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HomeEventsEsther Birney Series (on Zoom) - Summer 2021

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Esther Birney Series (on Zoom) - Summer 2021

When:
Thursday, July 08, 2021, 10:30 AM until 12:00 PM
Additional Info:
Category:
Intellectual Pursuits - free
Registration is not available online - contact the event coordinator
Payment In Full In Advance Only
Join us for this well-curated literary arts series including intriguing topics given by knowledgeable presenters. (See below for a complete list of topics and information about using Zoom.)

If you are a current member and would like to join this series, please register by contacting BevAnn directly at bevannld@gmail.com. Thank you. If you are already registered for the Spring term, you do not need to re-register.
Capacity:
200
Available Slots:
200
No Fee
No Fee
Note: If you don't have access to the Zoom application on a computer, tablet or smart phone, Zoom presentations are also available by dialing in using a landline or cellphone. On the day and time of the course, call 778-907-2071 (within Metro Vancouver) and enter the Meeting ID and Passcode that were given after registering for the course. If you live outside of metro Vancouver, please look up the local phone number for your locationat https://zoom.us/u/akJIpJnoy (The calls are muted when you join the meeting, to unmute yourself, please press *6 (as per instructions on the phone). 

July 8 - Storry Walton - Core of my Heart - Part 1 – The Land

 

Writings of explorers and visitors and poets - prerecorded from Australia. Storry Walton will be present during the airing to answer questions.

 

(Part 2 on July 15)

 

The Australian continent, Gondwanaland, is over 4 billion years old, the oldest on the Earth. It has been home to the Aboriginal peoples for 50,000 years, the longest continuous culture on the planet. It has been settled by Europeans for 243½ years.

For the British it was the most contrary and hostile environment for colonial settlement that they ever encountered in all their years of Empire.

 

My two informal talks are based mainly on the poetic response to the land - how poets have responded to our fear of it and our love of it with awe, felicity and humour. I will try to explain what we have grasped of First Nations culture, and, in the first talk, read some passages from writings of explorers and visitors, some of them lyrical, some bizarre.

 

I sense that encounters with the land in Australia and Canada have both similarities and differences. I hope that some responses from the Australian experience might rhyme with yours.

 

Storry Walton has worked in theatre, radio, television, and film, in the fields of drama, literature, documentary, rural affairs, music, and performing and fine arts management, variously as a producer, director, feature writer, educator, CEO and Chair. He is a writer and has travelled widely through the deserts and rangelands of remote Australia and written feature articles, a book and produced television documentaries about its life and its people for ABC Australia and BBC Television

 

July 15 - Storry Walton - Core of my Heart - Part 2 - The People

 

Women poets, family, love, and war – prerecorded

 

See July 8, above, for details. Storry Walton will again be present to answer questions.

 

 

July 22 – Glenn Deefholts - Character and the Art of Memory: Interpreting Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Sketch of the Past’.


2nd of 3 parts – “The Presence of Memory”

(Part 3 – August 12)

 

The three-part series looks at Virginia Woolf’s memoir, “A Sketch of the Past,” which is a pleasure to read and available in a collection of her memoirs called Moments of Being, a book that is easy to find in bookstores and the library.

Or you may download it free here:

https://transnationaleverydaylife.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/moments-of-being.pdf

 

The series explores the memoir in relation to Virginia Woolf’s statement that in 1910, human character changed. Woolf's essays on character and her novel, To the Lighthouse, are used to interpret the first thirty pages of the memoir, which cover the period from Woolf's first memories to the death of her mother, when Woolf was thirteen. The main character in this part of the memoir is her mother, and the talks show the centrality of Woolf's mother in shaping Woolf's belief that character is the most important aspect of a work of fiction. The difficulty that Woolf had in writing about her mother relates to the challenge her generation of writers faced in creating character, representing life, and capturing truth.

The second talk is called “The Presence of Memory.” It is a close reading of the first thirty pages of "A Sketch of the Past" in the context of To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf's most representative novels. The first thirty pages of the Sketch deal with the period from Woolf’s first memories to the death of her mother and reflect on the process of memoir-writing. These thirty pages also reveal Woolf's artistic credo and how her views of people, life, and art evolve from her early life: her first memories, her experiences of childhood, and her relationship with her mother. My close reading of this part of the memoir shows the importance, perhaps the centrality, of Woolf's early childhood to her later life, writing, and thought.

