Saturday, March 18, 2017
In among the animals
The woman is Bonnie Nish, the primary force behind Pandora's Collective, a long-standing group that promotes the arts in the Lower Mainland.
One of the many ongoing events established by Pandora's is 'Word Whips in the Gallery', a gathering that this time I was lucky enough to be a part of.
The way it works: several poets (and usually a musician and/or a dancer) are invited to visit the Zack Gallery at Vancouver's Jewish Community Centre on or around the opening of a new exhibit. Following that, they go home and prepare work that serves as a response to images in the show.
This time, the exhibit, "The Intersection of Science & Art" contained photos taken in South Africa and on the Galapagos Islands. Also included were realistic sculptures of various fish and birds, mainly ones that live here on the West Coast. Both elements served to inspire some strong responses -- not only from the poets who'd officially been invited, but from participants in the Open Mic, such as the talented Sho Wiley.
Of the pieces Bonnie read, the one that resonated solidly was one containing a line, easy for me to identify with, mentioning "days we all want to /crawl into our shell". This is particularly appropriate for Nish, as she's the editor of a book about concussion and brain injury. Not only was she the compiler of (and a contributor to) the book, but she's a survivor of concussion, unafraid to talk about it.
The work presented by the other poets offered the always imaginative range one encounters at readings, although just about everyone seemed to have a poem responding to the photograph of the blue-footed booby with its always-fashionable bright blue feet.
The imagination: surely one of the best traits of our species!