Today I met William Hawkins. I'd been wanting to meet him for a long time. When I moved to Ottawa almost thirty years ago he was the poet I wanted to meet. But I never felt I could, or should, just call him out of the blue.
Luckily we have a mutual friend, Ken Rockburn. Ken invited us both to lunch today and I believe an excellent time was had by all.
Bill had some serious stories, signed my books, was completely gracious and I had a simply great time.
It doesn't always go like that when you meet your heroes.
Over the years I've been extremely lucky and met many, many poets I look up to. Irving Layton, Al Purdy, Louis Dudek, A.J.M. Smith, Patrick Lane, Earle Birney, Michael Ondaatje, David McFadden, David Helwig, Bill Bissett, Milton Acorn, Anne Szumigalski, Peter Stephens, Don McKay. I talked to Phyllis Webb on the phone once. It's a long list. And almost without exception they have been generous with their time and energy.
It's days like today when I feel particularly happy to be among my very strange brotherhood/sisterhood of poets.
Thank you William Hawkins. Thank you Ken Rockburn.