Even those of you who know my work are unlikely to recognize this place. It is on the cover of one of my books.
This is Quonley’s Market at the entrance to Chinatown in Victoria, BC, Canada. I have only lived in Victoria since 2011 but for many years I have been meaning to go back to this corner and capture the image.
Perhaps that was the way the publishers saw the work, way back in 1986. Looking at the book over the years, I would have preferred a somewhat more upbeat look. But so it is — I can’t say that it hurt sales because, if you know poetry, you know that sales are pretty much non-existent anyway.
Ironically, the location of the shot – in downtown Victoria, BC – is more meaningful to me now than it was at the time. In 1986 I had probably only visited Victoria two or three times. Now I live here and pass Quonley’s corner frequently.
Here’s a look at Quonley’s Market today – and my attempt to capture the book cover shot’s angle, in spring sunlight. It’s a crazy thought but what if that had been the cover image? No – wouldn’t have worked.
The meaning of a place is always changing.