Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ken Babstock

Ken Babstock was shot at with a bb gun at the Rolla Hotel in Rolla, B.C., the same hotel where Lorna Crozier learned to tie her first pair of logging boots.

In fact, there’s a long history involving Peace River hotels and Canadian poets. David O’Meara and friends once were taken on a tour of the famed Alaska Hotel. His friends swore they saw a ghost in the old place, but O’Meara says he must have missed that part of the tour.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Al Purdy

As Purdy was dying of lung cancer, trailing behind him an oxygen tank, Victoria poet and friend Linda Rogers complimented him on his unusual civility towards his wife. “Of course,” he replied. “She controls the oxygen.” In bed, he reviewed possible cover photos for his posthumous collection. "I think it should be a photo of my ass," Rogers thought she heard him say. "Well," she replied, “any picture will do then. They’re all images of an ass." Whereupon Purdy rose up, collected his breath and showed Rogers his fist. "Ashes!" he shouted, “My ashes!

Al Purdy’s A-Frame:

Our favourite Linda Rogers quote: ““Because there are so many ways of looking at a single blackbird, there are infinite versions of the truth, all of them potential lies.”

Sylvia Plath

The house in London where Sylvia Plath died was once owned by William Butler Yeats. Plath and Ted Hughes both considered their discovery of the flat in the Primrose Hill district to be a sign of good things to come, though this would prove to be truer of their poetic careers than of their lives together.

(Submitted by Victoria poet John Barton)

Our favourite Barton quote: "No poem is easily grasped; so why should any reader expect fast results?"

Toronto poet, Steven Heighton

We're told that Heighton, known for his formal and tightly edited poetry will, at the drop of a hat, teach anyone who asks how to do the African Gumboot Dance. (Submitted by Victoria poet, Jay Ruzesky.)

Our favourite Heighton quote: "In writing, as in life, “personality” is not character. Never try to be cute, to be winning, to audition for the reader."

Steven Heighton’s latest collection of poems Patient Frame (Anansi) and his novel Every Lost Country (Knopf Canada) will hit book store shelves in Spring 2010. http://www.stevenheighton.com/