I saw Garry and Janice Shoquist at work on Monday, Janice was in for an eye exam. They own and operate Northland Books just off Broadway here in Saskatoon, an antiquarian book shop. Keith and I had been in last September looking for Andrew Suknaski poetry books, I believe there was a sale on then. At any rate there’s a sale on now so I hopped over the Broadway Bridge yesterday to see what I could see. This is a list of what I brought home:
- A very clean copy of Kenneth Rexroth’s One Hundred Poems From The Chinese, for Keith, who has been admiring a copy I brought in the Westfalia’s summer library (I have transferred all my domestic goods out of the bug into my apartment: one set of cutlery, a mug, can opener, etc.)
- Hong Yingming’s Vegetable Root Talks, here titled Back To Beginnings by translator Thomas Cleary, a “collection of meditations on fundamental things in human life”. Huanchu Daoren, the author’s Taoist name, translates as “A Wayfarer Back to Beginnings”.
- A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms, an account of the travels of Fa-Hien (Faxian), a 5th century Chinese Buddhist monk commissioned by the Emperor to retrieve dharma texts from India. He spent fourteen years travelling through war zones, deserts, and mountains to the Gangetic plain of India, the island of Sri Lanka, and back again by sea. This was 200 years before the more famous voyage of the monk Hsien-tsang (Xuanzang) for the same purpose, whose travels inspired the enduring legend of the Monkey King. Translated by James Legge.
- 3 books by Lafcadio Hearn, all in exceptionally good shape: Exotics and Retrospectives; Japan: An Interpretation; Out of the East: Reveries and Studies in New Japan. Hearn (1850-1904) was an Irish-Greek journalist who worked briefly in the United States before travelling to Japan, where he spent the rest of his life as teacher and author. He is highly regarded in Japan, where he is known as Koizumi Yagumo.
- Ch’i Pai Shih by T.C. Lai, published by University of Washington Press, including the painter’s autobiography, facsimiles, anecdotes, seals, poetry, and recollections of his life and work.
- A Book of Good Poems, my high school poetry text, edited by C.T. Fyfe. It’s in pristine shape – no dog-ears, notes, cartoons, boredom scribbles or nose-pickings, and the binding is solid.
- And last, The Real Old West: Images of a Frontier by JoAnn Roe, and I think the treasure of the lot because of the curious nature of the subject, photographer Matsuura Sakae, or ‘Frank’ to all who knew him in the Okanogan of western Washington. He was a mysterious remittance man whose joy for life shows clearly in his photographs. He purportedly died of tuberculosis at the age of 39 with no family contact, but standing-room-only at his funeral, for, as The Okanogan Record apparently put it at the time, “he surely did not have an enemy in the world.” (p.5)
Or did he? Lot’s of fun ahead.
And that’s it. Now I have only to wait for my bookcase (and my reading lamps, and my wing back chair) to arrive from Vancouver Island to enjoy the satisfying naps I’ve grown accustomed to. It’s been a long time, over six months.
Here’s a night view looking northeast from my balcony toward the university:
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