25 April 2006

Letter from Castlegar

Sitting in a coffeehouse with wireless, here in Castlegar. Had hoped to meet with Almeda Glenn Miller and a couple of her writing students, but it's not going to happen.

Yesterday's all-day workshop in Kimberley went well: some really talented writers. They're lucky to have Jeff as a teacher, as the New Denver kids are lucky to have Terry. We ended our session with a few improvised sound poetry pieces in the Platzl, which is this incredibly kitschy outdoor pedestrian mall downtown: with a Bavarian theme, as the whole town sorta strives for. You can put a quarter in a slot, and a plaster dude in liederhosen comes out of a clock and yodels. Anyway, I was really impressed with the kids' chutzpah. There were people walking by us as we screeched, chanted, sung, hummed, and growled.

Oh, and 10 kids bought books from me: that's a record! A few of the students had studied with me last year, and it was nice to see them again. One of the new students, Dan Moe, a neat guy, had sent me a letter a couple months ago: it was modelled on my "Ladies & Gentlemen, Mr. Ron Padgett," though I thought it had been inspired by my letter to Heidi Fleiss. He read it to the class; it was funny and embarrassing. Also there was Stephanie Warner, who graduated from high school last year and is studying writing at UVic; she was back in town and sat in on most of the workshop. That's the kind of thing that Jeff has cultivated in Kimberley.

Jeff also gave me the skinny on his three-plus years of putting together the bissett anthology with Rox. Sounds like it was both incredibly rewarding and often trying: I mean, dealing with 80 writers, that's understandable. I still haven't dug into the book seriously, but it looks like it's going to be great. Good visit with Jeff, and his partner Alison. Hopefully I'll be able to stick around longer next time.

Had a nice stop in Cranbrook on the way home. Interesting town. Decent used bookstore. I found a copy of the Four Horsemen's mass-market (yup!) paperback, Horse D'Oeuvres. At the Owl & Teapot in Marysville, on the outer edge of Kimberley, I found a copy of Daphe Marlatt's experimental novel Ana Historic. Looking forward to that.

Now I'm heading down to the used bookstore here in Castlegar.

Over and out.

4 Comments:

At April 25, 2006 11:41 pm , Anonymous dan said...

it was as embarssing for me as it was for you; even more so that you were there. Thanks for the great day though, woah, it was a blast. P.S. I was at last years workshop to. I just wasn't as bold. Thanks again, Dan.

 
At April 26, 2006 1:55 am , Anonymous rox. said...

my radiant danse skinny: most everyone was generous and loving and understanding. rule of thumb seemed: the bigger the name the more humble their tude. still, many of the lessor known poets were very positive and open to suggestions as well. our point of view all along was to suggest edits and to never dictate changes. one learns a lot about people and people behaviour. the other day we heard bill talk about how pat lowther's husband murdered her over, he thot, poetic jealousy. "it was murder over poetry," he said. "how twisted is that? i mean, it wasn't as if she owned an oil company." sometimes it's best not to hold on too tight. let the goddesses work their magic. avoid running into walls. be free of worry and welcome change. don't give into the dark side. spend your energy writing another better pome, instead of fighting for your right to champion mediocrity.

 
At April 26, 2006 1:57 am , Anonymous rox. said...

this one's for dan:
thanks again for being a part of the kimberley
all-star kazoo band.
you rock.

 
At April 26, 2006 8:02 pm , Anonymous Stephanie said...

I'm so glad i was able to make it to at least part of your workshop. It was wonderful; you have so many aces up your sleeves as fresh writing activites go. I came upon a couple trains of thoughts, and images, that I may be able to work into peoms. Also, I really wish I had a tape of that paper crumpling sound -- it was so unexpectedly lovely.

I too made a visit to the Owl and the Teapot last weekend. I picked up Sartre's Naseum and Orwell's 1984... I think I'll drop by Jeff's soon to pick up that book you left me. Thanks!

 

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