Remember that episode of Star Trek or NCIS where the leaders of all the planets/free nations are gathered in one place, and our pulse quickens as the scriptwriters jack the stakes with an unseen threat of obliteration?
Now imagine the CanPo equivalent ensconced in the glass fortress of The Sylvia’s swank bistro overlooking English Bay and you will have the mise en scène for the launch of the George Stanley Issue of The Capilano Review last Wednesday night. (Our quickened pulses were due more to voluminous poetry off-gassing and the salmon mousse than to any threat of annihilation.)
Among those present to fête Stanley were his literary pals and colleagues George Bowering, Jean Baird, Jamie Reid, Barry McKinnon, Colin Browne, Peter Culley, Dora FitzGerald, David Phillips and many others along with past and present TCR editors Pierre Coupey (founding editor in 1972), Ryan Knighton, Sharon Thesen, Jenny Penberthy and Brook Houglum (current editor). Other notables in attendance: New Star Books publisher Rolf Maurer, West Coast Line editor Michael Barnholden, Event editor Elizabeth Bachinsky and KSW co-founder Jeff Derksen.
As the memories unfurled, The Commissioner of Everything (as he is known to his pals) took it all in with a smile and a laugh and an occasional “I did not!”
After Bowering, Reid, Culley and McKinnon read their tribute poems to Stanley from the latest TCR, Stanley took the mic and closed off the evening with six of his twelve “After Desire” poems in the issue. From “At the Pub”:
At the pub I am pretending to drink at the pub, as writing a poem, I am pretending to be writing a poem. This is a valid activity. It is something that before I started thinking so much I thought of as art, or life, or didn’t think of at all.
(Text and photos © Kim Goldberg, 2011)