Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Double-header plus

The weekend (and even both sides of it) contained some cool events. And although today sees the World Series getting rolling, neither of my 'double-headers' had anything to do with baseball. If they had, I certainly wouldn't have been included. When they passed out the jock gene, I seem to have been short-changed.

But I was fortunate enough to be included in two events this weekend that combined music and words. One was with the Lyric Singers of Surrey and was gloriously beautiful, if I do say so myself. The all-female choir managed to elicit chills from a number of us. 

The other event was part of an ongoing series called Mashed Poetics. It's a concept that sees a band (an always-awesome band, I must say) play the songs from one particular album. Saturday's event had the band in the guise of the Egg-Suckin' Dogs presenting Johnny Cash's album from 1968, At Folsom Prison. As for the band's name, their tradition is to take a temporary name from one of the songs on whichever album they're playing. Of all the response poems presented that night, the most powerful one came from RC Weslowki, with his piece on the 33,000 acres that were drained in the Fraser Valley during the 1920s. I'm sure that many in the audience hadn't been aware of this tragic resource theft from the First Nations People who lived there. 

As for the other sides of the weekend, Thursday was a double-header launch of books from Toronto's Quattro Press -- Susan McCaslin read from Painter, Poet, Mountain: After Cezanne, her homage to the artist. She was reading with Richard Osler, launching his collection, Hyaena Season. Although the work of the two poets couldn't have been more different, each brought my attention to topics I hadn't considered before. Osler with his tales from and about Africa, McCaslin with her sensitive interpretations of Cezanne's art and her pointing just how great an influence he was to the work of other artists. 

Monday was a presentation by the talented Stephen Collis who also has another new book, Once in Blockadia. He's been called "the most dangerous poet in Canada" but really, he may simply be the bravest, as he was one of the people arrested during the anti-Kinder Morgan protests on Burnaby Mountain. This event was supposed to be another double-header, but his scientist-colleague, an expert on climate change, had some unexpected problems that meant she couldn't. Nonetheless, even on his own, Stephen's presentation lived up to others in the series presented by SFU's Department of Humanities. 

With this much going on, some simple nights of solitude sound just about right. I might even end up veging out in front of some (dare I say) mindless baseball. (Go Cubs!)

No comments: