I was reminded the other day of meeting and getting to know some women writers whose work I admired.
Specifically, Gwen MacEwen, Marian Engel, and Judith Merrill.
I’ll be writing something of an autobiography at some point which will be inclusive of a lot of things and events, personally and professionally.
I was introduced to two of these writers through Joe Rosenblatt, and Gwen MacEwen.
(One thing about Gwen is she did a reading of the book whose photo you can see here, without the book, in its entirety at a place where earlier I saw Led Zeppelin – that size venue.)
One cold New Year’s day in Toronto, I headed over with Joe Joe (for whom I’d rewritten pages, and edited a few books of his) to Gwen’s apartment on St.George St. to meet up with her, and her wonderful cat, Dingbat.
Walking in the door, Gwen called me over to the living room where there were two women sitting on the couch. Little did I know.
Next thing I hear is Gwen saying, “This is the poet I’ve been telling you about.” And then she introduced me. Marian Engel! wrote that classic, Bear. Judith Merrill.
Marian Engel said, “Hi, Dean. So you’re the poet Gwen has been raving about, saying you’re great and brilliant.”
Now I’d been reading Gwen’s work for ages it seemed, and this was the first time we met. Mr. Joe had been telling her about me, my work – and she’d pestered him to bring me over. So I was taking in the first flush of meeting a poet whose work I loved, plus getting to meet Marian Engel, whose novella Bear I thought fantastic. And I was aware of Judith Merrill through the work of other science fiction writers, and the fact that at the time she lived just a block or so away on Spadina Road.
At this point, Judith said hello, and smiled. Likely anticipating Marian’s next statement.
Marian next said, “SO, say something brilliant and notable.”
Which I apparently did, to her satisfaction and Gwen’s and Judith’s, because we all started relaxing over coffee, etc.
What was said then and other times in more detail will be in the book… though there are various representations scattered throughout my poetry.
©Dean J. Baker
*note: Works of the writers that are a must read:
Dream Craters + The Voluptuous Gardener, etc etc etc– Joe Rosenblatt
Magic Animals – Gwen MacEwen
Bear – Marian Engel – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_Engel
some of my work… http://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM