Friday 27 April 2018

Poems of a Soul Friend

Since 1998, April has been designated National Poetry Month to "celebrate poetry and its vital place in Canada’s culture."

During his episcopate, the Archdiocese of Toronto had its very own poet-in-residence in His Eminence, G. Emmett Cardinal Carter.

Cardinal Carter (1912-2003) is often remembered for reading his poetry at various events. In 1979, he founded the Cardinal's Dinner, the largest annual community dinner and fundraiser in the country. It became a tradition for Carter to recite a poem at the end of his Cardinal's Dinner speech.

Photographs Collection, PH18C/104CP

G. Emmett Cardinal Carter gives his Cardinal's Dinner speech at the annual fundraiser, ca. 1990. It became tradition for him to end his speech by reciting one of his poems.

A few years before his death, Cardinal Carter self-published a collection of his favourite poems, entitled The Poems of a Soul Friend. In honour of National Poetry Month, we are sharing selections from this booklet and the draft copies that we hold in the Archives.

Cardinal Carter fonds

Cardinal Carter's self-published book of poems, The Poems of a Soul Friend, as well as the original draft of the opening poem, "I do not have the words of Yeats," written in 1999.
Cardinal Carter fonds

This poem was written a couple of years after Cardinal Carter resigned as Archbishop of Toronto. It speaks of his early career and vocation in hometown Montreal, his appointment to Bishop of London, and to Toronto, where he finished his episcopal duties.

Cardinal Carter fonds

We have written previously about Cardinal Carter's beloved dogs, who were often the subject of his poetry.

Cardinal Carter fonds

An example of one of the poems that Cardinal Carter presented at the Cardinal's Dinner, 1992. It was written when he was leaving the Diocese of London for his appointment as Archbishop of Toronto. Carter had a great appreciation for the outdoors and the waterfront in particular. In addition to Lake Huron, he wrote poems about Fourteen Island Lake, where his family cottaged, Grand Bend, Ontario, and Tergensee in Bavaria.

Cardinal Carter fonds

The final poem of his book, "Steadfast", reflects on growing old.

No comments:

Post a Comment