Posted in Video Review

Climate Change and the Human Prospect

Last night , Heather and I had the opportunity to see a screening of the documentary Climate Change and the Human Prospect produced by the Centre for Local Prosperity (CLP).

The screening was organized by the Municipality of Kings County in Kentville. The video was put together by Andrea Vandenboer, Visual Blueprint Productions of Annapolis Royal. It documents the vision from the retreat at the Thinker’s Lodge, Pugwash, Nova Scotia in late September 2017. The four-day retreat brought together over twenty thinkers from Atlantic Canada and beyond.

This story goes back to late Winter 2018 when we were snow-shoeing on South Mountain along the Rifle Range road, off the Inglisville Road. We discovered significant clear-cutting on crown land. Through local contacts, Neil Green agreed to take drone photography of the devastation. Later Neil was contacted by Andrea for permission to include his photography in the documentary.  Our interest was to see the drone footage within the context of Tim Habinski, Warden of Annapolis County, comments from the retreat.

Habinski stressed the importance of sustainable harvesting of our forested lands. He compared the cutting on South Mountain with the selective cutting on Windhorse Farm in Lunenburg County.

Andrea Vandenboer has created a very effective visual summary of the retreat. Some of the highlights for me were the comments by Albert Marshall, Mi’kmaq elder on the rights of Nature, as well as AV Singh on the need for decolonization of the mind. We were exposed to Michael Schurman on Project Drawdown and Adam Fenech on sea level rise in PEI. There is much more in the 43-minute video.

The audience reaction in Kentville was on the follow-up actions. There was interest in alternative energy, especially Energize Bridgewater and their vision of the future. Mayor, Peter Muttart described a number of the Kings County initiatives. A second reaction was the need to share the documentary vision with the younger generations. The film deserves to be seen by larger and more diverse audiences across rural Nova Scotia. Thus, action should include screenings in small communities, schools and college/university This will generate conversations about local stories. the roles of the CLP and the provincial and municipal governments.

A final note. On returning home, I received a call about relocating the bottle recycling plant from Middleton to Lawrencetown. Thinking about the question, I realized that ‘Geography Matters’. While recycling facilities exist at Greenwood and Annapolis Royal, Lawrencetown is approximately in the middle. The behaviour of rural citizens is to go to Middleton for shopping, and so drop off used bottles there. Can we change behaviour?

As we look at possible action within the context of the retreat vision on ‘Climate Change and the Human Prospect’ in rural Nova Scotia, it is important to recognize that ‘Geography Matters’. There is a strong ‘sense of place‘. We must also respect the rights of Nature. My conclusion is that innovation will happen at a community by community level. That is why we must share our stories.


Appreciation to Peter Muttart, Municipality of Kings County for the video screening and follow up discussion. Andrea Vandenboer for notification of the event.


The book Drawdown. Drawdown

The film ‘Albatross’ Albatross

Posted in Event Review

Road to Shelburne

This weekend, we drove down to Shelburne to attend a workshop put on by the Centre for Local Prosperity, held at the NSCC School of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Our facilitators were Robert Cervelli and Andrew Horsnell. The topic was Expanding Community Wealth. Import replacement: local institutional procurement.

My interest was to hear directly about the work of the Centre. I was also interested in the opportunity to see a different geography: Shelburne and Yarmouth.

assetMapping_00What did I hear? A number of stories, about pilot projects in Atlantic Canada. Specific Nova Scotia examples included the Cape Breton Food Hub, Energize Bridgewater. For import replacement, there were successful models in the UK (Preston, Lancashire) and in the USA (Cleveland).  The concept is to replace the demand for goods and services by 10% (or more)  by local procurement.

From the report brief:

What local communities can do today?

