Say good-bye to Talking Fresh 6, now that Kroetsch has hit the road for St. Peter's. Not that the weekend was only about him.
Denise Chong said she was learning stuff the whole time. In every session, she shifted expertly between passages from her books and musings about writing and history. That voice in her writing--that voice you wouldn't mind being around--was also on hand for Talking Fresh.
Sharon Pollock replayed a history of professional theatre in Canada, pointing out that it was short-term, federal government make-work programs in the early 1970s, and not the Canada Council or other granting agency, that sparked growth of new theatre artists and companies. She bowled us over with a scene from Doc, its two voices controlling us.
Dennis Cooley brought in (at different times) some Hayden White, some poems of history by Pratt , Kroetsch, and Scott, some notes on what poets do with history. Coming the afternoon after Kroetsch's own reading from The Seed Catalogue, Cooley's commentary citing the same material was a neat reply. During the panel, he brought out his own Bloody Jack, with a poem called "The Facts" (or something like that), a poem new to the second edition.
I introduced Kroetsch by telling everyone he was the same age as hockey legend Gordie Howe. For the next two days, Kroetsch exhibited much of the same guile and brawn that Howe used to lay on defencemen in the 1950s. As always, our Mr. Hockey was generous with his attentions and damn funny half the time, tired too. The scene he read from The Words of My Roaring--Johnnie Backstrom buying contraceptives--was hilarious.
All that's left to report is that on the day after Talking Fresh, a rock dove got in. Got in but couldn't get out at first, until it finally squeezed out between the railings of my balcony. (I hope that doesn't give away too much of my perimeter rock dove defence, because that information is still classified.)