Dawn Arnold: Frye Festival Diary

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Despite Eyjafjallajoekull’s spewing ash, we went ahead with an event today without its star, Peter Lanyon, who couldn’t fly out of Italy. The Festival’s relationship with Peter goes back to April 2005 when this world-renowned Creative Director attended the Frye Festival. He attended workshops, dialogues, round tables and lectures and was completely changed by his experience. He agreed to re-brand the Festival, helping us to get to the essence of the Festival. We went from “The Northrop Frye International Literary Festival” to “Frye Festival” – promising to feed the imagination, or “plein la tête” of everyone who participates.

But the Frye Festival also acted as a catalyst for Peter in his own creative work. He put the finishing touches on a book of poetry he had been working on, commissioned Acadian visual artist Raymond Martin to paint images for each line of poetry and the book Life in the Lawn: A PoemGarden was born.

The poems were adapted into French by local businessman and philanthropist Mario Thériault and novelist France Daigle (La vie est inscrite dans la pelouse: un jardin en poèmes), and all 21 pieces of art and poems were on display at the Moncton Public Library today (and all month).

About 30 people attended the opening, including artists, poets, business people, and library regulars. The paintings are simply breathtaking, but the poems and their carefully crafted French adaptations garnered much praise.

All of this got me thinking about the many wonderful synchronicities that happen continuously during the Festival…authors meeting authors, authors meeting booklovers, booklovers meeting artists, academics meeting booklovers…the authenticity of our community and the proximity that our community allows, just permits the magic to happen.

I’m looking forward to all of tonight’s events, but particularly the book launches at Navigator’s Pub, the conversation with Guy Gavriel Kay and of course the Evening of Storytellers.

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