Archive for May, 2010
Monday, May 31st, 2010
I’ve just come back from the annual Prince Edward County Authors’ Festival, where I hosted a panel discussion with Dani Couture, Colin Frizzell, Sarah Selecky, and Paul Vermeersch. We’d been asked to talk about the writing life, so our conversation ranged widely, from questions about genre, to thoughts about revision (including Sarah Selecky’s interesting idea about revision as translation), to Paul Vermeersch’s eerily exact Al Purdy imitation.
As editor of the Al Purdy A-Frame Anthology, Paul also spoke to the audience about the Purdy A-Frame Trust. Spearheaded by the indefatigable Jean Baird, the Trust aims to purchase, restore and preserve the poet’s house on Roblin Lake as a permanent writers’ retreat. For more information, see Marnie Woodrow’s piece about this in The County Grapevine.
The PEC festival must be one of the best small-town festivals in Canada. Audiences are enthusiastic and well-informed, the venue is spacious, yet intimate, organizers are exceptionally welcoming, and the setting is spectacular. Yesterday, I heard brilliant readings by Steven Heighton, Sarah Selecky, Mariann Ackerman, and Cordelia Strube as well as Catherine Gildiner and Helen Humphreys. What a pleasure to be exposed to new work by these authors and to talk with several fine poets and fiction writers about their process.
Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
On Saturday, May 29 at 4 pm, I will be moderating a panel on the writing life, with guests Roz Bound, Colin Frizzell, Sarah Selecky and Paul Vermeersch.
Books and Company, 289 Main Street, Picton, Ontario.
As a participant in last year’s festival, I can attest that it’s an intimate and inspiring occasion in one of the most beautiful parts of the province! Come for one event or better yet, come for them all!
For tickets or information, call: 613 476 3037
Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
How beautiful a London street is then, with its islands of light, and its long groves of darkness, and on one side of it perhaps some tree-sprinkled, grass-grown space where night is folding herself to sleep naturally, and, as one passes the iron railing, one hears those little cracklings and stirrings of leaf and twig which seem to suppose the silence of fields all round them, an owl hooting, and far away the rattle of a train in the valley. But this is London, we are reminded; high among the bare trees are hung oblong frames of reddish yellow light—windows; there are points of brilliance burning steadily like low stars—lamps; this empty ground, which holds the country in it and its peace, is only a London square, set about by offices and houses where at this hour fierce lights burn over maps, over documents, over desks where clerks sit turning with wetted forefinger the files of endless correspondences; or more suffusedly the firelight wavers and the lamplight falls upon the privacy of some drawing-room, its easy chairs, its papers, its china, its inlaid table, and the figure of a woman, accurately measuring out the precise number of spoons of tea which—She looks at the door as if she heard a ring downstairs and somebody asking, is she in?
—from “Street Haunting”
Thursday, May 13th, 2010
A thoughtful post from biographer Julija Šukys on her blog Writing. Life. Thanks to Andrew Westoll for the link.
“It’s easy to sneer at the glut of memoirs of the past decade, and to discredit the genre as somehow dishonest or narcissistic, but autobiographical texts and personal essays that really work are always about something bigger than the person writing them.
The best first-person texts flirt with navel-gazing, but are redeemed by insight, artistry, self-criticism, and honesty. By telling a story about their own singular lives, skilled autobiographers and personal essayists inspire revelations. In other words, these texts not only reveal something about the person writing them, but also about the one reading them.”