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Jon Whyte, Part 2, Paley, A Ghost Story
Jon Whyte
Title: Jon Whyte, Part 2, Paley, A Ghost Story
Episode: P046
START: October 31, 2022
ENDS: November 13, 2022
Length: 28'' mins
Host: Carole Harmon
Jon Whyte (1941-1992) was a Canadian author whose soul work was poetry but who also wrote books of history about his beloved Canadian Rockies. Unlike many Canadian artists who pursue careers in America and Europe, or in academia, Jon Whyte chose to root his life and work in the Canadian west, its people and history, especially the mountains, and in particular the Bow Valley. He was born in Banff and lived most of his adult life in that small mountain community.

Paley, an epic poem about the death by avalanche of a brilliant young mathematician on April 7, 1933, near Skoki, in the Canadian Rockies is based on an actual event.

When I was planning this series with Jon’s friend and colleague, Brian Patton, we hoped to find a recording of Jon reading his own work, to hear his voice once again, but also because he was a masterful reader.

The Jon Whyte fonds, in the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, contains a number of recordings of Jon’s work. Most of them are performances recorded at the Banff Centre, or by CBC, and feature actors.

Paley was the only piece read by Jon we could find, but what a find it was! It is an incomplete recording, missing the introductory biographical paragraph about Paley, and also missing the ending. I have taken the liberty of reading these missing sections to complete the poem

On the Writers Radio website, in the About section, is a page with a longer bio, reading list, and full length recordings of Minisniwapta: Voices of the River and Paley, as included in this program.

Some of Jon’s published work may be found online, and through the library system. Thank goodness for librairies.

The Jon Whyte fonds are housed in the Archives of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff.