VERSeFest Day 5: A B Series

If you came at the right time, there was a cookie fairy at the door, a volunteer who brought fresh warm cookies to those who arrived. Oh my, just the energy burst one needed halfway thru a day, and most of the way thru a festival.
Kevin Max introducing
Kevin Matthews welcomed people back for the evening events then Max Middle introduced the A B Series sponsored readers. (The next reading is April 3 with Colin Morton and Susan McMaster at the Sunnyside branch of the library.)
I think the picture of Ewan Whyte below is better than what I got in his reading…
Lidner, Babstock and Whyte
Lidner, Babstock and Whyte in a conversational circle.
Ewan Whyte is a classic writer in the sense of having his head about the classics. His translation of the poetry of Catullus was published a few years ago. He has recently completed a book of poetry and a translation of the odes of Horace. He shared some of these (adding to the surfeit of poems about dicks the week) and the story of St. Francis de Assisi who, born rich, became a deft businessman, nonetheless got the dream-vision to become a penniless monk. In the town square he renounced his old life,

In front of the crowd that had gathered he said, “Pietro Bernardone is no longer my father. From now on I can say with complete freedom, ‘Our Father who art in heaven.'” Wearing nothing but castoff rags, he went off into the freezing woods — singing.

In Whyte’s account, the father disinherited him first, but in any case it was a tumultuous relationship with the son being impulsively generous and the father being shrewd, the son drawn the church and the father deflecting it. Francis did not try to abolish poverty, he tried to make it holy. Ah, generational difference.
In one poem Ewan Whyte read it was an account of being dragged against his will to an air show. (They are horrid things to be me as well. I went once, under duress, for the experience which was noise and pro-destruction trumpeting shiny happy people luring kids to the glory of war with stickers and coloring books. Frightening.)
In Whyte’s case, there was a plane crash, and the show going on as if nothing had happened amid the spectacle, apart from an occasional loudspeaker announcing that emergency crews were attending. A [non-lineated here] portion of his poem went: A child ahead of me asked her mother if the pilot will be okay and then burst into tears at being told the truth or at not being told the truth. Profound salvaged from the wreckage of military commercial complexities of modern life.
Claudia reading
Author of Your Hands Discover Me /tes mains me découvrent (2010), a minute or two/ without remembering, (2010) of poems of centuries of French Canada history, Ms. Radmore wrote the foreword to, and edited, Arctic Twilight; Leonard Budgell and the Changing North. (2010)
Since 2011, she has edited and published Murray Citron’s There is a Tree: shteyt a boim, and David Blaikie’s Farewell to Coney Island (2012, Tree Press) and has edited The Haiku Canada Anthology for several years.
One of the most striking ideas in this reading of hers was “at what point do questions get so complex that you need language to answer them?”
She plays with the surreal and against linear meaning and story, with mashup for new jutxapostions to see what shakes out, as you can see at her blog Ynklings.
She takes inspiration from eclectic spurs from history, science, art and music. One poem was with phrases from the art exhibition, Wyse Works, Exposing the Inevitable, Alex Wyse. June, 2011, The Ottawa Art Gallery. Wyse’s “truly great rural flying church” was rolled into pondering in how we understand information, “the human condition[…]and its soft underbelly”, what pre-dated the data stream, a time when bits back when they only meant “a small piece of something”, not digitalis.
She takes cues from Schubert sonatas to organ music to Owen Pallett’s Heartland which the singer called deliberately preposterous, a pseudo-medieval mix of pop and bulgarian men’s choir. Only underscoring that we have all of existence to bring onto our canvasses and see what jostles, joins or joists. It was wonderfully non-linear.

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