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Bywords Warms the Night

For the 9th time, Bywords held its Bywords warms the night fundraiser for the Cornerstone Women’s Shelter. There was music, poetry spoken and more music as Amanda Extraordinaire Earl organized and hosted. All the money [$300 this time] goes towards the women’s shelter.

• $21 will feed one woman for a week
• $75 will provide a homeless woman with the support of our Housing Worker in her search for safe and affordable housing that she can sustain when she leaves the shelter.
• $100 will provide one month of addiction or mental health counseling services for a woman in recovery from the effects of trauma and abuse
• $200 will sponsor a woman in our iSisters computer training course

Andrea Simms-Karp performed on the banjo and guitar singing her own songs. Her CD, Hiberation Nation of snow snows was for sale at the back.

The few rows of chairs gradually filled.

Jamie Bradley
Jamie Bradley, who was published in this issue of Bywords Quarterly Journal, read a few poems including his Sex at 31 poem “that smallest efficiency/that clenching jaw”. It is a hat tip to Barry McKinnon’s series exploring the character of what sex means at each 7 year interval. McKinnon’s coming to town for Versefest. Unless another city lures Bradley away, it’s easy to see him still here, crafting solid books of poems 40 years from now.

Vermont then Montreal resident Abby Paige is a newcomer to Ottawa but not to poetry. Abby read some striking work, including “Obedience” which started a little ripple thru the gathered people when she said “I dose at my desk while the poem goes out/to find itself”. Later the poem drags itself home with its prize trove, “scuffing blistered, bunioned/ feet, down the hall, soft like an old man in slippers.//It guides me to a trapdoor, a narrow/mouth circled in moss. It puts the pen/against my callous and points me in.”

What wonderful sounds and line breaks and metaphor to run thru a poem. Little bits of surprise on suprise yet over the length it all holds together.

Luminita Suse
Luminita Suse, took us from the Berlin Wall, not yet down, to a dinner table where “silence/is secured with forks and knives” until the fork “I push into my ribcage/ it gets through epidermis/the rib cage blocks/meta teeth” to “smiling with no apparent reason” “simply happy/to spend the rain together”.

If you’re in town, you can see more of Luminita and Amanda in a few days since they are also reading at Collected Works again on Thursday as part of the Guatemala Stove Project launch.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] Suse (right) is one of the poets in the chapbook. The photo was taken at the January 15′s ByWords Warms the Night:, the ninth annual ByWords fundraiser for the Cornerstone Women’s Shelter. It is fabulous when […]