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On Tour

April 14, 2009

On the Road:  Terrace to Kitimat and back
Posted by Margaret Horsfield

Margaret Horsfield

I had forgotten the beauty of this countryside, even though I spent my childhood here. As the day brightened, the sun emerged, and with it the mountains.  How could I have forgotten the scale, the beauty of the mountains?  But I had. And I am glad to be here again.  The whole day, in between readings, has been illuminated by bright sun on brighter mountains.

First stop today was Caledonia High in Terrace, my old high school.  I had the pleasure of hearing Elise Partridge speak of and read her poetry for the first time, in the school library, with about thirty students and three teachers in attendance.  Having no poetic voice of my own, hers fascinates me—I spoke of my own work, too—and it was a great start, for both of us. 

From there, to Kitimat, and the next reading in Mount Elizabeth High School. This time Elise and I found ourselves in the beautiful theatre at the school, a facility with remarkable acoustics, which we later learned serves as a theatre for the entire community.  About sixty students gathered at the front, and again, we talked of our work.  The combination of Elise’s poetry and my “documentary” experience in writing Voices from the Sound, combines remarkably well.  Our work, our styles are entirely different, and entirely complementary.  Just as the students were tiring of me, they were able to hear her more elegaic voice, and oh how that group loved her poetry!  The response was remarkable, especially amongst the girls, to the poem she wrote for her husband. An audible sigh, a murmur, rose amongst the students following that poem, that powerful expression of love.  I was astonished, and very moved.

Kitimaat Village for lunch, and the spectacular setting of a restaurant,  right by the water, with mountains all around us, for an early dinner.  Mark this on my memory bank, I thought. Do not forget this.  I must come back here.

In the evening, to the bookstore in the Kitimat shopping mall, where the owners had gone to a such a lot of trouble to welcome us, with a spread of coffee, cupcakes….and books!  I especially liked the store dogs, small, fluffy and friendly!  A highly motivated and interested group gathered to hear us all speak of our work, and this was the first time we all came together for an event. Earlier in the day Robin and Katarina had been at elementary schools, while Elise and I were at the high schools, but this time…it was a foursome at work.  I heard Katarina speak of her book, with such clarity and enthusiasm, and Robin told the showstopping story that inspired her Thousand Shades of Blue book….how she and her partner set sail for the Carribean with almost no sailing experience.  Remind me never to go sailing with Robin, I thought!  But it was such a great story.  Then Elise, again, with her poems, again holding us all, listening with such attention. 

Sponsors showed up at the bookstore, too.  From Rio Tinto Alcan, from the Bank of Montreal—- the people who have helped to finance this tour, without home we would be home doing the dishes and putting the cat out.  Instead here we are, now back in Terrace after a luminous drive back in the fading light, through the mountains.  And here we stay till tomorrow, glad to be here, and soon to be in Hazelton!



Filed under: Northern Leg 2009 | 2 Comments | Permalink


Monica Miller
Apr 15, 2009 at 12:05 PM

It must have been very inspiring for the students at Caledonia to hear you speak and see how far you’ve come!

theresa kishkan
Apr 17, 2009 at 03:18 PM

It sounds like you’re having a wonderful time, all of you. It seems like last week that I was on those same roads, eating in those same places, with the pleasures of the welcoming audiences in bookstores and classrooms. It struck me last year that no one is indifferent to books. Bringing news of the world, the experiences of those living different lives, the emotional lives of their authors—what a gift your books are to others and their responses to you!

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