"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scotia Festival of Music & Elizabeth Bishop

On 30 May 2011, Scotia Festival of Music, one of Nova Scotia’s premiere annual music events, opens in Halifax, N.S. It runs until 12 June.

EB100 is thrilled that as part of the festival’s impressive two-week-long programme, there are five special concerts in honour of and in tribute to Elizabeth Bishop, part of the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary celebrations.

To learn more about Scotia Festival of Music, go to its website: http://www.scotiafestival.ns.ca/

For tickets: call Scotia Festival of Music: 902-429-9467 or 1-800-528-9883 or online at the url above

Special Bishop concerts:

1 June 2011
Suzie LeBlanc recital – with harpischordist Alexander Weimann
7:00 p.m. St. George’s Round Church, 2222 Brunswick St.

3 June 2011
“At the Fishhouses” recital – with Tempest Baroque Ensemble and Suzie LeBlanc and RH Thomson
7:00 p.m., St. George’s Round Church, 2222 Brunswick St.

5 June 2011
Alexander Weimann recital
2:00 p.m., The Music Room, 6181 Lady Hammond Rd.

7 June 2011
Highlight Concert – with Super Nova String Quartet and Blue Engine String Quartet
(includes performance of setting of Bishop’s “Sandpiper” by John Plant)
7:00 p.m., Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre

9 June 2011
Highlight Concert – with a WORLD PREMIERE performance of a setting of Bishop’s “Brazil, January 1st, 1502,” by Dinuk Wijeratne (setting for piano, oboe, bass, percussion, voice and Capoeira dancers!!)
7:00 p.m., Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Music and Medicine -- and Elizabeth Bishop

On Friday, 27 May, 2011, The Medical Humanities--H.E.A.L.S. Program of Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S., presents its "Music -- the Best Medicine" -- an annual showcase of the Dalhousie Medical School talent. Featuring the Dalhousie Medical School Chorale, The Vocal Chords and The TestosterTONES. This concert, taking place at Faith Tabernacle at Windsor and Summit Streets, at 7:30 p.m. is sponsored by the Music-In-Medicine Programme of Dalhousie in partnership with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia. (Tickets are $15 and can be reserved at 494-6574 -- and available at the door.)

Why do I mention this event, which in and of itself will be a fun time? I have been told by one of the choir members that one of selections chosen for the Chorale to sing is a setting of "I am in need of music" ("Sonnet"), a poem by Elizabeth Bishop. This selection was made because the choir admires the setting, and I think they had no idea that they are performing in the midst of Nova Scotia's year-long Elizabeth Bishop Centenary celebrations.

Bishop was fascinated by all things medical. Indeed, she almost abandoned poetry at Vassar to study science and become a doctor. Marianne Moore talked her out of it. Her own health issues (asthma and allergies) and the fact that her mother and two maternal aunts and two maternal cousins were nurses, makes it no surprise that Bishop had a life-long interest in all things medical. Years ago I gave a presentation to the History of Medicine Society (I think that was around 1997) -- also connected to the Dalhousie Medical school, about Bishop's interest in medicine. So it seems entirely appropriate that this setting of Bishop, which is about the healing powers of poetry (really of all the arts), be performed in this setting, by this particularly ensemble.

What intrigues me is how we are seeing in Nova Scotia our beloved poet find her way into the wider society and culture, taken up by artists of all disciplines and embraced by all types of readers. Perhaps our message about Bishop and her connection to and influence on Nova Scotia, is sinking in.

Scotia Festival of Music is fast approaching and there will be five special Elizabeth Bishop tribute concerts. The Elizabeth Bishop Symposium at University of King's College is also nearly upon us. We will be posting information about both these events in the coming days.

I would have happily put in a link for the Music -- the Best Medicine concert, but there was no website listed on the poster. But do your own search and sites do turn up for related activities.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Two recent EB100 events -- a brief report

Music and Painting: On 5 May 2011, the folks from Scotia Festival of Music went to the Great Village School, along with the Halifax ensemble The Blue Engine String Quartet, to hold a morning of painting and music session with the children (Grades Primary to Four). While the children painted posters for Scotia Festival, the quartet played the music of Mozart, Handel and others. It was a lively, fun morning for everyone and some fabulous works of art were created. Here is a glimpse of the gathering.

