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

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Readers Respond to ECHOES OF ELIZABETH BISHOP -- Part Five

In June 2013, the EBSNS launched Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop: The Elizabeth Bishop Centenary (2011) Writing Competition. The editors have asked a some of our readers to provide a comment, a personal response, to the collection. We will post them over the next few weeks. We hope these readers’ responses will tempt you to buy a copy for your own library. It also makes a wonderful Christmas gift!

You find out more about Echoes on the EBSNS website:

You can purchase online at: http://www.elizabethbishopns.org/publications.html or at Bookmark, on Spring Garden Road in Halifax, N.S.

Response from Linda Hargrave

Sandra Barry and Laurie Gunn have created a small gem of a book with Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop. We begin with a quote from Bishops iconic “In The Village” and then, almost at the end, are treated to a fresh perspective in the voice of eleven year old Ryan Spencer, writing a letter to Elizabeth herself. A lot has changed, but you would still recognize the village, writes Ryan, “I go to the same school you went to when you were a little girl.” His letter reminds us of how change is inevitable but how in rural Nova Scotia, as in most rural communities, much remains the same.

I’m sure Elizabeth would have loved this little book with its sumptuous dust jacket that invites your touch, the gorgeous design of its front cover, and especially its provocative contents. Comprised mostly of emerging young writers and artists the book itself is a journey and a glance into lives being lived. Here and now.

Some are the stories of those who came by choice from far away places, others are the connections made by the authors to the generations who were here long before them. Chris Greene shares with us the excitement of moving here from England to begin a new life. Ryan Atkinson writes hauntingly of the river near his home where much of his youth was played out. “We swam and spent hours talking and joking and looking for love,” he tells us, and then, glancing pensively back over the years, asks … “Where have my friends gone?”

The rather nebulous Aaron Holland writes beautifully of the sugar woods and a camping trip he will never forget, while Dakota Warren takes us to Neil’s Harbour, which she calls home sweet home, but where she still worries when her dad is out on the water fishing lobster. And in her story “Wallace by the Sea,” Maria Duynisveld also speaks of the water. “I feel that water shapes me and my home, and I’m connected to it …. There’s something about the ocean that makes me ‘me’, and I think it’s something that will last forever.”

A simple and elegant, sweet little surprise of a book. Yes, I believe Elizabeth would like this … and I believe it will last. Sandra and Laurie have done a marvelous job.

Painting by Joy Laking
Linda Hargrave moved back home to Nova Scotia three years ago and is happily ensconced in a little white house on Parrsboro Harbour. She happily offers occasional writers workshops for Tantramar Seniors College and  continues to head the writers group “Assembly Of Text” which she began soon after arriving back on her beloved East Coast.

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