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Bruce Taylor at Tree

Sometimes the best part of a reading is the unscripted bit, such as how readers or the works reference each other in unplanned ways, the randomness interlinking, or such as randomly synchronous interruptions; I can recall one in which the poet said emergency and an ambulance siren, as if on cue, started to wail.

Where we get to the unplanned element, there was a Q&A. Sometimes these go badly with a good question tossed but it isn’t caught. Sometimes comically lame questions come from people who feel someone should speak because there are no questions. My favorite part of one Ottawa Writer’s Festival event was when an audience member asked those on stage what their inspiration was. The 3 exchanged looks and started laughing. When they recovered, a panelist said, next question.

And sometimes they go well like this. Nigel Beale asked a good question surrounding the difference between composing poems, building a boat and making a musical instrument, all of which Taylor does. In part he replied,

“a boat has to be pointy at an end to penetrate the water and move forward. It’s not as clear what makes a poem move”

There were a few other questions, one of which elicited doodling “is an alertness to the accidental”. That ready for attentiveness is good for poetry and living as well.

Asked about his creative cycles he said, he felt sure another book would eventually come but “when I write, I write intensely and when I am not writing I avoid poetry just as intensely.”

That’s not a possibility I considered. To be in a head-space for poetry or not. I’m always in it. Perhaps the people who appear in the poetry circles when they have something to sell and disappear when not are in the same sort of binary of intensity.

Bruce Taylor at Tree, Jan 8
I have a couple of Bruce Taylor’s books and I think this is the 4th of his readings I’ve been to. For some reason I like hearing his material again the way one would hear a song repeat. His voice stands behind his poems rather than impede them with overacting or nervous ticks. The poems go unexpected places but are not all fracture and randomness. There’s a humbleness to them that isn’t humblebrag. They are as simple as they need to be and no more. I mentioned reading him here a year ago.

You can see the whole reading he did here.

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