Posted: Saturday May 8, 2010
A crowd of one hundred plus gathered in the elegant surroundings of Vancouver’s Heritage Hall for the launch of the largest single season poetry list in Talon’s history. Eight of Canada’s finest poets beguiled the crowd with wildly diverse readings.
Karl Siegler opened the proceedings by discussing the meta-narrative of the list, the new formalism in poetry. Frank Davey then read from his ultra quirky example of this formalism Bardy Google.
Poet and search engine co-mingled to produce a poem of resounding rhetorical nuances.
Then Steve Collis read from On the Material, bringing emotion and form to corporate regard for the environment amid societal alienation.
Warm applause greeted Ken Norris on his return to the West Coast after a long absence. A rapt and quiet crowd appreciated the delicacy and beauty of his work Asian Skies as well as his understated delivery.
Then George Bowering strode the podium and with humour and energy read from his latest tour de force My Darling Nellie Grey, a book with 365 poems and twelve sections, in case one wondered about the formalist structure of this title.
After the break derek beaulieau started the second half with a hilarious and energetic reading of his new multi-layered offering How to Write.
Crossing blithely from poetics to comic books and pop-culture derek handily demonstrated the effectiveness of re-writing.
Anyone who has seen Weyman Chan read knows how charming he can be and how lyrical and beautiful his poetry is, but on this night reading from Hypoderm a more personal and emotional Weyman was revealed, who judging from the brisk sales of his book, struck a strong chord with the audience.
There were a number of people in the audience who had come along way to see Ken Belford. Ken read from his Decompositions – showing the art of observing closely meshed with a senior poet’s attention to language.
Finally the night concluded with the poet Weyman Chan likes to call Z, The Closer, Garry Thomas Morse. Garry read from his latest book After Jack, channelling Jack Spicer, and filling the hall and the audiences’ minds with his rich and resonant reading voice which happily hammered the poetic boundaries.
Despite the length of the evening the audience stayed glued to their seats while various people drifted in from the street lured by free pretzels, but in the end stayed, highly attentive, for free poetry. As poet Fred Wah e-mailed next day, the audience left fully sated, gorged on language and ideas.
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