  1. start having conversations
  2. start community import replacement working group
  3. inventory community assets
  4. inventory economic leakage and import replacement opportunities
  5. educate the community about the leakage
  6. identify roadblocks, and find solutions or creative workarounds
  7. start with low hanging fruit
  8. celebrate the real innovators

assetMapping_01Examples of local need and local producers included:

Boxing Rock Beer

FoodARC (Food Action Research Centre). Patty Williams at Mount St Vincent University

SASI (Shelburne Association Supporting Inclusion) and Home Services Nova Scotia

By mid-afternoon, the focus was on local procurement in the Shelburne area. This included identification of anchor public sector institutions e.g. NSCC, local schools, Roseway hospital, municipal units and others A second component was the identification of major private sector businesses in the county.

At this point, we did not possess the local knowledge but I recognized that the foundation concept was ABCD (Asset Based Community Development).

Time to take the road from Shelburne. Rather than the 100 series highways (Highway #103 and #101) we went through Ohio, Kemptville, Clare to Weymouth. This was another lesson in local geography.

Looking at the work from Preston, UK, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) produced maps of suppliers by theme and geography. If we were to follow this approach in the municipalities of Shelburne or Annapolis, asset mapping would be essential. The approach would combine the spreadsheets of procurement by the anchor institutions and link the products and services by theme and location. This would allow us to target the best options to reach 10% by import replacement.

One of the messages from Bob Cervelli was Trust, Connect, Collaborate (within the community). A second message was stories/gatherings/initiatives. Within this spirit, there are many opportunities for community innovation – whether in the municipalities of Shelburne, Annapolis or other parts of Nova Scotia. Every region has its share of creative community members as well as its unique geographic assets.


Thanks to Edward Wedler for adding the graphic logos. There is a lot happening in rural Nova Scotia.


Centre for Local Prosperity. centre for local prosperity

Cape Breton Food Hub Cape Breton Food Hub

Energize Bridgewater Energize Bridgewater



Posted in Opinion

Community Innovation

This week, I have run into the term ‘community innovation’ in two different contexts.annapolisValleySatelliteView_communityInovation First, in last week’s Annapolis Spectator there was an interview with Bill Crossman about a project to install solar panels at the Centrelea Community Hall site. Second, at the latest Valley REN (Regional Economic Network) board meeting, Gerard D’Entremont was appointed Vice-Chair of the Board. In his introduction, Gerard described his position at (Nova Scotia Community College) NSCC Kingstec as the Community Innovation lead for the Annapolis Valley region. Intrigued, I requested a meeting this week with him at the Green Elephant in Kingston to learn more about this initiative.

The reason for my interest was simple. I see myself as a member of the rural community of Paradise and its surrounding geography. In my pre-retirement capacity, I was both an educator and a research scientist. Thus, I appreciated the function of innovation in both research and business. I am also familiar with the role of applied research and its potential benefit to our geography (i.e. local communities and landscape).

My conversations with Bill and Gerard has led to the following questions.

a) What issues (problems) defined by the community can be addressed by innovation?

b) Can we find innovative solutions in our community that can be applied across the larger landscape? For example, can all community hall sites support solar panels?

c) Given the mandate of the NSCC:  who defines/owns ‘community innovation’?

d) With the type of specialist resources at COGS and AGRG what innovative approaches can be applied to economic development in rural communities?

e) Should the approach be restricted to economic issues?

f) What about social issues? or environmental issues?

g) Who gets to select the issues?

Seven years ago, I remember trying to engage local municipalities in the concept of a ‘community information utility’. The idea was to organize and maintain information about the assets of rural Nova Scotia. This included both its geography and its people. How many opportunities have been missed because the information was not readily available to potential investors?

To end on a positive note, there are a couple of upcoming events.

  1. the Centre for Local Prosperity is hosting two events next weekend in Shelburne and Hubbards. October 20th Expanding Community Wealth: re-localizing strong economies for Shelburne County. NSCC Shelburne Campus Cafeteria 9-3:30 pm and October 21 Expanding Community Wealth through Import Replacement. 2:30-4:30 Ocean Swells Community Centre, Hubbards.
  2. October 24 th., at the Kings Municipal building, Kentville there will be a showing of the video. Climate Change and the Human Prospect. 6:30-8:00 pm


Thanks to Bill Crossman for showing the way, by ‘thinking globally and acting locally’ and to Gerard D’Entremont for sharing his understanding of ‘community innovation’ at the NSCC.


