last Thursday. With all the literary events occuring on Thurs eve it was difficult to make a decision about which to go to. I was very tempted by the reading at the War Museum with Simic, Ede and Heighton, but I wanted to go to the Arc reading very much, so that's where I ended up. I barely got a seat because it was so crowded.
The new layout for Arc is wonderful; there's much more space. Is it my imagination or has the mag become more irreverant since Anita took over as eddy? Every issue plays with the whole "Canada's National Poetry Magazine" which people always took way too seriously anyway.
Anyway...about the reading.
It was good. The wine was plentiful, red being the favourite. In a room full of poets, always bet on red. I particularly enjoyed hearing Sylvia Adams read her winning poem, Water. I'd heard it before at Sasquatch and it lingered. Another poem that made an impression on me was Cock Pheasant by Karen Hoffman, about some old poet who was obviously a character and a good writer. It was read by one of the editors. It would be great to see an anthology of poems about poets, especially about poets that people have crushes on.
The subtitle of Arc, Canada's Smoking PoetryMagazine led to the smoking themed door prizes, ranging from old-fashioned ashtrays, smoking paraphenalia and rolling papers. It's nice to see a reading where things aren't stiff, where people relax a bit.
It was lovely to chat with people before and after the reading. I was heartened to see at least three Bywords published poets: Sandra, Stephen and Caleb at the reading.
We also heard a poem from Brebner's Ishtar Gate and a quote from Brebner's essay in the same book. Alas I can't remember which passage was quoted, but I'll put this snippet as versimilitude:
"We have the opportunity, through language... and, with spectacular openness, through poetry, to stand at the edge of the infinite holy wells, the portals and portholes that connect us all, whether in gulag shacks or laundromats, to our origin and our teleological destination.
And occasionally, for the patient watchers, the holy trout jumps up and a flash of rainbow and light is revealed. Then we are the poet and the poem, creator and created, observer and leaping fish, and heaven is ours."
My very favourite Brebner poem is "Snow Angels." Perhaps I'll read it at an upcoming Poetic Desserts or the Tree Xmas Tree reading this week.
I intend to go to the New Canon reading on Sunday eve at Arts Court. It's interesting the way there are so many anthologies of Canadian poetry out and about. I first thought this was some kind of new formalism thing, but apparently the writers thumb their noses at tradition. How can I resist?