Photo by Linda Shears

The 2011 season of Scotia Festival of Music begins on 29 May in Halifax, N.S. This year there will be five special concerts in tribute to Elizabeth Bishop, in celebration of her centenary. Check out the schedule for this upcoming season on the Scotia Festival website. We will be posting more information about the concerts in days to come.

A book launch: On Saturday 14 May I had the great delight to launch my new Bishop book, Elizabeth Bishop: Nova Scotia's "Home-Made" Poet, at the Elizabeth Bishop House in Great Village (I had a launch in Halifax a few days earlier, which was also great fun, but it was so nice and right to gather in Bishop's childhood home and share this book with the folks of Great Village). Here are a few images from that day. I want to thank everyone who came out for the launches. You can order the book online at the publisher's website: Nimbus Publishing -- or, if you are in Nova Scotia, pick it up at your local independent bookstore.

Photos by Brenda Barry

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another Little Technical Note

I will be leaving Oakland City early tomorrow morning for Texas to attend my nephew Robert's graduation from the University of Texas at Austin, and returning late Monday night. This is why the "Today in Bishop" entries for May 18-23 have been posted en masse. Please don't forget about the poetry reading at Five Islands this weekend! -- JB

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nova Scotia Poets' Tribute to Elizabeth Bishop

A reading and conversation
21 May 2011, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Mo’s at Five Islands, 951 Highway 2
Free. Everyone welcome!
An Elizabeth Bishop Centenary, 2011 Event


Some of Nova Scotia’s best poets gather to pay tribute to Elizabeth Bishop and celebrate her centenary. Reading from Bishop and their own poetry, and in lively conversation, these poets will highlight the idea of influence and explore the importance of poetry in our culture.

Poets include: Brian Bartlett, Rosaria Campbell, Joanne Light, Lorri Neilsen Glenn, Chad Norman, Harry Thurston, Margo Wheaton and Paul Zann. Hosted by Sandra Barry and Dick Lemon.

Five Islands, N.S., was a literal and iconic geography for Bishop, appearing in her much beloved poem “The Moose.” She knew the history and landscape well. Mo’s at Five Islands is an exciting spot on the road that runs along Cobequid Bay and Minas Basin. It has developed a reputation as a place for good food and art and lively music and literary gatherings. Come join the party on Saturday, 21 May 2011, at 1:00 p.m.

The Poets

Brian Bartlett is a Halifax poet whose recent collections are The Watchmaker's Table (Acorn-Plantos Award) and Wanting the Day: Selected Poems (Atlantic Book Award), as well as the chapbook Being Charlie. He's also edited a book of prose on the poet Don McKay and three volumes of selected poems -- by Don Domanski, James Reaney, and Robert Gibbs. Since 1990 he has taught Creative Writing and literature at Saint Mary's University.

Rosaria Campbell writes short fiction and essays and on occasion tries her hand at poetry. Originally from Campbell’s Creek, Nfld, she now lives on a small farm in Wallace Station, N.S., and works at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro. She is a particular admirer of the poets from the first half of the twentieth century.

As Gillian Wallace writes, “Joanne Light speaks her poems into the audience’s air with a marvelous strength, becoming the voice she is speaking. It is so exciting to hear her. Her fusion poem with a Spanish classical guitarist that was one of the pieces I had the privilege of hearing recently was beautifully wrought, twining around the notes until I could see the images she was creating right in front of my eyes. I hadn’t been a huge fan of Spoken Word poetry until I heard her. Now I know what it can offer.”

Lorri Neilsen Glenn is a poet and essayist with four collections of poetry, the most recent being Lost Gospels (Brick Books, 2010). She was Poet Laureate for Halifax from 2005-2009, where she lives. Her collection of essays on grief and loss will be published this fall by Haglos Press.

Chad Norman enjoys the pace of living beside the Atlantic. Over the years he has published in many journals in several countries, occasionally making it into one which actually pays a few dollars. His most recent book, Ants On the Rainbow: Poems To, For, And About Children was published by Undertow Press in October 2010. His collection Hugging the Huge Father is due out in 2011.

