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Award-winning interviewer Ronald Caplan has finally written his own book— a personal account of his search for song and obituary poetry and the tools for community survival in northern Cape Breton. Caplan shares his journey through northern Cape Breton as he learned about the in-home singing tradition and the community’s extraordinary devotion to the poet Andrew Dunphy—a person who might in other places have been an outcast. Dunphy roamed northern Cape Breton, sharing the news, nursing the sick, often caring for small children. He was loved everywhere. And he wrote magnificent poems that, with great respect, his neighbours turned into popular song. One hundred years later, with obvious affection,. Told in the words of those who knew Andrew Dunphy, including singer Helen Curtis, esteemed fiddler Winston “Scotty” Fitzgerald, historian and storyteller Bob Fitzgerald. and Dunphy’s close friend George Rambeau—in A Stone for Andrew Dunphy Caplan tells of the robust life that flourished in the Aspy Bay region as the 20th century dawned.
Editor of several collections, Caplan is the author of A Stone for Andrew Dunphy—Narrative Obituary Verse and Song in Northern Cape Breton. Caplan created Cape Breton’s Magazine in 1972 and, since then, has devoted himself to photographing and interviewing people in all parts of the island. The magazine ran from 1972 until 1999 and is now available at www.capebretonsmagazine.com. In 1986, Caplan started publishing Breton Books, a company devoted to new and classic books mostly by Cape Breton writers and on Cape Breton subjects.For his contribution to Cape Breton culture, he has received several awards, including Nova Scotia’s Cultural Life Award and the Order of Canada.