How does one get from experience to a story of that experience? And again, how does one get back from the story of that experience?A day of quiet, of listening to Iron & Wine; of packing boxes and packing boxes for mailing home; I've already mailed back two boxes of books, from British Columbia. I was hoping to not have to do same again until Winnipeg, but there's just too much. Last night quiet too, after Happy Joe's Pizza & Bar on 109th; very quiet. I like the sort of place where you get to turn the lights and television on yourself, since no one yet has gone upstairs.
-- Robert Kroetsch, Alberta (1993)
A lovely quiet day; feel completely refreshed, et cetera; a third box mailed today to myself c/o Jennifer, and that book finally off to Kate. A bag of groceries for the train and breakfast/lunch at Friends & Neighbours Cafe on Whyte Avenue at 109th, just near where Kristy McKay lives. Bought one of Trevor's cds in his absence (luckily I remember how much, leaving money on a table for him with a note). Just what exactly is an Old Strathcona sandwich? I could have told you, but I don't want to. Coffee and Kroetsch, coffee and Kroetsch. Sitting on Whyte Ave reading the second edition of his Alberta, the new section he wrote for it, and the afterward by his pal, fiction writer Rudy Wiebe. Will I see Kroetsch [see my note on him here] when I get to Winnipeg?
Wrote a short poem in the Kroetsch style:
short essay on the variations of love
I had forgotten it; she
showed me. I
After the first draft, wondering if I should add:
I never forgot again.
She and she and she; a whole other she from previous years and years behind me, finding out she now has two children. Strange to think about. Today the first time I used my Air Miles and Safeway cards in the same purchase since those days, that affect me less and less with each passing visit (although I haven't managed more than a day at a time in Calgary since). Where am I writing from?
Another line from the new section Kroetsch wrote for this book (originally published for the Canadian Centennial year, 1967), "Monty Reid is one of the finest poets anywhere." (p 3). From the Wiebe section, mentioning "Writing-on-Stone rock art in the Milk River Badlands [...]." (p 294). Is this what Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan poet Andrew Suknaski was referencing when he named his self-published collected visual poems that in 1966?
Found out today that T.L. Cowan (as she so generously dropped off a stack of previous Olive chapbooks for me) was the one a few years ago who wrote that piece on the poetry of former Alberta resident Shane Rhodes (a third poetry collection happens in the spring with NeWest Press), referring to him as "Robert Kroetsch's gay son." I would love to read that piece; apparently it was written for a conference a few years ago in Scotland that also included Barry McKinnon and derek beaulieu (I remember McKinnon mentioning it before he left...), and coming out soon in a book I want to get my little hands on. If she's doing such work, maybe I should ask her for something for poetics.ca?
Barbour coming by at 4pm to pick me up for that train outta town; an email from American poet Lea Graham, envious that she can't hang out with me + Cooley in Winnipeg [see the poem Graham and I wrote for him here, a while back]. I'm envious too... Preparing myself for long train travel with books on Alberta, Saskatchewan and various other places, poems, fictions...
Douglas Barbour who is the finest human being in the world...