WesleyBatesLook

Seeing a World in a Grain of Agrarian Sand

Aug 5th, 2017 Books & Literature, Film & Cinema Rob Reid 14 min read

I’ve spent a pleasurable summer in companionship with Henry David Thoreau as homage to the bicentenary of his birth on July 12, 1817. In addition to sauntering through Walden, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, The Maine Woods and Cape Cod and selections from his monumental Journal, essays, letters and poetry, I have enjoyed a trio of excellent biographies including Henry Thoreau: A…

SteveRaymond

Trout Quintet: Music to My Eyes

Jul 4th, 2017 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature Rob Reid 11 min read

Steve Raymond is a gifted fly fishing writer living in the Pacific Northwest. A retired manager at the Seattle Times and an editor of a couple fly fishing magazines (Flyfisher and Fishing in Salt Waters), he’s written 10 non-fiction books including a Civil War history and nine angling books. A fisherman primarily of trout, steelhead and salmon for more than half a century, Raymond’s fly…

NortherRiver

Reflections on a Northern River

Jun 23rd, 2017 Books & Literature, Tom Thomson, Visual Arts Rob Reid 15 min read

Tom Thomson went missing on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park on July 8, 1917. His body was recovered on July 16, 1917. To commemorate the centenary of the death of one of Canada’s great national icons, I am posting a blog each day throughout these days of mystery devoted to the painter’s life, art and legacy. The last of nine instalments, Casting on a Northern River,…

Tom Thomson Statue in Huntsville

Tom As Rock Star

Jun 19th, 2017 Books & Literature, Film & Cinema, Music, Theatre, Tom Thomson, Visual Arts Rob Reid 55 min read

Tom Thomson went missing on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park on July 8, 1917. His body was recovered on July 16, 1917. To commemorate the centenary of the death of one of Canada’s great national icons, I am posting a blog each day throughout these days of mystery devoted to aspects of the painter’s life, art and legacy. The fifth instalment, Tom As Rock Star, takes…

TomThomsonFlyFishing

A River Runs Through Tom

Jun 3rd, 2017 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature, Tom Thomson, Visual Arts Rob Reid 38 min read

Tom Thomson went missing on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park on July 8, 1917. His body was recovered on July 16, 1917. To commemorate the centenary of the death of one of Canada’s great national icons, I am posting a blog each day throughout these days of mystery devoted to the painter’s life, art and legacy. The eighth instalment, A River Runs Tom, is an account…

WesleyBates

Carving Towards the Light

Apr 13th, 2017 Books & Literature, Visual Arts Rob Reid 9 min read

Wesley Bates is one of my favourite Canadian artists. I’m fond of wood engravings as an artform and I think Bates is one of our most accomplished engravers. The painter/printmaker/book maker and I also share deep appreciation of a handful of writers including Canadians W.O. Mitchell, Timothy Findley and James Reaney, in addition to American agrarian poet/essayist/fiction writer Wendell Berry. Bates kickstarted his commercial career in…

CanoeSymposium

Call of the Canoe

Apr 3rd, 2017 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature, Visual Arts Rob Reid 6 min read

Those who glance at a map of southwestern Ontario might conclude — erroneously as it turns out — that Waterloo Region neither hears nor heeds the call of the canoe. Situated equidistantly between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, the region appears landlocked. Take a closer look and a different topography emerges, as you follow the historic, heritage Grand River and trace its watershed boasting myriad…

GeorgeMcLean2

When a Bluejay is More Than a Bluejay

Dec 20th, 2016 Books & Literature, Visual Arts Rob Reid 4 min read

Wildlife art — love it or hate it. It’s black or white; there’s no grey on this paintbrush. The battle line is drawn in indelible ink — the high art pundits and connoisseurs on one side; the general public without specialized training on the other side. It’s an art form that’s evaluated and judged through a narrow lens based on how a commentator interprets familiar…

David Blackwood3

Newfoundland Mythmakers in Word and Image

Dec 19th, 2016 Books & Literature, Visual Arts, Welcome Message Rob Reid 16 min read

I’m fascinated by the rich culture of Newfoundland. I love its music, its literature (poetry and prose as well as drama) and its visual arts. I have yet to visit Canada’s easternmost province; however, I yearn to cast fur and feather at homebound Atlantic salmon, revered as the King of Fish, on one of its beautiful rivers. David French’s Salt-water moon, the third book —…

LeonardCohen2

In Remembrance of Leonard

Nov 11th, 2016 Books & Literature, Music Rob Reid 19 min read

As Canada stands in silence, with her collective head bowed in respect, gratitude, sorrow and remembrance of the fallen on this eleventh day of the eleventh month in 2016, we also bow our heads in remembrance of one of this country’s great artists. Leonard Cohen — who died November 7 in his 83rd year — embodied the heart and soul of Canada like few other artists,…

RiverMusic6

Music of Rivers

Oct 3rd, 2016 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature, Celtic World Rob Reid 10 min read

Fly anglers and writers — not to mention fly angling writers — are fascinated by the evocative relationship between music and rivers. I’m no exception. One of my favourite fly fishing writers, W.D. Wetherell, who is also an accomplished author of novels, short stories and non-angling essays, reflects on the music of rivers in a chapter titled Symphony in Vermont River, the first volume in…

