During the '80s and early '90s, White Rock Public Library played host to a number of fine readings -- Robert Priest, Joe Rosenblatt, Lorna Crozier, Sharon Thesen -- and many more. But mandates seemed to change. Even though there'd been good attendance, the library veered away from readings they deemed 'too literary.'
But enough of grimy history; it seems time for a new page.
Last night saw a visit from Diana Hartog, promoting her new book, Ink Monkey from Brick Books. She read love poems, desert poems, explained the significance of the title creature, but really hit her stride when she started reading from 'Jellyfish Suite.' The poems in this section were magical, transporting us to undersea kingdoms where "...millions of jellyfish pulse...ghostly parachutes, dangling empty harnesses as they rise...".
In a longer prose poem, Notes to the Composer:, she read one of those lines I'm so famous for mis-hearing. "(They seem to invite metaphor.)" I remembered the word as the more active incite. But that's one of those little miracles that happen at a reading. We get a new window into the poem -- an experience the printed page (wondrous though it is) doesn't always offer.
It felt good to have White Rock be part of such a far-reaching tour: Montreal, Toronto, New York, Ottawa, Seattle, Bellingham, Vancouver, Victoria. The event felt like the beginning of some kind of renaissance for 'literary' readings out here. Let's just hope the powers-that-be at the library live up to all the promise that was in the air last night.
And hey, all you writers with new books: people in the audience even bought books! Here's a picture of Diana, signing a copy she sold.