Last fall, I went to hear Renee Rodin read from her first published collection of poetry and prose, Bread and Salt (Talonbooks). The group was intimate that night, as if they were an extended family. Bread and Salt is a mixture of visual and written work. Scattered throughout are Rodin's photographs. "My words and pictures balance one another," she says. Old photos of ancestors and family snapshots of her childhood complement poems about family and home. Rodin lowers the microphone and tells us she is very nervous, and we all laugh. She tells us about growing up in Montreal and the important role her family plays in her writing. She regrets that her father can't be here tonight. She begins reading and I forget I'm surrounded by a group of unknown faces in a smoky club. Her writing is thoughtful and relaxed, funny and poignant. Her words bring me closer to her family and to the community which surrounds me.
April 19, 2011
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