Book cover time again. Here is another project for New Star Books, a book of poems by George Stanley whose last epic, Vancouver: A Poem was widely lauded in literary circles. If you know it, you’ll recall its cover featured a detail of a Roy Arden photograph that depicts a lone figure walking along Cordova Street outside the Woodward’s building before its demise.
The new book is also concerned with Vancouver…to an extent. Initially I honed in on one of the central poems rich in references to Broadway, a long, commercial artery in Vancouver that traverses east/west and has rarely shown any promise of cohesion or the ability to host much in the way of a neighbourhood feel along its many stops. But both George and I live in the same area where the street is the main thoroughfare and I recognize many of the places in his poems. The image in the first draft came from a spontaneous trip down to the medical district approaching the intersection with Cambie where the most radical transformation of Broadway is taking place. I like that it evokes a fading past while using a human form in a pose which (to me, at least) poses some questions about aging and refection.
But then. Rolf at New Star steered me to what he felt was the core sentiment of the collection reflected in the statement: “Don’t gaze into the abyss. Gaze out.” And so an altogether brighter, but no less mysterious, feel was sought. That’s where Mina Totino’s painting “Plink” comes in. And so it was. After Desire. Plink!