Saturday, December 14, 2013

Love Between the Sacred and Profane - The Book Launch

It was a special evening for me.  Thanks to Ben Nuttall Smith and the encouragement of the Canadian Authors Association executive, Hannah and her mother, Mida's, efforts, my first book launch, occurred.  Love between the Sacred and Profane, by yours truly was birthed.
St. James Anglican Church basement in downtown eastside Vancouver was the location. Fitting as this is also where Father Mathew's Community Outreach program originates. Father Mathew helps the homeless in the community, not just spiritually but emotionally and physically as well.  He's an inspiration.  I'm glad that I can share the proceeds from my book with his fine mission.
Ben Nuttall Smith  (www. orchestrated the event with a maestro's flourish.  I'd not been at a book launch ever so trusted his experience. He'd served the Canadian Authors Association for years, published many books, including "Secrets Kept/Secrets Told" and "Blood Feathers Holy Men" and this year was  President of the BC Federation of Writers. I enjoyed chatting with his lovely muse, Margot, psychologist and painter extraordinaire. I love her work and am delighted she likes mine.
Ben opened  with an introduction and reading my poem,   "Glorious Night." It certainly was that. 
I shared a little about  my mother's writing, then told how Karey Asselstine and I publishing the Vincent Massey High School, poetry magazine, Poison.   I think I mentioned Winnipeg's Wise Eye Coffeehouse too. I did say this church basement reminded me of the first coffeehouse I organized with friends in the basement of St. Vital Baptist church. I'd recited poetry in those coffeehouses and several of us would later share our tales of church basements. .
Dennis Bolen however, despite having worked across the street at the downtown penitentiary said, he was so happy to finally come into this church.  "I've always admired the architecture. It's considered one of the best examples of Art Deco Church Design. I was in New York looking at a book of modern architecture and there was this very same church I walked by everyday. "
Dennis would later read an earthy poem from his prison  social work years capturing the character of a crusty old ex convict meeting the young fresh new kid.  It's a masterpiece.  I  love his just published book of poetry.  Black Liquor.
I read, "New Year", first. It's nearly on us again and good to remember.   I next read "If the Budgies Could Be House Trained, which had people laughing.  Then I  almost choked on the sad love poem, "I Just Wanted to Write a Love Song about ".  I read  "London Remembering" too and only realized later, that of the six poems I read that night, three were  written for my ex wives, those beautiful brilliant unsettling women, my blessing and their penance.
Jean Kay, of "poemsthatinspire', read a couple of very inspirational Christmas poems.  Ben read some. too
Then there was time for finger food, cake and drinks. I was signing books happily and wondering whatever to say.   Aim, a fresh minted PhD, was taking pictures of everything.  Her husband, Marc Beaudry's company, Hexigeogroup had just taken off so those two were happy indeed.  Hannah was happy collecting money.  
It was wonderful to see George whose poetry so deserves publishing if only we could get him to stop being distracted by his grandchildren.  Robert, in from Hawaii,  and I talked sailing. Michel was there, probably having just climbed some mountain.  I really do hope Margaret is inspired to write poetry.  She's noticing it's a fun participation event these days.  Vivian came with her friend Mary.  I almost convinced Barb to play guitar and sing, maybe next time.
Ben had Dennis, Margaret and I join him in a 4 voice poem that really was a romp.
I read some more poems.  Having just defeated another 'flu',  I read the "The Common Cold' the definitive word on that terrible beast.
Ending with Fannegy Finn, I explaining how we'd needed a poem for teaching children's improvisational theatre in the park, years gone by, and this poem came to mind as a way to begin the story telling round we did with the children.  I can't say how many times I"ve recited it but still love it myself.
More book signing.  More socializing.  What  lovely people are people who like poetry.
I said if we'd mixed pole dancing and poetry,  we'd have had many more out but the quality of the gathering would have suffered.  It was an intimate gathering, just the right size for the church basement and thankfully there was enough food and drinks for all.  People came and went but most would stay. So many people kindly texted regrets but promised to buy a book or asked for it to be shipped COD.
It was a good time.  Gilbert liked it a lot having really worked the room for treats.
So that's what a book launch is.  Thanks to all.  I really must do more of these.
My collected short story book is in the works, due out in the spring so we'll do an encore.
I'm proud of Love between the Sacred and Profane.  Now to make the rounds of readings. Special thanks to all who came and especially those bought books. You didn't have to. But it sure was appreciated.
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