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

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Elizabeth Bishop House memoir -- An offer from Sandra Barry

I have once again written a rather unpublishable book, in part because, while I call it a memoir, it is a highly unconventional, non-linear narrative about my time as steward of the Elizabeth Bishop House in Great Village, Nova Scotia (2004 to 2015).

A couple of years ago, I offered “A Poem A Week” for a year. A number of kind people subscribed to receive one of my poems, along with a short commentary, every Monday morning. This offering was gratis. I plan to do something similar with my memoir: The Gestalt of Old Wood: My Love Affair with the Elizabeth Bishop House.

This memoir is made up of about 90 short sections. If you choose to subscribe, I will send a section, as a pdf file, once or twice a week, starting in January 2018, and continuing throughout the year.
(My father, Herb Barry, and our friend Ivy Cross,
sitting on the verandah, 2008. Photo by Brenda Barry.)
I am not asking for any payment, but if you want, you can donate something to support the Elizabeth Bishop House, which is about to re-incarnate : the St. James Church of Great Village Preservation Society was given the house in November 2017 by the new owners. The society plans to resurrect the artist retreat by the spring of 2018. I am excited about this development — the house will once again be open to Bishop fans and artists, and it is only right that this memoir help in some small way with this endeavour. (See the post below this one for more information.)

The Preservation Society is a registered charity (CRA # 803519370 RR0001), so Canadians can receive a tax receipt if they request one.

Do not send any donations to me, but directly to the Preservation Society. Let them know that the donation comes because of the memoir.

At this time, the Preservation Society can accept only cash or cheque, payable to “St. James Church of GV Preservation Society.” The mailing address is: c/o Laurie Gunn, Treasurer, 178 Parkwood South, Truro Heights, Nova Scotia, B6L 1P3.

If you have any questions about donating to the Preservation Society, contact Laurie Gunn at ebishopretreat@gmail.com.

For Bishop House supporters from elsewhere (that is, outside Canada and the US), if you want to make a donation, you can do so through the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia’s website (http://elizabethbishopns.org/), through PayPal. There are “Donate” buttons on several of the pages of the website. If you have any questions about donating that way, just drop me a note.

(my email is: slbarry@ns.sympatico.ca)

Thank you for your interest and support.

Monday, November 27, 2017


The following is just in from the St. James Church of Great Village Preservation Society:

The St. James Church of Great Village Preservation Society is very pleased to announce that the Elizabeth Bishop House has been generously gifted to them.

The 150 year old EB House sits in the center of Great Village and was the much loved home of Elizabeth Bishop’s grandparents. Elizabeth Bishop spent her early childhood in this house and wrote poems, stories and memoirs about the people and events she witnessed and experienced.

The S.J.C.G.V Preservation Society is planning to re-establish the artist retreat as a place for Bishop fans and artists who want to experience this wonderful old house and spend quality time working and relaxing. The S.J.C.G.V. Preservation Society is hoping to have this exciting project ready by May 2018.

Check us out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ebretreat/ or email us at ebishopretreat@gmail.com.

Anyone wishing to donate to this project can do so by making a cheque payable to the “S.J.C.G.V. Preservation Society” or “The Elizabeth Bishop Society “ (memo: EB House).

A charitable tax receipt is available for Canadians if requested.

Mail to Laurie Gunn, Treasurer, 178 Parkwood South, Truro Heights, Nova Scotia B6L 1P3.
As a previous owner of the EB House, I want to express my complete delight with this development and to thank the Preservation Society, especially Laurie Gunn, for all the hard work done to make this happen. And to thank the previous owners, who took good care of it between my tenure and the new guard. It is wonderful that the house will again be available for Bishop fans and artists of all kinds, as well as the many visitors who go to Great Village every year to see Bishop's beloved childhood home. I have written a memoir of my time taking care of the house and I will be sharing it with interested people in the near future. I will be posting a notice about this offer on the blog early in December.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Halifax Explosion, 6 December 1917: events to mark its centenary

EBSNS board member Janet Maybee, author of Aftershock: The Halifax Explosion and the Persecution of Francis Mackay (Nimbus), is involved in a number of projects and events marking the centenary of the Halifax Explosion, which occurred on 6 December 1917. One of these projects is an exhibit at the Colchester Historeum in Truro, N.S., dedicated to the response of Colchester County in the hours, days and weeks after the disaster: http://colchesterhistoreum.ca/current-exhibits/

See more about this exhibit on the Hub Now site
The booklet Janet created (cover above) for this exhibit will be part of a new time-capsule about the explosion that is being created to mark the one hundredth anniversary.

Janet is also involved in a re-enactment related to the aftermath of the explosion.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Suzie LeBlanc and friends’ opera premiere

EBSNS Honorary Patron Suzie LeBlanc is busy these days getting ready for the premiere of an opera. Recently, she wrote: “As you may know, I founded and co-direct with Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière an opera company called Le Nouvel Opera in Montreal. This fall, we are collaborating with Les Boréades de Montréal to perform and record a 17th century pastoral opera by Paolo Lorenzani: Nicandro e Fileno. This delightful work has not been presented on the stage anywhere in the world since its creation in 1681. It has never been recorded. Six singers, two dancers, actors and a small orchestra will perform the piece in a fully-staged production directed by Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière in Montreal on November 23rd, for one night only!

Le Nouvel Opera is involved in a fund-raising campaign for the recording of the opera on Indigogo. Check it out here:

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Lest We Forget...

To mark Remembrance Day, 11 November, Great Village resident Carole Pugsley Fisher has installed two banners next to the cenotaph, one to honour her grandfather Walter Perrin and the other to honour Neil Fisher, both veterans. Every year, as in nearly every community in Nova Scotia, a Remembrance Day service, organized and hosted by the Legion, is held at the cenotaph. This year will be no exception.
(Photos by Patti Sharpe.)
The EBSNS installed banners in 2011 for EB100, and has continued to put up banners every summer. These are taken down in the fall, but the society encourages other groups and individuals to make use of the brackets for other purposes.
(The Great Village cenotaph after a service,
15 November 2015. Photo by Brenda Barry.)

You can read more about Great Village and World War I on the blog here and here.