I grew up in Riverside, and my memories are of the library, reading Mark Twain. And so I wouldn’t miss the opportunity of returning there, but this time to hear poetry. It was billed as “By the river — Poetry & Prose” and sponsored by Urban Farmhouse Press and Cranberry Tree Press, both companies based in Windsor. Readers included Rosalind Knight (That Summer at the Mettawas and Songs of Zambia), Christian Laforet (The Space Between Houses), Denis Robillard (The History of Water), and co-publishers Lenore Langs and Laurie Smith (The Truth abouth Roller Skating; smack in the middle of spotlit obvious (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2016). Laurie Smith read a brilliant poem about Jeffrey Dammer, also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, an American serial killer and sex offender. It was a haunting and perfectly written piece, and it silenced the room. Rosalind Knight read some amazing work from her experiences on a trip to Zambia. Denis Robillard and Christian Laforet began the evening to a packed house. Robillard is quickly developing a reputation as a formidable poet in this city, and now his work is published with Cranberry Tree Press. These are my photographs of the night.
A great piece about poetry and the art of paying.
Today, the seven of us as part of a unique group of writers met at Suede Productions on Walker Road to review the writing we have been working on since September. In 2017, as part of Windsor’s 125th anniversary, and Canada’s 150th birthday, we will be presenting poems about this city’s heritage. This workshop was aimed at going over the poems we have written to date. The group, sponsored by the Cultural Affairs of the City of Windsor, as part of the poet laureate program, consists of Carlinda D’Alimonte, Mary Ann Mulhern, Daniel Lockhart, Peter Hrastovec, Vanessa Shields and Dorothy Mahoney, all published poets. As poet laureate, I am leading the charge on this, and feel blessed to be working with such talented writers. Our goal is to write about every nook and cranny of this river town. These are my photographs, with the exception of one of me taken by Peter Hrastovec.
Students in my Editing Practicum at the University of Windsor have just completed a semester where they were editing a new book of poetry by Bruce Meyer and a book about legendary painter Tom Thomson. These books will be published in the spring of 2017.
I joined with University of Windsor president Alan Wildeman and Mayor Drew Dilkens of the City of Windsor for the grand opening of the School of Social Work now housed at the corner of Pitt and Ferry streets on the site of the former Windsor Star. CS&P Architects retained the entrance and facade of the former Star building, to honour the history of the newspaper that operated at this location in 1923. The Star was at this location till 2012 when it moved to its current location at 300 Ouellette Avenue.
Wildeman greeted four former Star publishers and editors. He said, “Welcome back…Your hands did the work that created the river of news, stories and pictures to which our history is carried. You, more than any of us, understand how much Pitt and Ferry has meant to Windsor.”
My part in the ceremonies was to speak briefly about the 35 years that I spent writing here, but also to read a poem about the old presses that used to roar over a three-tiered facility. I was there representing both the University of Windsor where I am the resident writing professional, as well as the city as its poet laureate. I spoke about how I used to slide down to the press room and watch the men roll out the gigantic newsprint rolls and clamp heavy metal plates to the vast mechanical network. It always fascinated me.
In this photo below by Star photographer Jason Kryk, I am with two old-timers from that paper: Bill Bishop, former photo editor (left) and Jim Bruce, former editor and publisher.
Melanie Renaud of the30.ca from the University of Windsor Digital Journalism program covered the event on Twitter. This is the result:
Lovely chat with Doug Gibson at BookFest Nov. 5. We talked about so many legends in the business of writing, including Alistair MacLeod and W. O. Mitchell.