Mick Burrs: Real Live Poet

Had a surprise visitor at work the other day – poet Steven Michael Berzensky (aka Mick Burrs).

I first came across Mick’s books when, as a young English major, I would go to Yorkton as part of my job as a door-to-door salesman with Image Cable Systems.  I would spend the night at a co-worker’s parents’ house on Sunday night before spending a week on the road, moving from one small Saskatchewan town to another.

They put me in their spare bedroom which doubled as their library and that is where I came across a poetry book called “Dark Halo” which, unlike much of the “classic” poetry I was reading at University, blew me away with its immediacy, insight and emotional impact.

After University, I found work with the Saskatchewan Publishers Group and through them, got to know Mick personally.  A man who fled the US to avoid the Vietnam war draft, I have probably never met a more gentle soul in my life.  I was also fascinated by his choice (though I wasn’t sure if it was a choice or the reality of being a poet) to live like a starving artist, completely dedicated to his art, again, in a way I’d never seen before.

Later, Shea and I moved to Alberta and one of the highlights of my time at the Writers Guild of Alberta was when I got to host three of my favourite Saskatchewan poets to be part of the Word on the Street “Poet’s Corner” stage.  They were Bruce Rice, Gary Hyland and Mick Burrs.

Mick moved to Toronto in 2005 and I was able to connect with him at BookExpo Canada in 2006 while spending the year in Ontario completing my MLIS.  Other than that, I hadn’t talked to him until he showed up in the Outreach Unit a couple days ago, back to attend the League of Canadian Poets AGM.

As always, it was great to catch up with Mick, hear how his life was going and as always, receive a gift of one of his poems which he inscribed with the words “Enjoy & Share” so that’s what I’m doing…

Summer Haiku 2

roaming in summer heat
this dog
drinks the sidewalk

when I step past
he licks
my shadow

Mick said a Saskatchewan company was shooting a documentary about his life.  It wasn’t finished but there was a preview online (with a cameo by Regina Public Library!):

I can’t wait to see the finished project – what a fascinating life!

Comments 2

  1. Bryan Wilson wrote:

    Hi Mick from Red Deer

    Posted 25 Jul 2012 at 10:05 pm
  2. HeadTale wrote:

    Just to be clear, this isn’t a blog post by Mick but a post about him by a former associate (me) if you were hoping to re-connect with him. Usually a sparse post like yours is spam but I can’t see any hidden links to diamond mining stocks or penile enlargement pill re-sellers. So I’ll leave it for now. 😉 And I see Mick again, I’ll let him know you say ‘hi’.

    Posted 30 Jul 2012 at 10:07 am
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