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At the launch of Geist 72, we welcomed guests from all over the Lower Mainland to the Listel Hotel for a night of two-dollar drinks, sharp writers and a slide show by Geist photographer Goran Basaric.
The event started off with bleary-eyed poets trickling in from the poetry workshop. I overheard someone say, “my brain is just exhausted,” after a day of Poetry Workout with Elizabeth Bachinsky and Gillian Jerome.
Gillian Jerome started the night off, with C.E. Coughlan and Michal Kozlowski following. Gillian’s poems covered her memories and feelings surrounding parenting, which was fitting as her daughter snuggled up to her leg while reading. C.E. Coughlan read her dispatch from issue 72, in which she encounters the strange and hilarious antics of a dog show.
Michal Kozlowski gave a sneak peak of issue 73 with his upcoming story, “Antonia.” The heated, sweat-inducing setting and subtle humour in the story had the audience excited for the upcoming summer issue of Geist.
“Texaco!” Jill Mandrake yelled out, as she went on to read three vignettes about being in elementary school. Her description of the merry-go-round had the audience in laughing fits. Jill’s work has a strong sense of humour that shows how awkward we can all be as elementary students.
Elizabeth Bachinsky, adorned in red shoes, finished the poets off with her sharp prose and beautiful reiteration of her mother’s advice on stage fright. Her mother’s tip: always wear red shoes when you want the audience not to focus on your face.
Goran Basaric brought the night to a close with a slide show of his photo essay, “Memory in Belgrade,” from issue 72. With his son Philip manning the computer, Goran took us back to his hometown, where the spaces of his childhood are now marked with graffiti and advertisements. When giggles erupted around the room, it became very apparent that Canadians and Europeans have a difference of opinion on the Speedo. Growing up with European ancestry, the Speedo was all too commonplace for me, and it seems Goran shared that experience. (Wearing board shorts to the pool always made my father laugh: “Mah, you gonna wear jacket in pool too?”)
At the end of the night, the audience cleared out, literary-satiated and warm from the two-dollar drinks. It was a successful launch for the greener, meaner Geist. A big thank-you to all of the Geist supporters for coming out!