Bernice Lever’s poetry books, from 1979 to present, are sold and signed at her readings and workshops.
Many of her titles can be ordered from major book chains or read in major Canadian libraries. New and used copies of her books are available from Amazon.
Listen to my poem, “Dance on the Days”, set to music by Enrico Renz:
Bernice Lever’s Poetry
Bernice, the poet, is fond of mountain-scapes and water scenes, family and friends. She is proud of her three children, two grandchildren and two great granddaughters. Her family stretches back to Europe, then Alberta pioneer grandparents, to parents working in BC, to the next three generations who are helping to create this “Mosaic of Canada”.
Bernice, the creative writer, believes structure and form add clarity and creativity to our thoughts. Both music and message – even fun/pun – of words delight her. She is interested in idiomatic and/or conversational language rooted in the images of the 5 concrete senses to compress life’s experiences and emotions to lyrics that illuminate.
POET AS STAMP 2016
Licked wet, lightly finger pressed,
value accepted and dated,
I want to decorate your mail,
handled on route
as a lasting image,
savoured by collectors.
THERE’S SMOKE 2016
Where there’s smoke
from a birch branch
or brier bowl,
most poets can see flaring flames
or flaking, frigid grey crusts
wherever their words ramble
or crash through new territories.
Foxgloves are never worn
by foxes nor fiends.
These pastel sentinels divide
green trees by their delicate bells,
fully in charge of the wilderness.
Foxgloves need no promo agents
nor fancy sign posts;
their fans gaze adoringly
whether they are pink, white, mauve.
Each bell exquisite in itself,
just as we are:
all God’s creations,
unique gloves for our souls.
SWORDS ARC NO RAINBOWS 2000
Warships improve no sunset blush
Smart missiles give no milk white
Nerve gas blossoms no yellow
Bombs grow no living green
Explosions share no sky blue
Rockets create no twilight purple
Bullets donate no blood red
Tanks pulp no juice orange
Terrorists smile no lips pink
Free will to choose:
grey ash, death’s dark charcoal
or God’s pure gold of love.
HAVE YOU EVER 1979
Have you ever thought
that the blind
have no colour prejudices,
and the deaf care
not for speeches, etc.,
but even lacking our five
you have the choice
to hate or to love?
I don’t want to live everyday
as the last day,
grasping and clasping
at disintegrating care
like a fish leaping
from an oil slick
into our polluted air.
Grant me the wisdom
to live each day
as the first day,
shy in its newness
strong in its promise.
Praise from other Poets
My 10th poetry book, Small Acts, Black Moss Press, December 2016.
“Bernice is unflinching as she shares an almost holy awareness of our human condition. Her poems are a baptism of clarity about who we are in this time and this place. Yet she loves us through our foibles and missteps with poems that remind us of our humanity and connection to our natural world and to each other. Throughout this collection, Bernice pours out “watered words for our arid hearts.”
– Carla Shafer, founder: Chuckanutsandstone Poets, Bellingham, WA
“Never A Straight Line” – Black Moss – 2007
No other Canadian poet writes with anything quite like Bernice Lever’s combination of comic wit, irony (self-irony included), earthiness, delicacy, honesty, and desire. “Nature never drew with a ruler,” she tells us, “nor a set square,/yet curves bind us closer…” and we know how right she is in what she says to us about our bewildering, intoxicating animal and spiritual worlds. We know how right she is, too, to “garage-sale” fears and go “kayaking to the river’s end” — all that’s needed is a “waterproof heart.” The poems in this collection are fresh and alive, they’re genuine, and nothing less than a pure pleasure.
– Russell Thornton, prize-winning poet of North Vancouver, BC
“Never A Straight Line” has words, every curve of which you will want to touch. Bernice Lever’s sensuality allies with sense, sense of humour and wisdom to create a palpable geography of body and mind we can all follow and learn of living, lovingly along the way. These poems are seductive and assertive, shy and trip-teasy, liquid and dry, a wonder bundle of opposites, as life is.
– George McWhirter, 1st Poet Laureate of the City of Vancouver, BC.
…the more lethal conflict between the sexes seems to be hotting up more savagely with each day that passes. Bernice Lever reports it with irony, realism, grin humour and an awareness of its high cost. What grabs me about her poems is that their sophistication comes not from books and meetings with the literati, but from the rueful experiences that life has in store for all of us. The irony is never divorced from charity, the searing insight from the troubled heart.
– Irving Layton, international acclaim, dozens of poetry books – 1945 – 1985
She writes with compassion, anger and a rueful humour. Her subjects are everywoman’s love and loss, marriage, the process of aging, domestic tragedies, big and little. She has not only shows us the poetry of everyday life, she does more, she shows us the Mysteriousness.
– Miriam Waddington, “Selected Poems”, Oxford Press, 1990
“Imagining Lives” – Black Moss – 2012
A natural lyricist and imagery spinner, Lever’s poetry comprises crystalline illustrations of the feelings between humans. Most of all, there persists through “Imagining Lives”, a sense of continuing discovery. Lever’s mastery of observation, her understanding of life, and long-ago inspiration of the great American contemporary masters results in a memorable volume of verse.
– Dennis E. Bolen, “Black Liquor”, Caitlin Press, 2013