Saturday, March 27, 2010

Poetry, in triple time

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.


Janet Vickers said...

how lovely to read about the power of communication, and the third age learners

hg said...

Yes, Janet, the Third Agers were a perky bunch. Terrific questions from very lively minds.