Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Writing and the Community

Today, in celebration of the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild’s 45th birthday, the Guild honoured Ken Mitchell as a founding member by dedicating their library in his name, a fitting tribute to a great writer, leader, mentor, and inspiration.

I imagine every Saskatchewan writer who has been involved with the various writing and arts organizations in this province has at one time sat around a meeting table with Ken Mitchell. I have more than once and learned so much from the experience.

Prior to the dedication and unveiling, Ken Mitchell delivered a great Write After Lunch presentation titled “Writing and the Community,” something which I've been thinking about a lot lately. He talked about the importance of folk culture in our social development and the need to preserve our stories. He told us how important this region and this culture is to his life. As a founder, he recognized the need to "keep writers here and engaged" and, as anyone who knows anything about Saskatchewan literary history knows, he has dedicated more than 45 years to this work. This in addition to his more than 30 books - novels, poetry, dramas and histories - that have taken stories of this place and its people to provincial, national and international audiences. We're the richer for it. And his work and innovation continue.

I posted this pic of Bohemian Waxwings on Facebook prior to the presentation. I took the pic this morning while sitting here in my chair. The flock fed and passed berries back and forth for the duration of the talk. They're still at it. Waxwings, too, know much more than I ever will about the importance and workings of community.

But I will continue to pay attention and learn all I can.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Three big dogs in our yard today

...and not one of them is ours. We don't even have a dog. 

Two of them visit our yard almost every day. The middle one just started coming around recently. 

I have to watch where I step.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A collaborative poetry map project

...is taking shape called Land of Living Haiku. I'm part of the group and it's very new, but we'll find our way along. The map is a bit funny about line breaks, so it might take some time to sort it out with our various gadgets. You can follow along if you like. We'll see where it goes.

Here's a link to a google map poem

...I plotted and wrote called The West Arm Road. Each of the fourteen lines on the left of the map describes one of the fourteen stops along the road. The challenge was to make it hang together as a poem. It was a real trip! The embedded version below looks quite different, but it works. Just click on the box in the upper left and away you go.

See this previous post and this previous post if you want to get a bit of an idea why I'm exploring the creative potential of these maps.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Experiencing the poems

...in Reading the Don, a chapbook published by Gesture Press "on the occasion of the Fourth Lost River's Poetry Walk from Riverdale Park to Corktown Common, September 21, 2014," was a true pleasure. An adventure, really, and it's not over.

These poems by Maureen Scott Harris, Maureen Hynes, Anita Lahey, Dilys Leman, and Nicholas Power, are meditations on and channels of the Don River: quick and reflective, navigable and surprising.

Exploring the list of related links at the back led to an unexpected after-experience, the "Reading the Don" google map of the reading route causing me to go back into the poems as if I were on a quest. When I clicked on the satellite view and zoomed in on where Maureen Scott Harris had read "Three Views of the Don River," I pictured her, the creator, sitting on the riverbank, the poem coming to life, and I read the poem again with the aerial view open before me. I was well above the Don River, at the level of a soaring red-tailed hawk, well above the "chickadee, kinglet, red cardinal" and the others, the river flowing through the words while the place remained frozen in time before me. It was both exciting and unsettling. I've been thinking about it for hours now.