Wednesday, April 22, 2009
A Verse Map of Vancouver
A gorgeous new book was launched last night, the finishing touch to George McWhirter's two-year tenure as Vancouver's first Poet Laureate.
Last spring, McWhirter sent out a call for poems specific to locations in the city. A lot of people must have responded, as the book, A Verse Map of Vancouver, contains poems by 92 poets. But what makes the book even more spectacular is that each poem has its own page and is accompanied by a full colour photo of the site depicted in the poem.
I felt both pleased and honoured to be able to read my poem (about the Lee Building at Broadway and Main) as part of this fabulous event.
In addition to launching the anthology, the evening served to honour one of Canada's greatest poets, Al Purdy. Officially 'Al Purdy Day', April 21st is the day Purdy died, back in 2000. There's a campaign on to raise funds to save his home in Ontario so that it might be used by authors for writing retreats.
I was lucky and managed to click just as the 'main attractions' were putting their signatures onto the first copy of the book, the one likely destined for the special collection section of Vancouver Public Library. That's George McWhirter in the centre, with Derek von Essen, the book's photographer and designer, waiting for his turn to sign. At left is Paul Whitney, City Librarian (aka, head) of VPL.