I also had a very nice chat with Eric Miller, whom I've only met once before, but I really like him. As a person and as a poet, he's a very original guy and quite delightful. I think I'm going to have to track down his essay collection, The Reservoir, which was nominated in the non-fiction category, but lost to the Nazis, who are even tougher competition than land surveyors. (A regrettable feature of this event was that, while there were tables on which the nominated books were displayed, there was no opportunity to purchase said books. Apparently, this has something to do with not being allowed to sell stuff in the Lt. Gov's house. Oddly enough, earlier in the day, there was a big plant sale on the grounds. Plants good, books bad. Sure.)
Eric introduced me to Patricia Young, who recently became a member of team Biblioasis. Wish I'd had the chance to chat more with her. A very outgoing, ebullient person, who did her damnedest to straighten out Rachel's nominee corsage, a lovely white rose which seemed bound and determined to follow the dictates of gravity.
As many readers of CLM probably know, I'm not a big fan of literary prizes in general, but it was great to see Rachel's book getting some official recognition. It was at times an uphill battle for her. At every stage of the game there were people saying that her book didn't work for one stupid reason or another. Many of those people were BC publishers, so it was particularly gratifying to see the book shortlisted for a regional prize that recognizes books that "contribute to the understanding and enjoyment of British Columbia." Also good to be in that category because it's outside the poetry ghetto and all the political bullshit that taints just about every poetry prize in the country. And it was great to share the event, two days before R's birthday, with several members of her family, since the book honours their heritage so beautifully.
Afterwards, we headed over to Steven Price's for a post-gala nightcap and post-mortem with Steve and his brother Kevin (who is also the designer of the very sharp cover for Anatomy of Keys). I'm now planning my theft of Steve's collection of framed letterpress broadsides.
Victoria's a great little city. I could see living there some day, should the occasion arise.