Kay Smith


  1. Biography
  2. Why Should We Read and Study Smith?
  3. Literature & Analysis
    • “When a Girl Looks Down”
    • Analysis of “When a Girl Looks Down”
    • “Autobiography”
    • “The One Stem”
    • Analysis of “The One Stem”
    • “Again With Music”
    • “Return to Innocence”
    • “Old Women and Love”
    • “The Old in One Another’s Arms”
    • Analysis of “Old Women and Love” and “The Old in One Another’s Arms”
  4. Questions and Considerations for Reflection
  5. Strategies for Teachers
  6. Further Reading
  7. Copyright


Of all the modernist poets in New Brunswick to have emerged at mid-century, none have been as undeservedly overlooked as Kay Smith. Born in Saint John on 30 April 1911, Smith emerged as a leading poetic voice in the Saint John arts and literary community during the 1930s. Publishing in Canada’s foremost modernist magazines throughout the 1940s and 50s – including Contemporary Verse, Preview, First Statement, and The Fiddlehead – her first collection, Footnote to the Lord’s Prayer and Other Poems, appeared in 1951. Defying the somewhat dubious dictum that modernist poetry must be impersonal, Smith developed a poetic voice that was innovative, concrete, and imagistic in form, but deeply personal and emotionally complex in subject and tone. The themes of spirituality, existentialism, reverential awe, and sexuality feature prominently in her early work, while her later poetry, collected in The Bright Particulars (1987), combines these earlier themes with reflections on maturing and old age. A woman poet writing in a male-dominated – and often chauvinistic – tradition of modernism, Smith was among the first Canadian poets to explore female sexuality in verse. Though her poetry has suffered from critical neglect, her deft use of imagery and avant-garde motifs place much of her work among the best of Canada’s mid-century modernists.

For a much more detailed biography of Smith, see her New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia entry.

Why Should We Read and Study Smith?

  • Kay Smith was one of the first Canadian poets to deal with female sexuality in her work. She therefore must be placed with Dorothy Livesay and P.K. Page as one of the new century’s pioneering female poets in Canada. As well, she can rightfully be thought of as the foremother of New Brunswick modernist poetry; in one way or another, the contemporary poetry written by New Brunswick women arcs back to Smith.
  • Smith’s later poetry often contains poignant reflections on the aging process and various aspects of old age – especially love and sexuality. Poems such as “Old Women and Love” and “The Old in One Another’s Arms” overturn common stereotypes associated with aging and contribute to a more realistic and meaningful perception of older adults.
  • As in the case of Francis Sherman (see Confederation Poets), Smith’s critical neglect is central to her work, and, indeed, an aspect that bears consideration. More reading and study will reverse that neglect and open her work to the consideration it deserves. Not all artists deserve a second look – critical neglect is often posterity’s accurate judgement – but Sherman and Smith certainly do.

Literature & Analysis

“When a Girl Looks Down”

When a girl looks down out of her cloud of hair
And gives her breast to the child she has borne,
All the suns and the stars that the heavens have worn
Since the first magical morning
Rain through her milk in each fibre and cell of her darling.

Hand baring the gift touches the hidden spring,
Source of all gifts, the womb of creation;
From the wide-open door streams the elation
Shaping all things, itself shapeless as air,

That models the nipple of girl, of bud, the angel
Forms unscrolling their voices over fields of winter,
That whittles the ray of a star to a heart’s splinter
For one lost in his palace of breath on the frozen hill,
Flying the big-bellied moon for a sail,

And releases the flood of girl, of bud, of the horn
Whose music starts on a morning journey.
In mother, child and all, the One-in-the-many
Gathers me nearer to be born.

