Eating Fruit Out of Season may be David Clink’s first book of poetry – the launch is on Thursday, July 10 – but this York alumnus and staff member is no stranger to the genre in its many forms.
Clink (BA ’95), circulation coordinator at the Peter F. Bronfman Business Library in York’s Schulich School of Business, is co-publisher with Myna Wallin of Believe Your Own Press (BYOP), which has published 20 poetry chapbooks since it started five years ago. He is also the past artistic director of the Art Bar Poetry Series, co-organizer of York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies’ Readings at Noon series and the current artistic director of the Rowers Pub Reading Series. In addition, Clink is the author of five poetry chapbooks, including Shapeshifter, One Dozen and Come-On from the Horse on 7th Avenue, and the editor of seven others.
Right: David Clink. Photograph by Geoff George
The launch of Eating Fruit Out of Season (Tightrope Books, 2008) is at The Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst St. (between Bloor and Dupont) in Toronto. The doors open at 6:30pm with readings – two other books are also being launched – beginning at 7:30pm.
"It’s been a long time in the making," said Clink, a poet of prose poems, list poems – using lists of connected words to create a poem – and conventional-style poems. "I’ve been writing fairly constantly since 1995."
George Elliott Clarke, winner of the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, hails Eating Fruit Out of Season as "barbed and ironic" and "a source of prophetic nostalgia and exquisite, fleshed-out wisdom".
As for the title of the book, Eating Fruit Out of Season, Clink says, "There’s something about risk when eating something that’s out of season." There’s also risk in writing poetry and trying to get it published. Clink tried several publishers in 2002, but his manuscript was rejected each time. Then something almost unheard of happened. The poetry editor for Tightrope Books came to Clink and asked to publish a collection of his poems. "It was probably a good thing that the earlier manuscript was rejected," said Clink. "It’s a much stronger and better manuscript now."
Eating Fruit Out of Season contains 42 poems, most of them what Clink calls mainstream, but with a few science fiction and space-age romanticism poems thrown in. Clink has written numerous sci-fi poems or what some people call speculative poetry in the past, but for this collection not so much. Although his poem "Falling", published in 2007 in On Spec, the Canadian magazine of the fantastic, was nominated for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Rhysling Award and the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association’s Aurora Award.
Having one book published, Clink is now working on a second. "It will have darker, more surreal poems that didn’t fit in the first collection," he said. "The ones that pushed the limits a bit too far."
Clink, who is related to the Scottish explorer David Livingstone, was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut, and Toronto, where he graduated from York with an English degree. His passion for poetry first began manifesting over a decade ago when he joined the Algonquin Square Table poetry workshop in Toronto. Since then, Clink’s work has appeared in over 50 journals across Canada, the United States and the UK, including The Antigonish Review, The Dalhousie Review, Descant, Grain Magazine, The Fiddlehead, The Literary Review of Canada and Analog, as well as five anthologies.
The following is one of Clink’s poems from Eating Fruit Out of Season.
this is the suicide prevention hotline
for poetry addicts.
If you wish to rage against the dying of the light,
If you feel like a pair of ragged claws
scuttling across the floors of silent seas,
If you want to slip the surly bonds of earth
and dance the skies on laughter-silvered wings,
If you have seen the best minds of your generation
destroyed by madness,
If you are a paltry thing,
a tattered coat upon a stick,
If you feel that dying is an art,
like everything else,
and you do it exceptionally well,
If none of these selections best describe
your feelings of despair,
please stay on the line,
a poet will be with you shortly. . .