A Poet’s Birthday

If you’re one to pay attention to these things, you’ll have noticed that this is the second poetry-related post in two days. Poetry lives!

At one point, this post was turning into a longish text that sounded more like a funeral speech than birthday wishes. Luckily, I know a good frankeneditor who cut out all the eulogizing.

I’ve known the subject of this post for almost all of my adult life, having first met him in 1989 when I accompanied my then-girlfriend, now-wife Lia, to what I think may have been the first Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild conference I’d ever attended. The only reason I can remember the year is because of this sketch, which I rediscovered last Friday while I was going through digitized versions of the sketchbooks I’d mentioned last week in my book post.

sketch of Steven Ross Smith at SWG conference in 1989, by Ed Pas

Who is this mystery man and why is his left shoe darker than anything else in the drawing? He’s Canadian poet Steven Ross Smith. Those of you who know him will probably have recognized him immediately, despite the clumsiness of my sketch, from the ready-to-jump-up-and-perform-a-text posture. Or perhaps from the hair. I’ve worked with him, for him and for him again and I still consider him a good friend. It’s a shame that we’re usually too busy see each other socially, on the increasingly rarer occasions when we’re in the same city. I have no idea why the shoe is the way it is, though.

In any case, happy birthday Steve. Those of you who don’t know Steven or his work can find out more at his website, fluttertongue.ca. “Poet” doesn’t even begin to describe what this man is capable of. Buy his books. Book him for a reading. See him in performance if you can.

And no, my ability to capture likenesses in pencil has not improved with age.