Analysis of  “When a Girl Looks Down”

This is a tricky poem only if it is approached too rationally, which is to say that the poem does not provide a structured and logical description of an event but rather the emotional register of an experience. That experience is breastfeeding, and, as such, the poem may be said to be gendered “female.” That may be an odd way to think about a poem, but doing so invites the consideration that most of the poetry produced up to Smith’s time was written by men – and through a male perspective. Because of that, many subjects were beyond the realm of experience and could not be accessed emotionally. Smith’s poem thus offers a private experience of something unique to women, yet, at the same time, something that is universally understood.

The poem presents an ur-language (primordial) of motherhood and sustenance. That ur-language brings us back to that which is timeless and elemental, an experience as old as “All the suns and the stars that the heavens have worn.” The experience being communicated, then, is one of the most ancient of all earth’s compacts: not just the provision of milk but the sustaining of life, a compact that is rooted in the intuitive (not grammatical) language of mother and child. What the girl offers is a gift – the “Source of all gifts” – that shapes “all things, [yet is] shapeless as air.”

The gift connects mother and child in a bond beyond language as we normally think of it, the forms of that bond “unscrolling their voices over fields of winter.” It is a language of flood and music and dreams, a language of impulse, of journeying together toward an unnamed destination. That destination, of course, is vitality (life), the essence of which is powered by strong and mysterious impulses that we name rationally and clinically but understand only vaguely.

Smith’s poem therefore takes us under the thin surface of rational understanding into the deeper waters of the impulse, where, as the psychoanalysts have discovered, mother and child are undifferentiated during such bonding experiences. In coming together as they do, each becomes “all, the One-in-the-many,” their act a larger enactment of the drama of life.

Set next to A.G. Bailey’s highly intellectual work, Smith’s poem is an example of how malleable modernism is in the hands of highly skilled poets. Smith is just as original and experimental in “When a Girl Looks Down” as Bailey is in “Miramichi Lightning,” yet neither poet could have written the other poem, for each poem displays the particular innate intelligence of the poet. Modernism freed poets to discover the best form and language for that innate intelligence, and that is why it was heralded as such a liberating movement.


Death wore a golden arm
When he struck my brother down,
And I but a seed growing
In the dark of my mother’s womb.

All music hushed
In the golden horn of the street
As they carried him into the house,
And shut the summer out.

Winter stepped mailed
Over my mother’s years,
And froze the honey in the comb,
And with a breath her tears.

All the birds of her blood
Were trapped in his black frost.
He slipped the bolt on her door
And blocked all the roads to her heart.

And I in the dark of the cave,
A dumb and a blind seed
Swelled in a double dark
Of birth and my mother’s grief.

And when I reached for the sun,
And cradled it like a gift,
She saw the bolt fly back
And the spell of winter lift.

Yet in these sailing days
When I sailed the ship of my flesh,
On a sudden the flying green world
Would jolt to a stop in a flash.

And a stranger in a billowy cloak,
Who wore a golden arm,
Crowded the deck in black,
Shielding my brother’s form.

In the folds of his dusky cape
Caressed the flaxen head,
And smiled into my eyes
As though I too were dead.

Who in his fungus of years
Can feel a child’s sorrow,
Hearing in a mother’s heart-beats
The pulse of its own tomorrow?

Or who with the world in his blood,
A figure in the mad myth,
Can guess the magnet that draws
In the winsome smile of Death?

Who even feebly can tell
The mourning of earliest morning,
When floating planets of dew
Snap with a black sleeve passing?

At such a time I lived
As out of myself as in,
Dogging the hero of legend,
Clever, blithe, without sin.

I was the far-off alien
Unworthy to be seen by the
Boy with his hand in his mother’s,
The golden son of a queen.

In the logic of guilt was born
The thought that my life was spun
From the body of his death,
A dark thread punished with sun.

What right had I to live,
As a castaway to rove,
Groping in a foreign tongue,
On the shores of my mother’s love?

All that I could be
Was a tumbler in front of Death,
To dazzle her from his smile,
To cartwheel in his path.

