By Ayesha Chatterjee
Words and waterfalls. Already I’m mixing them up. Why code is poetry and poetry, code. I had my first IFOA reading in Markham on Tuesday evening and as we drove up from Toronto, Marjorie Celona and Bert Archer and I talked about a jigsaw puzzle of things that in my mind are now blended in with the memory of the colours of the trees along the Don Valley Parkway, vivid even in the grey of the autumn afternoon.
I felt like a star that night, like J-Lo, with my own personal assistant, a charming young high school student named Ivy who had thought of everything, even an extra pen for me to sign with. I don’t think I will ever get used to reading in public, always surprised and humbled by the audience’s kindness, the small conversations afterwards, the exchanges of commonalities.
And then Niagara yesterday: the white force of water drenching us all with its indifferent power. The photographs I took of the Horseshoe Falls from the Maid of the Mist look strangely alien, as though I’d taken them on a distant planet with everyone dressed in blue spacesuits. In almost all of them, a seagull circles, smoothly curved, the opposite of the thing with feathers that Dickinson wrote of.
We were introduced by the Mayor of Markham on Tuesday night, who said that the IFOA was the Super Bowl of book clubs. I rather like that. I’ve never thought of myself as a football player before.