Nanaimo poet Rebecca Garber is launching her new chapbook, Becoming a Poet, at Hope Lutheran Church on May 26. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo poet Rebecca Garber launches her second book of poetry

Book launch for 'Becoming a Poet' takes place at Hope Lutheran Church

In her new chapbook, Nanaimo poet Rebecca Garber moves from a place of anxiety to a place of contentment.

“Poets always write from their pain,” Garber said. “They write from the things that have touched them most deeply and most concertedly and I’ve come to a resolution of a lot of those things.”

For the past two years, Garber’s mother in Ohio had been suffering from worsening dementia. It was a difficult time, as Garber was preoccupied with providing care for her mother, while also enduring increasingly painful daily phone calls.

“She wasn’t happy and nothing was working for her and wasn’t making me very happy either because in her mind I was the cause of all of her problems,” Garber said. “I took away her car, I took away her apartment, but of course these were things for her own safety.”

Garber’s mother died just before Christmas, and “despite a period of grief, it was a great relief to have that chapter finished,” Garber said. She consequently dove back into her writing and produced her second collection of poetry, Becoming a Poet.

A book launch is being held at Hope Lutheran Church on May 26. Proceeds from admission will benefit PEN Canada, a writers’ organization that promotes freedom of speech.

Garber describes the book as “positive” and “celebratory.”

“It really talks about some of the things you need to do to look at life poetically,” she said. “Because poetry is primarily finding the extraordinary in ordinary things … It really is abut that heightened way of paying attention to things that everybody experiences.”

At the book launch Garber’s readings will be accompanied by pianist Cheryl Satre. Garber said she enjoys combining music and poetry because they both “touch the very soul of people.”

“They both concentrate on hearing an we know that hearing is one of our most primary senses and that the palliative care people say the last sense to go is hearing,” she said. “So if you’re at the bedside of someone who’s dying, even if they’re comatose, they always say, ‘Keep talking to them.'”

WHAT’S ON … Rebecca Garber chapbook launch at Hope Lutheran Church, 2174 Departure Bay Rd. on May 26 at 2 p.m. Admission $10, includes book and all proceeds support PEN Canada.

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