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Samuel Peralta here…

In 2000, the United Nations opened a reading series called Dialogue Among Civilizations Through Poetry.

For its spotlight piece, the UN chose the poem “Planet Earth” by the renowned Canadian poet P.K. Page, to be simultaneously read at locations around the globe – including at the UN headquarters in New York, Mount Everest, the South Pacific, and Antarctica.

A biography of P.K. Page by Sandra Djwa (McGill-Queen’s University Press 2012).

A biography of P.K. Page by Sandra Djwa (McGill-Queen’s University Press 2012).

“Planet Earth” was the one poem that Patricia Kathleen Page wanted to be remembered for.

Fittingly, the poem is a glosa, a form of poetry re-discovered and popularized by Page, and was inspired by four lines from the poem “In Praise of Ironing” by Pablo Neruda.

At once a tribute to Neruda, but with a thematic independence, “Planet Earth” sings.

Its full text can be found here.

Pablo Neruda at a recording session at the US Library of Congress

Pablo Neruda at a recording session at the US Library of Congress

If you were here two nights ago on Open Link Night, and checked out the link to my Semaphore poetry blog, to my poem “The Dream”, you opened a window into a form of poetry that, for me, has proven amazingly liberating despite its structure.

If you missed it, here’s the poem again, a glosa inspired by four lines from P.K. Page’s “This Heavy Craft”; I’d completed it days after she’d passed away.


where a bird
night after starry night
while I’m asleep
unfolds its phantom wings

— P.K. Page

is perhaps
a dream of you.
And the bird your
last unfinished verse
before you fell to earth.
And the night this world
without you, suddenly
overwhelmed with
loss, a song unheard,
where a bird

finds feathered rest.
And I am stirred
to whisper words
as would fly through
this glass air, as would
recall you, bright
as metal, incandescent
coal, rose-fragrant
words to take flight
night after starry night

when your absence
tests this faltering
hologram of faith.
No, not my words, but yours,
migrant across the pages,
flying across the deep
pleated blue of the ocean,
like arial shadows
in memory steeped.
While I’m asleep

your verses thread
into my dream,
as if they would embroider
with flowers and birds
this heart that only knows
that you are missing
still. Night after starry night
while I’m asleep
your poetry sings,
unfolds its phantom wings.



The glosa is a form of poetry from the late 14th century and was popular in the Spanish court.

The introduction, the cabeza, is a quatrain quoting a well-known poem or poet.

The second part is the glosa proper, expanding on the theme of the cabeza, consisting of four ten-line stanzas, with the lines of the cabeza used to conclude each stanza.

Lines six and nine must rhyme with the borrowed tenth.

There are no rules governing meter and line length, except that traditionally, they emulate the style of the lines in the cabeza.

Because of its structure, the glosa is ideally used as a poem of tribute – as Page did for Neruda in “Planet Earth”, and as I do for Page in “The Dream”.

In writing that tribute, you weave your lines with the lines of the opening cabeza, collaborating, as it were, with the spirit of the poet you honour.

Planet Earth, as seen from Apollo 17

Planet Earth, as seen from Apollo 17

I’d only ever known P.K. Page from her work, but when she passed away, it was like I’d lost someone I’d actually met.

My heart was torn and I wanted to say how much I missed her though I didn’t know her, how it was sad that after so much poetry no more words would be written…

But I also wanted to say that that the words that she had written – her influence, her inspiration – would live on, in my heart, my thoughts, and in my own poetry.

It was thus a great honour for me when “The Dream” was selected for publication by The Malahat Review as part of its permanent online tribute to P.K. Page.

P.K. Page on 'The Malahat Review'

P.K. Page on ‘The Malahat Review’

Tonight, I invite you to contribute your own glosa, a traditional form that lends itself so well to contemporary poetry.

Use it to pay tribute to one of your favourite poets, songwriters, mentors – via the cabeza and the intertwining of that writer’s words with your own.

I hope you’ll join me in writing and sharing tonight.

Thank you.


Samuel Peralta – on Twitter as @Semaphore – is an award-winning Canadian poet, author of The Semaphore CollectionSonata Vampirica, Sonnets from the Labrador, How More Beautiful You Are, Tango Desolado and War and Ablution – all Amazon Kindle top five best sellers in poetry.

His poems have appeared in Existere, The Malahat Review, Metazen, MiPoesias, Poets and Artists and other journals and anthologies. Literary honours include awards from the BBC, UK Poetry Society, a Palanca Award, and shortlists for the League of Canadian Poets, ARC Poem of the Year, and the Elgin Award.

Copyright (c) Samuel Peralta. All rights reserved.
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