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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Curating my poetry and life

At the end of June I turned 69. This means not only have I fully entered old fartdom, but statistically I'm close to the last decade of my life. Most poets don't seem to live long and happy lives - the best usually burn out early. Two of my literary heroes, Basho and Kerouac, didn't make it to 50. I feel I'm in a poetic "bonus round" to have lived so long, and now it's time for curating and archiving whatever poetic legacy I may be leaving for posterity. 

The 8 years of organizing Purdyfests were over 3 summers ago, and I sold my ZenRiver Gardens retreat at the end of the following summer. The Muse's ecstatic visits have also become rarer, and  now I'm rummaging thru the shelves, boxes. files and trunks of my Marmora bungalow looking for new homes for the thousands of poetry books, chapbooks, broadsheets, letters, flyers and ephemera. 

It's so hard parting with much of this material. For the past several years a winter project has been sending a packet or two to the American Haiku Archives at the California State Library. Again this year I'm preparing material for them, a bit more ruthlessly than in years past, as I want to ensure that some of this literarily valuable material is properly preserved.

The process of sending orphan material to a new home is far more difficult than imagined, tho. These legacies of the hundreds of poets I've known, befriended, published, and shared readings with keep demanding a further reading, a final gentle brushing of the covers and some deep reminiscing.         

In particular I've been revisiting the work of my haiku mentor, Dr. Eric Amann, and my Toronto friend, Shaunt Basmajian. When I Googled images of Shaunt, not a true pic could be found. Oddly, I did find the following article on my 2008 book. So while I continue to dither in my cold front porch, piles of books falling around me, I modestly decided to put this posting from the Marmora Historical Society site on riffs & ripps.

Image result for shaunt basmajian

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