Friday, June 28, 2019


look like the sheared ears of voles and are as soft as apricots. 
Late at night, blindfolded, he loves to take them out and play 
pin-the-tail on the donkey while his wife and children are fast
asleep. He plays his sentences like fish in a stream, tickling for
trout with curled fingers. Commas are hearing buds he places
deep inside his ears. After sprinkling them liberally, he waits
for the first sprouts to unfurl. In summer, on hot, dry days, he
strings them on the washing line between the tree in the ear
and the shelter built out of longing. Get close enough and you
can see the little hairs quivering.

- Eve Joseph


Wow. I love this whimsical prose poem by Victoria poet Eve Joseph so much! I have featured this poet before in this column, but I wanted to showcase her again, as Eve was recently awarded the Griffin Prize of $65,000, for her 84-page book of prose poems, Quarrels. The Griffin is considered the world’s largest prize for a first-edition single collection of poetry. Congratulations, Eve!

510 poetry collections from 32 countries, including 37 translations competed for the prize. Our Vancouver Island poet did well; she topped the field. We are very proud of her!

I love the whimsy of a poet keeping commas in a jar on his or her desk. I admire the way her imagery makes us almost feel those soft vole-like ears, and the playing of the sentences, "like fish darting in a stream". Lovely. This entire small book offers page after page of such delightful poems.

Eve won the 2015 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize for her book titled In the Slender Margin, about her years spent working in hospice, a deeply satisfying read, which I have enjoyed more than once.  

Eve has two other books of poetry, The Startled Heart and The Secret Signature of Things.  Both were nominated for the Dorothy Livesay award.

You can find Eve at her website :   

Material shared in 'I Wish I'd Written This' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors.


  1. I loved that poem! The imagery is amazing! I definitely need to check out her books!

  2. This made me smile. Love the idea of commas in a jar and them being like little hairs wiggling. What a talented observer and creative thinker Eve Joseph seems to be! And I absolutely love the cover of her book!!

  3. Commas in a jar! How wonderful!

  4. I love it. And love the cover, too! The furry vole ears just Knock. Me. Out.

  5. Amazing writing, yes! And surely unique.

  6. Quite a feat, too, for a poet, midst all the competition, to win such a hefty prize! Yay!

  7. Congratulations to Eve Joseph! What a fantastic piece of poetry! Thank you for this captivating and edifying share, Sherry. I love to see Poets receive recognition - and this is Poetry's towering pinnacle. Wonderful!!! Yay!!!

  8. 'A jar of commas' What wonderful thought!! "He plays his sentences like fish in a stream" Love this. Thanks for the share Sherry.

  9. What a great selection. I love this poem and congratulate Eve on her awards and success.
    I'll always have that image of the jar or commas. So imaginative and fun.

  10. I love the delicious visuals in that poem. I shall never look at commas in the same way again. Congrats to Eve. Thanks so much for sharing, Sherry.

  11. what a cool prose poem!
    a jar of commas, now that would come in handy anytime. :)


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