Apr 192013

Back from epic, marathon reading and interview trip to Ontario. Arrived in an ice storm. Gorgeous reading events hosted by Ian Bell (his father was my Grade 11 history teacher) and John B. Lee (multiple publications on NC). NC Contributing Editor Sydney Lea was there and I managed to get a photo of him looking like God at the reading in Highgate. Also my very first book publisher, Marty Gervais. The mix of music (Ian Bell and the amazing Michael Schatte) and literary reading was surprisingly entertaining. People paid money to come. Doing two events back to back with a long car ride in between (with stops to visit memorials for famous forgotten Canadian poets and to cast an eye on John B. Lee’s ancestral farm) made me feel like I was on tour with a troupe of actors.

Sunday, I had brunch with the Jernigans, Kim who used to edit The New Quarterly, and Amanda, the poet, and her husband, the photographer John Haney (both Amanda and John have appeared on NC). This was all the more remarkable since they had not had electricity since Thursday (the ice storm). Then I drove to Waterloo to see Jonah and also Dwight and Kathy Storring (Dwight published a play on NC; their son Nathan has an essay here).

Do you get the impression that there are secret NC cells planted all over (you know, mostly so I can travel without paying for food)?

The photo below was taken by Zach Melnick during the War of 1812 documentary interview he did with me on Thursday in the farmhouse living room.



DG being interviewed at the farm, photo by Zach Melnick


Sydney Lea reading in Highgate, Saturday evening

Michael Schatte compilation, on tour with us he performed solo


Possum I found in a den by the pond at the back of the farm


You can hear the dog whimpering next to me. Notice the feet. I once raised a young opossum, called Snuffy, at first I kept him in a fleece-lined leather glove (approximating a mother’s pouch, I thought). My friend Bruce Hiscock did a drawing which hangs in the house. When he seemed big enough, we let Snuffy go in the woods. My great-grandfather was an amateur poet who called himself “Possum” and kept a stuffed opossum in his store. I published an essay about him in The New Quarterly a couple of years ago. More information than you need, right?



First flowers, Coltsfoot


My father once planted a small field with Scotch pine to sell as Christmas trees. As he once observed, they kind of got away from him.


Daffodils in the woods. There are patches all through the woods, planted by DG’s mother.


The farm buildings from the east.





Dog investigating possum den




Geese by the pond


Laneway. To the right, a spruce windbreak. To the left, a field of oak and white pine planted over 15 years ago for eventual harvest.

  4 Responses to “Out and Back: DG’s Odyssey in the Great White North”

  1. Great photos! Seeing life bloom up North evokes hope – here in the Boston area we are praying for life to re-bloom soon.

  2. Wonderful show-and-tell, Doug!

  3. Love the pictures and the possum video, Doug (and the Possum story). Beautiful awakening land.

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