Friday night an all but standing room only crowd gathered at Nelson BC's Oxygen Art Centre to bid a fond farewell to Ernest Hekkanen's and Margrith Schraner's lit mag, The New Orphic Review. The NOR began in 1998 in Vancouver. After Ernest and Margrith moved to Nelson three years later, they continued to publish it out of their home/gallery on Mill Street. Two issues a year for twenty years. Scores of writers. So very many words. Writing in the NOR has appeared in a Best American Mystery Stories anthology and twice in Journey Prize anthologies.
I've blogged about the NOR and/or Ernest, it's Editor-in-Chief, quite a few times. Unfortunately I wasn't blogging yet when I attended a Federation of BC Writers' workshop in Kaslo one year when Ernest showed attendees how to construct a book. He was well suited to present the workshop as text blocks of early editions of the NOR were hand sewn and the covers glued on, by Ernest. I was just starting to delve into the ins and outs of bookmaking myself, and that workshop was invaluable to me.
In 2011 I blogged about one of his book launches, in May of 2013 I wrote about the NOR's 16th Birthday party where nine of us read, and in August of 2016 there was another gathering of writers, this time to support the NOR after Ernest's computer got hacked.
Here are a few photos from Friday.
|Bobbie Ogletree and Susan Andrews Grace with the big smiles. Verna Relkoff is there, too, and Jude Schmitz and others. Margrith's red hair is a beacon at the book table.|
|Over the years I've been published in the NOR four times. I am forever grateful as it's always nice to read out of something resembling a book and my poems that have wound up in the NOR are ones I enjoy reading. In the spring of 2012 I was the featured poet. Several poems were published in that issue, as well as a short essay about my relationship with poetry.|
|The man of the hour was sporting a medal of distinction he'd just received from Finland!|
|Bobbie Ogletree read from her creative non-fiction piece that explores her experience as a Jewish woman going to Germany to see her grandchildren.|
|Jude Schmitz read a mesmerizing braided essay that compared her experience of getting lost in an airport and winding up where she wasn't supposed to be with that of Robert Dziekański who essentially did the same thing and wound up dead.|
In addition to his prowess as a writer, Ernest paints and carves. One year, at another Fed event, he donated as a door prize a gorgeous walking stick he'd carved. All (I think all; I don't actually have ALL of them to check) of the covers of the NOR sport images of paintings or collages he's done. Walls in the home he shares with Margrith are covered with his art. Will Johnson, a reporter for the Nelson News, posted several photos of Ernest's art here. (Will's article on the NOR can be found here.)
|Margrith got flowers from MC Tom Wayman.|