Oliver, Michael

Canada, (b. 1946)


  1. Pigs
  2. Are like gods.
  4. Their dirty faces,
  5. Their itchy arses,
  6. A welcome sight
  7. After Edmonton’s
  8. Tall blank towers,
  9. Cold golden faces.
  11. Out past sloughs,
  12. Bickering blackbirds,
  13. Leduc Number One,
  15. We found the farm –
  16. My wife, my son, myself.
  18. Fellow Easterners,
  19. The swine grunted,
  20. Raced between stumps,
  21. Rooted the sunset
  22. Up out of the dust,
  23. That damned horizon.
  25. Every Saturday night
  26. We came to watch,
  27. To praise their excellence.
  28. Homeless, like us,
  29. Belonging nowhere,
  30. Everywhere – pigs.
  32. Back in Edmonton
  33. Splendid magpies
  34. Were being slaughtered.
  35. I longed to liberate them,
  36. Replace them with pigs –
  37. Let the racists try them on!
  39. I dreamed of leading
  40. Fat rampant pigs
  41. Across suburban lawns.
  42. Think about it –
  43. Pigs and dandelions
  44. Against the Gestapo.
  46. 8-year-old Susie,
  47. Born on May Day,
  48. Shouting Fuck you!
  49. At every passer-by,
  50. She would hail the pigs:
  51. Welcome, barbarians!
  53. Pigs and Susies are
  54. Necessary, inevitable,
  55. Whenever laws
  56. Precede salvation.
  57. I do not know
  58. What they are, but
  60. Pigs
  61. Are like gods.

© Michael Oliver. Canadian Writers in 1984, edited by William H. New. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press (1984).

About the Poet:

Michael Brian Oliver, (b. 1946) is a Canadian critic, poet, and teacher. Oliver has published three chapbooks of poetry: Portrait of the Arrival (1970), Becoming: Poems Addressed to My Child in the Womb (1974), and To A Sister Loneliness (1979).

Oliver has also published critical reviews of fellow Canadian poets for various journals, and he
has published the first critical study of the poetry of Alden Nowlan (1933- 1983), Poet’s Progress (1978), and a followup Alden Nowlan and His Works (1990). It is his work on Nowlan that he is best known for.

Oliver has taught at many places, such as College Maillet in St. Basile, UNBSJ, John Abbott College in Montreal, York University in Toronto, the U of A in Edmonton, and UBC in Vancouver. Oliver now resides in Charlottetown on PEI. His most recent work is a new novella, The Final Cause of Love (2011) from Poietikos Editions. [DES-07/14]

Additional information:

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