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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Raven King's (and my) thoughts and thank yous for PurdyFest past ... and future fests!

Hey Cricket…

“Mellow is good!” was my slogan for this year, and….

Mellow was very good!!!!!!

Well I do seem to be able to pick the vibe for each year and call it.

Thank you so much for all that you do.  From caulking the Shaman shack
to mowing campsites others enjoy so much.  Thank you for all of your
vision and hard work.  New trees planted and growing, the roots creep
deeper, each cycle a little closer to transcendent clouds.

This was a year of renewal and rebirth.  Next year is a new Purdyfest.
Maybe it is just my old Shamanistic Stalinism but in organizations I see
things in five-year stages and cycles.  In some ways the Purdyfest we
knew is dead.  Long live the new Purdyfest!  The cycle started 5 years
ago is completed and its success has fed its bounty and bore its fruit.
Its flesh was full and ripe in year four.  Year five a solid core
arrived and a seed to be planted anew revealed itself.

Children appearing this year were a good sign.

I can’t help feel the people who showed up this year are a fresh solid
core to build anew upon and consolidation of that potential is
paramount.  Our role becomes to facilitate them in organizing their
Purdyfest.  In five years you should be retired from your role of
organizer.  Six years from now your only responsibility should be to
show up and from time to time break out into uncontrollable laughter.

Well I am back at the Raven’s Nest playing with utopian visions of the
future after overwhelming rivers of nostalgia washed over my shoulders
for the five days I camped, enjoyed poetry, papers, presentations,
music, evening fires, flicking rituals, starry nights, shared meals and
endless laughter and camaraderie.  It is as simple as this.  All those
who showed up this year and participated, come again next year and do

When you, I, and Simon stopped in the Crow River to meditate Simon’s
off-cuff remark was he wanted to capture feminine energy.  (No comment.)
Instead as we meditated birds and butterflies circled around him.  And
then that mysterious golden fish came and nibbled with a poke the top of
my foot.  As someone who has spent far too much of his life trying to
capture feminine energy all I can say to Simon is good luck with that
one.  But; my gut feel this year is Purdyfest needs to shift towards
being more centered by female energy.

Maybe I will leave it at that for now.

Wolf-fest here at the Raven’s Nest is coming up the Labour Day long
weekend so I guess I need to get the camping spots, stone barbeque,
garlic pork roasts, beer, and Frisbee golf course in order.  (And who
knows maybe we will even finally get around to doing some poetry this
year.)  So any Purdyfesters who are interested can contact me at 

Well my twin brother Shaman and old comrade…  Well done!!  As always
this was another Purdy fest success this year due to your hard work and
organization skills. 

Feel free to post this on your blog as an initial hint to others to come
and make Purdy fest part of their annual mid-summer ritual, relaxation,
and responsibility.

A few reflections from shadows on water…

The Raven King….aka  Jim Larwill


Hi Jim,
Thanks for being such an ongoing and dependable anchor for PurdyFests! I was lying in bed this morning, mentally composing my 'thank you' to you and all the festers. and in your kind message you've already said much of what I was thinking.

But as we're word(y) people, I'll say some of it again anyway ...

Yes, PurdyFests have evolved to the point where they are requiring less of my time and energy preparing them. I especially think of four people as the anchors who facilitate this: you as my twin shaman, who helps with envisioning the magick - together we are the dual chambers of the heart. And it's so key that you also serve as the ZenRiver 'kamp kommandant', keeping the place clean and tidy, helping new campers learn to live in concert with the many beings already resident there.

Then there's Terry Barker, perhaps the "head" of PurdyFest, the philosopher/historian/academic who keeps the rest of us from spinning off the planet into interstellar craziness  : ) Terry's incredible knowledge of the history of Canadian People's Poetry is crucial. His oral presentation this year on Raymond Souster is a shining example. Souster, the shy banker, who incidentally founded the League of Canadian poets - and who prepared the soil for generations of Canadian poets like our mentors, Purdy and Acorn. Without knowledge of our past, we might just be sun-crazed idiots, drinking beer on the shaman shack deck and howling to the winds.

Morley Ellis is the singing voice who anchors the Dam Poetry Readings. His quiet manner and confident playing attract the audience year after year to our island in the Crowe. And Morley encourages me in the other 51 weeks of the year with his building projects at ZenRiver Gardens and his faithful friendship in this sometimes very unfriendly hillbilly countryside.

Tai Grove, publisher extraordinaire of Hidden Brook Press, and President of the Canada-Cuba Literary Alliance, is anchor four, along with his wife, Kim.  Tai hosts the CCLA readings which supply the progressive political underpinning which is key to Canadian People's Poetry - the Uncles Milt and Al are proud of his gentle leadership.

Of course there are so many others to thank for making PurdyFests so much poetic fun: Stella and Graham Ducker, executive members of the CCLA. Anna Yin and her son Jason and their amusing powerpoint presentation on Souster, musician Sue Hutton and her family - as you say, it was a treat having several young families with toddlers in attendance this year.

  All the poets, some of whose names are slipping already - Ian Hanna from his personal Zen retreat north of Havelock, Nancy from Hertle Street, our own resident haijin John Hamley ('snowflea'), neighbours Dan the fireman, Warren and Bev. Longtime Haiku Canada membership secretary and haijin Hans Jongman. And the ever-present, effervescent Anna Plesums. Oh, and TG Simon and Melanie managed to show up late Saturday and extend the PurdyFest experience for another couple of days. You and I would never have made it to Callahan's Rapids Conservation Area without their  youthful insistence. Dr. John, Jim Christy, the young author of "The Last of the Stoics" and his wife - names are definitely slipsliding already, while the beautiful memories of 'SousterFest' are brightening, focusing and sharpening.

Yes, some of us are becoming the 'old hands' of PurdyFest, or as you quipped after I said this, "the old hams!" ... and I hope your prediction is true - that in five years we'll be able to just show up, sip our beer, and enjoy the festivities while the next generation does the organizing. We 'old hams' are entering our dreaming time, and our dreams are being shared by several new generations of People's Poets.

Thank you as well to our elders of the tribe of Canadian People's Poetry: Ray Souster, Dorothy Livesay, Milton Acorn, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Ted Plantos, Al Purdy, Peter Flosznik ...

peace and poetry power!
Chris/cricket ... and Chase ... wrooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooof!


dahpunkt said...

Thanks to all for making this Purdyfest--the culmination of the five-year plan--a rousing (yet mellow) success!

Chris Faiers/cricket said...

Great stuff Chris!
Wish I could've been there.
But I admire your heroic fortitude in doing these Fests!
They are an important part of the under-structure of Canadian literature!
Very best wishes to you and the participants!

Dr. Karl E. Jirgens, Editor, Rampike Magazine
Dept. of English Language, Literature & Creative Writing
University of Windsor
401 Sunset Avenue
Windsor, Ontario
Canada N9B 3P4
PHO: (519) 253-3000 ext. 2310 & ext. 2289
FAX: (519) 971-3676