Many, many thanks Honey for sending me your CD, MILTON ACORN & THE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT! I've just had the chance to play it once so far, and it was thoroughly enjoyable - another great tribute to Milt and the People's Poetry Movement he so well represented, along with Big Al and many others. The musical accompaniment highlights your narration and singing without being overly obvious.
Your CD tribute adds an important historical perspective in the ongoing resurrection of the greats of the Canuck People's Poetry. Another large step in this resurrection is detailed in the article Peter Rowe sent me from today's STAR about the new doc on Al Purdy being debuted at The TO International Film Festival in a few days. All of this follows our 8 years of celebrating the 'greats' of People's Poetry at our annual PurdyFests, and the tribute evenings which followed in TO for Milt and Ray Souster. Last week's celebration of the plaque honouring Gwen and Milt on Ward's Island, organized by George Elliott Clarke, is starting to give the impression that a major renewal of public interest in Canadian poetry is underway. (And many thanks Peter for forwarding the link!)
I heard Brian D. Johnson, the producer of the Purdy film, interviewed on CBC radio this morning, and it doesn't give me great hope, tho, that Milt and his importance to the co-development of CanPo with Al will be properly recognized. When the host asked Johnson about Milt, Johnson stuttered ... 'ah, ah, ah ... Acorn WAS A COMMUNIST!' he finally blurted. Good God, man, that's the best you can say about one of Canada's finest poets? In the STAR article Johnson does acknowledge that he had no knowledge of Purdy until he was contacted about making the film - scary, as Johnson has been a Kanadian kultural maven for many decades, and he WAS a contemporary of Al and Milt.
So it'll be interesting to see the film, and at least it's giving a higher profile and belated recognition to one of the greats of CanPo, if not to all of whom James Deahl calls "the great generation of Canadian poets".
I'll post something on my blog, and copy it around to publicize the good news (hope this film IS good news for Milt's legacy, and not another out-of-date piece attacking a straw man who never existed).
peace & poetry power!
Chris ... & Chase Wrfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff!
p.s. I'm also cc'ing historian Charlotte Gray - I've been encouraging her for a couple of years to write a co-bio of Milt & Al.
p.p.s. it was nice, Honey, to quote Robert Priest and mention Kent Bowman on your CD, but I was the dude who risked life and limb saving the guy who was attacked at our vigil in Allen Gardens - first I had to physically back off his attacker, then drag him off the street full of busy traffic & then calm him until the ambulance arrived - the rest of the poets stood there with their thumbs up their asses as usual