Dear MLC Team and MLC Friends,
Thank you for your involvement in the Clare Best event last night, which came together beautifully with a host of stimulating ideas and good community spirits.
We had a lively and diverse group of about 45 audience members, who had gathered for British poet Clare Best's compelling presentation and exploration of issues of health, identity, poetics and visual aesthetics. There was a lot in Clare's poetry and talk that will resonate for many of us for weeks and months to come including her description of her breasts as "something dangerous, a time-bomb," as well as her description of cancer as a taboo as she grew up, "a word that was never spoken in the house." We were very pleased to host this event in October, coinciding with the Canadian Cancer Society's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and are grateful to Clare Best for her evocative presentation, reading and discussion.
I would like to thank John Wrighton for his terrific initiative in bringing forward the proposal to host Clare Best as a speaker, as well as his hands-on support of this event from beginning to end, including the poster design, his gracious introduction of Clare Best and his fielding of questions during discussion. Well done!
I thank Amy Smith for her leadership in planning and organizing the event with all of the many fine details (excellent media work, registration table, etc), with the terrific support of Ed Kanerva, who also organized the sales table and the impressively efficient cleaning up; in this effort he was joined by Catherine [Katie] Russell. Thank you to Heather Lenehan, Jason Wang and Cat Waszsczuk for help with the set up, beverage table and so much more.
I want to thank Marcos Armstrong and Daniel Browne for documenting the event for us; we look forward to receiving and posting the images soon. Please watch our website. The Ryersonian and Dan Brown will conduct interviews with Clare at the MLC today, and I also invited Clare to make the MLC her home while she is here in Toronto.
As always I am most grateful to you all for supporting this event by alerting your students, by bringing friends and new faces to the MLC. I especially would like to thank the two volunteers, Patrick Marshall and Sara Rolfe-Hughe from the Arts and Contemporary Studies program, who did a wonderful job last night. It was a pleasure to talk with you both, and we hope to have you involved in other MLC activities.
Thank you to our MLC Friends and Associates for taking the time and making it out to the event last night including Jean-Paul Boudreau, Julia Fawcett, Ingrid Mida, Barbara Postema, Rahul Sapra, and Dale Smith. Thank you also to Janet Lum for coming out last night; I hope you enjoyed the tour.
Thank you and warm wishes to you all,
Director, MLC Research Centre
Letters following "Self-Portrait without Breasts"
"It was such an honour to present and read my work at the MLC yesterday evening. The combination of a beautifully planned, well organised and fully orchestrated event (immaculate attention to detail!) with a very warm welcome and a wonderfully receptive and responsive audience — all this made me feel so comfortable. I enjoyed the evening immensely. Thank you all — yours is self-evidently a uniquely gifted and energetic team. I was, and remain, deeply appreciative. I hope there will be further opportunities for collaboration, co-operation, and adventures, going forward!"
--Clare Best, Author of Excision
"I really enjoyed last night's event - even more than I expected to. I found Clare's poems and photos so poignant. It spoke to so many of the issues relating to the fashioned body - how breasts are associated with one's identity as a woman, how they fashion the female body and how their absence disrupts the fashioned norms. I had never really thought about this issue before, but it was really quite powerful work."
--Ingrid Mida, Coordinator, Fashion Research Collection, Ryerson University
Following the success of "Self-Portrait without Breasts" at the MLC Research Centre, copies of Clare Best's poetry collection Excision (published by Waterloo Press) are now available for purchase at the Ryerson University Bookstore.