Fully aware that his mythical home-place might have vanished forever into memory (or at least into sad disrepair), Gary Geddes set out to discover his roots in a 31-foot British sailing sloop, christened the Groais. Those tangled roots wound their way up British Columbia's famed Inside Passage, an ancient sea route of nearly one thousand miles, an often turbulent waterscape where Geddes discovers a vibrant history, livelihoods come and gone, dramatic scenery, and ghosts of the past.
The result of that search is Sailing Home, a wonderful meditative literary journey that is both a poignant personal memoir and a crow's nest view of the west coast's rich 10,000-year cultural, social and economic heritage. Despite his seafaring background -- Geddes' grandfather was a fisherman who drowned mysteriously off Point Atkinson and his father was a deep sea diver, shipbuilder and salmon fisherman -- he knows he is navigationally challenged with nautical experience anchored by raw fear, mechanical ineptness and bouts of seasickness. Setting out with the latest in technology (along with indecipherable charts, an adventure library, and the writings of George Vancouver and Charles Darwin), he soon finds himself at the mercy of a willful boat and an even more headstrong sea. But as he sails through unexpected storms and cotton wool fogs, he discovers that his own past is becoming a strong current in the shifting tides of coastal history.
Lyrical and evocative, this is a book for all those embarking on their own personal journeys, whether they be by water, land or the flight paths of the imagination.
About the author
Gary Geddes was born in Vancouver and raised mostly on the west coast, where he gill netted, loaded boxcars at BC Sugar Refinery, stocked shelves at Woodwards, worked as a fishing guide at Whytecliffe, taught on Texada Island, and drove water-taxi. After doing graduate studies at Reading University in England and at the University of Toronto, he embarked on a varied career as a writer, teacher, editor, and publisher. Gary taught for twenty years at Concordia University in Montreal before returning to the west coast, where he was appointed Distinguished Professor of Canadian Culture at Western Washington University (1998-2001) and served as writer-in-residence at Green College (UBC), and the Vancouver Public Library. He has written and edited more than thirty-five books of poetry, fiction, drama, non-fiction, criticism, translation and anthologies, including 20th Century Poetry & Poetics and 15 Canadian Poets Times 3. His literary awards include the E.J. Pratt Medal and Prize (1970), the National Poetry Prize (1981), the Americas Best Book Award in the 1985 Commonwealth Poetry Competition, National Magazine Gold Award (1987), the Writers Choice Award (1988), Archibald Lampman Prize (1990 and 1996), the Poetry Book Society Recommendation (1996) and the Gabriela Mistral Prize (1996), which he shared with Nobel laureates Octavio Paz and Vaclav Havel and with Rafael Alberti, Ernesto Cardenal, and Mario Benedetti. Gary Geddes lives on Vancouver Island, where he divides his time between Victoria and French Beach.
Other titles by Gary Geddes
The Oysters I Bring to Banquets
Resumption of Play, The
70 Canadian Poets
Kingdom Of Ten Thousand Things
An Impossible Journey From Kabul to Chiapas
Drink the Bitter Root
A Writer's Search for Justice and Redemption in Africa
The Terracotta Army
20th-Century Poetry and Poetics
Writing the Terrain
Travelling Through Alberta with the Poets