In 1997, the Porcupine's Quill was honoured to be able to publish The Hidden Room, a two-volume, five-hundred-page collection of the poetry of P. K. Page that has sold over five thousand copies in the past dozen years.
In the spring of 2002, we released Planet Earth, a smaller selection from The Hidden Room , which was subsequently shortlisted for the prestigious Griffin Prize.
P. K. read from Planet Earth at the Eden Mills Writers Festival, in early September of 2002. The weather was unseasonably warm, and the sun that day, relentless.
P. K. read, as I recall, early in the afternoon, signed copies of Planet Earth for an hour or more, and then announced that she was uncomfortable, and would have to seek shelter from the sun.
Earlier that morning I had positioned Elke's silver Volkswagon Beetle strategically close to the Porcupine's Quill booth on the street in front of Jenny Kitson's house.
P. K. sat in the front, beside me. P. K.'s travelling companion, Théa Gray, sat in the back as we eased into the crowds on Bush Street.
Not a big fan of air conditioning in cars, I had deliberately left the sunroof in the Beetle open, and the windows were rolled down.
I remember one woman, in particular, was in tears when she approached the passenger window to tell P. K. how her poems had enriched her life.
Others in the throng simply reached out to touch P. K. on the sleeve of her tunic, prompting Théa to observe: “I feel like I am riding in a carriage, with the Queen Mum.”