Harry Thurston is a poet and author of more than twenty books, including Animals Of My Own Kind: New and Selected Poems and The Atlantic Coast: A Natural History, forthcoming in the fall of 2011.

Margo Wheaton lives in Halifax where she completed a Master’s degree in English at Dalhousie University. Her poetry has appeared in a number of publications including The Fiddlehead, The Antigonish Review, CV2, The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, and Undercurrents: New Voices in Canadian Poetry. Her work received the Alfred G. Bailey award from the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick for best unpublished poetry manuscript and she is currently completing a first collection of poems.

Paul Zann is a much-published author. An adult novel, a book of poetry, three children’s novels, a collection of humorous essays, a one-person play, and a book of nonsense verses for children, illustrate the versatility of his writing interests. These books have been published by five Canadian publishers.

For more information contact Sandra Barry at slbarry@ns.sympatico.ca

Friday, May 13, 2011

Technical Note

Until June 1 we will be posting the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday entries for "Today in Bishop" as a block on Friday, due to the complications arising from working at quite a fair remove from our usual haunts (Halifax, Nova Scotia ==> Oakland City, Indiana). Thank you for your patience!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Launch of Elizabeth Bishop: Nova Scotia’s “Home-Made” Poet, by Sandra Barry

I am delighted to say that my book about Elizabeth Bishop will soon be launched. Those who know me understand that getting to this point has been s a long, complex journey. Nimbus is calling it a “pictorial biography” which I like – it is a little book with lots of interesting pictures – which is always fun. A brief account of her life with a focus on her connection to Nova Scotia, this book will, I hope, be a good introduction for many Nova Scotians and Canadians who have yet to discover her – and a way for the wider world to learn more about the deep and abiding link she had with her childhood home. Those who know me understand that this little book is not all I have to say about Elizabeth Bishop, but it is a compression I feel good about because I think it is of a size that will draw in readers who do not want to wade through academic or critical works about this important poet.

I am most grateful to all the people who have supported me over the past twenty years, as I have explored and lived with Elizabeth Bishop and Nova Scotia, family and friends without whom my work would not be possible. I will not name them because they know who they are and I hope they know the depth of my gratitude.

I am launching it in Halifax on 10 May (the above poster gives the details) and then in Great Village on Saturday, 14 May 2011, at 1:30 p.m. in the Elizabeth Bishop House (8740 Highway 2, Great Village, N.S.) – this latter is very special and appropriate because the EB House was the centre of her childhood universe and now has become a place where artists find inspiration and quietude to create.

The book is be available locally (in NS and across Canada) at bookstores -- please try to buy it at an independent bookstore (in Halifax I am particularly partial to BookMark). You can also get it through the publisher: www.nimbus.ca. However, I know a many people order online. It is available through Amazon.ca and in the fall will be available through Amazon.com. The ISBN is: 978155109234.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Scotia Festival rally on May 4th at 7pm

A reminder

On Wednesday, May 4th at 7pm in The Music Room, 6181 Lady Hammond Rd., Halifax, Nova Scotia, Scotia Festival of Music is holding a rally for its upcoming Festival in June 2011.

Soprano Suzie Le Blanc will sing Mozart's fiery motet "Exultate Jubilate" with pianist Simon Docking and the performance will be followed by a description of the main events of the Festival including
five concerts given in honour of the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary (EB100). These concerts will feature International and local artists such as RH Thompson (Toronto) Alexander Weimann (Munich & Montreal), Blue Engine String Quartet (Halifax) Tempest Baroque Ensemble (Halifax), Suzanne Lemieux (Halifax) and Suzie LeBlanc (Montreal & Halifax). Performances will include works from the Baroque and Classical eras as well as Premieres of Canadian compositions by composers Dinuk Wijeratne and John Plant.

Please join us and bring a friend who may enjoy "Halifax's Rite of Spring" with Scotia Festival of Music.

Scotia Festival of Music is an annual two-week chamber music festival held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, during the first two weeks of June, boasting over fifty public events. Featuring international talent of the highest caliber, the festival offers Highlight Concerts, Recitals, open rehearsals, masterclasses, coaching sessions, lectures, and more.