In the winter of 2009, Harry Thurston travelled to Campbell River on Vancouver Island to serve a term as writer-in-residence in the former home of the renowned fisherman and environmentalist Roderick Haig-Brown. While there, he and his longtime friend Allan Cooper embarked on a poetic correspondence; Thurston would send his Campbell River poems east and Cooper would reply. In this, they were consciously following the model of the Wang River Sequence, a poetic correspondence written by the Chinese poets Wang Wei and P’ei Ti over 1200 years ago. “Our poetry?separately?has always been rooted deeply in the natural world,” writes Thurston. “Like many other Western poets, we have looked to the East, to classical Chinese poetry, as one model to best express our relationship with what we now call the environment, a no less reverential term than Nature. ” The resulting twenty-one poems are reflective and richly imagistic, chronicling a single winter season as experienced by two writers on opposite Canadian coasts.
Allan Cooper has published over a dozen books of poetry, most recently The Deer Yard (with Harry Thurston) and The Alma Elegies. He has twice won the Alfred G. Bailey Award for poetry. He is the founder of Owl's Head Press and has been the editor of the intermittently-published literary journal Germination since 1982. Cooper is also a songwriter and performer. He divides his time between Riverview and Alma, NB.
Harry Thurston is an award-winning freelance writer and poet who lives in Southampton, Nova Scotia.
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