HomerWatson

Last Cast: Thoughts on the Closing Season

Sep 30th, 2016 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature Rob Reid 9 min read

Like most kids, I grew up associating September with new beginnings. From elementary through high school and from university through graduate school, the month was the threshold we crossed to a new year — with all the excitement and expectation that passage entails. As an arts reporter on daily newspapers for more than three decades, September marked the beginning of a bustling autumn of entertainment…

NightDriveSmall

Shining the headlights on Night Drive

Sep 17th, 2016 Books & Literature, Music Rob Reid 14 min read

I don’t know why I write these lines It’s not like I could send you the letter It’s that I love you more after all this time It’s that I wish I’d shown you better — Night Drive First there was Night Drive the song. Now there’s Night Drive the book. Both celebrate the love of one brother for another brother. Garnet Rogers released the song…

TomThomson

Paddling into the Mystery on Canoe Lake

Jul 3rd, 2016 Books & Literature, Tom Thomson, Visual Arts Rob Reid 7 min read

Tom Thomson went missing on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park on July 8, 1917. His body was recovered on July 16, 1917. To commemorate the centenary of the death of one of Canada’s great national icons, I will post a blog each day from July 8, 2017 through July 16, 2017 devoted to aspects of the painter’s life, art and legacy. I begin with a…

GordieHowe3

Last Goodbye to Mr Hockey

Jun 12th, 2016 Books & Literature, Journeys Rob Reid 10 min read

There’s a small tattered black and white Kodak snapshot buried somewhere in an old photo album showing a smiling five-year old boy standing in front of the Christmas tree. He’s smiling because Santa brought him his first Detroit Red Wings jersey (red with its distinctive white winged-wheel), red pants with white stripe down the sides, gloves, shin pads and red socks with horizontal white stripes…

IMGP0220

Where Trout Rivers Flow Both Ways

Jun 10th, 2016 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature Rob Reid 14 min read

The river flowed both ways. The current moved from north to south, but the wind usually came from the south, rippling the bronze-green water in the opposite direction. — Margaret Laurence Like the river in Margaret Laurence’s 1974 novel The Diviners, the trout rivers of Roscoe, New York, flow both ways — at least symbolically. This ‘impossible contradiction, made apparent and possible’ is the result…

SparseGreyHackle

Cradle of American Fly Fishing Endlessly Rocking

Apr 28th, 2016 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature Rob Reid 10 min read

the best fishing is done not in water but in print — Sparce Grey Hackle One of the highlights of more than three decades of writing about the arts for daily newspapers was reviewing the opening week of the Stratford Festival. While nothing could draw me away from that cultural privilege, a thin shadow of regret fell over opening week festivities a few years ago…

KrugerBrothers

Bluegrass a River with Many Tributaries

Mar 10th, 2016 Books & Literature, Music Rob Reid 6 min read

I’m a huge fan of what is commonly known as Americana music. My ears were blown open in 1996 when classical cellist Yo Yo Ma teamed up with bassist Edgar Myer and fiddler Mark O’Connor to release Appalachian Waltz. Four years later the trio released Appalachian Journey. The trio’s innovative fusion of classical music with bluegrass, old-time country, mountain music, folk, jazz, rural blues and…

ThomsonTrout

Wild Speck: A Poem

Jan 21st, 2016 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature Rob Reid 1 min read

                         — inspired by Ted Hughes’ poetry collection River God’s final judgment on humanity’s terrible desecration of Holy Earth will be to call home brook trout, his loveliest of creatures, as punishment.                            — Rob Reid  Fish hits, living, split-cane stick lifts to…

TedHughes

Poet as Savage Angler

Dec 14th, 2015 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature Rob Reid 8 min read

I imagine this midnight moment’s forest: Something else is alive Beside the clock’s loneliness And this blank page where my fingers move.                               — The Thought-Fox Ted Hughes wrote with his penis as much as with his fountain pen. It was both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness, which cast the…

RobDavies2

Musings of an Obsessive Diarist

Dec 6th, 2015 Books & Literature, Celtic World Rob Reid 9 min read

Robertson Davies was a cunning literary prestidigitator whose legerdemain spanned the breadth of his writing. After all, he disguised Fifth Business, his masterwork, as an epistolary novel rather than acknowledge that it is a postmodern fusion of spiritual autobiography and romance quest in the shape of C.G. Jung’s myth of individuation. Similarly, while written as a letter to his headmaster, the novel is actually a…

RobertsonDavies

Old Fantastical Duke of Dark Corners

Dec 3rd, 2015 Books & Literature Rob Reid 7 min read

Twenty years ago Canada lost one of its great writers: Robertson Davies. I offer these recollections and reflections with a merry heart on the anniversary of his passing and acknowledge the release of the captivatingly engaging first volume of his selected diaries under the evocative title of A Celtic Temperament. The first book I ever read that wasn’t mandatory school reading was Fifth Business. It…

