The poetry reading at the Twisted Cork banquet hall at the end of November tested the outer boundaries of appreciation of the poetic art. Held at the Twisted Cork in Prince George on October 23rd, 2015 the event drew about 65 people.
Don Precosky's memoir, published by Repository Press, Prince George in 2016 is about how he put himself through university working exhausting all night shifts at a truck stop on the Trans-Canada Highway near the current Thunder Bay is painful to read. However, this is not a criticism, but a tribute to how well the book is written, and how accurately it describes the physical and psychological impacts of working too many hours.
The book recognizes the sacrifices of truckers, loggers and everyone associated with transportation in the North, and eventually rises to the heroic. It celebrates the truckers' struggles, as if they were Greek soldiers trapped in struggle on the plains of Ilium before the unassailable gates of Troy. Precosky places the Trans-Canada Highway, an extraordinary achievement in the late 1950s and early 1960s, on the same level as the wine-dark sea of the Homeric epics.
Andrew Struthers is a latter-day hippie. That’s what he calls himself in this book. He says he lived for seven years in a “hippie commune” up Clayoquot Sound. There, he had a “hippie hot tub” (an old bathtub in the back yard with a fire pit underneath?) in which he submersed himself “breathing through a yard of rubber hose that once connected the propane tank to the water heater.” He attended the 2005 Vancouver Folk Music Festival and watches his friends, “brightly clad hippies, popping in and out of the porta-potties.”
The launch of Dr. Sara De Leeuw’s collection of personal essays, Where It Hurts, drew considerable interest from the Prince George literary community on May 17th at Cafe Voltaire.
CNC instructor, Peter Maides emceed the event, first introducing Sara and her co-worker Dr. Margot Greenwood from UNBC. He then introduced guest readers, Betsy Trumpener, CBC Daybreak radio journalist, and Stephen Collis, professor of contemporary literature at Simon Fraser University. The poets read from their own work and then from the works of local writers, Barry McKinnon, Ken Belford and Sharon Thesen. This was out of respect for their achievements in regional literature.
Welcome to the latest in Graham Pearce’s events, sponsored by the College of New Caledonia. I’m John Harris, and Graham asked me to introduce our readers tonight, Barry McKinnon, Sharon Thesen, and Greg Lainsbury. They’ll read in that order, and then again after a short break, and then take questions.
I’m here in my role as a critic, I think, unless Graham is indulging some false sense of deference because I preceded him in the classroom at CNC for so many years, or a false sense that I might know more about these poets than him or others around town just because I’ve written about all three. But I have, it seems, acquitted myself fairly well in their eyes, though I know that Lainsbury has some in my mind minor issues. If you notice him following me into the washroom, please dial 911.