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‘To Weather a Bouquet’ poetry tour to stop in Rossland

‘Ultimately, creativity and connection is what gets us through’ - join poets at Gold Rush reading

The Gold Rush Book Store in Rossland will be hosting Vancouver poets with West Kootenay ties on May 15.

Kevin Spenst and Rob Taylor are embarking on their To Weather a Bouquet: a Poetry Tour of BC from May 11 to May 17, with stops in Enderby, Rossland, Nelson, and Kelowna.

“Rob and I have both been teaching poetry through Simon Fraser University’s the Writers Studio for many years now and I know of at least one former student of mine Richard Kelly Kemick, who lives, and writes, in Rossland,” said Spenst.

Though this will be the authors’ first reading in Rossland, they both have connections to the region.

The woman who inspired many of the poems in Spenst’s A Bouquet Brought Back from Space grew up in the Kootenays.

“We alternate holidays between her family in the Trail/Rossland/Fruitvale area and my family in the Lower Mainland,” said Spenst in a release. “She’s already given me a set-list of poems she wants me to read, knowing full well her family will be in the audience.”

“All my siblings grew up in Trail,” adds Taylor. “And I spent my childhood traveling back to the West Kootenay frequently, so I’m excited to finally have the chance to tour a book in the region.”

A Bouquet Brought Back From Space is a “rare collection of poems that explore the very DNA of Spenst’s lifelong ecstatic quest,” writes Betsy Warland from the publication Breathing the Page.

Through multiple locales, languages, and spiritualities, A Bouquet Brought Back from Space both subverts and sublimates traditions of religious poetry, love poetry, and song.

“Playful in form and formed full of play, this fourth book of poetry by Spenst explores loss, love and faith through the palindrome, Madlib, Fibonacci, found poem, prose poem, sonnet and various strains of free verse.”

Spenst meditates on mental health, poetic friendships and influences, and the possibility of there being an angel assigned to the Mennonites at the beginning of their global journey. These poems sing, cry, and soothe.

“Ultimately, creativity and connection is what gets us through,” adds Spenst.

Taylor’s Weather was written over the first three years of his daughter’s life, chronicling the cumulative effect of intimacy and contemplation over time and revelling in the “small moments out of which we assemble our lives.”

Taylor is the author of four previous poetry collections, including Strangers and The News, which was a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

He lives in Port Moody and is also the editor of What the Poets Are Doing: Canadian Poets in Conversation and Best Canadian Poetry 2019.

He teaches creative writing at SFU and the University of the Fraser Valley, where he runs the Fraser Valley Writers Festival.

Spenst is the author of four full-length books of poetry along with 16 chapbooks. He is one of the organizers of the Dead Poets Reading Series, has a chapbook review column for subTerrain magazine, teaches poetry at SFU, and occasionally co-hosts Wax Poetic on Vancouver Co-op Radio.

The poets will be in Nelson Tuesday, May 14 at Notably, a Book Lover’s Emporium at 7 p.m., and in Rossland Wednesday, May 15 at the Gold Rush Bookstore at 6:30 p.m.