Posted in biographical sketch

Taking the Leap

After spending the month of September in the apple orchard, it was time to go down the road to Ontario. We had two objectives: to see how our grandchildren were adapting to life in the Ottawa valley; and to visit old friends who we had worked with, and known since the late ’70’s. The final destination was Petawawa, about a two hour drive west of Ottawa.

We lived in Ottawa in 1977-8. Two children were born at the Ottawa Civic hospital. At the time, I was working with George Argus at the National Herbarium on the rare vascular plants of Canada. George had overall responsibility for this multi-year project. In addition, he was a global authority on the genus, Salix i.e. willows. They are a very challenging taxonomic group.

My companion book for the drive was Peter Sanger’s White Salt Mountain. Published by Gaspereau Press and found at The Odd Book, a second hand book store in Wolfville. It was a challenging read, steeped in deep research into poetry and literature.This clashed with my day to day recollections of living and working in Ontario.

In the Pembroke region, we checked out the craft beer industry, as well as a the second hand book stores.I found a copy of The History of Kings County Nova Scotia. A reprint by Global Heritage Press of 1910 book by Arthur Wentworth Hamilton Eaton. In Ottawa, we found our old residence on Churchill and Richmond. The neighbourhood had become quite ‘up market’, including Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), where we had to go.

Buying Pema Chodron’s book, Taking the Leap.Freeing Ourselves from old Habits and Fears encouraged us to look with fresh eyes at the Upper Canada life style. We discussed the options with Pat and Emily for themselves and their children. We chatted with George and Mary about retirement in the city; condominium living along the Ottawa river.

In a flash, the time had flown by. Thanksgiving in Petawawa, and then two days later Thanksgiving in New Glasgow.. Within the week, it seemed that the colour of the trees had changes in Quebec and Northern New Brunswick. Along the St Lawrence, the geese were gathering into large flocks, getting ready to head South to the next feeding area.

In Quebec, we noted the different approach to tourism. The guide to Chaudiere Appalaches contained detailed maps, with thematic colours for culture and heritage, regional flavours, nature and the outdoors. It seemed that Nova Scotia could learn from Quebec.

Finally, another discovery in the Ottawa valley were the plant nurseries. We thought about our pond and wetland garden in Paradise. We could contemplate a wider selection of herbs and grasses for our climate zone.

Back home. I can now wait for the inter-library loan, to bring in:

Annie Dillard. The Writing Life

David Quammen The Tangled Tree

Peter Sanger. Spar: Words in Place.


Edward Wedler is away in Ontario this week. He will likely add graphics next week.



Pema Chodron 2010. Taking the Leap. Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears. Shambala, Boulder, Co.

Peter Sanger 2005.White Salt Mountain. Words in Time. Gaspereau Press. Kentville, NS.

Arthur Wentworth Hamilton Eaton 1910. The History of Kings County Nova Scotia. Heart of the Acadian Land. Global Heritage Press. http://global

2018-19 Official Tourist Guide. Chaudiere Appalaches. Live it for Real.


Posted in Creative writing

Local Geography

Last week, we held a board meeting of the Ernest Buckler Literary Event Society (EBLES) at Lunn’s Mill beer company in Lawrencetown. The society supports biennial events in celebration of local writers. Afterwards, the topic of the Morse Estate in Paradise came up, and whether it was the model for the ‘secluded country guesthouse’ described in Buckler’s book The Cruelest Month.

This set me on a quest. map_Hunter_1000w

The Morse Estate has been renamed Burnbrae Farm and Paradise Inn. Consequently, I dropped in, to meet the owners: Erik and Simone Wasiliew. They run it as a Bed and Breakfast. Recently, they have also purchased the adjacent Camp Hillis, a residential facility from the provincial government, and plan to integrate it back into the estate.

