Not Soon Forget: A Tribute to Bronwen Wallace

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In 2000, Alison Pick dreamed that she had won the Bronwen Wallace Award. Two years later, her dream came true, launching her career as a poet and novelist.

Bronwen Wallace’s poems were some of the first poems that Pick read. A philosophy major, she pulled Common Magic off of her roommate’s shelf. Reading the poems, she felt recognition, felt seen by a stranger – the book’s titular poem, “Common Magic,” took her breath away.

In September 2010, she was given the opportunity to pay tribute to the poet who inspired her to give writing a try as one of the authors who participated in “BookMark: Bronwen Wallace.” The tribute was one of the events at this year’s Kingston WritersFest. It was moderated by Carolyn Smart and included readings by Pick, Lara Bozabalian, and Joanne Page.

Bozabalian, a spoken word poet, read her poem “Different Cities.” It is the story of a walk she took in downtown Toronto and how she too happened upon Wallace’s book Common Magic.

Page read the incredibly moving “Summer Ice,” a poem about the “heat and quiet” of Wallace’s last summer. Page’s love and respect for her friend were obvious in every word.

Pick read one of the poems from her series entitled "Question and Answer" (for which she won the Bronwen Wallace Award).

Carolyn Smart, who was also a close friend of Wallace, ended the tribute with her poem “October,” which explores, among other things, her feelings about Wallace’s death.

It was a wonderful event, full of love and fondness for a woman who continues to inspire writers more than 20 years after her death.

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