before I begin to break down this lovely evening, I'd like to apologize in advance for having missed the two first readers (Andy Weaver and Erin Knight) due to being caught in a gridlock on the highway! it was so bad that people were getting out of their cars and mingling!
luckily, though, I was able to catch Andy's last poem, which probably would have been my favorite one, since it was a love-poem, and made so many nerdy references (a.k.a the way to Lindsay Cahill's heart).
here's what I did catch:
as I came into the Niagara Artists' Centre (NAC), Andy Weaver was just beginning his nerdy-love-poem (<3), and I was immediately struck by Marinko Jareb's live-video performance projected on a screen behind the reading podium.
as Andy read, Marinko took bits and pieces of what he heard from the poem, and illustrated images to match the content and mood. I thought this added a brilliant new element to the reading atmosphere.
I know some people might be afraid that the live-video could possibly distract from the listening experience, but I didn't find this was the case at all; in fact, the video worked with the poetry to create an entirely new audience-experience-- something beyond poetry and video; something multi-dimensional.
during the break, I was able to get a some information from Marinko on the kinds of tech he had going on at his video-station:
to the top-left is the camera that holds some of Jareb's pre-recorded video; in the centre sits the Edirol V-4 (a 4-channel video mixer) which helps to fade intensity; and finally, off to the top-right corner is Jareb's cherished find: a screen-writer from the late 80s! (Jareb inherited the rare machine on a whim from friends of friends who were about to throw it away! I was so jealous-- it's such an awesome looking tech-piece.)
soon it was time to get back to the poetry! Stan Rogal came up to the podium cracking jokes about the passing traffic outside, and sometimes even about his own poetry! he told us he would mainly be reading from his book Dance, Monster! (Insomniac Press, 2011)-- a title which he freely admitted to 'borrowing' from the jazz song, "Dance You Monster to My Soft Song". As Rogal read such pieces as 'Pastorale', and 'Labyrinth', Marinko Jareb played mixed video clips, and performed live-drawing with the screen-writer:
Marinko's drawing inspired by Rogal's New York Harbour piece
I probably felt most inspired by Rogal's piece about garbage in the New York Harbour (which he said was for Jack Kerouac, to whom he 'still speaks', hahahaha). the reason I like the Harbour poem so much is because of the strength of Rogal's imagery as he portrayed a typically crowded, typically dirty downtown full of the tourists, working people, trash, and decay of the everyday. Rogal's lyrical style was like pop-rockets in your ears-- images bursting in your mind with every word.
Penn Kemp, the evening's next and final reader, is London, Ontario's first Poet Laureate, and it is a well deserved title! Kemp's poetry touched on subjects from the potency and destruction of the environment, to the struggles of local farming and community growth. particularly, I was struck by Penn's echo poem 'Fair Trade' (from which the post-title, 'hot to eye, cool to tongue', derives). the poem begins, "I would eat local food only were it not for temptation." and then dives into an exploration of the tension between local food growth and imported items like bananas, chocolate, coffee, etc. Penn describes the 'ruin' of local farmers, ending with, "Given so much, we reach for more / even when over full. Poems break off as the lunch bell rings." (you can read Penn Kemp's 'Fair Trade' poem here!)
Kemp ended her reading with a great participatory sound-poem, in which the audience got to play the part of an air-fan :)
I found the night was an overall blast. the video-performance was 'hot to eye', and the poetry was 'cool to tongue' :)
Grey Borders Reading Series (GBRS) curator, Eric Schmaltz, was a warm and inviting host, as always; I can't wait to catch a glimpse at the awesome fall lineup he's been putting together for GBRS! :) you can keep updated on future GBRS events by following their blog, and you can keep updated on Niagara Artists' Centre events by visiting their website!
Eric Schmaltz - GBRS' raddest curator
a couple of hilarious audience members - Cassie Leigh and Eric Augustino
performers Marinko Jareb and Penn Kemp laughing and chatting :)
thanks so much to Eric Schmaltz, the Niagara Artists' Centre, and the Ontario Arts Council for their continued efforts to bring art and lit to Southern Ontario! :)
v go homegrown v