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Sunday, 28 August 2011

updates: evening honouring Raymond Souster & potential League of CanPo award in his name

Hi Allan,
Chase and I returned just over an hour ago from a weeklong visit to TO. I've copied you (and others on our cc list) on my reply to TO Star columnist Joe Fiorito, who has kindly offered his services in support of such an event honouring Ray Souster. And I'm sure Toronto Public Library (TPL) will do its best to support & publicize such an event as well as the League of CanPo. Congrats to you and David Day for putting forward the award in Ray's name (p.s. I need David's email address, as I lost many of my addresses when my PC finally gave up the ghost & I switched to a Mac mini).

The League of CanPo's award in Ray's name is an inspired idea, and it's exciting to think that this very rare evening honouring Ray Souster (at age 91!) will actually happen at his local branch of TPL!  Credit is due all around, to you and Terry Barker, James Deahl, Kent Bowman and Mick Burrs, and David Day and the League of CanPo, etc.  : )

the beer and the drive back from TO are catching up with me, hope this makes sense ...  : )

peace & poetry power!
Chris and Chase ... wroooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooof!

p.s. I'll post this on my blog, can't see any harm in this, and maybe some helpful publicity ...

On 2011-08-27, at 11:41 AM, Allan Briesmaster wrote:

Dear Chris,

I am only replying to the people on your Cc list who are in Toronto, plus
Jeff, plus Hugh. Through an almost impossibly busy month, I've been meaning
to congratulate you, Anna, Terry, and others who made PurdyFest so
successful this year -- and now I want to share a related development you
may already have heard about, but which I would ask everyone to be cautious
in publicizing because it will not be "official" for some time yet.

Ray Souster has agreed to have a new award, which is being created by the
League of Canadian Poets, named after him. Because he was one of the
founders of the League, it is highly appropriate that the award be in his
name. The Raymond Souster Award will be given to the League member with the
best book of poetry (as chosen by a three-member jury) published in the
previous year. It will be presented at the League's Annual General Meeting,
together with the two existing awards (the Gerald Lampert Award, for the
best first book of poetry, and the Pat Lowther Award, for the best book of
poetry by a woman). The new award will fill an obvious, long-standing gap.

[Footnote: David Day is the person who put forward the award concept at the
last AGM; and afterward it was my idea that it should be named after Ray.]

The first jury will not be chosen until the June, 2012 AGM, and all of the
exact details must still be ratified, so this should not be treated as a
fait accompli. However, there has been unanimous support, so I am confident
it's really just a matter of time.

I've spoken on the phone with Terry, and exchanged emails with Anna, about
having an event at the Runnymede Library honouring Ray -- and Terry has told
me that Ray is willing and able to be present. (An extremely rare public
appearance!) Terry and I plan on visiting Ray next week to discuss this
further, and after that, if we can confirm the Library's availability, I
will be happy to team up with any of you who wish to be involved in planning
the event there, and will spread the word when we have a date for it. I will
certainly inform my fellow League members via email and the Newsletter.

My first thought about the Library event is that, along with presentations
from Hugh and Terry, a few people with a particular literary and personal
connection to Ray could each read a poem of his -- but I'd like to discuss
this and all related matters with you and others first. (I do not see this
becoming a "League" event in any restrictive way, but will expect interested
League members to attend and, in some cases, participate.)

I welcome everyone's thoughts, but must sound a note of caution, in that I
have a huge amount of other project work on my plate right now. Thus it will
be impossible for me to plunge into extended email discussions. Perhaps the
best way to proceed would be to see if some of us can meet in Toronto
sometime next month to plan the event at Runnymede (ideally, at the Library
itself), while still inviting input from those who won't be able to come

Best regards to everyone,

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Faiers []
Sent: Sunday, August 21, 2011 9:58 PM
To: Hugh and Judy Cook
Cc: anna yin; Terry Barker; Allan Briesmaster; Karl Jirgens; Kent Bowman;
Greg Gatenby; Richard M. Grove / Tai; Joe Fiorito (Star) Fiorito; Jeff
Seffinga Seffinga
Subject: Re: Souster thesis (Hugh Cook)/ PurdyFest #5 (SousterFest)
report/evening event celebrating Ray in TO?

Hi Hugh,
It was another mellow and successful PurdyFest. Terry Barker and Anna Yin
gave great presentations on Ray at the Marmora Library building. I've
suggested to Terry that PurdyFest could serve as a warm-up for a personal
evening in TO with Ray present. I believe Terry is now working towards
organizing this at the same branch of Toronto Public Library he shares with

In late June Terry, Allan and Holly Briesmaster and I took TO Star columnist
Joe Fiorito to visit the Necropolis Cemetery. Afterwards we went to a sleazy
bar on Parliament Street and Joe told us about meeting a very supportive Ray
when he first moved to TO from Thunder Bay.

Ray played a seminal role in so many other poets and writers lives as well -
there's a whole host of TO poets who would likely be interested in attending
an evening honouring Ray on his 'home turf' - Greg Gatenby, Karl Jirgens,
Allan and Holly, Kent Bowman, Mick Burrs - prob. dozens of other literati.

We should try and honour our literary mentors while they are still among us,
rather than waiting until they are a full fathom under.

I'm copying this to Terry and Anna and some of the other writers who have
expressed an interest in honouring Ray. With some minimal organization from
Terry, and perhaps by Allan, Mick and Kent with the League of Canadian
poets, hopefully this event will happen while Ray is still alive. I believe
this is when Terry will do the presentation of your thesis - I'm not clear
on this aspect.

For further reports and pics on PurdyFest #5 (SousterFest) please visit my
blog, or just Google and surf away. There's lots out there.

peace and poetry power!
Chris (Faiers)

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