From my visit, I learned some of the histories of the Morse Estate, as well as an appreciation of the vision of the new owners.

In the book, one of the characters is Morse Halliday (perhaps a clue). The guesthouse is called ‘Endlaw’, an anagram of Thoreau’s Walden.

Clearly, Paradise is changing. Across the Annapolis River, we find the new Paradise Cafe. Jack Pearle, who farms on Paradise Lane, has a new produce stand on the Highway #201.

To learn more about the history of the houses in Paradise, stop at the Community Hall. For each house, there is a short history, photograph and ownership information. This year also sees the establishment of the Paradise Historical Society. Every August, the Hankinsons at Ellenhurst, stage the Moonlight concert.

My link to the village of Paradise is through Raymond Hunter. Raymond and Rona lived on the corner of Paradise Lane, opposite Jack Pearle. Later, they moved east along Highway #201 towards Lawrencetown, where Raymond planted an organic orchard. That is where we enter the story. We are picking the orchard and maintaining its organic status

bookCover_cruelestMonthIt is awesome to imagine an event at Burnbrae Farm and Paradise Inn that looks at Buckler’s book The Cruelest Month in its modern context. Ideally, in April, which Buckler defined as the cruelest month. Now, its time to re-read the book.


Anne Crossman and Jane Borecky, both Board members of EBLES, for their conversation and support. To Erik and Simone Wasiliew, Burnbrae Farm for their hospitality. Sandra Barry for sending me the link to the Elizabeth Bishop poem, The Map. And Edward Wedler for his illustration.


Ernest Buckler. 1963. The Cruelest Month. McClelland and Stewart Ltd.

Burnbrae Farm/Paradise Inn. go to


Through the Annapolis Valley Regional Library Interlibrary loan service, I have received a copy of Elizabeth Bishop’s book Geography III. It includes ten of her poems, published in 1976. The frontispiece makes reference to  ‘First Lessons in Geography’. Monteith’s Geographical Series. Published by A.S. Barnes & Co. 1884. Lesson VI: What is Geography ? Lesson X: What is a Map ? Bishop was familiar with this book in her childhood.

Answers. A description of the Earth’s surface. A picture of the whole or part of the Earth’s surface. Check the link above, to read Elizabeth Bishop’s poem The Map.


Posted in Nature

Low hanging fruit

Now I understand the expression ‘low hanging fruit’. applePicking_01After a week in the orchard picking apples with ladder, picking bag and hook, I can appreciate the pleasure gained from low hanging fruit. However, it should be recognized that the best apples are found in the top branches of the tree. The low hanging fruit tends to be found on the side branches; smaller apples, more of them, but easily available for hand picking. There is no need for the combination of technology: ladder, picking bag and hook.

How does the metaphor translate into our day to day lives? Some things are easy to achieve, with relatively minimal effort however it does not necessarily give the high quality that can be found at the upper extremities of the tree.

Talking about trees, this was the subject for this week’s Brain Pickings . Maria Popova describes the contemplation by Walt Whitman on the wisdom of trees.

maher_apple_2At the end of the week, we were able to celebrate ten bins shipped to Brian Boates for juice that will be a component of IronWorks Distilleries, apple brandy. The brandy will be named after Raymond Hunter who planted over one hundred trees in his organic orchard in 1993.

Next week, we shall pick the remaining apples, primarily Mac Free variety. They too will go to Brian Boates, to be converted into cider vinegar.

The apple orchard teaches us many lessons. It shows the impact of microclimate on our landscape. It engages us in agricultural production and the associated risks. It offers us a metaphor for a rural living: the seasons, climate, the engagement with others in the community, living close to the land. It gives us a relationship to the trees around us.


Edward Wedler for his graphics. Heather Stewart is a partner of the apple picking team.


