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Monday, 30 April 2012

May Day Dragon Magick


magick is everywhere
but most can't see it



tiny stars swirl in the green realm
* *   *   *   * ****  ** *   *   * **** * *
dance across river bottom gray
diaphanous twinkle spirits
cause pause to wonder

water pails brimming
set aside to ponder Tinkerbell dervishes
... now vanished - where/why?

slow human, I ponder,
analyze ... again bucket scoop
and star dancers reappear

Bubbles! the solution!
"just" sunlight refracting thru clear current
and magick ones resume their dance
- but now at my scooped command

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Modern physicists can prove
an object observed is changed
by act alone of observation

sounds like magick to a crazed old shaman
with old ways returning - a new age of magick
dawning - now verified by eons old enemies

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After the transplanted pines are watered
there is more work to do.
Chinese friends in Toronto have a court date
for a daisy chain traffic wreck they had no fault in.

Incense is offered to dragon allies
fire - sweet smoke - wafted through windhorse flags
floats skybound on pure valley air.
Red the defender
will bite the butts of court liars
and Blue, diaphanous as the dancing stars
protector spirit -
both are softly Summoned

Email the next morning - "all three witnesses didn't show"
"case dismissed!"


magick is everywhere
as some now believe ...
today incense wafts downstream
         nostrilward rewards

above celebrating star dancers
** * * * **** * * ***   *  **   *


Chris Faiers/cricket
May Day 2012
ZenRiver Gardens




the emails: (in reverse chronology)



Begin forwarded message:

From: Chris Faiers <zenriver@sympatico.ca>
Date: April 30, 2012 11:48:55 AM EDT
To: anna
Subject: Re: good luck tomorrow! Excellent - case dismissed!!!

Excellent!
Congrats to you & George, Anna  : )
peace & poetry power!
Chris & Chase ... wrooooooooooooooof!

p.s. the dragons will enjoy incense rewards at ZenRiver Gardens later today  ;  )
p.p.s. my friend Sylvia also expressed her concerns & regards for your case when we chatted last nite





On 2012-04-30, at 10:32 AM, anna  wrote:

Hi Chris,

we came back for Court. All three witnesses didn't show up, policeman showed up. So my case is dismissed. Now, we need to talk with insurance with that.

Thanks for support.

Anna

On Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 5:50 PM, Chris Faiers <zenriver@sympatico.ca> wrote:
Hi Anna & George,
Terry and I had a brief chat early this aft - just to confirm a few things about the IFPOR gig this Thursday. Terry told me you & George have your court date tomorrow, so I did a little invocation ceremony on your behalf out at ZenRiver this aft.

 Paid some tribute* to a red dragon spirit protector (if anyone lies on the stand, he'll bite their butt so they'll flinch - causing the judge to notice their lying). Also to a green/blue dragon who'll watch over both of you - she's less aggressive than Red, who's done some good work for me with past requests  :  )

That's great that you & Terry will jointly present Milt's poetry at IFPOR - and your Chinese translations of Milt will help make the event truly international.

peace & poetry power!
Chris ... and Chase ... wroooooooooooooof!   (*so that's why the incense today - dragons love fire- sweet smoke-air ... incense presented via cool breeze thru the prayer flags flapping on the Jimi Hendrix tree stand)



Wednesday, 25 April 2012

reflective review: New Selected of Milton Acorn














IN A SPRINGTIME INSTANT: The Selected Poems of Milton Acorn 1950 - 1986
Edited by James Deahl
Mosaic Press, Oakville, Ontario, 2012
248 pages   $24.95
ISBN 0-88962-921-9


Genesis
In the book's forward Terry Barker details the genesis of this selected of Canada's People's Poet, Milton Acorn. A chance meeting between Barker and poet Joe Rosenblatt at a Toronto Book Fair several years ago had the two of them reminiscing about Milt, who died a quarter century ago. Both of them felt that Acorn's legacy was fading - in the academy, and among the always fickle and ephemeral Canadian audience for poetry.

And so the two of them acted very unCanadian - they DID something, and the result is this lovingly and painstakingly researched 250 page tribute. The only logical choice for an editor was Acorn's longtime friend and roommate, James Deahl. As I believe there is no better person in Canada to encapsulate the life and creative arc of Canada's many fine poets, this was a perfect match of editor and subject.  

Howard Aster and his Mosaic Press were approached with this proposal, and fortunately he was most willing.

Perhaps editor and poetry selector James Deahl knows Acorn's poetry better even than the poet himself did. Deahl's friendship with Milt helped sustain the vulnerable poet for several decades, and on Milt's passing in 1986 Deahl became the torch bearer for Milt's work and legacy. Deahl has continued to advocate for Acorn's work, and to produce a substantial number of posthumous collections of Milt's poetry and the tribute anthology THE NORTHERN RED OAK.


Resurrecting Acorn's Literary Merit
The poems were chosen by editor Deahl solely based on his perception of their literary merit. Barker and Deahl echo each other's belief that Acorn's poetry was and is often under appreciated or even dismissed because of the poet's controversial political and personal life. They hope that after 25 years people are prepared to objectively and critically re-evaluate the entire body of Acorn's work, with hopes that the Canadian literary establishment will take another look and add Milt's poetry to the textbooks and curricula of our  institutions. Deahl's thoughtful and challenging 22 page introduction should ably serve as the catalyst for this crucial literary rebalancing and the long awaited and deserved 'resurrection' of Milton Acorn.


Poetry As Catalyst Against Reactionary Harperite Miasma

This is also a crucial time for Canadians politically. The spreading reactionary miasma of the Harperite regime must be countered on the cultural front. Our ineffectual politicians appear neutered by the challenge, and perhaps only the "love and anger", the visceral physicality of the poetry of a People's Poet of Acorn's caliber, can act as a catalyst to stir the Canadian populace to outrage at Stephen Harper's highjacking of our nation.


The Poems
Deahl has done something a bit unusual with organizing the poems - he has presented them in the order in which they appeared in Acorn's 17 collections. Thus early and late poems don't appear in the chronological order in which they were written. Deahl justifies this with his declaration that Acorn wrote excellent poems throughout his entire career, and as a reader I found this mix of the old and  the new an intriguing and enjoyable challenge.

After a week reading the book backwards and forwards, or just diving in where the pages fell open late at night, I was amazed at how many of Acorn's poems I recognized and had taken to heart so many decades ago. And I was equally surprised at how many poems I was reading for the first time, and how these immediately adhered to my heart and brain like so many welcome limpets.

Congratulations to James Deahl for his perseverance as the number one scholar of Canada's most important and vibrant poet. And thanks to Howard Aster and the staff at Mosaic Press for this wonderfully produced collection. Special acknowledgments must go to Terry Barker, the 'midwife' of this project, and to Joe Rosenblatt, who also helped will this collection into being.   


reflective review by Chris Faiers
April 25, 2012


from my blog, Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens:
http://riffsandripplesfromzenrivergardens.blogspot.com/


Publication credits:

published in The Envoy #055 (newsletter of the Canada-Cuba Literary Alliance May 2012)


published in UMBRELLA, the tabloid newsletter of the Quinte Arts Council, July/August 2012,
Vol. 22 #3, p. 7

Monday, 23 April 2012

at the Unfinished Monument April 18, 2012 (Ryan Raz, photo)


photo

Toronto Necropolis Unfinished Monument

A rather grim me (Chris Faiers) listening to Allan Briesmaster (his hand) reading Milton Acorn's tribute to two of the hanged martyrs* of the Rebellion of 1837.

* Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Milt's ghost at Grossman's Tavern & Necropolis

Hi Joe,
Just returned to Marmora (Sunday, April 22nd?)  - on my second 'welcome home' beer - my backyard gardens are beautiful:

flowers persist
blooming thru gravel by
backyard Buddha

Anyway, it was a nice hike thru the Necropolis (Allan & Holly Briesmaster & Kent Bowman & myself). We hijacked two visiting photogs who were intrigued by the concept of the Unfinished Monument. They ended up doing the entire ramble with us. Allan read 'the poem' this year.

Then on to Grossman's, where David Day (who had missed us at the Necro.) & another photog, Peter Rowe, awaited us. Two pitchers of beer at Grossman's are now almost $25! .. . but ... the men's room has been renovated!!! - a rite of passage for Canadian male artists - stumbling drunk down the steep stairs to wade thru inches of urine - now just a fading memory  :  )  

James Deahl (who edited the new Milt) & his new wife, Norma West Linder, Terry Barker, and the aforementioned David Day, Peter Rowe, Allan &  Kent Bowman and I did our duty & knocked back a sufficient # of jugs to honour Milt's legacy.

The book is beautiful (besides being inspirational & all that!) & Terry Barker has mailed you a copy, c/o The Star. It should be there if/when you show up for work tomorrow  :  )

There's always next year to join the tour ...

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

p.s. we forgot the cigars, but Milt's ghost enjoyed the evening immensely anyway




On 2012-04-20, at 9:08 AM, Fiorito, Joe wrote:

Chris -
I got sideswiped by work, which now and then happens.
I hope everyone got drunk and smoked cigars.
- Joe

Monday, 16 April 2012

Proposed Dedication for a Monument to Lount and Matthews - Milton Acorn

This is Milt's poem for what has come to be called The Unfinished Monument - 
a group of us will visit the monument this Wed. evening, April 18th, at 6 pm - all invited!


This plaque was erected to the memory
of Samuel Lount, a blacksmith but not a simple one . . . who on
April 12th, 1838 was hanged here by ruthless imperialists
bureaucrats and class tyrants, for doing the best deed of his life
fighting for the freedom of his nation, Canada, and the
           working people : a freedom still unobtained

This man died for liberty
There is no need to fear his fate
He'd still, if he'd stayed wakeful late
Be sleeping these times anyway.

This plaque is also dedicated to the memory
of Peter Matthews, farmer, not simple either;
who at this same place, King and Toronto Streets,
          Toronto, Ontario, Canada
on the same day, at the same time of day
was legally murdered along with Lount
for committing the same rightful action.

Let those whose tribute to the powers they fear
Consists of a hopeless sigh, an sardonic jeer,
Know that freedom is the breath of the mind;

                    More to be desired

Than hearing to the deaf, sight to the blind;
A surer way of movement to the lame,
Without freedom, no one really has a name.



Milton Acorn
from More Poems For People
NC Press, 1972 



Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Toast Milt's new book & plaque Wed., April 18, Grossman's Tavern 7:30 pm

Important Update:
We have had to change the rendezvous location after the Necropolis walk to Grossman's Tavern

The Silver Dollar won't open until 9 pm, so we have decided to meet at Grossman's Tavern first,
around 7:30 pm.
Anyone interested can walk the block or so up Spadina Avenue to view Milt's plaque on the wall outside the Waverley. If so inclined, and not exhausted after the Necropolis visit and Grossman's, we
can still visit the Silver Dollar after 9 for our toast to Milt.


Those interested in visiting historical sites in the Necropolis should meet at the cemetery gates at 6 pm.  

(widely emailed invitation)

Hello fellow poets,

I just learned from James Deahl,  editor of Milton Acorn's new selected IN A SPRINGTIME INSTANT, that the book was published today by Mosaic Press (April 11)!. Then tonight I called Terry Barker, who had the initial inspiration for the book when he bumped into Joe Rosenblatt at a book fair a few years ago, to give Terry my congratulations. Terry will be humping the heavy books (250+ pages) back from the printer to the Mosaic offices tomorrow.

So now we Acornites need to ensure this book is truly celebrated ... and publicized ...  to introduce Milt to a new generation. But first we need to hold some sort of small CASUAL honourary ceremony to kick things off. Terry and I discussed several ideas, and we decided that if enough people are interested, we'll hold a small initial gathering at the Waverley Hotel's Silver Dollar Room - HOIST A TOAST TO MILT! - and admire the plaque to Milt on the wall outside the Waverley (description & pic of plaque below in this email).

We are hoping to tie the visit to the Waverley in with our tradition of a spring visit to the Toronto Necropolis Cemetery. A few poets try to annually visit markers to 'The Unfinished Monument' to two of the martyred heroes of the Rebellion of 1837, the grave of William Lyon MacKenzie, and progressive founding father George Brown.

After paying tribute at the Necropolis, we'll hop in our cars, or onto the nearby Gerrard/College streetcar, and ride to the corner of Spadina and College for a beer or two at the Waverley. We anticipate copies of Milt's new book will be available at both locations.

This is a last minute idea, and we're anticipating the most convenient time for most people will be early evening for both events. We're proposing meeting at the Necropolis gates (by the Riverdale Farm) around 6 pm, for an hour stroll thru the Necropolis.  Then gathering for the beer toast at the Silver Dollar around 7:30. Everyone is invited to attend either or both 'pre-launch' celebrations of Milton Acorn.

We are looking for feedback on the best evening to hold these gatherings, and the dates we're considering are Wed., April 18th, Thurs. 19th, or Sat. the 21st. If you have a preference. please let Terry, Anna Yin or myself know by email (preferred) or phone Terry Barker (416-491-8676) or Chris (613-472-6186)   

                               * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * *

It is particularly fitting that we hold some sort of event for Canada's People's Poet during National Poetry month. We can also start making plans for the more formal launches of Milt's book, including the anticipated official launch date of July 15th (chosen to commemorate Milt & Joe Rosenblatt's organization of the Free Speech Movement at Allan Gardens). Location to be decided.

This summer's annual PurdyFest has been renamed ACORNFEST in Milt's honour, and this will be held from Friday, Aug. 3 to Sunday, Aug. 5th. This years symposium at the Marmora Library will be on the life, works and contributions of Canada's People's Poet, Milt hisself. For info on AcornFest, please contact me (or Terry Barker for info & participation & presentation in the symposium). As always, free camping at ZenRiver Gardens, and everyone reads at ANOTHER DAM POETRY READING on the islet in the Marmora Dam on the Crowe River following the symposium.

We are anticipating further fall launchings and activities in Toronto, and we are hoping poetry lovers across Canada will organize area events to celebrate Milt's new book. 

Feedback appreciated.

peace & poetry power!
Chris, Terry & Chase ... wrffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff!




                               * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** *
          
Milton Acorn's plaque at the Waverley Hotel




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HT & the Toronto Legacy Project launch new Plaque Program

March 3, 2010 - 1:38pm
Heritage Toronto
Blue plaques highlight the contributions of artists, thinkers, scientists



Heritage Toronto and the Toronto Legacy Project, in partnership, are launching a new program of commemorative plaques that celebrates the bygone lives that helped to build the city of today.  Each plaque will mark a site where a notable artist, scientist, or thinker lived or worked.
Many cities have similar programs, such as London, Paris, New York and Barcelona. Toronto has the Cabbagetown People plaques, but this is the first city-wide initiative.

"This program will certainly increase awareness about the depth of talent that has always existed in Toronto," said Mayor David Miller. "These first plaques creatively commemorate some of the writers and poets who played a major role in building Toronto's literary legacy."

"This program will enrich our cityscape," said Toronto's first Poet Laureate and founder of the Legacy Project Dennis Lee. "And it should still be going strong a hundred years from now."

The first six plaques will be unveiled today at City Hall, the first honouring prominent poets and writers: Milton Acorn, Margaret Avison, Morley Callaghan, Robertson Davies, Gwendolyn MacEwen and E.J. Pratt. The program will continue steadily, with six to eight new plaques annually. The first plaques will be installed in the Spring.
The Partnership

The Toronto Legacy Project was established by Toronto's first Poet Laureate Dennis Lee in 2002 to celebrate Toronto's notable artists, scientists, and thinkers by weaving their names into the cityscape. Initially focused on naming or re-naming facilities, such as Oscar Peterson Place (at the Toronto Dominion Centre), Glenn Gould Place (formerly Metro Square), and George Faludy Parkette (at St. Mary's and St. Nicholas Streets), the Toronto Legacy Project is currently focusing on this new plaques program.

The Toronto Legacy Project and Heritage Toronto share a common commitment to memory - to marking, on our streets and in our public places, the names of those who have given us something worth celebrating. This new program reflects the merging of the Legacy Project's focus - individuals who have made a major contribution to the arts, science and thought - with Heritage Toronto's long-standing Plaques and Markers Program. Using criteria jointly established for this program, the Toronto Legacy Project and Heritage Toronto work closely to select candidates and plaque locations.
Selection of Candidates and Plaque Sites

To be considered, individuals must have made a major contribution to the arts, science or thought. That contribution must be recognized by members of their own calling, and must be well documented and broadly acknowledged. Candidates must also have had a strong association with the City of Toronto through birth, residence over a significant period of time, or through the connection of their work and career with the city.

Plaques must be installed on a site which has a well-documented and strong connection to the life or work of commemorated individuals.

Candidates for the plaques are put forward each year by the Legacy Project. The public is invited to submit names for consideration to both Heritage Toronto and the Legacy Project.
The Plaques

Simple and elegant, each plaque uses a few words to identify the person and place being honoured. Plaques will be installed either on the front wall of a building or on a post at the sidewalk.

The striking design was contributed by the Toronto firm, Hahn Smith. Each plaque is an oval, 30 cm by 18 cm, with bold white type on a blue background. The oval retains the shape of Heritage Toronto plaques; the blue retains the colour of Legacy Project markers at Oscar Peterson Place and other sites, while referencing the official colour of Toronto. 

The first year's plaques commemorate writers, following the "Literary City" theme of Toronto's 175th anniversary. Future plaques will celebrate figures from a wide range of disciplines, and across the full history of the city.

Heritage Toronto and the Legacy Project are grateful to the property owners who have accepted the 2010 plaques, and to the City's Culture Division for funding their fabrication in this initial year. The plaques themselves remain the property and responsibility of Heritage Toronto.
The First Honourees

MILTON ACORN

Milton Acorn was probably the most colourful figure in the history of Canadian poetry. A carpenter from Prince Edward Island, and a man of passionate convictions, he wrote poems that came, in the words of Al Purdy, "somewhere close to greatness."
Acorn lived in the Waverley Hotel, at Spadina and College, from 1970 to 1977. He published five collections during that time, winning the specially-created People's Poet Award in 1970, and the Governor General's Award in 1975.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Hallelujah! Milt has arisen!!!


April 10, 2012





Dear Chris,



            Mosaic Press has just announced that In a Springtime Instant: The Selected Poems of Milton Acorn, 1950 - 1986 was published today.



Poetry Power!



            . . . James

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Harper/McGuinty 'bushrat' kidneystone operation (graphic content!)


A particularly persistent kidney stone has been bothering me since mid-January. As I've suffered many kidney stone episodes since my first hospitalization around 1980, I was able to follow its progress through my urinary tract with some degree of awareness.

                                                  ................................. 

When Chase & I got to my  ZenRiver Gardens retreat I had to pee, & then the weak, very restricted urine flow suddenly & surprisingly shot the stone the length of my penis!!! ... argggggggggggggggggghh! ... but it didn't exit ... I could see this jagged, poisonous looking, black lump at the exit of my urethra - but it wouldn't drop out, like stones usually do.

So I did the sensible thing, & drank a beer, with hopes of pushing the stone to its final exit with a beer blast of pee. I also took a 500 mg Tylenol, then another - and I couldn't stop myself from inspecting, with much horror, the blood dripping from the tip of my works. As I felt around, I realized it might be a much larger stone than I've had in the past - usually they're the size of a BB pellet when you pass them, sometimes even smaller.

 But this was some kind of monster kidney stone - no exaggeration - I considered driving to an emergency ward, which truly would have been the sensible thing to do - but then I've never let the sensible get in the way. So like some crazy old bushrat, I finished my beer, stopping several times to scare myself with the jagged black horror starting to emerge.

 After the beer & the Tyelnols & several unsuccessful attempts to pry the stone out, I managed to grip the monster with my fingertips & pull it out!!!! It's over half an inch long (5/8 inch) and over a 1/4 inch wide  (3/8ths of an inch). CRAZY SELF OPERATION! I feel I've joined the company of the hiker guy who hacked off his trapped arm in the desert canyon several years ago.

 apologies for the graphics, but still can't believe I did this ...

 back home now & prepping some dinner & drinking a glass of wine - now I don't have to keep pouring beer thru my system in attempts to flush the bastard out ...

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Milton Acorn's plaque at the Waverley Hotel


HT & the Toronto Legacy Project launch new Plaque Program

March 3, 2010 - 1:38pm
Heritage Toronto
Blue plaques highlight the contributions of artists, thinkers, scientists

legacy.gif

Heritage Toronto and the Toronto Legacy Project, in partnership, are launching a new program of commemorative plaques that celebrates the bygone lives that helped to build the city of today.  Each plaque will mark a site where a notable artist, scientist, or thinker lived or worked.
Many cities have similar programs, such as London, Paris, New York and Barcelona. Toronto has the Cabbagetown People plaques, but this is the first city-wide initiative.

"This program will certainly increase awareness about the depth of talent that has always existed in Toronto," said Mayor David Miller. "These first plaques creatively commemorate some of the writers and poets who played a major role in building Toronto's literary legacy."

"This program will enrich our cityscape," said Toronto's first Poet Laureate and founder of the Legacy Project Dennis Lee. "And it should still be going strong a hundred years from now."

The first six plaques will be unveiled today at City Hall, the first honouring prominent poets and writers: Milton Acorn, Margaret Avison, Morley Callaghan, Robertson Davies, Gwendolyn MacEwen and E.J. Pratt. The program will continue steadily, with six to eight new plaques annually. The first plaques will be installed in the Spring.

The Partnership

The Toronto Legacy Project was established by Toronto's first Poet Laureate Dennis Lee in 2002 to celebrate Toronto's notable artists, scientists, and thinkers by weaving their names into the cityscape. Initially focused on naming or re-naming facilities, such as Oscar Peterson Place (at the Toronto Dominion Centre), Glenn Gould Place (formerly Metro Square), and George Faludy Parkette (at St. Mary's and St. Nicholas Streets), the Toronto Legacy Project is currently focusing on this new plaques program.

The Toronto Legacy Project and Heritage Toronto share a common commitment to memory - to marking, on our streets and in our public places, the names of those who have given us something worth celebrating. This new program reflects the merging of the Legacy Project's focus - individuals who have made a major contribution to the arts, science and thought - with Heritage Toronto's long-standing Plaques and Markers Program. Using criteria jointly established for this program, the Toronto Legacy Project and Heritage Toronto work closely to select candidates and plaque locations.

Selection of Candidates and Plaque Sites

To be considered, individuals must have made a major contribution to the arts, science or thought. That contribution must be recognized by members of their own calling, and must be well documented and broadly acknowledged. Candidates must also have had a strong association with the City of Toronto through birth, residence over a significant period of time, or through the connection of their work and career with the city.

Plaques must be installed on a site which has a well-documented and strong connection to the life or work of commemorated individuals.

Candidates for the plaques are put forward each year by the Legacy Project. The public is invited to submit names for consideration to both Heritage Toronto and the Legacy Project.

The Plaques

Simple and elegant, each plaque uses a few words to identify the person and place being honoured. Plaques will be installed either on the front wall of a building or on a post at the sidewalk.

The striking design was contributed by the Toronto firm, Hahn Smith. Each plaque is an oval, 30 cm by 18 cm, with bold white type on a blue background. The oval retains the shape of Heritage Toronto plaques; the blue retains the colour of Legacy Project markers at Oscar Peterson Place and other sites, while referencing the official colour of Toronto.

The first year's plaques commemorate writers, following the "Literary City" theme of Toronto's 175th anniversary. Future plaques will celebrate figures from a wide range of disciplines, and across the full history of the city.

Heritage Toronto and the Legacy Project are grateful to the property owners who have accepted the 2010 plaques, and to the City's Culture Division for funding their fabrication in this initial year. The plaques themselves remain the property and responsibility of Heritage Toronto.

The First Honourees

MILTON ACORN

Milton Acorn was probably the most colourful figure in the history of Canadian poetry. A carpenter from Prince Edward Island, and a man of passionate convictions, he wrote poems that came, in the words of Al Purdy, "somewhere close to greatness."
Acorn lived in the Waverley Hotel, at Spadina and College, from 1970 to 1977. He published five collections during that time, winning the specially-created People's Poet Award in 1970, and the Governor General's Award in 1975.

MARGARET AVISON

George Bowering, the first Canadian poet laureate, calls Margaret Avison "the best poet we have had." Her austere and compassionate work, which frequently reflected her Christian faith, received two Governor General's Awards. At the age of 85, she won the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize for Concrete and Wild Carrot.
Avison lived in the Fellowship Towers at 877 Yonge Street from 1984 to 2007, and published seven books in that period.

MORLEY CALLAGHAN

Through the first half of the twentieth century, Morley Callaghan was seen as the preeminent fiction writer in English Canada. Hemingway promoted his early stories; Edmund Wilson ranked him with Chekhov and Turgenev. He is still admired for the clear-eyed humanity of his work, and for his finely-honed prose.
A Torontonian, Callaghan lived at 20 Dale Avenue from 1951 to 1990. During that time he published fourteen books, among them such classics as The Loved and the Lost and That Summer in Paris.

ROBERTSON DAVIES

Robertson Davies was known for his prodigious output, with nearly fifty exuberant novels, plays, and essay collections to his credit.
Davies' enduring reputation rests on the novels in the Deptford Trilogy, which began with the celebrated Fifth Business. He wrote them while serving as the first Master of Massey College, where he lived from 1963 to 1981.
 

GWENDOLYN MACEWEN

Gwendolyn MacEwen's rich and visionary poetry continues to impress critics and other poets, and to fascinate new generations of readers. Douglas Barbour calls her "a wonder, a poet of legendary process-of how the everyday becomes supernatural reality."
From 1983 to 1987 she lived at 240 Robert Street. Here she published five books, including Afterworlds, for which she received her second Governor General's Award.

E. J. PRATT

During his lifetime, Edwin John Pratt was widely considered Canada's greatest poet. His book-length narrative poems were hailed as national epics, and he is still regarded as one of our major writers.
Pratt came to Toronto from Newfoundland, and taught for decades at Victoria College in the University of Toronto. From 1932 to 1953 he lived at 21 Cortleigh Boulevard, where he wrote nine books, including Br├ębeuf and His Brethren and Towards the Last Spike. Three of these volumes won Governor General's Awards.
 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

pics of ZenRiver Gardens: double rainbow, shaman shack, sacred rock face


Purdy Country Litfests (PurdyFests)

Contact: Chris Faiers
P.O. Box 69, Marmora, Ontario K0K 2M0
zenriver@sympatico.ca
 

ZenRiver Gardens.  Photo by Warren Fraser.
 
