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Attending to Great Poems

Ok, I said I was taking the weekend off. But since I’m reading it any and putting things on FB anyway I may as well put here too.

I went lookinfor the Pat Lowther and Gerald Lampert shortlists. Further in Stephen Rowe’s archives is this contemplation of what does “great poem” mean, in which he said,

Great poems communicate ideas of terrible significance, things we hadn’t noticed before (but wish we had), but also things we wish we may not have known. There is, above all, an honesty in such discourse, something that strikes us as true; not only true, but something able to change our understanding of the nature of truth.

Some great interviews by Jessica Ruano: Ottawa Tonight with Capital Poetry Collective who will be doing a few shows with the Fringe Festival (17th to 26th of the month)

June 19/20: “Attack of the Dreadlocks” John Akpata and Prufrock, 21/22: “The Copper Conundrum” Danielle K. L. Grégoire, Rusty Priske, and Kevin Matthews, 23rd: BWANAGEEK – The Life and Work of Steve Motherf@*!ing Sauve (A Rambling Nerd Epic), 24 and 25th : “The Adorkables” Nadine Thornhill, Jessica Ruano, Faye Estrella, Thomas McKinlay. June 26 : OPEN POETRY SHOW: mixed bag of spoken word artists.

Alessandro Porco talks about Steve Venright. If you haven’t read Steve Venright, at least sample this.

Heine Sight is a group project on playing with a poem by 1800s Heine to see what each poet would do with it.

This is old news but it’s new to me. Poetry Out Loud in the U.S. How wonderful is this. 325,000 American students participating in a poetry recitation competition. [via Farfalla Press]

It’s in its 3rd year. Winners at every level get prizes to be applied against more poetry books. We, culturally, memorize songs and jingles, and yet briskly skim poems. Or buy them. But recitation on the scale gives a cultural currency.

This year’s winner was interviewed at the Poetry Foundation and Amber Rose Johnston said

Competing in Poetry Out Loud has completely changed my perspective on written and classical poetry. For example, since Shakespeare was the author of one of my competition poems, it forced me to really analyze his style of writing and the message he wished to portray to his audience. During this process, I came to find out what a funny, and romantic writer Shakespeare really was! I no longer disregard poems because of how long ago they were written, or because the language isn’t easy to understand at first glance. In fact, because of Poetry Out Loud I truly seek the beauty in every poem, and the meaning in each line.

Poems they list range from Shakespeare to Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Donne to Lorna Dee Cervantes, Charles Bernstein to Emily Jane Brontë, Margaret Atwood to Longfellow. This goes hand in hand with the publishers of poetry promotion who did Spoken Word Revolution and The Poem I Turn to. It seems a furthering of the process of getting poems in front of people’s eyes.

It’s been a good time for getting poetry that I can hear lately. 8 new poetry books have come to live with me in the last 2 weeks. 6 this week alone. (And, 5 others in the previous 2 weeks.)

It’s been a droughtful time for a while and then the turnaround. I had 4 consecutive days where I encountered a poem or poems that made me feel a yes, yes, yes in the gut. From page, from stage, from digital screen. I hope to elaborate on some of that.

But not today. It’s my day off.

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One Response

  1. Pearl,

    Thank you so much for the mention! I’m glad you enjoyed the interviews. Hope you can make it to the Fringe Festival for one (or more) of our shows.

    All my best,

    Jessica



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