Poet Ricardo Sternberg delights York audience

On Oct.23, York’s Canadian Writers in Person course and reading series presented Ricardo Sternberg. Series organizer John Unrau of the English Department, Atkinson School of Arts & Letters, sent the following report to YFile.

The third reading in this season’s Canadian Writers in Person series featured poet Ricardo Sternberg reading from his collection, The Invention of Honey (1990). Sternberg, who was born and raised in Brazil, delighted the audience with a group of flavourful, often whimsical, poems. The poet first moved to the United States in 1964 with his family, and has taught at the University of Toronto since his move to Canada in 1979.

In addition to the collection from which he read on Oct. 23, and his latest book, Bamboo Church (2003), Sternberg has written Map of Dreams (1996). As well, his poems have been included in a number of anthologies: Poems: A Celebration (1983); Campa eros: An Anthology of Writing about Latin America (1990); and The Signal Anthology: Contemporary Canadian Poetry (1993).

Sternberg won the Nation Discovery Prize in 1974 and the Pushcart Prize in 1978.

Here is a brief sample of his work.


The opacity of onions
is deceiving.

The onion is a crystal ball
that makes you cry
for future sorrows.

I was told this
by my grandmother
tired of the daily drama
by the sink.

The animated question period was followed by a book-buying and book-signing session of the poet’s new collection, Bamboo Church.

The Canadian Writers in Person series of public readings at York, which is free and open to the public, is also part of an introductory course on Canadian literature.