about 3000 km. later

Posted by Daniela Elza on Sep 02 2009

Nelson as usual was fun. That is why we go there. It was a bit windy on the beach for a couple of the days we were there. And we left the construction in Vancouver to find out that they were paving the road infront of the White House for the duration of the time were were there. On the morning we left they looked pretty done. Despite that, we had a lazy and relaxed time. With the added benefit that I had a reading on the Wednesday (August 26th) at the Vienna Café. I would like to thank Art Joyce and Timothy Shay for assisting me in getting a reading at the Vienna Café in Nelson on pretty much a week’s notice and for joining me at the little launch of 4poets. Art read from his new book Star Seeds and Tim read some new poems he has been working on.

4poets_front cover(300dpi)

On Thursday (the 27th of August) I went to the open mike on which is organized by Timothy Shay (and a couple of other people) in the Velvet Underground Bistro (a juice and tea bar). A lot of young people gathered here with their guitars and other instruments and a good measure of vitality. No alcohol.

That night the power went out for probably about an hour and I read by flash light in the Bistro of tealights. The poem on the small back of breath was perfect for that intimate moment. It got spookily quiet in the room. I felt I held everyone in my ear. The auditory equivalent of holding people in your eye.
I also enjoyed the freshly made juice of apple, ginger, beets, and carrot? (I think). An unusual but delicious combo. The owner Dave makes it right there before you.

On the 28th we drove up to the historic town of Barkerville in one day. Yes, it was pushing it. But that gave us a chance to spend the morning and early afternoon there before the 4poets launch reading that night in Prince George. We panned for gold, missed the church service, sat in a 45 min lesson in the school room wearing bonnets with girls on one side and boys on the other. Practiced good deportment. Had to speak in full sentences, and each one had to end in ma’am. I was caught chewing gum in class and was walked to the woodstove to throw it in. She also had her freshly made willow switch.

In the Chinese museum in the room of little treasures they had on display the four treasures of study: education, scholarship, poetry, and art. These formed the pinnacle of Chinese philosophy government and society. The four treasures: ink, paper, brush, and inkstone represent all things that are good right and wonderous.

Another thing that caught my eye was one of the sayings attributed to Confucius:
Without knowing the force of words it is impossible to know men.

A couple of hundred kilometers later and we were in Prince George, checked into our motel and had a little down time before walking to Books and Company and Café Voltaire where the launch was going to take place that night.

4poets launch in Prince George

me at the 4poets launch in Prince George

Al reading from 4poets

Al reading from 4poets

I am glad we drove up to Prince George. I had a good feeling making the decision and I still have a good feeling about going. More than 30 people gathered at the cafe which is within the same space as the bookstore. A very warm and friendly crowd. I tried something new as well: incorporating a folk song with one of the poems. It just felt right to do it there. I think the audience can influence the decisions of the reader. From the people who came and talked to me a couple had also tried something new that night, which was to come to a poetry reading for the first time.

Thanks to all who came, bought books, asked questions and stopped by to share their thoughts. At the end there was a small group of us left around the cheese and wine that Al brought for us to share. And there was a lot of laughter. Here is a bit more about the evening on the pgpod.

One think that struck me: we had to enter the building not from the street, but from the parking lot in the back. So it felt like the buildings were turned around bowing to their parking lots. As pedestrians we had to walk through the parking lot to get in. Having driven so long neither of us wanted to get in the car, so we walked everywhere, or shall we say we only went where we could walk to. Perhaps that is why I noticed the buildings turning their backs on me.

The next day we drove straight home. Only stopping for gas, pee breaks, and the occasional treat.

The next launch is on Salt Spring Island on the 12th and then The Vancouver Public Library on the 21st of September. In the meantime I will also do a reading at the TWS reading series on the 10th of September at the Rhizome Cafe in Vancouver. Click here for more details. Hope to see you there.

Ok. Now what? The to-do list is staring me in the face. Get three submissions out, get the kids ready for school, edit, write, sign up for the new term at SFU, get ready for the next two launches and other readings… and yes, there is the cooking … and the house. The house stares at me the most.

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