From past to present, from here to there: the reader’s journey

This week, Sidney and North Saanich are in for a treat, as four local authors read from their latest books exploring concepts of time and place—from 19th century Japan to the end of the world.

Refugium: Poems for the Pacific (Caitlin Press), edited by Yvonne Blomer, is a poetry collection that delves into the vastness of the Pacific and how it has changed.

While in the world of politics there are still climate change deniers, the poets watch the warming seas, the dying birds slicked in oil, the whales, the jellies, the sea otters and the octopus. They stand, as close to the shore as possible, watch the slow turning tide. In this collection of poems from the coast of BC, California, Washington State, to Alaska, and as far away as Auckland, New Zealand and as far back as early 19th century Japan these poems explore our connection to the Pacific, what we know and don’t know, how we’ve already changed the shore and the sea and what we fear losing.

Contributions from poets John Barton, Brian Brett, Bruce Cockburn, Lorna Crozier, Brenda Hillman, Gary Geddes, Steven Heighton, Patrick Lane, Arleen Paré, Melanie Siebert, Anne Simpson, Rob Taylor, Patricia Young, and Jan Zwicky explore the changing tides and the changing world around them.

Christopher Gudgeon’s The Encyclopedia of Lies (Anvil Press) takes a heartbreaking and hilarious look at a variety of lives, loves, and delusions of people at different times in their life.

For example, a gay couple who persevere with their marriage plans as the world, literally, crumbles around them, a woman who discovers the mysterious collection of letters that reveals a terrifying truth about her deceased fiancée, a dutiful son, locked in an life-or-death marathon race with his famous father, and a baby who becomes infested with fruit flies, sending his adoptive parents into a spiral of recrimination and self-doubt.

At once bitterly funny, provocative and poignant, this remarkable collection builds on Gudgeon’s growing literary reputation, offering up the work of a great storyteller at his very best.



The Spitfire Luck of Skeets Ogilvie: From the Battle of Britain to the Great Escape (Heritage House) by Keith C. Ogilvie is all about being in the right place at the right time. As a young Canadian Spitfire pilot, Keith’s father was an ordinary man who beat incredible odds on the frontlines.

Rejected by the Royal Canadian Air Force in the summer of 1939, Keith “Skeets” Ogilvie joined the British Royal Air Force instead. A week later he was on a boat to England and a future he could not have imagined.

As a Spitfire pilot in the Battle of Britain, Skeets established his credentials with six confirmed victories and several enemy aircraft damaged. On leave in London one weekend, he met Irene Lockwood, a charming fellow Canadian who was living out her own wartime adventure―and who would one day become his wife.

The following July, Skeets was shot down over France and was treated for grievous injuries by top German surgeons. He waited out the rest of the war at Stalag Luft III prison camp and was the second-last man out of the “Great Escape” tunnel, only to be recaptured three days later. For reasons he never understood, Skeets was one of only twenty-three escapees not murdered by the Gestapo.

Barbara Pelman’s poetry collection Narrow Bridge (Ronsdale Press) explores bridges between people and places, both real and metaphoric.

“All the world is a narrow bridge,” states Rabbi Nachman of Bresnov. “The important thing is not to be afraid at all.”

These poems in Pelman’s third collection explore bridges both real and metaphoric: the bridge connecting Denmark to Sweden where her family lives; the bridges she has travelled across Europe; and the bridges we build through words and actions to overcome our separateness from one another. The poet writes about lovers, mothers, daughters, ex-husbands, grandchildren, and her attempts to construct solid foundations for the heart to travel across time and space. Pelman writes of her love of landscapes and the things in them, as well as the everyday epiphanies that happen in one’s backyard. These are poems that explore the tension between living in one place but wanting to be in another, the losses and freedoms contained in solitude, the process of learning to age gracefully.

Join us on Wednesday, November 22 at 6 pm in the Sidney Library Branch (the Nell Horth Room) for this one-of-a-kind author reading.

Time and Place | Read Local BC

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