Friday, 9 August 2013

please stop shouting

Emerging from the wall of sound, a large request, arising in the heart, arcing over the heads of the cafe dwellers, arrowing into the performer onstage, having it's effect. The kind of reading we were attending was more carnivalesque than most, and early on i wondered, where is the joy of rising and falling from silence? Where the restfulness? Apparently the poet beside me was responding in a similar way, but, more proactive in expressing his felt sense.

The performer did modulate his tone briefly. Being poised on the verge of a yelling poem, he apologized for the quick resumption of full-on volume and energetic channelling, and proceeded. Many in the crowd were joyous, they had come to become subsumed within the wall of sound.

There is merit in both approaches, in all approaches to poetry.

There is the restful rising and falling from silence, emulating the dawn and the luxuriant unfoldments of revery, impression occurs and builds and we as recipients of the polished works, co-respondents, share the journey.

There is the wall of sound, like sleeping with the television on, and whole lives rising and falling with the uncontrolled and uncontrollable backdrop of noise. The musicians, the poets, the singers, the prose artists all pressing and swelling together, sometimes to the happy effect of a roomful of children in a very good game, sometimes to less lovely effect, an assault on the senses, a driving force that is spilling itself relentlessly and never pausing to note what has been created through being, driven forward by our hellbent mcs in their divine, daemonic compulsion toward a louder form of ecstacy.

Given the theme of Gemini Gender,  these twin presentation preferences and the weaknesses of both, swirled together and considered one another, but didn't take one another too seriously. No converts were won. One high point of the evening was Jamie Reid's presentation of George Stanley's Veracruz, the morphing of genders a perfect expression of the theme, and a few of his own poems, a moment when the musicians and the poet worked altogether for pleasing effect, coherence and efficiency and not a single note of excess.

Another high point was the poetry mash up of Bare Naked Ladies' If I had a Million Dollars with the poetic rebuttal by Sonya Littlejohn, which had the cafe dwellers singing along. A small innovation (not quite a departure) from the riffing of the evening, the presentation had been previously orchestrated, intended to be performed on another night and at a different venue. In a fact that flew in the face of it's own lyric, the poet chose to go to work the evening of the intended performance, rather than eschew the day job for the poetic evening. Here was an opportunity to assert the poetic over the pragmatic, and in so doing, another strong set came to completion.

There were many other high points and, in the end, my departure was linked to the public transit schedule and it's association with my family life. Brush your teeth/Go to sleep/You're drunk (Leanne Padget) did not apply to me.

Through many lyricist arrivals and departures, painter Wade Edwards stood at the side of the stage, colouring the evening with whites and soft purples, making tangible the sweep of the all of our all.

Event: Bohemian Caress, Kosmik Zoo
Another Bohemian Caress review

A visiting English poet recently said, “When I got to New York, all the talk was of George Stanley.” On another occasion, Stanley himself was overheard to say, on the reception of this book, something like, “I’ve emerged from total obscurity into relative obscurity.” It’s about time. 

Tell me again
what you said, it is possible
everything I think
is wrong.
~from Ted Byrne's review of A Tall Serious Girl 

read + listen


K. Liu's animation of The Barenaked Ladies - "If I Had A Million Dollars"

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