Wednesday, April 30, 2014


This has been the week – okay, the month – for celebrating all sorts of ‘poetricity’ – or, as the League of Canadian Poets dubbed the month’s theme, “Poetry City.”

Earlier this month, there was another of those oh-so-fun ekphrastic poetry events. The poems were based on watercolour paintings of sights in the city of Vancouver.

Last week meant a trip to Gabriola Island, where three of us read poems that more or less related to the theme of Poetry City. Naturally, each of us took our own route.

On Saturday, the winner of Surrey Public Library’s poetry contest read her work as part of celebrations to open the new City Hall. The birds in the photo soaring above the ever-so-high foyer are the latest in Surrey’s art acquisitions. Apparently, at night, they’re illuminated by coloured lights. Considering how beautiful they are during the day, they should be spectacular in the evening.

Monday was another in the locally sponsored Readings by the Salish Sea series. Our poet, Joanna Lilley, who has a brand-new book out, brought the idea of ‘Northern City’ to our City by the Sea. In addition to reading her poems, she told us about the circuitous route she took (buses, bicycles, more) in finding her current home, the Yukon.

This morning I see a ray of good news at the site where a murder took place in my city this past winter. In an effort to humanize the spot, a group of community-minded citizens took the initiative to start a ‘Poet-Tree.’ The goal is to make it a place where people will stop and chat, maybe add a note or a poem of their own. The hope is that by greeting each other and visiting a bit, we’ll do a better job of looking out for each other.

And that, above all, sounds like a terrific result for the observance of Poetry City – or, as my clever friend who is so good at manipulating words has renamed it, Poetricity. Phonetics for that? Try poe-eh-TRI-si-tee. We may well have a new word on our hands.    

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Good morning, Earth

This past weekend was, for many, a time to celebrate the ideas of resurrection and rebirth.

For us, it was a weekend away, camping in our own comfortable way.

What better place to be able to observe the inevitable recycling of life than in the forest.

Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Poems on the clock

You'd never know it, if you were judging by this blog of late, but I'm a person who's good at working to deadlines. I'll admit, there've been a few distractions recently.

Still, this past week saw me involved in two events that made me responsible to a deadline. The first was an event at Vancouver's Jewish Community Centre. I'd been invited to read poems as part of an art show. The trick was, I had to write new poems, ones that were based on the paintings in the show. In other words, I had to write to a deadline. Somehow, I came up with seven short pieces, none of which will likely stand the test of time. Still, I did what I needed to.

The other poem 'on the clock' was creating an entry for the weekend's 48-Hour Poetry Contest. This event, sponsored by CV2 Magazine, has been a part of my April weekends since 2002.

For that one, I was in Australia, travelling through the Blue Mountains, reliant on finding a cybercafe so I could participate in the contest. This was early days for public access Internet, at least that's how it felt in any small town in Oz. The one I found was in the back room of a Thai restaurant, so I had to abide by their hours -- all the while doing my best to pay attention to what time (and day!) it might be, back in Winnipeg, headquarters of the contest.

I survived then, and I survived this weekend too. Always a bit frantic, but always plenty of fun.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Fare thee well to someone dear

This is a photo of our wonderful uncle, Octavian, standing beside his beloved linden tree -- a tree that provided many offerings for the herbal tinctures and salves he made.

This morning, we received news that Octavian had died. But oh my, this was a man who knew how to live!

When he raised a glass of wine in cheers, his greeting was nearly always an enthusiastic 'Happy Birthday!'i

Because he is a strong believer in the existence of a wonderful afterlife, I find myself needing to wish him a "Happy Birthday!' with hopes that he has indeed been born into the place where he hoped he would be.