One of Harbour Publishing’s foundational writers, Patrick Lane, passed away after a long illness in the early hours of March, 7, 2019, 19 days short of his 80th birthday. Pat’s first book with Harbour, and one of the first books published by the press, was Unborn Things: South American Poems, which he and Howard White hand-printed in the original Harbour print shop in Pender Harbour in 1975. Lane had moved to nearby Middlepoint in order to work on the early issues of Raincoast Chronicles and although he only wrote one article for the journal, on pelagic sealing, he often credited it for getting him started in prose writing. He later went on to write two acclaimed novels Red Dog, Red Dog and Deep River Night, as well as the memoir There Is a Season, for which he won the 2005 BC Award for Non Fiction.
Pat was born on March 26, 1939 in the Kootenay mountain town of Sheep Creek, near Nelson, and grew up in the BC Interior, primarily in Vernon. He left school to work as a labourer, fruit picker and truck driver, later becoming a first-aid man because it paid an additional l5 cents per hour. In the North Thompson mill town of Avola, with 150 people, he worked in the sawmill and sometimes dealt with grisly injuries, which he later memorialized in equally grisly poems. It was one of the bleakest periods of his life, but one he returned to repeatedly in his long and distinguished literary career, particularly in his final novel, Deep River Night.
As a poet Pat won virtually every major award open to Canadian writers and came to be recognized as one of the leading Canadian poets of his time. His latest distinction was the 2019 George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, given for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia. He was a wonderful, vital person and a true friend. Harbour extends its deepest sympathy to his wife Lorna Crozier, his five children and many grandchildren.
Patrick Lane titles with Harbour:
- Unborn Things: South American Poems. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 1975.
- Albino Pheasants. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 1977.
- Too Spare, Too Fierce. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 1995.
- The Bare Plum of Winter Rain. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 2000.
- Go Leaving Strange, Poems, Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 2004
- Last Water Song, Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 2007.
- Witness: Selected Poems 1970-2010. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 2010.
The Collected Poems of Patrick Lane. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 2011.
Edited with an introduction by Russell Morton Brown and Donna Bennett, with an Afterword by Nicholas Bradley.
- Washita: New Poems. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 2014.
With files from ABC Bookworld. Thanks to Alan Twigg.