Weathered wood cabins with solar panels and cedar-shake roofs frame the man-made Nam Tien Lake that shimmers like dancing diamonds in the tropical sun of Laos.
I follow the scent of frangipani blooming along the walkway and bordering the lush green jungle beyond, to the dining hall where a donation box invites me to drop an always-welcome coin into the coffers of Laos’ first Elephant Conservation Center. In the distance I hear the high-pitched trumpeting of an elephant and seconds later, from the opposite direction, a response.
Fabienne Calvert Filteau is in her late twenties and from an old Central BC family. Her great grandparents settled in Vanderhoof around the turn of the twentieth century. As the family expanded it spread across the country but centred itself on a cabin that the grandparents built in the late twenties near Fort St. James — at Stone's Bay on Stuart Lake in the shadow of Pope Mountain. Calvert Filteau grew up in Ontario and returned to BC to study Creative Writing at the University of Victoria: her book acknowledges Tim Lilburn and Lorna Crozier, among others, as mentors. She worked her way through school as a tree planter and continues in that occupation, presently residing in Hazleton.
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.
In the middle of October 2013, Viv and I received in the mail a file, sent by Bob Atkinson’s widow Karen Mackenzie. The file, Karen said, held drawings that Bob had told her, “were from some German prisoners of war in a camp near Medicine Hat.”
In the Autumn of 1971, Bob Atkinson, Paul Nedza and I, all employees of Medicine Hat College, started Repository Press. I left the college nine months later for a job in Prince George, and Bob followed a few years after that.
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.”
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.
April was National Poetry Month and in Prince George was opened by a proclamation by the Mayor and followed with a reading by local poet, Gill Wigmore. There was a historical tour of the city with different local poets reading poems about the city and there were weekly poetry parlour events where numerous poets read.