Oh my...inspiration. I personally met Lorna Crozier on September 26/09. She was delightful. Upon first seeing her, I thought her a frail, small, being. She walked into the Writersfest wearing a long brown peasant skirt, a belted top, a colourful long scarf, and her boots stole the show. She moderated the Poets Brigade beautifully- no boring questions, she was interactive and engaging.
Lorna Crozier’s voice has the grace and confidence her life experience has earned. The three attending poets, Karen Solie, Kevin Connolly, and David O’Meara, were great company for the much admired Lorna. As the Poetry Brigade wrapped up she announced with sass “Poetry rocks”.
I met with Lorna at the close of the Poetry Brigade. She was handing each of the mentionned poets back her copy of their own books and requested that they be autographed. She asked them to dedicate the books to ‘Lorna and Patrick as we share everything’. I found this admirable.
Lorna is accessible, generous and fun. Physically, she is small, yet she is strong and wily. We spoke, I asked for a photo with her, she agreed but she needed to excuse herself for a moment; shortly afterwards she made her way through the crowd and found me again, urging me to follow her to a better place to meet - I like her.
We talked a bit about The Sex Lives of Vegetables, her appropriate and non offending use of the word cunt, and her friendship with Al Purdy. The latter started a chat about Al Purdy. They lived a few blocks from one another in Victoria. Near the end of his life they spent a lot of time together. She spoke of an innocent, purely platonic and obviously shared crush on one another. Al, happily married to Eurithe, and she, happy with her partner Patrick Lane, loved to talk, share stories and she was the "sparkle in his eye". As she spoke of Al Purdy, you could hear, feel, how much she adored and admired her friend and fellow poet.
At times while listening to Lorna speak to other attendees, I found myself just watching her in her small frame with her abundant smile. I looked at her teeth and her lips coloured red, thin lips with all of the stories she has told. Her glasses were delicate, the wine coloured frames gracing the tops only wisping into a cat shape at the corners. Her eyes were piercing and sparkled. Her hair was curly, wiry, matching her personality. Her necklace caught my eye. At first it looked like an Inuksuk, though it could have been an angel.
Later that evening I attended an elegant affair mastered by Bill Richardson of CBC. ‘Speak easy’ was an intimate reading with the authors accompanied by a three piece jazz band. It was quite evident that Lorna and the musicians had prepared well for this evenings event. When she began to read from her memoir Small Beneath the Sky about the insects she endured while growing up on the prairies, the musicians used whatever instruments and shakers they had to simulate the songs of the bugs. She proceeded to make moths dirty, dragon flies sexy, and ants “recreate the Earth”.
When she spoke we listened.
When she stopped there was a moment of awe.
She was art.