The unrestricted literary imagination was at play during the literary readings by Barry McKinnon and Cecil Giscombe held at the Black Donkey Café on June 10th. The atmosphere lent itself well to free-thinking and the strengthening of friendship.
John Harris introduced the two poets, Barry McKinnon of Prince George and Cecil Giscombe of Berkeley, California. “I like what they’re talking about – serious issues,” Harris said.
The Potline Bomber of Innisfree, written by Josh Massey, a journalist from Terrace, BC was published by Book Thug of Toronto. His launch was held at Books and Co in Prince George and is available for $21.
He also spoke to CNC students in English 204 (Canadian Poetry) about his writing strategies and offered advice for prospective young writers.
"When you're working on a major project, you have to write every day," he told students.
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.
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.”