STANLEY, George




Author Tags: Poetry

Born in San Francisco in 1934, poet George Stanley grew up in San Francisco where he became associated with the writing circle of Jack Spicer. Stanley came to Canada in 1971 and taught college English for 26 years, mainly in Terrace, before retiring to live in Vancouver. He became a Canadian citizen in 1978 and received the Shelley Memorial Award in 2006. Vancouver: A Poem was nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 2009.

With an introduction by Sharon Thesen, George Stanley's North of California St. collects 53 poems originally published between 1973 and 1999 in various now-out-of-print books. They include "Mountains & Air," "Raft," "The Set," "The Berlin Wall," "For Prince George," "Terrace Landscapes" and the 16–part poem "San Francisco's Gone," including "Veracruz."

BOOKS:

You (1973)
Opening Day (1983)
Gentle Northern Summer (New Star, 1995)
At Andy's (New Star, 2000)
A Tall, Serious Girl (New York: Qua Press, 2003)
Vancouver: A Poem (New Star, 2008).
After Desire (New Star 2013) 96 pages, 5×8 inches $18 9781554200702
North of California Street: Selected Poems (New Star Books 2014) $21.00 978-1-55420-082-5

Photo by Mandelbrot

[BCBW 2014] "Poetry"

Shelley Memorial Award
Press Release (2006)



The Shelley Memorial Award of more than $3,500, established by the will of the late Mary P. Sears, is given to a living American poet selected with reference to genius and need. It was awarded to George Stanley in 2006.

Sonia Sanchez and Joshua Clover on George Stanley:

"George Stanley's poems often take place in bars; he's like Charles Bukowski, had Bukowski been a few years younger, a former student of Jack Spicer, queer, brilliant, an expat who departed the United States for Canada during the Vietnam conflict, and honestly marginalized. Perhaps as a cumulative effect of all these causes, Stanley's poetry knows itself to be far from the center, and refuses to make claims on swaggering personality or fake immediacy; neither is he interested in effacing his own presence entirely, in the way of someone who has had quite enough of being the subject of the world.

"These are negative claims, leading to the great negative claim: George Stanley sounds like nobody else. This is true, and rare, and leaves unstated what makes his poetry seem deserving of this award, given "with reference to...genius and need." So, to state it plainly: Stanley's capacity to grasp both the personal and the social, the local and the conceptual —and how they are always reaching for each other, dreaming of each other, failing each other and themselves—is surprising, moving, seductive. It functions as a kind of diagnosis about contemporary poetry, and a vision of what it might do at this late hour; a poetry as eccentric as this moment is eccentric. In the words of noted poet-critic Christopher Nealon, Stanley's writing "has provoked me again and again to ask whether the name to give the struggle to bring together emotion and abstraction, to understand in tandem the intra-psychic and the global, is in fact 'poetics.'"

"Stanley's poems lack all hermetic recalcitrance. They are compellingly direct, as dreams are compellingly direct, from early pieces like 1960's "White Matches" through the last entry in the recent volume of selected poems, A Tall, Serious Girl. That 18-line poem, "Veracruz," captures without parallel the fluidity of imagination—and the melancholy of a free imagination's role in the bound world. It's a love poem like no other love poem— the sort of writing that makes it a strange and desperate pleasure to read George Stanley's work, and a secondary but great pleasure to award him this prize."

Poem by GEORGE STANLEY of Vancouver, British Columbia, Winner of the SHELLEY MEMORIAL AWARD.

Veracruz

In Veracruz, city of breezes & sailors & loud birds,

an old man, I walked the Malecón by the sea,

and I thought of my father, who when a young man

had walked the Malecón in Havana, dreaming of Brazil,

and I wished he had gone to Brazil

& learned magic,

and I wished my father had come back to San Francisco

armed with Brazilian magic, & that he had married

not my mother, but her brother, whom he truly loved.

I wish my father had, like Tiresias, changed himself into a woman,

& that he had been impregnated by my uncle, & given birth to me as a girl.

I wish that I had grown up in San Francisco as a girl,

atall, serious girl,

& that eventually I had come to Veracruz,

& walking on the Malecón, I had met a sailor,

a Mexican sailor or a sailor from some other country—

maybe a Brazilian sailor,

& that he had married me, & I had become pregnant

by him,

so that I could give birth at last to my son—the boy

I love.



North of California Street: Selected Poems (New Star $21)
Article (2014)



Born in San Francisco in 1934, poet George Stanley grew up in San Francisco where he became associated with the writing circle of Jack Spicer. Stanley came to Canada in 1971 and taught college English for 26 years, mainly in Terrace, before retiring to live in Vancouver. He became a Canadian citizen in 1978 and received the Shelley Memorial Award in 2006. Vancouver: A Poem was nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 2009. With an introduction by Sharon Thesen, George Stanley’s new North of California Street: Selected Poems (New Star $21) gathers 53 poems originally published between 1973 and 1999 in various now-out-of-print books.

978-1-55420-082-5

Make It True: Poetry from Cascadia (Leaf Press $30)
Article (2015)


from BCBW (Autumn)
Make It True: Poetry from Cascadia (Leaf Press $30) contains writing from Cascadia, the bioregion lying west of the continental divide and spanning from Mt. Logan in Canada to the north and Cape Mendocino in California to the south. Edited by Paul Nelson, with George Stanley, Barry McKinnon and Nadine Maestas, the collection is an attempt to take back poetry culture from the trance cast by pop, consumer and industry-generated culture.

978-1-926655-81-9