News and Notes
Poetry by Bill Ashwell
For a writer of any stripe the end of the year is a perfect opportunity to look back and reflect on what has transpired over the previous 12 months.
Poetry is often overlooked in literary circles. Printed volumes of verse rarely, if at all, line the shelves at bookstores and major publishing houses shy away from investing any serious resources in publishing unproven writers or promoting poetry, often leaving it to small press publishers, micro presses and self-publishing to pick up the slack. Literary visionaries like Becky Alexander of Craigleigh Press are keeping the vision of giving voice to established and emerging local writers alive and well in this community.
Locally, however, poetry is building its audience. Spoken word performances and poetry slams are growing in popularity. The Cambridge Writers Collective (CWC) has long been a crucible for developing vital and talented literary voices. Prose or poetry, the talent from this group continues to flourish. Barb Day, Diane Attwell Palfrey and Lee Ann Johnston are three such talents.
A long-time member of the CWC, hailing from Paris, Ontario, Barb Day is a highly regarded slam poet who has performed/competed across Canada. She has also been instrumental in establishing a brand new series of events in Brantford. Barb is the organizer and host of The Brant Rant Poetry Slam (www.thebrantrant.com), another entertaining and diverse art form of spoken word to our community.
Diane Attwell Palfrey, another talented CWC poet, earlier this year released through Craigleigh Press her first collection of poetry, Intake of Glass. I had the pleasure of reviewing the collection in the June issue of the Citizen. Copies of this collection are available through Craigleigh’s website, http://panthergpss.wix.com/craigleighpress.
Fellow CWC’er, Lee Ann Johnston, while not a poet, has recently made her mark locally with her self-published novella, Seemly Justice. Set in 19th century Galt, Ontario, three stories interweave a narrative of marital discord and Victorian respectability. For fans of local historical fiction, Lee Ann has written a compelling work.
Stepping a bit further back into the Cambridge arts community at large, I am saddened to report the recent passing of two of Cambridge’s leading arts activists. Local businessman and arts advocate, Leon (Lee) Palvetzian passed away on November 12, 2014. Lee was well-known and well-regarded in both local business and arts and cultural circles and could often be seen cruising the streets of Cambridge in his prized DeLorean.
Dorothy Harvey, a founding member of Cambridge’s famed Studio 30 artists’ group, passed away Sunday, November 23. Dorothy, herself, was an accomplished and acclaimed artist who devoted much of her time and efforts in the local arts community. In 2001 she was awarded the Bernice Adams Memorial Award for Visual Arts. In addition to her active participation in promoting the arts she was recently honoured when the Cambridge City Hall recognized her tireless efforts and dedicated its second floor public space to the exhibition of local artists and sculptors, naming it the Dorothy Harvey Gallery.
They will be missed.
So, as this column and the Cambridge Citizen marks yet another year of providing entertainment and enlightenment to the community, I’d like to thank you all for what you have written, what you are writing and what you have yet to write.
As the man said, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”