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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"a heart-warming moment for Literature" *

Ernestine Lahey, a Purdy scholar from the Netherlands
and husband Hans Bloemsma
Denis and I went back to the A-frame last Sunday morning to take down the tents. The place looked odd without its crowd (one count reports 103 of us, enjoying poetry and the A-frame day).

We had a word with Katherine and her mom Barb. Collected the 'Sensitive Man' empties and the garbage.

Sound guys Rob and Paul from 'Through the Cedars'

Saturday's Second Annual Purdy Picnic, last Saturday July 26, was better than we'd even hoped. Three months of planning, a tiny hard-working can-do team. Brilliant weather.

L: Bruce Sudds of Engagers, R: Alexandra M.

Al and Eurithe's A-frame.
Michele, poet-wrangler and emcee
Writer in Residence Katherine Leyton owning that stage

Poets on the A-frame stage. Well, Al and Eurithe's deck. "Hallowed ground", a couple of folks said. Visiting poets Phil Hall, Robert Priest and Stuart Ross travelled to the A-frame and astonished us with their work and their reading. The A-frame's first writer in residence Katherine Leyton shared new poems and her reflections on living and working in Al Purdy's old haunts.
Richard Turtle, actor, performing an excerpt from
David Carley's play 'Al Purdy at the Quinte Hotel'

Local poet Martin Durkin read several poems, and dipped into his newly released long poem Steeltown for Mary. Kathy Figueroa brought poems from the country north of Belleville. Local writers Louise O'Donnell (whose Shuffling into Place is my current favourite) and Janet Kellough (she of the Thaddeus Lewis historical mysteries) read poems of Al's.

the student voice - Steven Mullin
David Edward Sweet
Raconteurs. David Edward Sweet, owner of Books & Company recounted his meetings with Al Purdy. So did Ameliasburgh local Brian Way (whose ancestors built the mill which predated Roblin's Mill) - and shared a fine poem about his response to Al's work. Steven shared his student response to visiting the A-frame with his high school class.

Brian Way
Actor, director, writer, editor, journalist Richard Turtle performed an excerpt from David Carley's brilliant play 'Al Purdy at the Quinte Hotel', which he will be offering at another A-frame fund-raiser at Prince Edward County's Active Arts Studio on August 30. Here's a link to last year's event. The fine local group Station Road, composed of Conrad Beaubien, David and Michele Simmonds and Eric Pilgrim were once again generous with their time and talents.
Robert Priest

Owner Chris Hall and barman Brett French from Barley Days Brewery, which has issued a beer in Al's honour (and a mighty fine hoppy beer it is too) spoke about the brew. I wrote about it here. Warning: an extremely fine beverage, made even more so by the brewery's sponsorhip of APAFA - for every six-pack sold they donate a loonie to the Association. The brewery provided two cases of the brew, which were discretely savoured by poets and volunteers as the day ended.

Poets, and people wanting to hear them. Denis our shuttle driver (and another sensitive man) ferried well over 60 folks to the A-frame, and many more back. And to and from the PicnicPEC gourmet food truck parked at the village hall.

Thanks to our sponsors: Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Barley Days Brewery, Books & Company,  Brighton Arts Council, West City Honda, Kopamees Construction and donor artist Anne Rector. And to our partners: County of Prince Edward Public Library, Picnic PEC gourmet food truck, Through the Cedars Productions

Thanks to the team Barb, Matti, Michele and your humble scribe. Small but mighty crew.

See you Saturday July 25, 2015 (tentative date).

I'll let the photos speak for themselves. Travel back  to Saturday's sun and gentle heat on Roblin Lake.

Novelist Janet Kellough

Stuart Ross

Phil Hall
Martin Durkin

Kathy Figueroa
what's the word for a gathering of poets?

Station Road

my own sensitive man enjoying a Barley Days ale
and nosh prepared by Katherine's mom Barb

after the ball is over...silence returns to the point

*Well, you know where it's from. 'At the Quinte Hotel,' Al Purdy. First published in Poems for All the Annettes (revised edition, 1968).

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