For this year, PurdyFest became AcornFestPosted Aug 9, 2012 By Judy Backus
EMC News -Marmora -Marmora and Malone were, for the sixth consecutive year, the headquarters of the annual PurdyFest organized by Chris Faiers. A Saturday afternoon symposium held at the Memorial Building, featuring the work of the late poet Milton Acorn, was attended by many, both from nearby and afar.
One of the presenters, poet Jim Larwill, who now lives in Quebec, gave, as Faiers says, "a very well received paper at the Symposium on Milton Acorn and his Legacy." Larwill has attended all five of the past PurdyFests, where he helps campers at the Malone site "set up their tents, find the outhouse, build campfires (when the burn ban isn't in effect) and generally make everyone feel comfortable and welcome." Later, during a reading by the dam, Larwill gave a heartfelt and very spirited performance of Milton Acorn's classic poem, "I Shout Love."
Professor and author Terry Barker, along with publisher and scholar Joyce Wayne, were also in attendance, leading presentations on Acorn and his recent posthumous collection, "In a Springtime Instant."
As is the tradition, the symposium was followed by what is termed, "Another Dam Poetry Reading," located on an islet in the Crowe River next to the dam. With fishermen nearby, cicadas humming in the grass and ducks landing on the placid waters, it was a perfect setting for poetry.
A peaceful musical interlude, provided by Morley Ellis, was followed by a round robin session with the poets presenting either their own works or those of fellow poets.
Just prior to the start of the readings, Faiers commented on the symposium, saying that this year's PurdyFest was being called AcornFest in honour of Milton Acorn, who, he said, "didn't get the proper recognition as a Canadian poet."
One of the last to read was Jim Christy of Stirling, whose poem, "Elder Legend," spoke of Marmora and playing cards in the "room beside the library at the Memorial Building." It concluded, after talk of rheumy glances, and aching joints, "Now forever banned from golden age
Opportunities, exiled to Marmora's
Few streets, the shadow I cast on no-
Nonsense limestone wall, as crooked
As my past and bent like
The knobbly cane vanity left at home.
I'll be pointed at from pickup trucks
And Bruce's barbershop: A legend at last."
Toronto videographer Henry Martinuk, who Faiers describes as a widely respected media expert, is in the process of filming documentaries on other important Canadian cultural activities and recorded all the "AcornFest" events, with Faiers saying, "It is nice to know that PurdyFest, all the poets, and Marmora and area are being recorded for posterity."