On April 6-7, Elizabeth Reaney, James Reaney’s granddaughter, visited the James Reaney Canadian Centre at Gujarat University in Ahmedabad, India. Elizabeth was able to see the Centre’s collection of Canadian literature donated by James Reaney in 1992, and meet some of the students who are using it in their studies.
Dr. Ranjana Harish, Director of the Centre, welcomed Elizabeth and assured her that the collection is well maintained and a valuable resource for scholars and students studying Canadian literature. Elizabeth was pleased to see that the some of the books include her grandfather’s wry marginal comments.
James Reaney visited India in January 1996 and spoke at the Canadian Studies Conference at Kerala University in Trivandrum. He enjoyed a performance of his play, Wacousta, put on by students, and he also painted this watercolour of his visit to the beach near Trivandrum on the Indian Ocean.
Photographer Marilyn Cornwell remembers being in a production of James Reaney‘s play Colours in the Dark and being inspired by the line “A flower is a star”:
I was a student at Brock University from 1969-73 in the English Department with a Theatre Major in the Drama Division. I became familiar with James Reaney’s work at Brock, as the Drama Division was very committed to Canadian playwrights. In 1970, I was in a production of Colours in the Dark mounted by the Drama Division.
When I photographed this clematis, I immediately thought of that simple but powerful line in Colours in the Dark – A flower is a star. This image is my visual version of his metaphor. I named it as a tribute to him and his work.
Thank you, Marilyn, for sharing your memory of the play and your beautiful photo.
Brian Bartlett gathered various Halifax poets and readers of poetry together to read and celebrate James Reaney’s poems, and to launch the newest book in The Porcupine’s Quill‘s “Essential” series – an entertaining choice of Reaney’s poetry written from the early 1940s to the 21st century. Zachariah Wells has posted an audio recording of the reading.
The play blends the real world of the Brontë family with a creation from their literary juvenilia, Branwell’s fantasy world of Zamorna. On April 17, 1999, James Reaney attended a performance of the play at George Brown College. Afterwards, he and David Ferry, the play’s director, participated in a discussion with members of the audience.
FromScene 4, 1831 Heatherbell:
BRANWELL Well, you see, girls… I’m a poet.
EMILY(with a book) There’s an old Welsh law, Branwell, that says—