And I, because I knew
The charm of Death still held her,
Walked into his net,
Became his fearful lover.

I could not bear her grief;
I wanted only my love
To dance her into a wave,
To fit her like a glove.

I wanted the legend of roses
To be our permanent home,
Where beauty walked enchanted,
And no rude waker to come.

But one with X-ray sight
Entered the heart of the myth,
Stripped me to the bone,
And left the beginning of self.

In the place of beasts and angels
I build my permanent home,
Endure the changing weathers,
Honour the rose and the stone.

In the sea around my island,
I float my little lights
For love to find a way
To last me through the nights.

“The One Stem”

In the green and silver chorus of the grass
they lose themselves, the bright particulars.

Discovery begins
in the single that is singular,
the one stem your eyes are suddenly unsealed to see,
jointed with the latest, fragile, golden light.

Go hand in hand with generalities,
you will never be surprised,
you will never cross over

To the child dancing to herself
in a swirl of sunlight in the blind street,
to the travelling star in the running stream,
or the lucky clover.

You will never reach that tall one
talking with clouds as he mends a roof,
or the naiad rising from birth of waters in the stone fountain,
or under birds crossing the air, your voice will never carry
to the old saint sweeping leaves and frost jewels in the autumn morning.

Analysis of  “The One Stem”

If the analysis of “When a Girl Looks Down” left the impression that Smith is mostly a poet of the un-worded essence, “The One Stem” provides evidence of another attribute: a careful, even clinical, mind that sees with great discernment. As such, the poem is a primer for not only how to see but what to look for, both skills necessary for artist and fully engaged human.

The poem invites a search for “the bright particulars,” those things that stand out for their uniqueness or singularity. That singularity, however, is often lost in the “chorus” of the everyday, the common denominators and assumptions that uniformity, acquiescence, and perhaps even citizenship demand. To rise above those templates – and to “cross over” from the general (grey) to the particular (colour) – is to enter into the world of surprise and richness, where one sees a child’s abandonment to joy and other instances of uncommon vitality.

The crossing over takes a person from prose to poetry, from the literal to the imaginary, from obedience to joy. It takes us from worker to creator, re-humanizing our engagement with the world. And it takes us back to uncensored seeing, where freedom and independence make all things possible.

Experienced readers will also note that the poem alludes to classical and Biblical expressions of seeing, whether Plato’s cave dwellers who are released from seeing dimly and in shadow or Saul in Acts 9:18, who experiences the scales falling from his eyes before being granted new sight.

The next two poems, “Again With Music” and “Return to Innocence,” invoke this search for and celebration of “the bright particulars.”

“Again With Music”

Now that the rain is spent,
Trees and the purple-headed timothy and the tall grasses
Are all netted over with seed pearls.
Far as the eye can reach the sea is pale as a pearl,
The air a pool of stillness,
And so still the wild roses their petals make porcelain faces.

From leaf to leaf a raindrop slips,
Stillness upon stillness.

And sprawling over the living grass and the roses,
A dead apple tree with beauty in its bare bones,
Never to put forth again a pink and white cloud of witnesses,
Suddenly blossoms with yellow birds in its grey limbs,
And is almost alive again with music.

Love, O Love, let the birds happen to me.
Let the wild, sweet voices remember me.

“Return to Innocence”

This poem is a thimbleful
            of happiness
if you are looking for more
            in symbols
mole wisdom in tunnels
            stop here

This poem is an eyeful
        of teal-blue sea
an opening parasol of gulls
red-roofed fish houses
and curlings of surf on
       blond sands
and two friends who surface
from their separate lives
       walk together
       in the poem
after twenty years of being apart

They hold between them
the crystal of memory
            seeking their young
         enchanted faces
where wild beasts gaze as bland as milk
            where leaf never falls
            or nest is plundered
            where hand in hand
they walk forever in the heart of the green wood

