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

Sunday, June 25, 2017

EBSNS AGM, 17 June 2017 -- the final glimpses

One more go of photos of our lively
Annual General Meeting last Saturday.

The Great Village Fire Brigade Auxiliary always puts
out a delicious spread for all the hungry folks. John Barnstead (l.)
is usually one of the first to line up for the treats.
Our special guest, Alexander MacLeod.

One of the lovely aspects of our meetings is
the deep conversations that happen afterwards.
The assembled in beautiful St. James Church.

The EBSNS has become involved in a new project, a "Little Free Library," being set up in Great Village by the Colchester Adult Learning Association. Stay tuned for an update about this exciting endeavour.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A few more photos from the EBSNS Annual General Meeting on 17 June 2017

Another round of photographs, courtesy of Susan Kerslake, showing glimpses of the artwork in the "Echoes of EB" gallery. We hope you have a chance to stop by St. James Church and see what the EBSNS and our contributing artists have done.
(Artists l. to r. Janet Guinan, Laurie Gunn, Andre Meredith).
(Laurie Gunn's "Awful but cheerful" hooked rug.)
(Artists l. to r. top: Christene Sandeson, Joy Laking,
Catherine MacLean. Bottom: Bruce Gray)
(Not technically part of the inaugural art exhibit, this beautiful
painted chair by Halifax artist Tayia Barss
used to belong to the EB House.)

Stay tuned for more AGM photos.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Another successful Annual General Meeting

On Saturday, 17 June 2017, the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia held its Annual General Meeting at St. James Church in Great Village, N.S. Around forty members and guests gathered for a lively event which saw the opening of "Elizabeth Bishop's Beginnings" exhibit and "Echoes of EB" art gallery. What follows are a few images from the day, courtesy of EBSNS member Susan Kerslake. Minutes of the meeting will soon be posted on our website. The EBSNS thanks all those who attended for their support, as well as all the people who helped to make the exhibit and gallery possible. Heartfelt thanks to our guest speaker, Alexander MacLeod, for sharing his powerful words. And a special thank you to the St. James Church of Great Village Preservation Society for offering us part of the beautiful sanctuary.

The first thing on the agenda was our usual business. Here Patti Sharpe presents her first President's Report. That's past president Laurie Gunn on the left and secretary Sandra Barry in the centre.
Then the exhibit and gallery were officially opened, with time for those gathered to look at the displays and art work.
A half dozen local artists had contributed the inaugral gallery exhibit, including this beautiful carving by Deverne Rushton, his interpretation of Bishop's famous poem "The Fish."
Our guest speaker was Nova Scotia writer Alexander MacLeod. After reading mesmerizing us with a compelling read of one of his short stories, I had the honour to ask him some questions.
Before making our way across the road to the legion for our reception, we drew for two prizes. The first was a door prize (a lovely hooked rug seat cover done by Laurie Gunn). Binnie Brennan was the lucky winner.
Then the big draw for the raffle prize (Alfred Villeneuve's wonderful en plein air painting of Algonquin Park, which had been on display during the meeting). Alexander did the honours. The winner was Halifax resident Mary Blanchard, who was not at the meeting.
Then it was time to indulge in the delicious sandwiches, sweets, coffee, tea and punch that the Great Village Fire Brigade Auxiliary had prepared for us, set up at the Royal Canadian Legion across the road. Lots of lively conversations took place and folks were slow to leave all the conviviality.
Here is a glimpe of the hard working auxiliary ladies taking a well-deserved break in the kitchen.
I will share more photos from the AGM over the next few days. We hope everyone enjoyed this gathering as much as the EBSNS board did presenting it to our members and guests.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive: Planned Activities, Class 5

Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive 
NEH Summer Seminar June 12-30, 2017 
Vassar College Project 

Director: Dr. Bethany Hicok

Friday, June 16: Biography 

Readings: Travisano, “Bishop and Biography” from the Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Bishop, edited by Cleghorn & Ellis (2014); Fountain and Brazeau, Remembering Elizabeth Bishop, Megan Marshall, A Miracle for Breakfast. You should also be familiar with Lorrie Goldensohn’s The Biography of a Poetry and Brett Millier’s, Life and the Memory of It, the first full-length biography of Bishop. 

Friday afternoon: Dr. Barbara Page will join us at 4:30 in the Rose Parlor (Main) to talk about how the Bishop papers got to Vassar and the process of sorting through them; she will also give us a brief tour of important Bishop sites at the College.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive: Planned Activities, Class 4

Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive 
NEH Summer Seminar June 12-30, 2017 
Vassar College Project 

Director: Dr. Bethany Hicok

Thursday, June 15: Editing

Here we move into a discussion of Bishop and the shifting landscape of the poet’s reputation as new editions and biographies are published and new materials come into the archive. No scholar has defined this shifting landscape more thoroughly than Dr. Thomas Travisano, who will join us today and Friday for discussion on archival research, teaching Bishop and her circle, editing, and the art of biography. Dr. Travisano will also be available to consult with scholars on their projects today and tomorrow. 

Readings: Travisano, “Editing 20th Century Letters: The Road to Words in Air,” from Letter Writing Among Poets, Ed. Ellis; Cleghorn, Hicok, Travisano, “Introduction,” Gray, “Postcards and Sunsets: Bishop’s Revisions and the Problem of Excess,” Goldensohn, “Elizabeth Bishop’s Drafts: ‘That Sense of Constant Readjustment,’” all from Elizabeth Bishop in the 21st Century: Reading the New Editions; Hicok, “Elizabeth Bishop’s Translations,” from Elizabeth Bishop’s Brazil; and Bishop and Lowell, Words in Air.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive: Planned Activities, Class 2

Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive 
NEH Summer Seminar June 12-30, 2017 
Vassar College Project 
Director: Dr. Bethany Hicok

"Tuesday, June 13:   Introductions: We will be introducing ourselves and our teaching and research interests as they relate to the seminar topics. What project will you be working on during the three weeks? After these introductions, we begin with a discussion of Bishop as a poet. What makes her important? What poems do we value the most? Why? How do we teach her? This first day of the seminar is important to help establish the poet at the center of our study and to explore the different approaches that we might build on as we interrogate the relationship between the poet and her archives. Ron Patkus will join us during the last half hour of our session to talk about Bishop’s papers, the history and contents of the Vassar archive, recent acquisitions, and holdings in other repositories. He will also review procedures for using the collection at Vassar. 

"Readings: Core readings that will inform our discussion about the poet and her archives include these primary sources—Bishop’s poems, letters, and drafts, including Poems, Prose, Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box, and published letters (One Art, Words in Air, Elizabeth Bishop and the New Yorker).  [...]"

Monday, June 12, 2017

NEH Summer Seminar "Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive" Begins Today (June 12, 2017)

The complete syllabus and reading list for the seminar, from which this excerpt has been taken, may be found here.

"Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive 
NEH Summer Seminar June 12-30, 2017 
Vassar College 
Project Director: Dr. Bethany Hicok

 “…alone in the Archive, in the counting house of dreams, 
the historian opens the bundles…” 
--Steedman, Dust: The Archive and Cultural History 

“The revised poem had been typed out on very thin paper 
and folded into a small square, sealed with a gold star sticker
 and signed on the outside, ‘Lovingly, Rose Peebles.’” 
--Elizabeth Bishop, “Efforts of Affection” 

“I am writing a poem about a litter of objects in a museum 
whose uses the spectator can’t make out.” 
--Bishop to Ruth Foster, 1947 

“How can anyone want such things?” 
--Bishop, “Crusoe in England” 

"Seminar Description: In Dust, Carolyn Steedman defines the Archives “as a name for the many places in which the past (which does not now exist, but which once did actually happen; which cannot be retrieved, but which may be represented) has deposited some traces and fragments.” More poetically, it is “also a place of dreams”—a place “where the past lives, where ink on parchment can be made to speak.” Steedman reminds us that archives and the stories we tell about them are necessarily narrative reconstructions of the shards we have excavated from them. At the same time, the archive is a place where we bring our own desires, our “general fever,” as it were, “to know and to have the past.” Will the archive yield its secrets to us? For Elizabeth Bishop, there is no question that archival documents can be made to speak. But what do they say? This seminar positions us at the intersection of archival theory and literary study in order to explore the relationship between the poet and her archive, aesthetics and ethics, texts and avanttextes. The seminar will be organized around “case studies” in order to provide a model of integrative teaching and scholarship, helping us work through questions of ethics and aesthetics and to better understand the complex dimensions of authorship. As Iain Bailey has argued, we should think of the archive “as a place of work, rather than as a cache from which to draw certainties.” With this caveat in mind, we will act over the course of these three weeks as investigators, curators, collaborators, and inquirers in the workshop of literary production and its aesthetic products. "

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia Annual General Meeting on 17 June 2017

Only a few days before the EBSNS holds it AGM starting at 1:00 p.m., in St. James Church in Great Village, N.S. Besides our usual business, this year the society unveils the “Elizabeth Bishop’s Beginnings” exhibit and the “Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop” art gallery. The society has been working on this project all winter and is now ready to share it with all the community and the Bishop fans and other visitors who will spend time in the village this summer.
(On 27 May 2017, the exhibit committee and
friends gathered for anotherinstallation session. 
Here are two images taken that day. It is coming together!)
We will also draw for the raffle prize (an exhibit/gallery fund-raiser), which is a beautiful painting by Ontario artist Alfred Villeneuve.
And if all of this isn’t enough, we are delighted to welcome Nova Scotia writer Alexander MacLeod, who will read from his work.
This feast for the eyes, ears and mind will be followed by a feast for the body — a reception, catered by the Great Village Fire Brigade Auxiliary, will be held across the road in the Great Village Legion. Those who have experienced the food provided by this busy organization will be perfectly happy to step outside and cross the road for their delicious offering. Come join us next Saturday for our special gathering.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

“Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop” Gallery: Profile of Artist Deverne Rushton

Deverne Rushton was born and raised in Truro, Nova Scotia. He presently lives in Londonderry, N.S., with his wife, Valerie. He has two daughters and a new grandson. Deverne loved to draw all his life, but did not have any formal training in chainsaw carving or chiseling. He originally bought his chainsaw to clean up some old apple trees on his property, but saw something in a tree and instead made a memorial of a St. Bernard he had lost. Of his work, Deverne says, “I always had an interest in art and drew a lot as a kid, and carving the dog kind of reignited that interest.” The rest is history; “Devo’s Doins Chainsaw Carving” was officially born. A large scarecrow was one of those apple trees, and was completely carved and chiseled while still in the ground. Since then, Deverne has carved many wood sculptures using only a chainsaw and chisels. “It’s just whatever comes out of my head and I never make anything twice.” His designs are created in his head and, for the most part, without an initial drawing to guide him. Deverne continues to delight with each new carving, some of which include scarecrows, hockey players, hen and chicks, a skiing St. Bernard, fishermen, a beaver taking a ride on a curling rock, and two bear cubs climbing to their pot of honey.

On a side note, Deverne is also a Handyman, and one of his jobs was helping take care of the Elizabeth Bishop House.
You can see more of Deverne's work by clicking here.

Ed. Note: As a former owner of the EB House, I can attest to Deverne’s skill and dedication to his craft. His help was invaluable. The above image shows a couple of his carvings on the verandah of the house.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

“Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop” Gallery: Profile of Artist Laurie Gunn

Of her art, Laurie Gunn writes: “I have been taking photographs since my parents gave me my first camera about 55 years ago. It was in 1998 that I realized photography was important to me and it has since become my passion and it has brought me much happiness. Capturing images has helped me to see the world in a wonderful and captivating way. It fulfills my need to be creative which in turn contributes greatly to my well being.  In photography I not only want to capture the image but also the feelings that go with the image.

“Although my first love is photography, I also love being creative in other areas.  In 2001 my good friend Joy Laking and I decided to become “hookers” and we went to Amherst, Nova Scotia, to learn from one of the best, Deanne Fitzpatrick. It only took one afternoon and I was hooked!! Since then I have lost count of the number of rugs and hooked projects that I have created. Being a rug hooker has helped me in my need to be creative and I love sharing my work with others.”

Laurie Gunn got involved with the EBSNS at the time of the Bishop Centenary celebrations in 2011. She was a principle organizer of the EB100 Arts Festival that happened in Great Village that August. She subsequently became president of the society and co-edited Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop: Elizabeth Bishop Centenary (2011) Writing Competition, published in 2013.

You can see more of Laurie’s photography on her website: http://www.lauriegunnphotos.com/

Thursday, June 1, 2017

“Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop” Gallery: Profile of Artist Bruce Gray

Bruce Gray lives in Truro, Nova Scotia, and is an amateur artist who paints in oil, acrylic and watercolour.  He uses saturated pigments to paint unrealistic but representative landscapes and portraits. He paints for the pleasure of painting and seldom shows his paintings in public. Indeed, the majority of his paintings remain unfinished.

Bruce contributed one of his paintings, a striking image of St. James Church, to an EB100 exhibition held at the Nova Scotia Community College in Truro in the summer of 2011. He has been a member of the EBSNS board for several years.