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Book details
  • Genre:POETRY
  • SubGenre:General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:150
  • eBook ISBN:9781483552422

Poems of a Spirit Wrestler

by James Kalmakoff View publisher's profile page

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Overview
The poems cover a 35-year period from 1959 to 1994 and resemble an album of family photos of events, places and people — each with a story to tell. During this time I moved from being a poet, to a journalist, to a lab technician, then a research scientist and finally an academic at a university in New Zealand in 1969. These poems are messages to myself and represent a search for a meaning to life — the wrestling with my spirit. Along the way I took time out for love, religion, travel and navel gazing.
Description
The thread of dissent that runs through some of the poems probably reflects my cultural heritage. My grandparents emigrated to Canada in 1899 from the Caucasus region of southern Georgia. They had been exiled from the Russian Orthodox Church as dissenters. They were called Doukhobortsy (’Spirit wrestlers’) since they were seen as wrestling with and for the Spirit of God. They later became pacifists and took a stand against militarism and refused to serve in the Tsarist’s army. The poems cover a 35-year period from 1959 to 1994 and resemble an album of family photos of events, places and people — each with a story to tell. During this time I moved from being a poet, to a journalist, to a lab technician then a research scientist and finally an academic at a university in New Zealand in 1969. These poems are messages to myself and represent a search for a meaning to life — the wrestling with my spirit. Along the way I took time out for love, religion, travel and navel gazing.
About the author
I started out in life as a poet living in downtown Vancouver in 1959. This proved to be a difficult way to earn a living, so I tried becoming a journalist and enrolled at Carlton University in Ottawa. This didn’t work out so I took a job as a lab technician for a couple years. During this time I became seriously interested in Science and enrolled for a microbiology degree at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and completed a PhD in 1968. After a postdoc at Berkeley, I joined the staff at the Microbiology Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand in 1969. During my academic career I published >100 scientific articles in molecular virology and was privileged to supervise some outstanding PhD students. I held the position of Associate Dean, Website & Communications, was convenor of the Web Advisory Committee for the University corporate website and was the Director of the Centre for Gene Research for 12 years. After retiring in 2009 I became a director of a company that developed websites and published eBooks. The dilemma for me was that although I was ‘good’ at science, I never consider myself a scientist — I was a poet at heart. Yet if I started publishing poems, I would have been excommunicated from Science as no longer being able to see the world objectively (not to be trusted) and the poets of the day would have shunned me because I was tainted by Science. So now at the age of 76 I have finally published some of my poems.
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