Monday, February 25, 2013

Sally Ito

Sally Ito is originally from Alberta, but now lives in Winnipeg, where she is Writer-in-residence at the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture. She has published three poetry collections: Frogs in the Rain Barrel, A Season of Mercy, and most recently Alert to Glory (2011, Turnstone Press). Ito reflects the diversity of her literary heritage with allusions to such diverse influences as the Bible, Jonathan Swift, T.S. Eliot and Margaret Avison.

Don Domanski wrote, “Alert to Glory shows us in poem after poem the subtle, fluent essence of the sacred, how it can heighten every thought and gesture...[T]his book is nothing less than a call and invocation to our deeper natures. No easy task and harder still to do it with such elegance.” The following poem comes from this excellent new collection.


To handcuff the world, make it prisoner to sense and scrutiny.
To apprehend. That is the poet’s task. The lonely jailer
seizing at the company of things. Not to possess or own
but rather to perceive the world like a nerve quickening
to touch, or a flank quivering to the wind. To apprehend
is surely one of God’s commandments to the steward, that poet,
who in his hour as policeman might enjoy the brief moment
of a world in fetters for him. Catch-and-release—the finny,
slippery silver underneath the hand—is the currency of joy,
the fine paid for the alertness and watching which is the poet’s
constant state. He apprehends, and the world is seized
and God makes wonder of his heart.

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: