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Friday, 10 January 2014

Tribute Launch for Ray Souster Jan. 15th

QB Launch: "Under the Mulberry Tree: Poems for & about Raymond Souster"

When: Wed, January 15, 7pm – 9pm

Where: Tequila Bookworm, Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada (map)

Please join editor James Deahl, consulting editor Allan Briesmaster, and a dozen of the 35 contributing poets for the launch of "Under the Mulberry Tree: Poems for & about Raymond Souster", from Quattro Books . Under the Mulberry Tree is an anthology of poems paying affectionate and admiring tribute to one of the most important figures in Canadian poetry in the second half of the 20th Century. Raymond Souster (1921-2012) was a groundbreaking poet of wide-ranging influence who distinguished himself like no one else, as an editor, publisher, readings organizer, and mentor. The poets contributing to this anthology include some who knew Souster personally and others from younger generations who are extending the tradition of modernist “People’s Poetry” in a Sousterian spirit. 

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The shy man was absent

(Raymond Souster Tribute, Nov. 22, 2011)

The shy man was absent
from his own poetry tribute
sixty plus of us crammed
the second floor of Runnymede Library
the shy man's bookish retreat
for most of his 90 years

The shy man's imprint was Contact
(irony universal in poetry's ascent)

he made contact with poetry readings
poetry magazines and poetry organizations
poetry of the best, by the best
but poetry for everyone

The shy man slipped his teller's cage
miraculously to birth, with a few close friends
the modern age of Canadian poetry

A bank teller, for God's sake
who never swore, womanized
stole a dime, overwrote a line
Will he even show up for his own funeral?
will we file past an empty casket
the shy man busy elsewhere, composing perhaps

When the shy man passes
to join his legion of friends
in the Canuck poetry pantheon
we earthbound ones will need
a statue or two
to fix his shy spirit a place

beside bronze Al in Queen's Park?
(Al shy? - all poets are shy)
or comfortable yards apart
from an even shyer genius
Glen on his permanent bench
outside CBC quarters?

until the time of bust in bronze
poet after poet visits Ray
in a nursing home just around
Runnymede's comfortable corner 
But tonight the shy man's legacy connects
a tribal gathering of poets his tribute
       not one empty chair

Chris Faiers

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Jan.9, 2014
Hi James,
Your wonderful tribute to Ray arrived yesterday. I picked it up last night on my way over to watch bad TV with Chase at Morley's. Heartfelt content - every damn poem! - beautifully produced - great intro which gives the scope of Ray's contributions to CanPo. What an honour to be in the company of such great poets - it's a Who's Who of CanPo. I was bragging to Morley about how many of our co-contributors are GG winners. Morley asked if that was as high an honour as receiving the Order of Canada. I explained there are dozens of OofCs awarded every year, but only ONE GG for poetry. Morley was suitably impressed  :  )

As with the Milt issue of THE AMBASSADOR, every one of your projects hits a new high. It's hard to encapsulate everything you've done for People's Poetry, Milt, & CanPo in general over the decades. I told Terry during our marathon 'chat' this week that even tho the Cuban censors, or Tai, or God knows who omitted Terry's piece on Milt & Che, well, this just adds some major spice to the stew (to hopelessly garble metaphors) of your many projects.

My mechanic told me on Tuesday that the Sube should last a while longer after about $1K in repairs. So good news all around, except the mechanic won't be able to round up the parts for the major work on the Sube's suspension until next week, so my participation has become even more highly unlikely for the launch of MULBERRY TREE    : (  :  (

I'm also looking forward to the spring release of Terry's new book on People's Poetry. Our tribe (Fellowship of the Acorn?) is sure doing a lot of moving & grooving on the CanPo scene these days. And People's Poetry festivals are springing up everywhere like dandelions (yeah, but we did it first 8 years ago!).

Mucho thanks & congrats again, James!

peace & poetry power!
Chris ...  & Chase Wrffffffffffffffffffffffffff!

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