“Old Women and Love”

no end to it

Yeats should have discovered Byzantium
as no country for old women
yet they refuse to die
they clutter up the earth
the blood of old women continues to cry out
to sing even to dance wildly in their veins
Sometimes the blood of an old woman rustles
like a startled bird when love’s stealthy step
cracks the dry undergrowth in the frosty air
as if a firecracker were exploding

It seems that love is a hunter of undiscriminating taste
Women old enough to know better – though God is never old
   enough –
dream deeper and deeper into the wood
like the misty-eyed girls they once were
Suddenly one will stop astounded as the trap
love has set closes its steel jaws on a foot of frail bones

This morning very early in this silent house of sleepers
when my eyes opened from the mercy of my own darkness
the world came at me like a blow
Its beauty burned gold in every resurrected leaf
burned with a still flame   Spring never relents
What was I doing here?       What was I doing here?
Behind the house the trees slept paired in their cool shadows

At night an old woman on her narrow bed
probing the dark with a stubborn mind
demanding answers she knows she will not find
tends with a fierce joy the unextinguished embers
of a not so temperate love

“The Old in One Another’s Arms”

It was not until the boy
passed me on his bicycle
that I understood
why he smiled at me
with mild amusement
almost indulgently

There was I an aging woman
walking in a dream
through the smokepearl of afternoon
sky and river and the rich
black of old trees
plethora of new leaves
opening parasols of green silk

In my hand a dandelion
gone to seed, picked
from someone’s lawn
exquisite, fragile

Little wonder he smiled
at such eccentricity
that one whose role
was wrinkled wisdom
could cherish this ghostly flower

What would he have thought
had I trespassed on the space
between us and said

“Today is like a year
of absences
Today we live or die
my truelove and I
thousands of miles between us
who yesterday were golden
in each other’s arms”

“Could you believe the sun
dropped from the sky
to root itself and blaze
a giant flower in our flesh”

“You would find incredible
grotesque, this truth:
the old must mourn
the time spent in one another’s arms
because there is so little left of it”

Not wishing to be thought mad
by one so young, I did not speak
walked on through smokepearl afternoon
holding in a careful hand
this ghostly flower

globe of filaments spun finer
than any wheel could spin
studded with miniscule stars a
slight breeze or nudging finger
could crumble into air

Analysis of  “Old Women and Love” and “The Old in One Another’s Arms”

Taken from Smith’s final collection of poems, The Bright Particulars (1987), “Old Women and Love” and “The Old in One Another’s Arms” were published when Smith was seventy-six years old. Displaying both the imagistic precision of her early verse as well as the profound emotional depth of her mature work, these poems demonstrate Smith’s continual development as a poet well into her later years. At the same time, they exhibit Smith’s idiosyncratic modernism – her facility for combining modernist precision and objectivity with personal reflection and intimacy. As such, the poems operate on multiple levels: they are accessible to first-time readers of her verse, and they also reward repeated reading and careful consideration. Though they differ slightly in form and style, “Old Women and Love” and “The Old in One Another’s Arms” offer poignant reflections on old age, womanhood, and love, themes which pervade her late poetry.

“Old Women and Love” begins with an abstracted reflection on aging women before assuming a more personal tone in the final lines. The poem opens with a brief and arresting two-line stanza – “drowning / no end to it” – which is suggestive of suffocation and engulfment. Seemingly disconnected from the rest of the poem, these initial two lines set the tone for what follows and anticipate both an approaching death and surges of intense feeling.