Brain Pickings September 16, 2018. Consider the tree: Philosopher Martin Buber on the discipline of not objectifying and the difficult art of seeing others as they are, not as they are to us. It also includes Walt Whitman on Creativity.


Posted in biographical sketch

A Time of Transition

dogsledTeamiFor the last few years, every Summer, we have provided a holiday camp for two retired Inuit sled dogs: Uke and Siq Siq. They were part of a litter born in Pond Inlet, Nunavut about twelve years ago, under the watchful eye of my son, Andrew. Later, they went to Prince George, where they provided Patrick, my eldest son, with the pulling power for ski-joring. They arrive in Paradise, in May and usually return home by early September.

While they are in our care, we get used to their howling at night with the local coyotes, living on the floodplain along the Annapolis River. Or they howl in response to the sirens from emergency response vehicles.

Yesterday, they returned to their permanent home. This year it is to Petawawa in the Ottawa Valley. Today, it feels very strange to pass by their pen, and not to receive a welcome or reaction.

We have now entered apple harvesting season. maher_apple_1In the Valley, a late frost in early June impacted many of the apple growers in the region. Fortunately, for us, Raymond Hunter planted his trees in a tree protected area. This has allowed us to ship the early drops to Brian Boates in Woodville. Now we have started picking directly from the trees. The first cycle will be the Nova Mac variety, to be followed later, by the Mac Free. All of these organic apples will be juiced at Boates cider mill and then transported to Ironworks Distillery, Lunenburg as a key ingredient in their apple brandy. If we have a spell without too much rain, we should be able to pick a couple of bins per day. (note: one bin can hold between 18-20 bushel boxes).

For most Nova Scotians, September is ‘return to school’.  That no longer applies for Heather and myself. Instead, it is a time when we miss the sound and companionship of the retired sled dogs. It is also a time of physical labour, as we climb the apple ladders, fill the bushel boxes and then load into the larger bins. The tractor, with its forklift, comes out of the barn to load the bins onto a flat-bed truck for transportation.

Other signs of change found in the media include comments on the Lahey report. In particular, I recommend Raymond Plourde, Ecology Action Centre. He has an online opinion piece in the Chronicle Herald, September 8th Lahey Forestry report; the good, the bad and the missing.

Or take a look at the poster produced by the Valley REN for the Devour Festival, this October. It promotes the unique qualities of living and working in the Annapolis Valley.poster_valleyREN


I want to acknowledge my monthly conversations at the End of the Line pub with Frank Fox and Paul Colville. They encourage me to keep writing my blog. Thanks, as usual,  to Edward for his graphics, and to Heather for sharing the workload.


Raymond Plourde. Chronicle Herald September 8, 2018. Opinions. Lahey Forestry report: the good, the bad and the missing.

Deborah Dennis. Valley REN. Forwarded a new poster for the Devour Festival. September 11,2018.

Posted in Article Review, Book Review

Two magazines and a book

One of the additional pleasures of visiting my father-in-law in New Glasgow is the opportunity to catch up on the current magazines. This time, it included Canadian Geographic and Saltscapes.

In the latest issue of Canadian Geographic, Michael Palin talks about his new book, Erebus.

” I already knew a lot about Canada, as it was a country beloved by British Geography masters, being friendly and coloured pink, and because all maps were on a Mercator’s projection, it looked absolutely colossal.” p.69.

This reminded me of my Geography teacher at Chiswick Grammar School in England. Howard (Hank) Williams would draw maps of the world on the blackboard with coloured chalk. Our task was to identify all the numbered cities and rivers on the map. It seemed that we had these tests every couple of weeks (1958-61).

saltscapesCover_AugSep2018In the latest issue of Saltscapes, two articles caught my attention. Jodi DeLong reviewed  Sandra Phinney’s book ‘Waking up in my own backyard. Explorations in Southwest Nova Scotia. Or as DeLong titled her article ‘ Celebrating our own spaces’

The second article was by Suzanne Robicheau describing an alternative approach to rural economic development, where a group of Annapolis Royal artists put their faith in a brick and mortar marketplace. She describes how “after reading the Ivany report, Jane Nicholson cashed a bond and invested in her community by establishing a private economic development firm called Annapolis Investments in Rural Opportunity (AIRO)”.

