Forests and Music

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In the Canadian forest I’m listening to Bobby Mitchell play a concert in France featuring “Ruins” by the American composer Frederic Rzewski.  Music always widens my mind.  I’ve frequently been in this part of the forest but it’s the first time I’ve seen this tree-trunk loop highlighted by both shadow and light.  How do we protect the beauty of our world from falling into ruin?

Soon I’ll transition from the forests of the new world to the urban parks of the old world.    The New European Ensemble has invited Bobby and I to perform on stage in Den Haag and Amsterdam on 19 and 20 September.  The program will include music by Rzewski, Cage, Godowsky, and Schubert among others, and the poems I recite from Dust Blown Side of the Journey will interconnect with the music.   Click here for more information and tickets.








Dory Racing

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Last week Dust Blown Side of the Journey took me to Lunenburg for bookish reasons, and today I was back for the pure pleasure of boats.  Tall ships were in, and I watched the Canadian finals for the international dory racing championships. Dories are small wooden boats that were historically used for fishing, and are still built in Lunenburg:  truly a fine town for book and boat launches.  My neighbour Todd Dempsey attended my launch, and today I watched him and his brother Brent race.

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All four boats had strong rowers and it was an exciting mile long race.  The Dempseys rounded the halfway buoy first, and though it was a close race they had no trouble maintaining their lead.Schonmaier win.jpg

Todd and Brent Dempsey crossed the finish line first.


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Here you can see them strapped into their boat rowing back to the dock.


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It was fabulous watching the dories among all the sailing ships and boats.

Lunenburg and Lexicon Books

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Wonderful launch for Dust Blown Side of the Journey at Lexicon Books.  Entering Alice Burdick’s store is like being welcomed into a warm, cheerful and dynamic home.  One wants to browse for a long time.  Every displayed book is fascinating and thoughtfully chosen.  The harbour town is beautiful in its bold colours, and the full moon was visible and rising.


Apple Tree

Schonmaier apple tree.jpgEarlier this week I was sitting in the apple tree memorising poems for this evening’s launch of Dust Blown Side of the Journey at Lexicon Books in Lunenburg.  Years ago after a hurricane this tree was horizontal on the ground with roots still attached.  With the help of a neighbour we used a winch and stood the tree upright and it continued its healthy growth. Birds and squirrels love the tree branch highways.

Atlantic Coast

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While hiking along Atlantic coastal trails, I’m memorising poems which I’ll recite at the launches for Dust Blown Side of the Journey this week.  Also on these walks images for new poems enter my mind.  I usually write poems in my head before they find their way to page or screen.



…hoping sleep will


reach him like a gift

dropped through

the mail slot


like a feather

fallen from a

blue wing…


excerpt from “Nocturnes” from Dust Blown Side of the Journey

When the crumbs fall

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into my cage, I taste

Lorca on my lips.  why

had I forgotten


the stars? during

all those summers

the water stroked


my skin as I swam

in the night’s mirror

note after note


the stars inked

on the score

sheets of the sky


and when I play

their songs



call me from

the dark opposite



From Dust Blown Side of the Journey (McGill-Queen’s University Press)