Even though it isn’t quite Poetry Month, it’s been a week filled with plenty of poems. So, quick, a bit of a recap before it’s time to shut down the power in observance of Earth Hour.
Wednesday saw me presenting poems and ideas to a welcoming group of women who are participating in a Third Age Learning Program. They were responsive and warm, full of questions that helped guide the direction of my reading. They even bought into a writing prompt I gave, creating three cooperatively-written poems.
On Thursday the spotlight moved onto Carmine Starnino, a fine poet whose most recent book, This Way Out, was a finalist for the 2009 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Besides reading in the reading series sponsored by our local Arts Council, he also did a presentation for Aislinn Hunter’s creative writing class at Kwantlen.
I’m still getting feedback today on the way Carmine’s poems affected people – as witnessed by this, part of an email from a local writer, Vaughan: "Just wanted to say that both Joan and I, it seems, resonated all day with last night's reading. Thank you ... and if you have a chance, please let Carmine know that the reading went deep for at least two people in the audience."
Then today I was able to come full circle, this time attending a workshop presentation by singer/songwriter/composer Veda Hille. We were looking at lyrics, considering different ways to approach creating them.
One of the exercises she led us through had us using found phrases as a start-up to our writing. When asked whether rhyme needs to be a component in song lyrics, Veda replied by playing one of my favourite songs ever, “Frank Mills”, from the musical, Hair. I took that as a resounding No.
The video below is a snippet of Veda performing a powerfully discordant (dis-chord-ant?) piece based on the journals of painter, Emily Carr. In it, Hille was trying to capture Carr’s anger and frustration borne out in the line, “for fifteen years I did not paint!” And yes, it seemed appropriate this performance should have happened in an art gallery.