The second stanza begins with an allusion to W.B. Yeats’ modernist poem “Sailing to Byzantium,” in which a voyage to the ancient Greek city of Byzantium (present-day Istanbul, Turkey) becomes a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Yeats’ speaker, whose heart is “sick with desire / And fastened to a dying animal” (21-2), imagines that the ancient city will provide reprieve from old age, allowing him to leave his physical body behind and live on in art, “the artifice of eternity” (24). While for Yeats it is Ireland “that is no country for old men” (1), for Smith it is the notion of Byzantium itself (the notion of escape) that is “no country for old women” (4). In contrast with Yeats’ aging speaker, Smith’s aging speaker suggests that love rather than artifice is the source of eternity in “Old Women and Love.” Furthermore, this love is sensuous and bodily. In the ninth line love awakens when “the blood of an old woman rustles” and in the nineteenth line it “closes its steel jaws on a foot of frail bones.” A close reading reveals the subtlety of Smith’s images. In the nineteenth line, Smith plays with Yeats’ image of a “dying animal” by comparing love to a hunting trap in order to convey the sudden passion with which love strikes the aging woman. At the same time, she plays with the image of a “mind like a steel trap,” undermining the stereotype of the elderly as slow-to-learn and forgetful.

The final four lines of the second stanza and all of the third give expression to the strength and vigour with which the elderly experience romantic love. Love, Smith tells us, is not reserved for youth, but strikes the hearts of elderly women just as it did “the misty-eyed girls they once were” (17). Moreover, this love is life affirming. Nowhere is this affirmation more beautifully expressed than in the concluding lines of the poem. Switching from an objective tone to the more personal first-person tone in the fourth stanza, the poem builds towards its conclusion in which an elderly woman “tends with a fierce joy the unextinguished embers / of a not so temperate love” (30-31). In effect, Smith has taken the negative portrayal of old women as nuisances who “refuse to die” and “clutter up the earth” and turned that refusal to die into a celebration of the passion and intimacy experienced by elderly women in love. For a culture infused with images of youth, that revelation, which we are taught to read as a “reversal,” is startling indeed.

“The Old in One Another’s Arms” differs from “Old Women and Love” in that it is written entirely in the first person and revolves around a single incident. Its theme, however, remains the same. Formally, what is key in this poem is Smith’s use of “parataxis,” a poetic technique in which seemingly unconnected fragments or images are juxtaposed to create a new image, idea, or feeling. Parataxis is one of the many techniques used in modernist poetry. “The Old in One Another’s Arms” is a poem of opposites juxtaposed: old age and youth, spring and fall, vitality and dreaminess, actuality and metaphor. Again, the poem is prefaced with an allusion to Yeats’ “Sailing to Byzantium.” Smith appropriates the first two lines of Yeats’ poem, “The young / in one another’s arms,” and uses it for her title, changing “young” to “old.” This switch is important, as it sets up the relationship between young and old on which the poem hinges.

In the poem, the elderly speaker is observed by a young boy passing on his bicycle, an action that leads her to wonder what it would be like if she could communicate to him her intense feelings of love, loss, and the transience of youth. Moving from the first stanza, the speaker describes her daydream of walking through a “smokepearl afternoon” encountering a “plethora of new leaves / opening parasols of green silk,” the imagery invoking memories of spring and youth. In reality, though, it is late summer and she holds in her hand a “dandelion / gone to seed” (15). This gap between her dreams of spring and the reality that it is a later season parallels the gap between youth and old age.

Seeing the elderly speaker standing silently with the flower in her hand, the boy is amused that this woman, “whose role was wrinkled wisdom / could cherish this ghostly flower” (21-2). What the boy is unable to comprehend, however, is the depth of thought and emotion evoked by the flower. Making the gap between them even more unbridgeable, the speaker is at a loss to convey her wisdom to the boy in way that he can understand. To do so would be to “trespass on the space” that lies between the young and the old. In the final stanza she imagines what she might say, explaining to the boy that time is swift and fleeting. Ironically, the poem itself serves to bridge the gap it describes and the reader is left with a greater appreciation for the wisdom that comes with age, and the discipline and restraint with which that wisdom can be shared. The poem thus sets up what we know is one of life’s important lessons: that experience can never be taught or accelerated. Instead, it must be hard won by age and suffering.

