Gord Downie’s Poetry, Educational Gold.

coke machine glow

It belongs in the English curriculum of every senior high school in Canada.

Leonard Cohen’s work appeared in my high school 9th grade English class. I was already studying his work and using his influence in the creative aspects of my attempts to write at that young age. One of the other poetry books in my collection is Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow. The Tragically Hip front man is a poet for the ages. He is someone who has captured Canada with near-prose and songs that many recognize.

Downie’s book should be included in senior high English classes across the country. His excellent use of descriptive language can actually teach students things. The collection captures moments of laughter in few words. Laughter in many. There are reflections on reading, writing and life on the road.

“In 20-watt New Orleans envelopes lick themselves”

New Orleans, from Coke Machine Glow by Gord Downie.

This poem, which is actually two lines and not one as quoted above, is just one of several great examples of descriptive writing. At first reading the reader is certain to think of a hot humid day in the Louisiana city. Envelopes don’t need anything but the air to help them get sealed. A reader might then take a step back and wonder how hot would 20-watts be in Degrees or Celsius?

It was a fortunate thing that Leonard Cohen’s poetry was the subject of brief study that one day in 9th grade English. Educators across the country should really consider the value of Gord Downie’s contributions to Canadian culture by including this book.

It should be noted that Gord’s book “Secret Path” should also be included in education. If so it should be included at as early a stage as possible in Canadian schools. It talks of chapters in Canadian history that should never be forgotten, and never repeated again. 




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