NO-Comfort Zone Week ending April 16

This week I challenged myself to drive to a Tree Reading Series Masterclass, a  poetry workshop being held about an hour away but across the provincial border to Quebec.

The Canadian War Museum, Lebreton Flats (under...

Portage Bridge Ottawa Canada (Wikipedia)

I am not sure why this caused me concern, except that it was the first time I’d go all by myself, and there are some tricky twists and turns to get into Quebec. Ottawa and Gatineau are separated by the Ottawa River. There are several bridges, each with their own challenges as one tries to find the route to Val-des-Monts.

Rural scene in Val-des-Monts, Outaouais, Quebe...

Rural Val-des-Monts, Outaouais, Quebec, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And then, once there, to offer up poems for critique not only to fellow poets, both friends and strangers, but also with the editor of one of Canada’s most prominent literary magazines. This would be John Barton of the Malahat Review. Once again, though, my concerns were quickly put to rest as we all settled in to the work at hand. Our retreat was at the marvelous Lilipad just north of Val-des-Monts, hosted graciously by Lise Rochefort and Adrian Jones. Lise and Adrian (who spent his birthday yesterday doing this: Happy Birthday, again, Adrian!) prepared the marvelous food for the group and the space for us to work. The setting too is lovely, right on the lake, where spring is just starting to share daffodils with us.

But I must say that the knowledge John Barton shared with us, and the quick and easy rapport among the poets far outshines the daffodils, bright yellow as they may have been!  Thanks to everyone for making this a great weekend for my birthday and for National Poetry Month!

Carol A. Stephen


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