Friday, June 15, 2007

Madeira Park, downpours, Getty sightings

Had a nice, if brief, trip up to the Sunshine Coast. Adam Getty's staying in the home of Franklin White, the father of Harbour Publishing's Howard White and grandfather of Nightwood Editions' Silas White. I had thought that Silas would be around, but it turns out he's in Toronto. No matter, we trekked around the Francis Peninsula gawking at the estates of the rich and famous and enjoying the hilltop views of sheltered coves.

We had supper at the Grasshopper Pub, which is high on the hill above the village of Madeira Park, with great water views. I figured I'd be able to find a shortcut back into town, but I was wrong, so we had to trudge back up a very steep hill to make our way back down around on the road. The delay meant we got caught in an absolutely torrential downpour walking back to Franklin White's. Fortunately, we were fairly well-fortified and the liquid within was in homeostatic balance with the liquid without. When we finally got back to the house and changed into drier duds, we ruined that balance completely.

Next day (yesterday), we made our way to the ferry, Adam on the bus and me on my motorcycle, and crossed over to Vancouver. Rachel read that night with Chris Patton and Shane Rhodes. Despite a bad cold, Rachel's reading was very strong. A couple of her favourite teachers from elementary school--one, Robert Heidbreder, an accomplished writer of children's poetry--showed up and bought books, which made it a very special event, since Rachel herself is on the verge of becoming an elementary school teacher.

Chris Patton read second. The writing was very interesting--I was especially taken with his translation of the Old English poem "The Wanderer"--but he read in a halting, stutter-and-flow manner that I think worked to the detriment of the poems. I picked up a copy of his book, Ox, and I look forward to spending some time with it. His language is just jam-packed with soundplay and semantic nuance, in a way somewhat reminiscent of Hopkins. I was also glad to learn--and not surprised--that he's a charming fella.

Shane Rhodes read last and was thoroughly charming and engaging. He read two of the poems I liked from his new book and another one from his first book, about a rural general store, that I'd like to take a good look at.

A bunch of folks went out afterwards for food and drink, after which Elizabeth Bachinsky, her husband Blake, Adam, Rachel and I convened at our place for a glass of wine and fine conversation. Adam and I, as we seem to do on the rare occasions we meet up, stayed up till 3 am talking craft. Tonight, Adam and I are joining some old friends of mine to see the BC Lions in pre-season action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. I predict the Lions will romp and run roughshod over those rotten Roughriders (just for you, Brenda!). Adam heads back to the Runshine (his coinage) Coast tomorrow and I hit the rails again on Sunday. I hope all my time off this summer is so fun.