Earle Calls Poetry “Psychedelic”

Earle Calls Poetry “Psychedelic”
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A Canadian poet who looked like he just stepped out of the pages of Confederation told Centennial College students he intends to try LSD. Dr. Earle Birney, a distinguished gentleman of 65, writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto, said this at a lecture here on March 23. Brought to the college by “This Hour” lecture series, Birney spent hours completely captivating the audience with his wit and selections based upon people and experiences encountered on his recent trip around the world. Anywhere from an exquisite little Dutch West Indies town to the stark greyness of Sudbury, Ontario, Birney made them come alive and “move.” In 1945 Birney wrote a poem entitled “Canada: Case History,” in which “he associated Canada with adolescence, daydreams and schizophrenia.” This being Centennial year, he has written a subsequent poem entitled Case History: 1967, dwelling on Canada’s advances and retreats as a nation. “Writing a poem is to me, no different than the effects of smoking, falling in love, or taking an LSD trip,” said Birney. “The main feat is to transmit your feelings to another. Poems proceed on dark strong feelings, not logic. One of the most fascinating and worth-while psychedelic experiences one can encounter today is free and obtainable to anyone who wants it. That experience is ‘living.’ Asked about marijuana, Birney said that from his own experience he felt very tranquil and that he underwent many original thought phases, but at the time he had no desire to do anything about it. As well as in Canada and the U.S., Birney has given poetry readings in major universities in Mexico, Japan, South America and India. The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour was awarded to him in 1949 for his novel Turvey. Summing up, Birney said, “Life is so full of interruptions. We can experience so many mind reaching, painful, and beautiful feelings in this world but the main problem is trying to get time to find the uniqueness that is you.”

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