Log cabin setting suits literary evening of magic and spells

January 10, 2012 - 1:10am

Robert Pepper-Smith and Harold Rhenisch will provide a mix of poetry, magic and spells at Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus Jan. 19.

The readings, presented by Poets on Campus, will be in the Log Cabin (Bldg 365) starting at 7 pm.

Pepper-Smith, who teaches philosophy at VIU, is the author of Six Stories, The Wheel Keeper and a new novel, House of Spells. House of Spells is the second instalment in a trilogy that has been set in a fictional region of southeastern BC.

“Some readers will recognize landmarks similar to those in the Kootenay Valley south of Revelstoke but it’s a fictional landscape,” says Pepper-Smith.

He finds it fitting that he and Rhenisch will be reading in a hillside cabin tucked into a glade of trees on campus. The cabin, built with the support of forest industry donors, is a legacy of students and instructors in log house building courses in the 1980s and is regularly used as a classroom.

“It’s a magical setting so it’s quite appropriate. There’s a sense of enchantment in the book,” says Pepper-Smith.

As publisher NewWest Press describes it: “Robert Pepper-Smith's graceful new novel follows the friendship between teenagers Rose and Lacey and their search for self-confidence, acceptance, and love in a small village in southeastern British Columbia.

“When Rose becomes pregnant, the mysterious and childless Giacomo family, whose wealth is well-known in the community, offers to adopt the child. As Rose wrestles with the decision to give up her baby, Lacey recounts her efforts to help her friend and the unsettling discoveries she makes along the way. With gentle humour and righteous anger, Lacey faces the destructive forces of greed and realizes her own capacity for courage and love.”

Rhenisch is a poet, literary essayist, and blogger based in Vernon. He taught poetry at VIU in the fall of 2009 and short fiction at VIU the winter of 2010. He has won prizes for his journalism, memoir, poetry and drama, including the George Ryga Memorial Prize, and literary prizes from the Malahat Review and the CBC. His most recent books are an environmental volume, Motherstone: British Columbia's Volcanic Plateau, and The Spoken World, a collection of poems inspired by the poet Robin Skelton.

The Spoken World celebrates the lyrical and spell-making tradition of poetry that has come to us through Old Norse, through Rhenisch’s relationship with Robin Skelton, a mentor who continues to be a guiding force long after his death. Skelton spent 30 years exploring a lyrical tradition that married the best of American and English traditions. Many Vancouver Island poets studied with Skelton, including Rhenisch and Marilyn Bowering. For decades, Rhenisch has built on Skelton's spellmaking to advocate a return to poetry that is a wisdom path. The Spoken World is the book that walks this path most purely. It was written in a few weeks and combines both Skelton's and Rhenisch's voices.

The Poets on Campus series is sponsored by VIU’s Department of Creative Writing, Faculty Association and Dean of Arts and Humanities and supported by Canada Council for the Arts, the League of Canadian Poets and the Writers' Union of Canada.

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Websites:

[Harold Rhensich]()

[NeWest Press]()

[Poets on Campus]()

[VIU’s Poetree]()

Event details:

Poetry, Magic and Spells in the Cabin with Robert Pepper-Smith and Harold Rhenisch

Location: Bldg 365, The Log Cabin -- Access from the 5th Street upper campus parking lot. (Entrance 5G)

Date: Thursday Jan. 19

Time: 7 pm


Tags: In the Community