06 June 2005

The lure of the sirens

Monday morning. I am coming down with a cold. It is raining outside. The emergency vehicles are zipping past, the lure of their European-movie sirens stronger than ever. In a few hours, we head for the plane.

Today is June 6, and I believe that in the Kootenays, the Stuart Ross Award for Poetry Adventurism will be announced. After my griping about the low number of applicants, one more student applied. The winner will be a smart fellow named Roberto DeSandoli, who really does seem interested in poetry, and willing to try out all sorts of different forms and approaches. Some good political content too. He'll get 250 bucks out of my pocket and 10 Canadian poetry books, courtesy of Brick, Coach House, Anvil, Anansi, Arsenal Pulp, Mercury, Pedlar Press, and Wolsak & Wynn.

Yesterday I had a very nice two hours with Sam Andreyev, who moved to Paris two years ago to study music. He said he'd dreamed since he was a teenager that he wanted to live in Europe, and here he is. I found our talk inspiring and motivating. I wish I'd had his kind of focus when I was his age. But then I'm not a genius!

Dana and I visited the Shoah Memorial, which was very powerful. Marble walls are inscribed with the names of the 70,000 Paris Jews the Vichy gov't was complicit in shipping out to concentration camps. About 2,500 of them survived. There's also a small room that contains narrow trays stuffed with index cards -- the Paris police record for each Jew in the city. The museum is simple and elegant and respectful. Security is very tight, though -- although it's free to enter, you must go through an airport-style baggage x-ray and body check. And when you leave, you have to buzz to be let into the first part of the exit chamber, where you're locked in from both sides, and then you buzz again to be let into the street. Very sad that this must be the case. But the sculptures and displays in this memorial make it all worthwhile.

At night, we did a last-minute blitz of tourist attractions: the Champs Elysee, the Arc de Triumph, and the Eiffel Tower, where we took the elevator up to niveux 2. The tower was a lot of fun. And though it's not all that tall, once you get up to it, it's pretty darn impressive. We also visited the Palais de Tokyo last night -- an incredible museum of contemporary art that's open six days a week from noon till midnight! Man, I wish we had something like that in Toronto. There was a lot of strong stuff in there (which I'm too whoozy to detail right now), plus a great bookshop.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, Cary Fagan has reviewed my Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer in the Toronto Star. Though the review seems sort of snitty, and there are little personal attacks in it, I'm very pleased!

And now, you will excuse me while I pack.

Over and out.

4 Comments:

At June 06, 2005 10:47 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey stu -read the review by fagan in the star - just wondeing if you have any comment on how this book is getting lot's of reviews and so quickly after the publication -

is it because (dare i say it) it's not poetry

just wondering - safe journey home -

love

dfb

 
At June 06, 2005 11:58 am , Anonymous Lynn said...

hi, stu--
i'm just catching up on reading what I want to read and enjoying your parisian adventures in poetry and travel.
makes me start to get excited about my first trip to paris this coming september. poems written in paris, sigh!

hope you and dana have a comfortable ride home.

 
At June 06, 2005 12:36 pm , Blogger boojo said...

love the idea for the stuart ross award for poetry adventurism. i wish arts had been promoted in my high school.

actually, i'm surprised they didn't have a funnel straight from grade twelve to the chrysler factory.

-dani

 
At June 06, 2005 7:18 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compa Estu ... So sorry I didn't tune in until your last day. But what a blast meandering through your posts! Leave it to ol' Stu to inspire me to respond to my first blog. I'm giddy reflecting on the hours upon hours of strolling strange cities with you, and I'm delighted to hear all went well with seeing Kim. Freaky!

 

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