09 October 2005

Roaring in Edmonton

Some catch-up is in order.

My last Yellowknife lunch I spent at the Gold Range bistro with Deborah, her son Ben, and Shad Turner, community cholir director and former librarian. Also a big plate of curried noodles and veggies. Yum. Really nice time, followed by a wander to the Prince of Wales museum, which was under reconstruction, but still had some pretty great exhibits. Especially liked the photographs by George Hunter of gold mining in the 1950s. I think I want to explore the history of mining a little further. Man, these guys lowering themselves into the depths of the earth to make some other guys rich.

A last wander of downtown Yellowknife, and then Deborah drove me to the airport for my flight to Edmonton, where I was picked up by Harvey, my cousin Fern's boyfriend. It was quite a hike to Fern's spectacular secluded loghouse outside of Stony Plain. I've hoped to visit her for so many years, and am so glad I finally could. Fern is a very special cousin; she lives so far away yet I feel so close to her. And she and Harvey are incredibly adventurous, so they are full of good stories. But, wow, she has created such a beautiful, serene retreat for herself. I had a lovely evening there and am looking forward to a couple more days in the cabin.

Saturday, it was off to Edmonton for the Roar on '24th, a one-day poetry festival that organizer Thomas Trofimuk fit me into on pretty short notice. It was a great event, with about 30 or 40 poets reading at various venues throughout the afternoon. I was honoured with my own half-hour slot, right after Mingus Tourette, who last year drove his pink poetry ambulance halfway across the country. The audience was very nice in the little tea shop where the reading took place. My stuff went over well, but I was surprised that almost no one came over to chat with me afterwards. Later, though, when Thomas took me out for dinner, an elderly couple at the next table commented that they liked my reading and bought me a beer.

Anyway, I liked that little festival. I liked that everything was free. I liked that hey had a "quiet reading" in a yoga studio, where people didn't *perform*, they just read quiet, meditative work. Some good, some bad, but a nice spirit to the event.

Staying here in Edmonton with Wayne Arthurson and his family. I met Wayne a couple years back at the Banff-Calgary WordFest. He wrote a really good novel called Final Season. He's got another under his belt, and hopefully it'll get published soon. He used to drum in a punk band, and he gave me a couple of their CDs. What a nice guy. Wayne, his wife Anya, and their child Vianne (is that a nice name or what? reminds me of Boris Vian!) went for lunch at the High Level diner and then for a wander along Whyte, which is a mixture of way yuppie and nifty little stores. A hell of a lot of homeless and panhandlers on the street.

Way to go, Ralph Klein, you asshole.

Edmonton would be a nice city to move to. So close to Fern's cabin, and to Banff, and to the Kootenays, and to visit debby florence in Missoula, Montana (a measly 7 hours away, apparently). And it's a pretty big city, and a pretty one, and rumour has it there's a vegetarian East Indian restaurant here. And lots of used bookstores. I know that Dana really liked Edmonton, too, last year when she had a show at Latitude 53 or 54 or whatever it's called.

Well, I'm hitting the road for the log cabin again, where I'll spend a couple of relaxing days before I help my friend Hunter Gates inaugurate her new school with a workshop and a reading on Tuesday.

Yellowknife seems so far away now, but I feel so fortunate to have experienced it. I'm scheming to return.

Over and out.


At October 09, 2005 10:01 pm , Anonymous rox. said...

before you commit yourself to living in edmonton, may i suggest you visit in the dead of winter...or are you planning on global warming heating things up considerably? the climate IS condusive to indoor sports like mall shopping and writing, so maybe it'll suit you fine. and you'd be closer to vancouver so perhaps you could drop in on me from time to time. xcellent.

At October 10, 2005 1:44 am , Blogger dana_plato said...



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