Penn Kemp


P. K. Page came to visit us on Ward's Island, Toronto in the fall of 1973. I'd arranged for her to come and read then in the poetry series I was organizing at A Space. The next afternoon, she took the ferry over. The weather was blustery, so we had the oil stove on for the first time that season. Unaccustomed to action, it was puffing and popping away in the middle of our living room. You have to imagine the elderly Island cottage, without much insulation, and with my two small children crawling underfoot. P. K. was dressed to the nines in a glamorous cape and armloads of silver jewellry. But at the stove's first growl, she leapt up and alighted for the evening on the couch arm that was closest to the door. She'd had an oil stove explode on her before, in Brazil, and she was taking no chances here! But she made that perch hers, crossing her legs elegantly, and gallantly discussing poetry and poets until the last boat swept her away to the city.

P. K. Page

November 23rd, 1916—
January 14th, 2010

P. K. Page with Leonora Carrington and Leonora's grandson.

This is a photograph of P. K. and Leonora Carrington (with her grandson) at an exhibition of Leonora's work in 1998. Photo courtesy of Rosemary Sullivan.