Sunday, May 9, 2010

A most unusual launch

I rode my bike to PEI yesterday so I could attend a multi-author launch at the Haviland Club in Charlottetown. The main reason I came over is that one of the publications being launched last night was the John Smith special issue of CNQ. Dave Hickey, who guest-edited the issue, couldn't make it from London, so I said a few words about it, as well as announcing the forthcoming publication of The Essential John Smith by The Porcupine's Quill. Also launched last night were new collections by Richard Lemm and David Helwig.

But it turned out to be a rather unconventional launch. It started off with Island poet laureate Hugh MacDonald reading some very witty poems. By way of introducing John Smith, Deirdre Kessler and Brent MacLaine did an adapted a capella version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Then John Smith read, excellently as always, but he also sang an English Music Hall tune his uncle had written--all the more impressive because he hadn't planned to. After the intermission, David Helwig and Richard Lemm gave very strong readings and then there was a moving tribute to Laurie Brinklow, who, after many years running PEI's Acorn Press, is off to Tasmania to pursue a PhD.

I was planning to head back to Halifax this morning, but after the intermission last night, I started feeling feverish and chilled, and I was in no shape for motorcycling this morning. Been keeping the worst of it in check with Tylenol, hoping to feel better tomorrow so I can get home.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there. More than ever, I have an appreciation for how important and difficult being a mother is.

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