 

Glenn Deefholts teaches English at Langara College.  In a previous lifetime, he was a tennis instructor for two summers. He currently enjoys making music with friends. Last summer, he published two books: Only So Many Breaths: Selected Poems 1995 - 2015 and Genderfluid: A Way of Being."  


July 29 – Rachel McAlpine – How to be Old


Popular poems and stories from Rachel McAlpine – prerecorded from NZ

When was your wake-up birthday—the one that shocked you? 29, 49, 59? Rachel got the message at 75. She'll talk about her long and interesting life, mainly in poems, always from the perspective of old age.

 

Rachel McAlpine is a New Zealand writer. Her many published books include poetry, novels, plays, and books about writing, especially writing for the Web. At 81 she blogs, podcasts, sings in a choir and dances with the Crows Feet Dance Collective. Her latest book of poems, "How to Be Old", is an unexpected bestseller in New Zealand, dealing with an almost-taboo topic with humour, warmth, and honesty.


August 5 – Joan Ellis – Chrysalis

Chrysalis is a book about devastating grief, enduring love and the heart’s capacity to heal. Without warning or any time to prepare, in 2017 Joan lost her daughter and then her husband in the short span of only six months. Chrysalis is her survival story.

Joan’s daughter, Sonja, on the autism spectrum, was misunderstood by many people. The tragic details of her life include the seizure of her newborn baby by social workers.


By sharing Sonja’s life story and her own journey through grief, Joan hopes to shine a guiding light for anyone who is lonely and especially for those coping with loss or personal tragedy. She will speak a little about the process of writing Chrysalis and about a diagnosis of ASD (autism spectrum disorder).


Brock House member Joan Ellis is a self-taught multi-media artist who works mainly in acrylics, watercolours and collage. Besides making art, she writes prose and poetry. You may remember the many Brock House Profiles she wrote for The Gallimaufry. Chrysalis is her first book. She is in the process of writing another ...

 

August 12 – Glenn Deefholts - Character and the Art of Memory: Interpreting Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Sketch of the Past’.

3rd of 3 parts – “Art of Truth”

 

The three-part series looks at Virginia Woolf’s memoir, “A Sketch of the Past,” which is a pleasure to read and available in a collection of her memoirs called Moments of Being, a book that is easy to find in bookstores and the library.

Or you may download it free here:

https://transnationaleverydaylife.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/moments-of-being.pdf

 

The series explores the memoir in relation to Virginia Woolf’s statement that in 1910, human character changed. Woolf's essays on character and her novel, To the Lighthouse, are used to interpret the first thirty pages of the memoir, which cover the period from Woolf's first memories to the death of her mother, when Woolf was thirteen. The main character in this part of the memoir is her mother, and the talks show the centrality of Woolf's mother in shaping Woolf's belief that character is the most important aspect of a work of fiction. The difficulty that Woolf had in writing about her mother relates to the challenge her generation of writers faced in creating character, representing life, and capturing truth.

 

The third and final talk is called “The Art of Truth”. It argues for a close connection between the meditations on art, truth, and the mother figure in the Sketch and To the Lighthouse. The talk shows that for Woolf, the complexity of creating character comes in part from the difficulty that she has in describing her mother's character. For her as a writer, truth involves describing a character fully and representing life accurately. This artistic project parallels the challenges that Lily, a painter, faces in To the Lighthouse.  While showing the similar situations of Woolf and Lily, I point out the parallels between Woolf's mother, Mrs. Stephen, as she is described in the memoir, and Mrs. Ramsay, in the novel. These similarities between Woolf and Lily include the initial inability to grieve the loss of a beloved older woman and the ways that writing and painting can finally release this grieving. By comparing Woolf and Lily, we see the specific ways that for Woolf, the process of making art sometimes involves mourning by putting words to the initially unspeakable. The series concludes by showing that for Woolf as a memoirist and novelist, there is a necessary connection between trauma, writing, art, and truth - a connection that centrally involves character and story.

 

Glenn Deefholts teaches English at Langara College.  In a previous lifetime, he was a tennis instructor for two summers. He currently enjoys making music with friends. Last summer, he published two books: Only So Many Breaths: Selected Poems 1995 - 2015 and Genderfluid: A Way of Being."