Gifts of Self–Dean-o

The only capital-L Legend I Ihave personally known. Dean lived a Very Large Life and contained many multitudes, but–relevant to the theme of the past two weeks–he had and bestowed his many gifts of self on others and the world. He is the most complete man and person that I have ever personally known.

And his gifts of self just keep on giving after his death. On Friday at the big memorial celebration (by far the best I’ve ever attended), many people spoke who had been influenced by him and touched by his gifts of self. This manifested itself in e-mails, speeches, anecdotes, performances, howls, a slideshow, and videos.Terry McDade played his harp, a piper piped in Mac’s family, and jazzers Andrew Glover and Charlie Austin also came to play,

And then Dean ‘upstaged’ everybody in several videos and recorded performances–his gifts of self still giving, magically, beyond the surface reality, blessing us all with his words and music. He was in the room with us all over again, sharing the best he could offer–the best of himself in various intimate settings.

I read two of his perspicacious, transcendent pieces–one about an urban rainstorm, the other about infinity (!!!). It was the least I could do to draw his fans’ and followers’ attentions to his particular genius, his remarkable depth, richness, and seriousness as a poet, and his complete mastery of The Word. And, by request, I impromptuly read one of his naughty, humorous, Whitmanesque pieces with the band. A facsimile/reminder of his performing self and the many improv performances we had given together in the past.

Dean, in my opinion, was the reigning contemporary poet in Edmonton, Alberta, and Canada. His recorded work was the best to ever come out of the local scene by a poet. He will long be remembered by the many people whose lives he touched. I, too, am a very lucky man to have known him, to have been close to him, and to have performed with him. It does/did not get better than that for a friend and fellow poet.

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