By Mike Redfern
Award-winning Canadian poet and essayist, Richard Harrison, will headline this summer’s Kimberley Kaleidoscope arts festival poetry & prose evening on Monday, August 19.
Harrison has published six volumes of poetry and two essay collections. His most recent volume of poetry, On Not Losing My father’s Ashes in the Flood, won the 2017 Governor General’s Award for English language poetry and the Alberta Writers’ Guild Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry. His fourth book of poetry, Big Breath of a Wish, was short listed for the Governor General’s Award in 1998 and won the City of Calgary Book Prize.
Harrison moved to Calgary from Toronto in in 1995 to become the Canadian Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary. He has remained in the city ever since where he has taught at U of C and currently at Mount Royal University.
His poetry is described as being in the modernist conversational and storytelling tradition, influenced by, among others, Dylan Thomas, whose poetry his father read to him when he was a boy. He writes much about relationships between generations, particularly about his own relationship with his father, as in his poem With the Dying of the Light:
“I recited to him
Now as I was young and easy,
And in the cough-afflicted wheeze that was left of my father’s voice,
he answered, under the apple
and so it went between us
in the days I waited for him to recover –
the way hope pillows its sails with nothing –
or falter, fade, and pass
Richard Harrison will read in the second section of the Kaleidoscope poetry & prose event. The first section of the evening will feature seven local writers reading from their own works, each introduced on acoustic guitar by Kimberley musician Bryan Reichert.
The local writers include long-time Kimberley resident Ruth Ramdin and her grand-daughter Thea de Paoli, Heather Wattie, Lori Craig, young writers Britanny Murphy and Andrew McWilliams, and Mike Redfern, who will MC the program. Their works will include both poetry and short prose pieces.
The doors open at 7 p.m. for seating and bar service. The program will start at 7.30 p.m. There will be an intermission for refreshments. Tickets are $20 adult, $15 youth 18 & under, available at Centre 64 (250-427-4919 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or online at eastkootenay.snapd.com.