I will never know how I became so fortunate to have poet friends.
One of them is the former Parliamentary Poet Laureate, the first one! (2002- 2004) George Bowering. If you do the homework and go to Wikipedia you will find that Bowering is 88.
While I have known him for many years (1987) it is only of late that we talk at length at least once a week. I can attest that his brain, his sense of humour and his memory are all here. But there is another quality (I am not sure I can use that word) that came to light when a package came in the mail in late 2019. I opened it. It was a George Bowering book (published by New Star Books) titled Writing and Reading. The cover was not mine. As I was getting to throw the package away, My Rosemary said, “Alex there is a cheque there!”
I could not figure why I was being paid. I looked inside and one essay, a two page one had my portrait (originally in colour) of Bowering. In the essay he rejects that my portrait is of him. I will not go any further as you can read the essay in my scan here.
I have a friendly moniker for my friend. I call him the great contrarian, and sometimes the wise contrarian.
He speaks fairly good Spanish. He has been to Mexico many times and he has mostly avoided beach UV light. He has told me that he purchased a book of Leonard Cohen’s poems in Spanish near the Mexico City Zócalo and remembers exactly where the bookstore is.
He knows I like to stay at the Zona Rosa Hotel Géneve and guessed that I had never been to the bar that is decorated with old phones. He knows stuff.
Hotel Geneve - Homero Aridjis (poem translated into English by George McWhirter)
Hotel Geneve - Sniffing my Rosemary
He even knows stuff, that thanks to him, I became friends with the Bishop of Xalapa.
The Bishop of Xalapa & Sherbet with Rosemary
I have no idea why he and former Vancouver Poet Laureate George McWhirter are not advertising Prevagen. I have no idea why the lovely but tragic poem by Susan Musgrave, in this blog is not better known.
For Sophie Alexandra Musgrave Reid (January 4,1989-September 8, 2021)
Poetry is just part of a the culture of a city that has a poor memory for its past.