Ultimately, both poems are informed by Smith’s own experience. Her work is marked by a thread of sadness leavened by the hope that we might experience life more fully and deeply.

Questions and Considerations for Reflection

► Consider the differences between a “male” sensibility and a “female” sensibility. What differences are discernable when we compare, for example, the work of Smith with the work of A.G. Bailey or Francis Sherman?

► Modernist technique is at the forefront of Smith’s work. As an early modernist, she was fond of using “imagism” in her poems. Modernist poet Ezra Pound defined imagism as “that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time” (4). Pound went on to describe the characteristics of imagist poetry as

  1. Direct treatment of the “thing,” whether subjective or objective.
  2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.
  3. As regarding rhythm: to compose in sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of the metronome. (3)

More advanced or practiced readers will want to consider how Pound’s definition of imagism helps us to understand what Smith conveys in “Again With Music” and “Return to Innocence.”

► Likewise, in “The Old in One Another’s Arms,” Smith’s imagistic lines echo Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro” with what seems like deliberate intention. Compare Smith’s “plethora of new leaves / opening parasols of green silk” with Pound’s “The apparition of these faces in the crowd; / petals on a wet, black bough.” When read on their own, what feelings or ideas might these poems evoke? Do they evoke those feelings or ideas in similar or dissimilar ways?

Strategies for Teachers

Strategy 1: The Bright Particulars (“The One Stem”)

After reading and discussing this poem, assign students over the next week to find and bring in two different examples of art on a similar theme, one that they believe captures the “bright particulars,” and one that does not. Depending on the temperament and abilities of your class, it might be helpful to share a few of your own examples, such as two photographs of the same individual, or two paintings of a similar setting. Explain in detail why you believe one reveals discernment on the part of the artist, and the other lacks the distinctive spark of acute perception. Clarify that this discernment is not synonymous with technical skill, as technically competent artists are not necessarily perceptive. Also, clarify that this exercise does not slant to a bias for realism or realistic portrayal. Rather, it is the acuity of perception being examined, not the accuracy of description.

Have students share their images (or perhaps other non-visual forms of art) with their classmates, without revealing their assessment. Do the classmates overwhelmingly select one piece as more discerning? Is it the same piece that the student selected? If not, challenge the student to help his/her fellow students appreciate the “bright particulars” of the piece. What does the student see that others might be missing?

Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes:

  • Reading and Viewing: Articulate and justify points of view about texts and text elements

Strategy 2: Adaptation (“Return to Innocence”)

First, you might have students read Alfred G. Bailey’s “The Muskrat and the Whale.” Engage students in a discussion of how animals adapt to their environment. Possible discussion prompts: Is the muskrat satisfied (and dignified) because it has accepted and adapted to its environment? Would the muskrat compromise this dignity if instead, like many humans, it envied or imitated the whale who swims in a much different environment? Are there any lessons here for the people of New Brunswick?

Before introducing the Smith poem, explain that it deals with a different type of adaptation; rather than individual adaptation to environment, “Return to Innocence” deals with an individual adapting to her own memories (mental rather than physical adaptation). Ask students to read and reflect on the poem with perhaps the following questions in mind:

  1. In this poem, the speaker is trying to construct a memory. Based on evidence in the poem, do you think the speaker would prefer a memory that is accurate, or a memory that is artificially perfect? Is the speaker successful?
  2. In the poem’s opening stanza, the speaker asks the reader to consider the poem as nothing more complicated than “a thimbleful of happiness.” Do students believe this is true? If they consider the statement untrue, what is the purpose of the stanza?
  3. If you had to choose between an accurate memory and a happy memory, which would you choose, and why? Can you think of a time that you have tried to revise your own personal narrative to make a past experience more sensible, or to live with yourself? Did it work?

Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes:

  • Reading and Viewing: Make informed personal responses to increasingly challenging print and media texts and reflect on their responses

Strategy 3: Stereotypes of Aging (“Old Women and Love” and “The Old in One Another’s Arms”)

We now live in a society where people are leading healthier, longer lives, and where the population of people over sixty-five is growing rapidly. In New Brunswick, where this demographic shift is particularly marked – we now have the second oldest median age in the country – a better understanding of aging and the life-experiences that come with it is essential to building a society in which an aging population is appreciated and accommodated. Smith treats “aging” as central to her work, especially the aging of older women. Ask students to provide some common stereotypes about old age. Such stereotypes might include (among others): the belief that older adults are often senile or disinterested; that they are slow to learn and are conservative; that they are isolated and lonely; or that the elderly do not desire or participate in romantic love and sexual activity. In which literary or media texts have students seen these stereotypes reinforced? How do poems like “Old Women and Love” and “The Old in One Another’s Arms” help to combat these stereotypes and combat ageism more generally?

Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes:

  • Reading and Viewing: Examine how media texts construct notions of roles, behaviour, culture, and reality

Strategy 4: Byzantium (“Old Women and Love” and “The Old in One Another’s Arms”)

Smith uses a reference to W.B. Yeats, the Irish modernist poet, in her poem “Old Women and Love” (“Yeats should have discovered Byzantium / as no country for old women”). Have students read Yeats’ “Sailing to Byzantium” and compare what both poets are saying, not only about men and women but also about youth and aging. “Sailing to Byzantium” can be found online.

Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes:

  • Reading and Viewing: Note the relationship of specific elements of a particular text to elements of other texts

Strategy 5: Dreams of Youth (“The Old in One Another’s Arms”)

In this poem, while walking outdoors, Smith’s speaker daydreams of youth; the reverie alters her perception of her environment, transforming a late-summer scene in some ways into a spring one. Ask students to compare this work with Francis Sherman’s poem “A Hearth-Song,” where the speaker dreams of spring in his “slumber-hours,” and return to youth seems possible only after sleep/death. Although students may have trouble identifying with the perspective of these aged speakers, they may have experience with reflecting about some aspect of their own past. Using evidence from the poems and their own lives, can students point to ways in which the daydreams and dreams might enrich or diminish the speakers’ current lives? If Smith’s speaker and Sherman’s speaker were to meet, what is one piece of advice each might give the other?

Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes:

  • Speaking and Listening: Articulate, advocate, and justify positions on an issue or text in a convincing manner, showing an understanding of a range of viewpoints

Further Reading

Cormorant Interview: Kay Smith.” The Cormorant 1.2 (1983): 10-14.

Gzowski, Peter. Morningside. Interview with Kay Smith. CBC, Toronto. 10 May 1988.

Harry, Margaret. “Missing So Much and So Much?” Rev. of The Bright Particulars, by Kay Smith. The Fiddlehead 157 (1988): 97-100.

Pound, Ezra. “A Retrospect.” Literary Essays of Ezra Pound. New York: New Directions, 1968. 3-14.

---. “In a Station of the Metro.” 15 July 2020

Smith, Kay. The Bright Particulars. Charlottetown: Ragweed, 1987.

Wright, Vivian, and William Prouty, eds. Spec. Issue, Kay Smith. The Cormorant 9.2 (1992).

Yeats, W.B. “Sailing to Byzantium.” 15 July 2020

For much more detailed primary and secondary source bibliographies of Smith, see her New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia entry.


We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of William Joyce, Kay Smith’s literary executor, for allowing us to use the poems above for this curriculum. Further use or distribution of these poems, however, is a violation of Canadian copyright law and is strictly prohibited. Under no circumstance may literary material used in the curriculum be reproduced, distributed, or stored without the permission of the copyright holder.

All poems above appear in Smith’s The Bright Particulars. Charlottetown, PEI: Ragweed Press, 1987.

All contents except for poetry and fiction copyright © Tony Tremblay, James W. Johnson, and Alexandra Cogswell.