Followers of environmental news will know of the ongoing protests over old growth logging at Fairy Creek, southwest Vancouver Island. In tune with this, Christine Lowther named the substantial anthology she’s edited for Caitlin Press Worth More Standing.
Clocking in at 239 pages, the anthology is a veritable forest of Canadian poets paying homage to trees of all kinds. I am one who contributed two poems to this work, including a poem from Larder.
On Saturday May 28 I will join five other poets at the Harbourfront Library in Nanaimo to help launch this with a live, in-person reading.
Poets who will be reading at the Nanaimo launch include: Leanne McIntosh, Ann Graham Walker. Rhona McAdam, Nicole Moen, Sheena Robinson and Kim Goldberg.
The reading runs from 1-3pm and is free and open to all.
This Friday May 27 I’ll be reading in Victoria at Planet Earth Poetry. Events kick off with an open mic at 7:30pm, and then Catherine St Denis will take the stage as the Poetic Opener. Catherine has read a number of times at the open mic, always impressed with her poems, and I am very much looking forward to hearing more from her. After Catherine, I’ll be reading from Larder and selling books thereafter.
The reading is live and in person! at Russell Books. For those who can’t make it in person, there’s a livestream of Catherine’s and my readings which starts around 8/8:15. For info on how to access that, it’s best to contact Planet Earth Poetry; (details in their weekly newsletter) or you can message me on Facebook.
PEP’s readings (featured readers and poetic openers) are usually recorded and posted on its Youtube channel a few days later, so you can catch us there too!
Rhona & Arleen & the book table behind
Last night was the first poetry reading I’ve given in a good long while, and the first at the Fanny Bay Fat Oyster series for about a decade.. it seems my last appearance must have been a reading from Digging the City.
Last night we were blessed with an ample and responsive audience – clearly delighted to be emerging from a couple of year’s worth of cabin fever, finally able to engage in an evening of cautious socializing – and three poets reading from new collections, all with very different styles and subjects.
Judy LeBlanc organized us and did the introductions; Brian Latta took photos, did setup and sound; and a team of volunteers helped with promotion, took tickets, set up chairs, baked cookies, sold coffee and commanded the book table – all those things that go into running a good local literary event. My thanks to all involved.
First up was local (Comox Valley) poet Kelly Madden who read from her first poetry collection, If I’d Known, a series of compact, visceral poems about loss, abuse and grief. Victoria poet Arleen Paré, my Caitlin Press ‘stable-mate’, read from her seventh collection, Time Out of Time , a series of poems written as an affectionate response to the work of Etel Adnan and her Griffin prize-winning collection Time. And then I read a selection of poems from Larder – including “Aristotle’s Lantern”, “Skunk Cabbage”, “Dog, Running”, “Gravy” and “Devil Spawn of the Devil Grass Wheat”.
Kelly reads to a rapt audience
There is this now obligatory photo of authors opening a box of their books, the first glimpse of the real object. You can send off pages to a publisher, you can get typesetting proofs, you can see the cover image, but it’s not real until it’s in your hand. E-books have their place in our world nowadays, but nothing beats a well-designed, genuine book, printed on real paper. Here’s mine.
I’ll be reading from it at the Fat Oyster reading series, in Fanny Bay Hall on Vancouver Island, a week from today, May 12. If you’re within reach, it would be great to have you in the audience! This marks the return to face-to-face readings for the series, post-pandemic.
There will be 3 of us reading: another Caitlin Press author, Arleen Paré, whose latest collection, Time Out of Time, riffs on the work of another poet, the Lebanese-American poet Etel Adnan. Comox Valley poet Kelly Madden will be there too, reading from her first collection, If I’d Known.
Here’s our poster:
And the winning cover image turns out to be.. Still Life with Bowl of Citrons, by Giovanna Garzoni. Very pleased with the look of this one.
Much as I would have liked to feature the work of a living woman artist, Garzoni is an impressive figure in art history, and the Italian connection is satisfying, given the presence of poems written during my studies in Italy.
I had wanted something food related, but also to bring in the natural world. The insect figure may or may not be a wasp; but for purposes of this collection, that’s what we’re calling it, to chime with the wasp poem within!
The book will be out sometime in May, but pre-orders can be taken now by visiting Caitlin Press.
Upcoming readings and appearances are on my News page, which I’ll update as details change or get added. But here’s what’s coming up in the next couple of months:
- Thursday May 12, 2022 – 7pm – Fat Oyster reading with Arleen Paré and Kelly Madden in Fanny Bay BC.
- Tuesday May 24, 2022 from 6-8pm – leading an (in-person) Food Poetry workshop, Monterey Rec Centre, Victoria BC. Details and registration info in the Oak Bay Active Living Guide (p. 20)
- Friday May 27, 2022 – 7:30-9pm – featured reader at Planet Earth Poetry at Russell Books in Victoria..
- Saturday May 28, 2022 – from 1-3pm – reading at anthology launch for Worth More Standing: Poets and Activists Pay Homage to Trees. Harbourfront Library, Nanaimo.
- Sunday June 5, 2022 – 11am PST online launch of Larder – reading with Mari-Lou Rowley on Crowdcast, courtesy of Caitlin Press. The amazing Lisa Pasold will be host for our reading.
- Tuesday June 14 – reading at McNally Robinson, Saskatoon SK, with Mari-Lou Rowley & Katherine Lawrence.
- June 15-18, 2022 – at ALECC conference in Saskatoon; reading as part of a Forest Poetry Walk with fellow poets Yvonne Blomer, Tanis MacDonald and Ariel Gordon. Our walks are at 2:30pm Thursday 16th and 11:30am Saturday 18th. Details will be in the final conference program.