Tag Archives: Zebra Poetry Film Festival

Reading the ground with a bear’s eye

Frantic week behind, hectic week ahead but I always make time for a walk in the woods. Josef opened up some of the deer trails on our property recently which has encouraged my bushwhacking—or our bushwhacking—the mutts and mine. I love it when they kick up layers of needles, lichen and loam. Is there any richer smell? It’s a fairly strenuous workout, with all the climbing up and down boulders green with moss and crumbling cedar logs. Like all the islands and the Sunshine Coast, Bowen was clear-cut about 100 years ago. Imagine how convenient it must have been tossing all that timber into the ocean. I’m kidding. Sort of.

I spotted this remnant lying on the ground and it brought to mind the cover of Robert Bringhurst’s A Story as Sharp as a Knife. I’m no anthropologist—though I harboured aspirations at one time—but it would appear the shape could have inspired west coast native artists. It’s an eye! See?

A bear’s eye. Bringhurst talks of reading as an “ancient, preliterate craft. We read the tracks and scat of animals, the depth and lustre of their coats, the set of their ears and the gait of their limbs. We read the horns of sheep, the teeth of horses. We read the weights and measures of the wind, the flight of birds, the surface of the sea, snow, fossils, broken rocks, the growth of shrubs and trees and lichens. We also read, of course, the voices that we hear.”

Speaking of voices, I’m still recovering after hosting Penn Kemp at a boisterous salon on Saturday. Is that an oxymoron? Well, our salons get pretty festive. Penn is droll and vivacious, possessing a singular voice, literally, figuratively. She was a big hit with the 35 or so die-hards who turned out despite a nearly constant downpour, including some of my favourite urbanites Kyle Hawke, Warren Dean Fulton, Shannon Rayne and Rhonda Milne who took pleasure in the food, poetry and water taxi experience from Horseshoe Bay to Snug Cove. Penn had Josef perform some of her poetry in German! Now that’s a first, I’m glad we got pictures. I participated in another piece called Poem for Peace in Two Voices. Soundings—what Penn calls her readings, and sublimely sonic they are. Later, we let our hair down, madly dancing and rockin’ out, then lolled about in the hot tub before finally conking out around four in the morning. “Thanks to you, Beauty, for your magnificent presence and hospitality. What a hoot and holler! Glorious to be with you. And I so know how much work went into the grace of the evening!” Penn’s right. It was a hoot.

Last Thursday, I attended Anvil Press’s launch for a deluxe edition of Continue reading