Monthly Archives: October 2010

James Reaney Memorial Lecture held on October 17 in Stratford

Thank you all for coming to the lecture on Sunday afternoon to hear Colleen Thibaudeau, James Reaney’s widow, talk about their early days together and read from some of his works.

For those of you who were unable to attend, Stratford Beacon Herald reporter Mike Beitz reports on Thibaudeau’s talk here and Charles Maidment has posted an audio recording here.

Our thanks also to the organizers of the lecture at the Stratford Public Library, Charles Mountford, Anne Marie Heckman, and Sam Coghlan. Colleen Thibaudeau especially appreciated all the help she has had from her family and others; she couldn’t have done it without you.

One of James Reaney’s poems that Colleen Thibaudeau read was “White Grumphies, white snow” from Souwesto Home, published by Brick Books.

“White Grumphies, white snow…”

The students of Agricultural Diploma, their fathers
Grow square miles of blue flowering flax near
Pilot Mound and square miles of yellow mustard which
I saw as I drove out from Minnesota,
Well knowing that in the fall, in the autumn,
We would be teaching them Robert Penn Warren’s
Understanding Poetry, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice,
Somerset Maugham, Joseph Conrad, Emily Dickinson.

As I climbed the stairs to their classroom
Over the Rupertsland Agricultural Auditorium,
Prepared to teach them “I heard a fly buzz when I died,”
I heard them splitting desk into kindling
For a bonfire in a waste paper basket where they
Burnt the texts on the course one by one,
Rainbow-coloured poems and prose they burnt,
Book by book, as I taught them.
As verbal virgins they were tougher
Than such pastoral nymphs as Diana or urban ones
Such as Athena.

However, a day or two later, taking a random stroll
Across the winter campus, I saw,
Around the corner of the Swine Barn, a herd
Of white, white pigs being driven into the barn
By my Aggie Dip students each with
A very proper and even beautiful pig-driving stick.
Was it their mid-term test in pig-herding?
It must have been.

The whiteness of the piggies against the whiteness of the snow
Presented them with optical problems.
They had trouble seeing me as well.
In fact not one of them did, for I
Was wearing this poem.

James Reaney, 2005.

My editor, Stan Dragland, wishes me to explain “White Grumphies, white snow.” They are white pigs herded by agricultural students on a snowy day.

 

James Reaney and Colleen Thibaudeau in Stratford, 1980. Photo by C.H. Gervais.

Colleen Thibaudeau to talk about James Reaney on October 17 in Stratford

Join us on October 17 at 3 pm at The Stratford Public Library Auditorium in Stratford, Ontario, to hear poet Colleeen Thibaudeau speak at the first annual James Reaney Memorial Lecture.

Colleen Thibaudeau and James Reaney in Toronto, 1950

The annual lecture is a new project being developed by The Stratford Public Library and Poetry Stratford; it will feature a talk by a person who is knowledgeable about the life and work of Stratford poet and playwright James Reaney and of writing in the Southwestern Ontario region, which is such a strong element in Reaney’s writing.

Colleen Thibaudeau, Reaney’s widow and a poet and short story writer in her own right, was born in Toronto and raised in St. Thomas, Ontario. Educated at the University of Toronto, her M.A. thesis was on contemporary Canadian poetry. She married Reaney in 1951.?Her books include Lozenges: Poems in the Shapes of Things (1965), Ten Letters (1975), My Granddaughters Are Combing Out Their Long Hair (1977), The Martha Landscapes (1984), The Artemesia Book (1991) and The “Patricia” Album (1992).?Her involvement with all aspects of Canadian Literature has been long and deep. She has been associated with Canadian small presses and The League of Canadian Poets since the mid 1960s. Thibaudeau lives in London, Ontario.

 

 

James Reaney and Colleen Thibaudeau in Stratford, 1980. Photo by C.H. Gervais

The Stratford Public Library is located at

19 St. Andrew Street,

Stratford, Ontario

N5A 1A2.


One-Man Masque at Nuit Blanche tonight in Toronto

If you’re in Toronto tonight, there will be a special reading of James Reaney’s One-Man Masque as part of the Nuit Blanche performances at St. Thomas’ Church. Larry Beckwith, Artistic Director of Toronto Masque Theatre, sends this update:

I am writing with an update of information about my involvement in Saturday night’s Nuit Blanche performances at St. Thomas’ Church as part of the “Pillars of Fire” exhibit.

A number of artists and performers are showcasing their work from 6:57 pm on Saturday to sunrise the following morning. Muscians and TMT friends involved include Alison Melville’s “Bird Project” the Windermere String Quartet, Brass Conspiracy, Ashiq Aziz’ “Classical Music Consort”, the Larkin Singers and the Sonore Percussion Trio.

I will be giving a special reading of James Reaney’s One-Man Masque at approximately 12:30 am. (This performance has been moved up from the previously-announced 2:00 am slot!).

I hope to see you there!

Pillars of Fire

Saint Thomas’s Anglican Church

383 Huron Street

scotiabank nuit blanche

Oct 2, 2010: 6:57 pm to sunrise

Zone A Independent Project – Scotiabank Nuit Blanche

Light emerges from darkness, as the mesmerizing beauty of fire allows us to transcend the night. See video, installation, performance and interactive artworks inspired by the transient and eternal nature of fire. Come celebrate your creative fire!

© 2017 James Reaney