Both local, good news stories.

When we drive from the Annapolis Valley to New Glasgow, we often prefer to take the back roads, rather than the 100 series highways. This weekend, we detoured through River John to revisit Sheree Fitch at the Mabel Marple Bookstore. It has one of the best collections of Atlantic Canada books, aside from the wonderful collection of children’s books.

divisionsOfTheHeart_CoverThere, I discovered:
Divisions of the Heart: Elizabeth Bishop and the Art of Memory and Place. Edited by Sandra Barry, Gwendolyn Davies and Peter Sanger.  The book is a collection of twenty-five essays presented at a conference at Acadia University in 1998, as well as forty photographs relating to Bishop’s life.

One essay that caught my attention was by Brian Robinson. He is described  as ‘a Geographer interested in the relationship between Geography and Literature’ p.314

Robinson, in his essay, references a couple of other Geographers which took me back to my graduate residency at the University of Western Ontario (1969-1972).

David Harvey. Between Space and Time: reflections on the Geographical Imagination. AAAG (1990) p. 418-434. and

John Pickles. Phenomenology: Science and Geography, Spatiality and the Human Sciences. Cambridge University Press. 1985.

It is going to take me a while to read all twenty-five essays in the book plus conduct research into the relationship between Geography and Literature.

I wish to acknowledge the graphic contribution of Edward Wedler, and my travel companion, Heather Stewart.


Michael Palin. Life of Erebus. Canadian Geographic. p68-71. September/October 2018.

Jodi DeLong. Celebrating our own spaces.  Saltscapes. p.35 August/September 2018

Suzanne Robicheau. Reinventing the shopping mall. Saltscapes. p.92-94. August/September 2018.

Barry, Davies, Sanger (eds) 2001. Divisions of the Heart: Elizabeth Bishop and the Art of Memory and Place. Gaspereau Press.

Posted in Opinion

A Question of Scale

In the blog Follow the Thread (August 10th) I talked about Scale. Since that time, the last two blogs have looked at the writing of Roy on the global scale (Capitalism: a Ghost Story) and the writing of Bishop on the local scale (her memories of Great Village).

Last week in conversation with Celes Davar, we talked about trends in the tourism industry. This included the concepts of experiential and sustainable tourism, as well the traditional measures of a success — the number of visitors, overnight stays, expenditures, etc.

scaleStepping back, I recognized that, consciously or not, we are thinking at multiple scales. Within a geographic framework, this can mean:

Rural Nova Scotia (Annapolis Valley) Municipal government
Urban Nova Scotia (Halifax) Provincial government
Maritimes (regional view). In comparison to Ontario, BC
Canada (national view) In comparison to the US, Europe, Asia
Global. International agencies

If we are looking at tourism in the Annapolis Valley, what is the influence of provincial and national strategies for attracting tourists from other countries e.g. China, Europe? The same would be true in terms of immigration policies.

A related question is the flow of information. Is it a two-way flow? Are the views of the citizens reflected at the municipal scale? Do municipal tourism concerns appear on the provincial agenda? If climate change is a global concern, how is it reflected as you move down the geographic scale to rural Nova Scotia? Do contradictions arise, as you move across the different scale?

When considering the writing of Elizabeth Bishop or Ernest Buckler, it is appealing to think in terms of local geography. However, it is important to appreciate that Bishop spent much of her life in Brazil, the United States and Europe. Buckler went away from Nova Scotia before returning to write about the Mountain and the Valley.

Given access to social media, is it easier today to operate simultaneously at several levels of scale? Certainly, it is easier to network with colleagues and relatives across continents and oceans in semi-real time. Thus comparisons are more readily available. If that is, indeed, the case, what is being lost? What is being gained?

