Last week I had the pleasure of attending the official launch of That Not Forgotten, the newest anthology in the North Shore series published by Hidden Brook Press. In addition to my speculative fiction story “Bill of Sale,” the anthology boasts prose and poetry by 118 authors and art by 5 contributing artists. Every contributor has some tie to the northern shore of Lake Ontario.
The launch itself was held at the Kingston Yacht Club, which proved to be an excellent location. The view of Lake Ontario was spectacular, and the “clubhouse” had a nice rustic feel. While not every contributor and their supporters were there – which was probably a good thing – the room was packed. One of the highlights for me was being able to catch up with some of my Kingston colleagues, whom I won’t be seeing as much of now that I’ve moved my home base to Ottawa.
The readings for the launch were organized by random draw due to how many contributors were in attendance. Though there were many amazing readers, here are a few highlights that I particularly enjoyed:
Our master-of-ceremonies was TNF’s editor, Bruce Kauffman. If there is someone who loves writing and community more than Bruce, I challenge them to prove it. One of the best parts of the afternoon was his enthusiasm and genuine joy at being with us and sharing in our success.
Among the first few readers that afternoon was Joan Wilding, who read from her poem “The Rum-Runner’s Daughter.” This poem was particularly entertaining and evocative for me, not just from a poetry standpoint, but also from a historical. Wilding’s poem tells the story of a rum-running family during prohibition in such a way that I was hooked from the start.
It was a pleasure to be able to listen to one of my favorite poets, Michael Casteels. His poetry is always a treat, and his poem “Four Seasons in a Hospital” was no exception. Of the four seasons, spring is my favorite: “Songs play over the intercom / to let you know that a baby is born. / The silence in between / lets you know someone is dying.” The line actually gives me chills. And if you want a neat visual poem, check out Michael’s “Moving Day,” also included in TNF.
The last time I was exposed to Sarah Richardson’s writing was when we were featured together in Stuart Ross’s 529: An Anthology (which Michael’s work also appeared in, incidentally). In that case it was prose, and this was my first glimpse of her poetry. Sarah’s poem “Vessels” was very Kingstonian, and I liked being able to recognize particular facets of the city and visualize exactly what she was discussing.
However, the most entertaining reading definitely came from Gary William Rasberry. For his reading of “Black-letter Stammer,” Rasberry enlisted the help of the entire audience, requesting that we repeat the word “stammer” each time it occurred in the poem. I’m still not sure whether we were supposed to speak in tandem with him or afterward – nor was anyone else, I think – but the general confusion made us sound like a collective stammer, which was neat and really fun.
The final reading came from A. Gregory Frankson, a.k.a. Ritallin, whose poem “The Voice Within” was an excellent close to the event. Frankson’s poem argues the importance of raising one’s voice against injustice and not being afraid to spread your unique message. It’s something I think every writer should remember, and I thank Frankson for providing an excellent final word for the launch.
And before I forget, I was lucky enough to read, too. I’m not sure which is more terrifying: standing in front of a classroom of teenagers or reading my work in public. The important thing is that I have fun doing both 🙂
Overall the launch was a great success, and I thank Tai Grove from Hidden Brook Press and the Kingston Yacht Club for putting it together. That Not Forgotten is an excellent anthology – I haven’t gotten a chance to read through the entire thing yet, but once I do, expect a few posts here about my favorite poems and stories.
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of TNF, it is for sale on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or via the publisher, Hidden Brook Press.