Saturday, July 16, 2011


     There's so much going on in the world of poetry these days I just have to share a few links with you.
I was just reading the blurb on the Hazelwood Writers' Festival on August 7 and damn, I'd love to go. In fact, I think I'm going. So what if I just got back from an 8,500 km road trip. What's another 1,500 or so?
     I will be reading at WordStorm at Diners Rendezvous (I'm resisting giving the place an apostrophe) in Nanaimo on September 26, 2011, a Monday. Ursula Vaira, David Fraser and Lisa Shatzky are also reading so it should be fun. If you're in the vicinity, please come. You need to email David Fraser to get seats or get there before 6:30 PM as WordStorm is a highly attended event.
     Vancouver is the place to be in October if you're a poet, specifically October 19-22, 2011. Vancouver turns 125 this year and lots of celebrations are taking place, including the Vancouver 125 Poetry Conference. Just have a look at the poets who are participating. Looks like it's time to start figuring out fall.
         CASCADIA - Map by David McCloskey
     And next March, in Seattle, Washington, there's the Cascadia Poetry Festival. This festival will feature a gathering of poets from Cascadia, a bio-region that comprises California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, British Columbia, the Alaska panhandle and Western Montana. The panel discussions, readings and workshops announced so far sound great. Registration will be available later this fall.
     This last, of course, is the perfect segue for me to mention that I just received my copy of Cascade 2011, Journal of the Washington Poets Association March 23-25, 2012 as well. My poem, My Boy's a Minstrel is in it. Interestingly, the poem was accepted in August 2008. I posted a note about it, along with the poem, in my January 2009 blog post. Then, as so often happens in volunteer-based organizations, everything ground to a halt for a while, or at least to a very, very slow. The poem has been revised several times since then, as is my wont, so it was interesting to see the version I'd sent out over three years ago. It's actually very close to the most recent one.
     And in another bit of publishing news, my poem Packing the Car is going to be anthologized again—this time in a book called Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers, due out in 2012 in the USA. 
Our North of 60 route

     So as I mentioned, I'm just back from a rather long road trip. For a long time now Ted and I have wanted to be up north (think Northwest Territories, the Yukon, Alaska) for the longest day, so when the opportunity to have house sitters in June arose we decided to go for it.
     Around the time we were in the process of figuring out our route, Yukon poet, Clea Roberts, posted a note to the League of Canadian Poets' list-serve about a poetry festival that was happening in Whitehorse at the end of June. Ted and I had figured out a tentative route that took us up through BC with stops in Terrace and Telegraph Creek, to Fort Simpson to visit friends on the longest day, then back home via Alberta.
     "I guess it's too far to double back from Fort Simpson to Whitehorse," I said, squinting at the map.
     "There's a poetry festival in Whitehorse June 24–26."
     "We could go counter-clockwise." said my husband, leaving me to wonder why I hadn't thought of that.
     So away we went, starting from Castlegar, down near the BC/Washington border and up through central BC, over to Jasper and then north through Alberta on the MacKenzie Highway with stops in High Level and Enterprise, where we watched the 7th Stanley Cup game in horror (and was anyone really surprised at what happened after the game? Like it would have made any difference if the Canucks had won). We spent three nights in Yellowknife (expensive) before heading to Fort Simpson where we visited friends, Aaron and Jackie, and flew into Nahanni National Park to see Virginia Falls.

     A very enthusiastic young drummer at the Aboriginal Days celebrations in Fort Simpson.

     And then there was the wildlife along the way. A scruffy raven patrols the banks of the MacKenzie.

 "Don't mind us!"

     Young bull hits the road. Actually, in this shot none of his hooves are hitting the road. (Photo by Ted) We saw lots of bison.

Black bear taking it easy in a field of buttercups

     Two long driving days brought us to Whitehorse for a weekend of poetry — what a great line-up!

     Every good writers' festival has a supportive bookstore in its life. Mac's Fireweed Books carried pretty much all the poets' books, the Canada Post strike notwithstanding. They've got a good selection of poetry in general and they have an apostrophe! 

bill bissett communing with Jack London

 Eleanor Wachtel and Karen Solie

 David Seymour

Eleanor and John Pass

Miranda Pearson

Rhea Tregebov

 Elizabeth Bachinsky

    Clea Roberts, who was instrumental in the formation of the Whitehorse Poetry Festival

    It was a great weekend. Readings, panel discussions, books, hanging with the tribe. I look forward to seeing who they'll bring in for the next Whitehorse Poetry Festival in 2013.
      Started home via the Cassiar Highway. Detoured 112km from Dease Lake to Telegraph Creek. The drive in was worth the trip—the road was gravel, but well maintained. Some of the grades were 20% and there were no barriers between the car and the Stikine River or one of its tributaries far below. 

     On the way to Terrace we drove past the lava fields near New Aiyansh. In 1775 a volcano erupted and left a mess of lava 3km by 10km. It took out two Nisga'a villages, killing some 2,000 people. (Don't remember learning anything about this in Social Studies). Only in the last 100 years have the moss and lichen begun to cover everything.

      Can any of my birder friends tell me if this is a juvenile flicker? If so,  I got to see it's first flight.

     In Terrace it rained. Here's a water lily on Lakelse Lake

Near Barriere, BC. This is what it looks like a few years after a forest fire.

     Finally, after almost 8,500 km in 3 1/2 weeks, Backyard Mountain! Home sweet home.

     Thanks for dropping in! As a little reward for reading this far, here's something I heard at the poetry festival in Whitehorse. 
Q. What did Luke Skywalker say to the poet? 
A. Metaphors be with you!
     Over and out.


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