April is National Poetry Month and I was sorry to miss Tim Shay's Open Mic at the Vienna Café in Nelson last week, but it couldn't be helped. I'm hoping to get to it in May. It's a great opportunity to try out new poems on an audience.
Toronto writer, editor, and great poetry boot camp workshop leader, Stuart Ross, flew into Castlegar a couple of days ago. I'm not sure he knows how lucky he was to get in—Nelson, 44 km from where I am (just under 30 miles), was getting snow and we'd had some overnight. But somehow Castlegar was spared, for once, at flight arrival time and there were actual blue patches in the sky and the plane got in. Ted and I met Stu at the airport and after the baggage arrived we all went off to Weezie's for borscht,
a tradition that began the first time I met Stuart when he came to do readings in Castlegar and Nelson in the fall of 2006. He's in the area to do some teaching and get some writing done.
This is what it looked like the next morning. The snow is quite unprecedented; a week ago it was 24 degrees C.
I had ordered Stuart's new CD's and it was hand-delivered. It's called An Orphan's Song, and is described as a "series of musical settings of poems by the Canadian writer Stuart Ross"by English singer/songwriter Ben Walker, who accompanies himself on piano and/or guitar singing his adaptations of some of Stuart's poems. I've listened to it once and already have a couple I want to go back and listen to again and again. Road Trip, Southern Ontario, 1999, for one. The Cow, for another. And Invitation to Love is simply lovely. The music makes me think of dance halls, music from The Sting, and my friend Wayne Boismier, who played keyboards with the Toronto band, Everyday People back in the early seventies and who has since gone to spirit, but I remember him playing and singing a little like this.