Award-winning local author Leesa Dean will be launching her novella-in-verse, The Filling Station, at the Royal on Baker in Nelson on Dec. 8. The event will feature readings by six local poets and will conclude by the author reading from her book.
“I love launch parties,” says Dean. “For me, writing is all about community, and the six other poets sharing the stage with me on Dec. 8 are all people who have been integral to my writing journey — as colleagues at Selkirk College, as collaborators in the poetry community, as poets who inspire me with their own practice.”
The six performing poets hail from different regions of the West Kootenay — Jane Byers, Renee Harper, and Emily Nilsen from Nelson; Rayya Liebich from the North Shore, Cheryl Cook from Salmo/Erie, and Almeda Glenn Miller from Rossland.
Dean’s journey towards writing this book began 12 years ago when she purchased a copy of The Complete Poems of Elizabeth Bishop from The Strand, an iconic bookstore in New York City.
“I read this one poem called ‘Manuelzinho,’” Dean says, “and I was absolutely spellbound. Smitten, really. I kind of loved him. I wanted to know more about him, but there he was, alive only in the eight stanzas of Bishop’s poem. I decided to create a world for him, to imagine how his life might have unfolded outside the confines of this one poem, and eventually that idea turned into this novella.”
Dean’s previous publications include Waiting for the Cyclone, nominated for the 2017 Trillium and ReLit Awards, and the poetry chapbook The Desert of Itabira. She is also a board member of the Kootenay Literary Society, a collaborator in Oxygen Arts’ Author Reading Series, and a creative writing instructor at Selkirk College where she helps run the West Kootenay’s only literary magazine, The Black Bear Review.
On the night of the launch, the author will be signing books from 7:30 to 8 p.m. and the poetry readings will begin at 8. The event is free. Copies of the book will be available after the launch at Notably Books in Nelson or by ordering directly from the publisher, Gaspereau Press.