Total Pageviews

Sunday, 4 August 2013

"LivesayFest" notes and haiku

Hi Everyone,

 Dorothy Livesay Symposium

LivesayFest, Purdyest #7, is in full swing. I'm stealing a few minutes Sunday morning from sleep and today's readingst at ZenRiver Gardens to give a quick overview of this year's activities so far,

Yesterday's Symposium on Dorothy Livesay was attended by around 25 people. Participants cumulatively drove thousands of miles to attend. Paulos Iannou led off with a well-researched and thorough paper on Livesay's life & poetic career. This was followed by Anna Yin's excellent poem on Livesay.

Terry Barker then gave a relaxed oral presentation of his paper, "The Self-Completing Tree: Dorothy Livesay and the Theosopihical Muse". Terry's paper gave us a sense of the many dramatic changes Livesay personally went through, and how these quite different personalities were refelcted in her poetry & politics.

Marsha Barber completed the presentations with another oral remembering of her youthful apprenticeship with Livesay. Marsha was hired as a general factotum for an aging Livesay, doing everything from transcriptions & correspondence to chopping wood. This gave Marsha deep insight into the this incredibly strong-minded and creative woman.

David Day was also personally acqulanited with Dorothy Livesay, & his comments rounded out the diverse personality we had been shown by the presenters.

recording cameras
recording cameras

Another Dam Poetry Reading

Singer and guitarist Morley Ellis led off the dam reading with an extended performance of songs geared to the audience. I began the round robin portion of the poetrly readings with the poem I wrote after the first PurdyFest in 2007, "Picnic with Al". I mentioned that the restoration of the Purdy A-frame in Ameliasburgh is coming along well, and that plans are underway for the writer-in-residence program to begin in 2014.

There were around 40 people enjoying the perfect summer day, & we went around the large gathering enjoying various styles and voices of poets: Patrick Connors, Anna Yin, Anna Plesums, Terry Barker, Pearl Pirie, John Hamley, David Day, Gail Taylor, Henry Martinuk, Marsha Barber, Hans Jongman & many others, including the young  nude sunbathing travelers we met the day before at Callahan's Rapids. Stew & Mila showed up with several more couples and added to the ambience of the day. A highlight was Ann BeCoy's song about getting turned back by American immigration, an experience shared by several other audience members after 911.

introvert poets
for a day

beautiful nudists
bathe on hot rocks
in the rapids 

Siimon and Melanie gave a sample of the street puppetry performance art they do in large center like Hamilton and Toronto. The joked that some performances were so unsettling to the powers-that-be that large puppets were arrested! They asked for volunteers from the crowd, and had them read the flip sheet lyrics in Dutch, French and Chinese to display the universality of the dangers posed to all humanity.

Canadian poets
many tongues
many voices  

The dam readings eventually drew to a close, & a lot of our companions headed back to Toronto and centers across Ontario. Most remained, however, & headed back to ZenRiver Gardens for dinner. Anna Yin and her friends cooked delicious Chinese noodles, served with jellyfish & sauteed fish & chicken. We trekked back on the old quarry properties, enjoying the wild surroundings. Comment was made that it was hard to believe such wilderness existed barely a 2-hours drive from Toronto.

pats and food spills
not poetry
important to dogs

A blazing fire was built while Ann BeCoy played some of her beautiful original songs. Impromptu readings, discussions, & personal revelations followed late into the evening, accompanied by a beer or 2 and giant marshmallows which must have weighed half a pound each (courtesy of Dan the fireman).

into the night
drunken poet
competes with frogs 

It's time for me to wake up Chase & head back to ZenRiver Gardens for the afternoon group readings, which should begin very soon. Many of our campers will head home later today, but the hardcore ones will probably drive to Ameliasburgh tomorrow for a pilgrimage to Purdy's grave & the A-frame.

peace & poetry power!
Chris ... & Chase Wrffffffffffffffff!  11:45 am Sunday morning

short story
goes on tooo long

Monday morning (coming down?)

Chase & I made to out to ZenRiver by about 12:30 yesterday (Sunday). Tai & Kim Grove of Hidden Brook Press & the Canada-Cuba Literary Alliance had already set up shade tents, but the campers had all driven off to Callahan's Rapids for wading, & perhaps to check if the sunbathers were back on their rock. Roger and Veronica Langen arrived while we waited for the crowds to appear. The throng from last year's Sunday readings never materialized, & instead a gathering of a dozen poets enjoyed a very relaxed afternoon as person by person & couple by couple wandered into the reading circle.

Rain clouds
drift amiably above
our sun awnings

The unexpected arrival of James and Norma Deahl was a special treat, as James is a founder of PurdyFest, and many fest activities are his original ideas. They would have arrived earlier, but their  search for nonexistent cabins on highway #62 had delayed their arrival by half a day.

young goddess
wraps live snake charm
around her arm

A highlight for all was Ann BeCoy's reading from her Memoirs of a Hippie Girl in India. Ann has a radio quality professional voice, & her accounting of her youthful attempted seduction by a horny & manipulative guru was simultaneously frightening and funny.

Thank Yous 

To the speakers at the symposium for the dozens of hours of preparation which went into your presentations:  Paulos Ioannou, Anna Yin, Terry Barker & Marsha Barber. For everyone who read at and listened to the many fest activities this year, including Allan & Holly Briesmaster - thanks for driving David & Marsha, for Henry Martinuk for bringing Ann, for Anna Plesums for sharing her new book and homemade bread at the potluck, to David Day for his personal memories of Livesay, for Morley Ellis for again anchoring the dam reading & establishing the positive vibe, for Simon & Melanie for being such helpful Kamp Kommandants at ZenRiver & for being such enthusiastic performers, for Patrick for entertaining us and the frogs at ZenRiver. for the water snakes who entertained Mel, for Anna's friends who prepared the stir fry, for Henry for continuing to professionally video record PurdyFests for posterity, to Gail Taylor for billeting Marsha,for John for sharing his first attempt at chicken rice, for Tai & Kim & their Hidden Brook Press for publishing so many of us (James, Norma, me, Ann BeCoy, Roger, Veronica, etc.). To Pearl & Brian Pirie for being such sweet people and driving all the way from Ottawa. For the great weather for yet another year. To Jim Larwill, our Raven King, who couldn't make it this year, & best wishes to Joyce Wayne and Honey Novick, both of whom had personal tragedies to deal with & still sent their best wishes & regards. Ditto to Kent Bowman, Katherine Beeman, Karl Jirgens & Katherine Gordon for their best wishes & long distance support.

Next year's PurdyFest will feature the life and legacy of Pauline Johnson.
See you there ...
peace & poetry power!
Chris, Chase, Morley, and the frogs & snakes of ZenRiver

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hi Chris and all,

Thanks for hosting the wonderful events.  Here are my haiku for this year's event and photos will be posted later. Then I will send a link for  all of that.   Cheers.

Anna Yin

Zenriver Haiku


storms again

my son regrets our cancelled camp plan

sleeping on his room’s floor


clear sky

music and poetry flow

under the shady elm tree


an old-time song

Henry lets that cute dog

find her voice first


Dee in Marsha’s narrative

alive again

in our sizzling dialog


decades passed…

who goes first? You! You!

we laugh at David’s story


across the creek,

Dan lifts up his fish

inhaling Ann’s music


a winding trail

before the haunted house

calls from unknown birds '


apples picked from deep woods

gift for Terry, sweet or sour

a witch's wish?


not haiku, but stories

Hans read wisdom from

his five-year old grandson


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Somewhere down the Zen River
 With a Literary Allusion to Leonard Cohen

by Pat Connors

Current runs smoothly
all stands still for a moment
the eternal now

On Simcoe day weekend
friends come together
between Marmora and Madoc

the beauty of sharing meals
poetry and music
this blessed moment

If only I could get my mind
to not plan the next move
worrying about when I have to leave

in spite of this I learn something
about Dorothy Livesay, Chris Faiers,
and even myself

about wonderful friends
existing and newly made
their love and generosity

to relax and be myself
in whatever time
the good Lord grants me

for Jesus is my Saviour
in this world and the next
and I want to travel blind

and I know that I can trust Him
because I have seen Zen River
and I know I will see it again

The weekend goes on without me
back in Don Mills trying to type
record and categorize

But I am changed forever
because I know I will see Zen River again

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Conrad DiDiodato has left a new comment on your post ""LivesayFest" notes and haiku":

congrats on yr awesome "LivesayFest". As I read this post "Cream" suddenly comes to mind.
Posted by Conrad DiDiodato to Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens at 5 August 2013 09:56

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

AnnaYin has left a new comment on your post ""LivesayFest" notes and haiku":

Thank you Chris,

Here are poems, haiku and essay, photos for the event.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Hi Chris and Tai - and Chase,

Here's what I'm doing since I'm not with you right now! Hugs and belly
rubs, Katharine

Hi all,

Imagine a river, the Marmora, at the toes of the Canadian Shield.
Imagine a small dog who likes his belly rubbed running through it.
Imagine smoke from the campfire chasing away the mosquitos.

But the good friends, food and poetry will be real!

Tuesday, 6 August, 18h30, Katharine's patio. Bring what you like to eat,
drink, read.
4872 Esplanade, entre St Joseph y Villeneuve (straight as the crow flies
east from Louise's).

SIMON - please bring your guitar, if you'd like.

CELIA - please bring your black cat poem - I'd love to hear it again and
one of my friends adores black cats.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 



Conrad DiDiodato said...


congrats on yr awesome "LivesayFest". As I read this post "Cream" suddenly comes to mind.


AnnaYin said...

Thank you Chris,

Here are poems, haiku and essay, photos for the event.