Remembering Ian Ferrier

A meteor shower of grackles blew through the backyard, as uncanny as global weather, on the morning of his passing. Ian Ferrier’s poetic conversations with galaxies, his curiosity into deeper patterns of existence, made it only plausible that this departing avian storm was somehow connected with him. If that isn’t fact then it’s truth of some other kind. He’d no doubt have agreed.

Recalling the sticker flag of Scotland on his motorcycle, icicles glazing his moustache and beard, his some-what towering stature, Ian had the wild eyes of one who’d witnessed widely ranging highway, railway, and human experience; cultivating collaboration, recollecting every artistic encounter with his keen and unique observation.

By the sound of Ian’s voice, we were drawn into inclusion. It could reach a boom-level in his most explosive poetry, but as the beloved host of countless Words and Music shows, and not only those, his voice kept a signature hushed tone as though inviting us closer to the wonderful artist he’d invite to the stage. He made each of us feel seen in our best light.

Just a couple of months ago I sent Ian a new poem about birds. He knew it’d taken years to settle into itself, I’m so grateful there was time to show it to him. He’d written back ‘Wow,’ a welcome endorsement, as well as the acronym for his label Wired on Words. But like that mysterious signal from space detected decades ago and never heard to repeat, it would be our final correspondence.

The more we listen the more we might know, cites an article on that original Wow signal, meaning the onus remains on us to practice new ways of listening, not simply to wait for known signals to repeat themselves. It could be a motto befitting Ian Ferrier, in his love for poetry and for its creators, in his patient yet impassioned exchange with this unfathomable universe.

Cat Kidds solo shows have toured such venues as Toronto Harbourfront’s World Stage, the Singapore Fringe, and the Spier Arts Poetry Festival in Cape Town. She is author of three poetry collections and a novel Missing the Ark. She was awarded Reciter of the Year at the Australian National Folk Festival in 2023 and looks forward to returning there this Spring.