees…

Not the seedy, pie-plate
splat of shit on the lawn
or the branch torn ragged
from the yellow plum tree
and left mangled, at the top
of the driveway;…
But this:
the visitor himself, mid-day
lumbering calm up the street
toward the trees….

[BCBW 2011]