KenMcGoogan

Celtic Crusade with a Canadian Thrust

Nov 29th, 2015 Books & Literature, Celtic World Rob Reid 5 min read

Once upon a time the Medieval Celtic World was synonymous with the Dark Ages. That perspective began to be challenged, and was eventually modified, with a series of books with titles that made grandiose claims championing Celtic achievement in all its manifold forms. The Celtic stone got rolling at a rapid clip in 1995 with How the Irish Saved Civilization. Subtitled The Untold Story of…

AlPurdy

Voice of the Land Celebrated in Documentary

Nov 29th, 2015 Books & Literature, Film & Cinema Rob Reid 13 min read

Bush land scrub land —                Cashel Township and Wollaston Elvezir McClure and Dungannon green lands of Weslemkoon Lake where a man might have some                opinion of what beauty is and none deny him                                    …

CanoeOnRiver

Union of Canoe & River

Nov 16th, 2015 Books & Literature Rob Reid 9 min read

I wish I had a river                — Joni Mitchell, legendary Canadian singer/songwriter First God made the canoe, then he created a country to go with it                — Bill Mason, legendary Canadian canoeist and filmmaker Rivers and canoes comprise the great Canadian union. This bond of geography and history, place and identity,…

RichardBWright

A Life with Words

Sep 28th, 2015 Books & Literature Rob Reid 10 min read

Writers rely on words to communicate with readers. But synchronicity occurs between writers and readers when experiences are shared. This happened as I was reading A Life with Words, a new memoir by Richard B. Wright. I have long admired Wright’s novels. He’s not only a fine novelist, he graduated from Trent University (where he was later awarded one of three honorary doctorates) as a…

DavidJoy2

Joy of Fly Fishing

Sep 19th, 2015 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature Rob Reid 8 min read

One of the deepest pleasures afforded readers of fiction is discovering a writer through synchronicity, as if you were destined to find a specific writer in the dense wilderness of literature. It’s a gift bestowed on readers by inquisitive literary gods. This happened to me most recently with a couple of writers born and raised in Appalachia, where they continue to live and write —…

alistairmacleod

Remembering No Great Mischief

Sep 5th, 2015 Books & Literature Rob Reid 16 min read

The 14th annual One Book, One Community campaign is quickly approaching. Emily St. John Mandel visits Waterloo Region to introduce readers to her National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award nominated Station Eleven. She arrives September 22 and remains through September 24, participating in a whirlwind of public readings. I had the honour of conducting public interviews in the City of Waterloo as part of the…

raymondcarver

Raymond Carver as Angling Poet

Aug 31st, 2015 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature Rob Reid 18 min read

Raymond Carver was celebrated as one of America’s best short story writers before his death from lung cancer at the age of 50 in August 1988. He was also a poet. He published eight volumes of poetry in his lifetime. During the last five years of his post-alcoholic career, he oversaw publication of three major collections — Fires (1983), Where Water Comes Together with Other…

paulquarrington

Commedia dell’angling

Jul 29th, 2015 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature Rob Reid 7 min read

The late Paul Quarrington lived large. He had many passions encompassing writing, music, sports, partying, cigars and fly fishing. He wrote hilarious accounts of his piscatorial exploits in two wonderful memoirs — Fishing with My Old Guy and From the Far Side of the River, both published by Greystone. He also wrote my favourite hockey novel, King Leary. I wrote a review of Quarrington’s From the…

keithmccaffert

Our Man in Montana

Jun 25th, 2015 Armchair Fly Angler, Books & Literature Rob Reid 10 min read

Pour a Drink, light a fire and turn the page. I have a story to tell.                                       — Keith McCafferty from Cold Hearted River One of my greatest regrets is not taking up fly fishing earlier in life. I came to the deeply pleasurable pastime after leaving 50…

Fly fishing on the Willowemoc Creek in the Catskills

The New England Literary Imagination

Jun 24th, 2015 Books & Literature Rob Reid 9 min read

Of all the places I have visited, three have touched my mind, my heart and my soul, not to mention my imagination. Scotland, the home of my paternal ancestors, Ireland, because of my interest in Celtic music and spirituality, and New England. I can’t even say this about the mystical American Southwest. I love all things New England — its landscape, history, art (from Winslow…

Let's go outside … Jim Harrison, author of Davla.

Let Us Now Praise Jim Harrison

Jun 20th, 2015 Books & Literature Rob Reid 5 min read

Jim Harrison left this Good Earth on March 26, the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter Sunday. He was 79. How fitting for a man who apprehended the world and all its flora and fauna as sacred. He cast a critical eye on those sad sacks of humanity who exercise dominion over the world and her creatures, water, soil, vegetation and sky. American…

ThomasMcGuane3

Big Sky Lives of Quiet Desperation

Jun 20th, 2015 Books & Literature Rob Reid 3 min read

Thomas McGuane is better known more for the raucous life he once led than for the books he has written. In his early days he was known as ‘Captain Berserko,’ hanging out with such celebrity rebels as Peter Fonda and Jimmie Buffett, in addition to writers Richard Bratigan, Jim Harrison, Guy de la Valdene and artist Russell Chatham. His wives included the actress Elizabeth Ashley…