Congratulations to the Winners

Congratulations to the Winners

Friday, June 28, 2013

Home Again

Rona Shaffran

A month in Newfoundland was great - if rainy. But what fun to come home and discover the  joys  hidden among the pizza flyers and utility bills piled up on the kitchen table by dear Sarah.

First the new book of poetry called Ignite written by the superb Ottawa poet and friend Rona Shaffran. To write a good memoir, the saying goes, first open a vein. To write good poetry, stuff that leaps out of the page and hits you between the eyes, you must also open a vein and Shaffran does just that.

In May I wrote a bit of memoir that was tough to write, tough to find that vein. I was lucky enough to win a prize for my piece but Shaffran opens that vein again and again. Her poetry deals with marriage, relationships, yearning, sex, the death of love, the hot breath that is life. This is brilliant stuff. Simple, accessible but still that hit between the eyes. For you poetry lovers, Ignite is available at Chapters.

Next in the pile the latest edition of Room magazine and the first thing I see is a piece by Thunder Bay's Marion Agnew titled Words. In 1997, Marion got a letter from her mother. I wish I had time to visit together your during avation. I enjoy very much some of the value evated as she sees us all. We enjoy very muh. I wish that all these pieces that seem to have great help.  And Marion says: When did she get this bad?

Alzheimer's. A medical report. Marion researches, visits. She writes: I wanted everyone to know that smart, capable people got Alzheimer's. I wanted everyone to know just a little of what my mother was going through....I just wanted to tell the truth but not so much that it drove people away. This searing account will not drive you away. Believe me, you will read to the end.

Marion Agnew
My email did not work in Newfoundland and so I had over 700 messages to sort through once I got home. But there were gems that made it worth while. I learned that Meghan Findlay, Ottawa short story writer, had a story published in the New Quarterly. Congratulations Meghan. I guess I have to renew my subscription. Unlike Room, I do not think the New Quarterly is available at the local Chapters. I found out that Mary Lynn Murphy, one of the old Rock Island gang of writers has a book out called Finding Grace. Once more, I head to the Chapters web site. I'll let you all know about this novel once I get it and read it, but for now congratulations Mary Lynn. I remember her reading some of her stuff to the gang as we sat on the rocky shores of Lake Superior near Wawa and I remember how well she wrote. Lastly a sad email from my agent Elizabeth Pomada in San Francisco. A lovely woman who is facing serious illness. My thoughts go out to you Elizabeth. Please get well.

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