PLATTSBURGH——Carolyn Zonailo had edited Stephen Morrissey's poetry over the years, but they did not meet in person until May 1991 at a Writer's Union of Canada meeting.
Six months later, they were married. Now, they live in Morrissey's native Montreal.
Zonailo is active with small-press publishing, founding Caitlin Press in 1977. In partnership with graphic artist and poet, Ed Varney, she manages "The Poem Factory/Usine de Poeme," founded in 1991. Zonailo is an editor and consultant.
Of late, she and Morrissey have been so busy doing house renovations, teaching and editing that they have had little time to do what brought them together in the first place: write poetry.
They join fellow Montrealer Norm Sibum to read their original works 8 p.m. tonight at the Bridge Street Coffeehouse above the North Country Co-op, 25 Bridge St., Plattsburgh.
Local poets are invited to read at open mike. Admission is $1.
"I've been writing since grade 4," Zonailo said. "I first started publishing in high school in yearbooks and at university later. I've been writing and publishing all my life."
Zonailo attended the University of Rochester where she studied with Norman 0. Brown. She received her MA, in literature from Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. Her theses paper on Henry James, "The Beast in the Jungle: The Observer's Art" was published in Dragonflies: Studies in Imaginal Psychology" and was listed in Jungian Literary Criticism.
Her poetry is noted for its emotional depth and clarity and insight into human nature. Zonailo's poetry articulates the connections between everyday and mythical, personal and universal, natural world and human experience.
"A lot of people talk about the death of poetry. I think the future is brighter than ever."
Her latest publication is "Wading the Trout River" (1997).
"Stephen's property bordered the Trout River. Landscape always figures in a large part of my work. There are a lot of love poems in that book."
Stephen Morrissey teaches literature and humanities at Champlain College in Montreal. He graduated from Sir George Williams University
He received his MA from McGill University, where he studied with Louis Dudek. Morrissey was one of the Véhicule poets, publishing and performing in Montreal in the 1970's.
These days, Morrissey teaches Intro to Poetry, mythology and composition.
"I've been writing since I was 14 or 15. 1 had a dream that got me writing. I dreamt I was in this room where all the windows were covered with mud, and I couldn't see out. What I got from that was I needed to write things down."
For the last 33 years, Morrissey has kept a diary that gets a minimum of a paragraph entry daily.
"That's an awful long time to confess to anything."
His poetry is original, imaginative, confessional, surrealistic and visionary. Dark. He is intimate in his work, opening his emotions to careful scrutiny, searching always for the universal or archetypal pattern, hidden within an individual's life story. His anecdotal and discursive poetry carries within it his questioning of the existential meaning of life.
"I write about what a lot of other people won't write about. I write about death. Those are the things that interest me."
"Morrissey: Selected Poems (TBP, The Muse's Co.) is scheduled to be published next year.
"A lot of people talk about the death of poetry. I think the future is brighter than ever. At a time when the world appears to be getting worse, there is an explosion of interest in poetry. Thank God for Bill Moyers. There are cowboy poets and prison poets. I think it's a democratizing of a lot of things that are happening in society."
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