Peter Hrastovec on Bruce Meyer’s Grace of Falling Stars
In a fickle world plagued by an array of demons, it is refreshing to know that Romantics do exist, artists inspired by beauty and passions that stir the hungry soul. Through their zeal and talent, they find ways to exalt the simplest of things, tiny pleasures that captivate our thoughts and cause us to smile knowingly and joyfully. We learn from them—they are both teacher and mystic; in an age of rampant cynicism, they prompt us to pause, reflect, and give thanks.
When I read the prolific outpouring of Bruce Meyer’s life’s work (I have savored many but not all of his more than sixty books!), I think of him as a contemporary Romantic, a latter-day William Blake or John Keats, capable of navigating the banality of the day-to-day and transcending to a higher plane where all that is good is celebrated with unfettered delight. In short, Bruce Meyer is a gift to Canadian writing.
In his latest work, GRACE OF FALLING STARS, the poet ruminates, “Where does enlightenment lead?” For Meyer, it is in memories of grandparents who dutifully read to him or share their love and knowledge of nature, the wistful observations found in stargazing, or a doting father marveling (and lamenting) a daughter who has, in an instant, grown to adulthood.
Through language carefully honed with measured accuracy, Meyer evokes masterful images as found in his touching homage to his own mother:
Her hands were language.
Her grip fragile as small birds
could have touched the world
but she held me instead.
When they pointed to a flower
or played a favourite waltz,
her hands became music
that taught my words to sing.
From his pen, Meyer’s words take flight. They rise above the mundane and drift heavenward. This, I believe, is what Meyer seeks from his readers–that we are compelled to lift our eyes as well as our hearts in order to achieve enlightenment and find our own state of grace in a world where hope transcends the darkness.
A word about the publishing process. This book is another stunning collaboration between author and the Editing and Publishing Practicum at the University of Windsor where students, under the guidance and leadership of poet laureate emeritus, Marty Gervais, study and learn the process of professional editing and publishing of a literary work. This course of study leads to careers. Kudos to this year’s class for a virtuoso accomplishment under difficult circumstances in this pandemic era.