Garbolish by James Kalmakoff


A booklet of early Vancouver poems — written as a young man.

“If the Brain can’t, if the people can’t, the garbage can.”

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Garbolish was originally self-published in 1959 using a Gestetner offset printer — the technology of the day. The poems were written in the ‘one-shot’ genre, rough diamonds with no further polishing or editing in the attempt to capture and preserve the authenticity and expression of the moment. This was more than 50 years ago, during my ‘poet as an angry young man’ days.

The ‘Night’ poem was written when I was living in a flat in Vancouver on the corner of Ronson and Bute Street in a house once occupied by the Canadian writer and poet, Pauline Johnson, daughter of a Mohawk chief. The building has long since been replaced with a gas station and a restaurant. The cityscape has also changed and many of the places referred to in the poem are no longer there — Pender Street was the beginning of Chinatown.


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