Friday, October 5, 2007

Return to Open Water

Brand new today, here it is, just come in the door ten minutes ago, the best of twenty-nine years of poetry. These are the poems that I have read over and over again across the country, all put in one beautiful new book, just in time for my move to Vancouver Island and the sea. Included as well are a selection of new poems that beg to be read out loud.

Return to Open Water: New and Selected Poems

In one of the boxes that makes the maze of my new study is my scanner, so, yes, what you see is a copy of the proof of the cover, not the cover itself.

I raise a toast!

Here's what Ronsdale Press has to say about the whole affair:

Return to Open Water: Poems New & Selected
By Harold Rhenisch

To Harold Rhenisch, poetry is a wisdom path equal to Zen, or a pilgrimage on the holy road from Seville to Minsk. Here is a breadth of musicality ranging from solo piano improvisations to jazz quartets, klezmer music, music hall, and even operatic arias. In this spirited celebration of the creative spirit, Rhenisch presents a vision of the world that places Canada, and poetry, at the crossroads of world culture. Included are a hymn for whales, a love poem for herring, black-comic stagings of Shakespeare, tongue-in-cheek deconstructions and celebrations of philosophy and literature, laments for the missteps of history, enraged political blasts, and deep ecological lyrics. Mozart enters riding the bulls into the Williams Lake Stampede, and a rhinestoned Jesus sings Elvis lyrics on a car hoist at Canadian Tire. In Return to Open Water this award-winning poet, critic, and cultural critic fuses American, British and European verse traditions into a poetics able to reimagine literature and history and return them to us in illuminated form. Long-praised for his innovative creative nonfiction and his mastery of the long poem form, in this volume Rhenisch presents the roots of that intelligence and its furthest extensions. This "New & Selected" presents the best poems — comical, elegiac, satiric and lyrical — from the twelve volumes of verse of one of Canada's best, most original, and most mercurial poets.

"Everything past and present composts in this rich collection of poetry which feeds the roots of the trees Harold Rhenisch persuades into a cathedral shape. This book, a temple with a sweet grass floor, raised voices, echoes, soaring spires and the blessing of rain, is the organic church of poetry." — Linda Rogers

Since 1982 Harold Rhenisch has published twelve books of poetry, a book of essays, a novel and four books of creative nonfiction. He holds degrees in Creative Writing from the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia, and has won the Petch Prize, the Arc Poem of the Year Award, the Confederation Poets' Prize, the Critic’s Desk Award, and twice the Malahat Review's Long Poem Prize. With Ronsdale he published Out of the Interior (0-921870-42-6), Taking the Breath Away (0-921870-55-8) and Free Will (978-1-55380-013-2). Born on an apple orchard in the Similkameen Valley, he now makes his home in Campbell River, BC.

And here are the specs:

Ronsdale Press, 2007
ISBN-10: 1-55380-049-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-55380-049-1

6 x 9 150 pp
trade paper

$21.95 CDN
$19.95 US


Friday, September 28, 2007

Robin Skelton

Good news!

A half hour ago a Canpar truck drove up, after making the week-long haul from Toronto. Looking very refreshed for such a long journey, and so much roadside coffee, may I add, the driver handed me a package. Very cool and collected, I signed, but then I raced inside, tore into the cardboard like a kid with an ice cream cake, and there it was, at last, after so many years of living with these poems, Robin Skelton's In This Poem I Am.

Dundurn Press, ISBN: 978-1-55002-769-3

This is the volume of selected poems that James Gurley and I made as our gift to the Malahat Review celebrations for its 40th anniversary, and the 10th anniversary of Robin's passing. It took years. These are, I think, the best poems of one of our best poets.

We're launching the book on Robin's birthday, too. Let's plan to see each other there, for this important event. Robin always loved a party.

Friday, October 12, 2007, at 7:30 pm
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
1040 Moss Street, Victoria

Regular Gallery admission applies: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students

What a happy day!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Big Move

Now the wind, that flows off the Pacific, crests the Coast Mountains, and drops into the grasslands like a breath from a spirit stone, has spoken to me first. I've gone west. I've moved to the heart of a salmon, as it lies in cool water drinking the rain. I'm talking with raven again.

For the moment, I'm living in a sea of cardboard, while I build a new set of bookshelves above the garage. I'm still on the edge of a continent, but now I'm close to Victoria, and to Vancouver. It feels great to be here.

Give me a call. Drop me a line. Let me know how it's going with you.

Harold Rhenisch
795 Oxford Place
Campbell River, B.C.
V9W 7Y7
The email is the same:

Talk to you soon, eh.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Wolves at Evelyn wins George Ryga Award

Ken Smedley, Director of the George Ryga Centre, and Harold, in the Greenroom of the Powerhouse Theatre.

On the evening of July 27, in Vernon’s Powerhouse Theatre, on the anniversary of George Ryga’s 75th Birthday, I received the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness In B.C. Writing and Publishing for my memoir The Wolves At Evelyn – Journey Through A Dark Century. The final Judge for this year’s Award determination was Professor Sharon Josephson of Okanagan College.

The George Ryga Award is sponsored by Okanagan College, BC Bookworld, CBC Radio Kelowna and The George Ryga Centre.

The physical Award – entitled The Censor’s Golden Rope is recreated annually by it’s creator, North Okanagan sculptor (and beekeeper — always a good thing!) Reg Kienast.

Reg Kienast and Harold, with "George".

Ryga, internationally renowned author of THE ECSTASY OF RITA JOE, passed away in 1987, of stomach cancer. He was 55. His former home, where he created his vast body of work, is a national heritage/cultural landmark (The George Ryga Centre) that continues to independently function in commemoration of his legacy to Canadian culture and society.

July 27, 2007

Malahat Review Long Poem Prize 2007

My poem "The Bone Yard" has won the 2007 Malahat Review Long Poem Prize. It’s the tale of my dog Winston, as Winston Churchill, and sets a world of love against chilling contemporary echoes of the Second World War. Winston also has a starring role in Winging Home: A Palette of Birds, so he’s becoming quite the literary dog!

Given that my "Abandon" won the previous prize, in 2005, I'm well, thrilled!

July 15, 2007