Friday, May 22, 2015

Merlins & pears

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It was sunny when I drove to Saskatoon. And the only thing that saved me, despite driving straight through, was the time difference. Because I'm not especially good at getting up early enough or mobilizing all my clothes and books and scarves....

But thanks to time zone differences, I got there and got changed in time for us to walk across the bridge and on to the restaurant where we were meant to have dinner with John Donlan.

Afterwards, we walked to the Frances Morrison Central Library. And dee & Dave were outside, kibbutzing with buddies, and who was there, amidst the friends, but Don McKay.

And I suddenly felt very lucky, a feeling that was amplified by walking into the event room and seeing twenty-five people. Don had brought the poets from the colloquium he was facilitating at Sage Hill...

I read first. Along the way, I realized the folly of reading bird poems to Don McKay. But I did and then I read my pear poems and then I thought I'd end with "How to Tell if Someone is Dead." Because I thought if any audience would know Robert Kroetsch, whose death in 2011 the poem is a response to, it would be this one.

And I got a little weepy while explicating the poem. Which surprised me.

After that, Yvonne and John read in their turns. And it was lovely to encounter them both that way, but I especially loved the poem for two voices of Yvonne's that they did together. It made me glad to be a writer, to have cause to be standing there, reading & listening to others read, and to chat with people afterwards. It also made me wish I'd written that poem, so it was aspirational, in a way.

My thanks to the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild for sponsoring the reading, to the Saskatoon Public Library for hosting us so elegantly, to John for agreeing to read with us and for being so generous, and to Don McKay, for coming to a reading of mine and listening to my poems.

Because in the same way that having Robert Kroetsch blurb my first book was enough, having Don McKay listen to me read poems about merlins, about pears, and were-coyotes, was, well...enough.

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