Love Letters by Poets from Where the Nights Are Twice as Long

February 15, 2017

Collected in  Where the Nights Are Twice as Long: Love Letters of Canadian Poets edited by David Eso and Jeanette Lynes (Goose Lane Editions) are letters and poems from over a 120 Canadian poets (including Leonard Cohen and Pauline Johnson!), and is uniquely presented in order of poets' ages at the time of writing. Below we feature snippets from three letters (arranged chronologically by age) by poets in various stages of love.

 

 

 

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Shannon Webb Campbell

 

Letter from Shannon Webb-Campbell
September 4, 2009
Age 26

"I just watched my first sunset over Paris. Two nearby lovers embrace, their silhouettes glow among the moment. I smiled to myself; remembering your lips on mine. I wish you were here to see the skyline fade, darken into night. When I close my eyes, I can still feel you on my skin, your hand in mine, your body on my bones [...] The view is absolutely stunning. All you can see for miles and miles are rooftops, an endless sea of historic urbanization. It didn’t matter how much I squinted, for the life of me I could not see the ocean. In views of the city, I remember our nights on the beach, meteor showers, red wine, and sand between our toes. What a beginning."

 

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Pearl Luke_Where the Nights(2)

 

Letter from Pearl Luke to Robert Hilles
February 14, 1997
Age 38

"Robert, last Friday your old man hands lay open on the table as if they had nothing to hide. Later, as we watched The English Patient for the first time, they rested and sometimes fumbled out of reach while your forearm and occasionally a knee nudged mine. I refused to claim any part of you, although I thought that even a finger might do. On Monday, you accepted my invitation to Victoria’s and, although it took ten swipes to dry your nose with your knuckles, those surreptitious attempts charmed me as much as our hours of easy conversation in wine-coloured wingback chairs. When I offered you a story, you followed me home."

 

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James Deahl to Norma West Linderv2

 

Email from James Deahl to Norma West Linder
June 12, 2010 — bedtime
Age 65

Well, Norma, the Hamilton Public Library has none of the anthologies containing your short stories, not even the one published by Oberon. So while I can go to bed with the poetic Norma West Linder tonight, the fictional Norma West Linder will escape my embrace.

James

 

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Norma West Linder to James Deahl
June 14, 2010

Maybe the real one won’t want to escape it!

Cheers!

Norma

 

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James Deahl to Norma West Linder
June 14, 2010

I hardly know how to take your astounding e-mail of today. So I have decided to take it seriously because I dearly want to believe it is possible. One does not, dearest Norma, fall in love with a pretty face, not even one as pretty as yours. One falls in love (or does not fall in love) with the woman who comes with the face. And here again you are irresistibly desirable. I need not tell you that you are charming, intelligent, creative, and kind. You surely know all that, but I simply can’t resist making the list.

 

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Thanks to Kathleen Peacock at Goose Lane Editions for sharing this collection with us, and for providing the letters!


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