PurdyFests are annual ‘tribal gatherings’ of poets in the greater Marmora area. The more formal events take place on August holiday weekends, although people begin arriving days in advance, and some linger afterwards to continue enjoying the wild natural beauty of the Quinte region.  
 
These cultural gatherings are a tribute to Al Purdy and his famous poem, “The Country North of Belleville.”  Purdy, with his wife Eurithe, hosted a generation+ of Canadian writers at their famous A-frame cottage in Ameliasburgh. PurdyFests continue the Purdys’ genial tradition of hosting urban poets in our natural and relaxed environment.
 
PurdyFests are also a celebration of “People’s Poetry,” as exemplified by Purdy’s close friend, fellow Governor General’s poetry recipient, Milton Acorn. The first PurdyFest, held in 2007, was the brainchild of poets James Deahl and Chris Faiers, and professor/philosopher Terry Barker. Deahl and Barker had previously organized several “Controversy” symposiums on the role of People’s Poetry. These three old friends and comrades decided to expand the somewhat academic scope of the Controversies to include poetry readings and other populist events, and PurdyFests were born.
 

ZenRiver Gardens.  Photo by RD Roy.
 
The summer gatherings have become a kaleidoscope of people camping at Faiers’ ZenRiver Gardens retreat in the hamlet of Malone, SYMPOSIUMS on key aspects of Canadian culture and literature, casual events such as the traditional Friday night POTLUCK SUPPERS, democratic ROUND ROBIN POETRY READINGS on the islet in the Marmora dam following the symposiums, and pilgrimages to local sites, such as Purdy’s grave and A-frame, the nearby sacred First Nations’ Petroglyphs Park, and leisurely hanging out at Faiers’ ZenRiver Gardens retreat on the Upper Moira River.
 
PurdyFest #2 in 2008 focused on Al Purdy, THE VOICE OF CANADA’s poetic legacy, and PurdyFest #4’s symposium in 2010 focused on Ted Plantos, “the Cabbagetown Kid.”  2011’s symposium will feature presentations on seminal Canadian modernist poet Raymond Souster. Now 90, Ray’s newest collection, BIG SMOKE BLUES, will debut at PurdyFest #5.    
 
Many hundreds of poems have been performed, almost as many have been written, and dozens of poetry collections have been launched at PurdyFests. These include two key anthologies, CROSSING LINES: POETS WHO CAME TO CANADA IN THE VIETNAM WAR ERA, and LEFT A PLACE TO STAND ON: POEMS AND ESSAYS ON AL PURDY.
 
L-r: Dr. John Burke and Chris Faiers at PurdyFest #4 at ZenRiver Gardens.  Photo by RD Roy.
 
A sampling of readers, presenters and musicians at PurdyFests includes a WHO’S WHO of Canadian poets and writers: Allan Briesmaster, Kent Bowman, Katherine Beeman, Jeff Seffinga, Carol Malyon, Julie McNeill, Anna Plesums, RD Roy, Tai Grove, Jim and Alastair Larwill, Omaha RisinG, singer/guitarist Morley Ellis, Martin Durkin, James Deahl, Terry Barker, Chris Faiers, Marie Wilkins, Deborah Panko, Peter Rowe, Pearl Pirie, Theodore of Snowlion Meditation Shop, John Hamley, Gail Taylor, Mick Burrs, Simon D’Abreu, Terry Ann Carter, Claudia Couture Radmore…  the impressive list continues to expand each year.
      
The main events day for PurdyFest #5 will be on Saturday, July 30, 2011. The Canada-Cuba Literary Alliance (CCLA) will feature a group reading at ZenRiver Gardens on Sunday, July 31. The Potluck Supper will be on Friday, July 29.
 
For further information on all aspects of PurdyFests, please contact Chris Faiers
P.O. Box 69, Marmora, Ontario K0K 2M0
zenriver@sympatico.ca