Is it possible to pay attention to detail at multiple scales simultaneously? Or do we need to focus on the local; a particular place and geography?

A corollary is that, as the result of lifetime mobility, the voice of the rural citizen can be informed by experiences from many parts of the world or at different scales. This information flow can be maintained, even though the individual chooses to live in a rural landscape, close to the soil and nature.

Thanks to the  conversation with Celes Davar, email from Sandra Barry, and the graphics of Edward Wedler.


Celes Davar.  Check website

Recent blogs

Geography III: place, writing and maps. Posted August 23rd

Community Engagement: a Ghost Story. Posted August 15th

Follow the Thread.  Posted August 10th


Posted in Creative writing, Poetry

Geography III: place, writing and maps

elizabethBishopAndHouseAt the end of last week, we decided to take a trip along the Parrsboro shore, primarily to check out the Fundy Geological Museum. On our way home, we stopped at Great Village, Nova Scotia. This community was of interest; it was the childhood home of the late poet, Elizabeth Bishop. On Friday afternoon, there was a poetry reading at St James Church; there was a self-guided tour of the village available; and one could see the Elizabeth Bishop House, now an artist’s retreat.

elizabethBishopinParisAt the church, I picked up a copy of the brochure Elizabeth Bishop’s Paris. This small brochure describes two visits to Paris in the mid-1930’s. Interestingly, it includes a map of central Paris, identifying locations visited by Bishop and Louise Crane. The map also shows the location of the first conference on Elizabeth Bishop in France. Elizabeth Bishop in Paris: Spaces of Translation and Translations of Space. 6-8 June 2018. The text was written by Jonathan Ellis, Sheffield University.

A second publication, that I purchased, was Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop. To celebrate the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary (2011), the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia (EBSNS) hosted a one-time short prose competition, asking participants to write about their own sense of place. There were five categories: Elementary (Grade 4-6), Junior High (Grade 7-9), Senior High (Grade 10-12), Post-secondary, Open (19 years or older). EBSNS published the winning entries, edited by Sandra Barry and Laurie Gunn. The book was typeset and printed by Gaspereau Press.

EBSNS maintains a website and published an annual newsletter. On the website, under the Media tab, there is a podcast of Claire Miller reading In the Village.

Geography III was Bishop’s final book of poems, published in 1976. On his website, Michael Ollinger, Digging into the earth’s surface: pondering Geography III by Elizabeth Bishop states:

“To describe the planet aptly is one thing, but to understand one’s place is another one altogether. The poems of Elizabeth Bishop’s Geography III go beyond mere description of the earth’s surface and delve into how geography defines not only where we are on the planet, but also who we are”.

” The phenomena of contextualizing  oneself in the world points to why Elizabeth Bishop may have chosen to title the collection Geography III as opposed to Geography I or Geography II; the geographies presented in the poems are more than just a description of the earth’s surface”

In my blog title, I have reinterpreted Geography III as “place, writing and maps“.

I hope you enjoy these links to the work of Elizabeth Bishop and appreciate the remarkable efforts of the EBSNS to connect her work to Great Village, Nova Scotia.

Thanks to Edward Wedler for the graphics, and Heather Stewart, my travel companion.

Postscript. The EBSNS is an excellent model for EBLES (Ernest Buckler Literary Event Society), of which, I am a Board member.


Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia (EBSNS)

Elizabeth Bishop. 1976. Geography III. Farrah, Straus and Giroux, New York.

Elizabeth Bishop’s Paris. 2018. Brochure. Text by Jonathan Ellis, Sheffield University.

Sandra Barry and Laurie Gunn (eds.) 2013. Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop. Elizabeth Bishop Centenary (2011) Writing Competition. Published by EBSNS, Great Village, NS.

Michael Ollinger  Digging into the earth’s surface: pondering Geography III by Elizabeth Bishop. Posted March25, 2009. Check the Poetry tab at