I met Wendy several years ago at a writers' conference/festival/shindig in Salmon Arm. My friend, Heather, and I were sitting, probably enjoying a beer (or a coffee, depending on what time of day it was), when Wendy came by with her parasol.
"You're wearing a Bling," we said, allowing as how we knew the person who made them (Sandy Korman, and they're available at a number of places, including the Kootenay Gallery, across from the airport in Castlegar).
Heather was wearing one, too, which prompted a lovely conversation about blings, the Kootenays, writing, the lovely day it was, poetry, and so on.
Cut to about three years ago, when I went to one of Patrick Lane's Glenairley poetry weekends, organized by Wendy. We became friends, and when she had to come to the Koots on business, she stayed in Ootischenia and gave a talk about how we can all get what we want if we just go at it in the right way, to a group of ready-to-be-inspired writers and friends of writers from the area.
Just as everyone was arriving, this double rainbow appeared in the back yard, a poetic omen if ever I saw one!
Somewhere around twenty people showed up (not bad, given that it was short notice and middle of the week).
Wendy talked about how she's managed to garner financial and/or moral support for the business of poetry, based on her memoir, Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast (link takes you to a review by Yvonne Blomer in The Antigonish Review), a book that should be a must-read for any poet seeking book publication who is uncomfortable with the prospect of having to promote it. She also read poems, including some from What Were Their Dreams, her new book from Black Moss Press, and talked about Random Acts of Poetry, a project she initiated in 2004.
Thanks to Wendy, for ALL she does for poetry. As she says, it is "the shortest distance between two hearts".
Here's one of her poems, to be published in "Tears, the Same Music", a chapbook of poetry written at the March 2009 retreat, currently in production from Leaf Press.
ONCE A MAN FROM JAPAN
played the horse head violin
on the cliff above the Strait.
The Strait weeping green;
a grieving wind off the Pacific.
I’m thinking of his widow in Osaka
who took her husband’s ashes to the shore.
Gave them to the wind.
She chanted, sang her grief.
I walk into the wind.
It tastes of salt and ash.
Today, even the kelp sings.
If you're at all interested in the way Canadian poetry evolved in the sixties, this is worth a look—bill bissett and bp nichol in a 60's interview with Phyllis Webb. (I think it's 1966, but now I can't find where I read/heard that. Phyllis' hair looks like 1966, that's for sure.)
Here's bill, at the Shuswap Lake International Writers' Festival in 2005.
And finally, take a look at Ontario poet Conrad DiDiodato's brand new poetry review blog, Word-Dreamer: Poetics.
Let's go surfing now!