Last night's Tree Reading Series event was an all open mic with two sets of ten. I haven’t been to Tree since summer, but this was the first time in ages I’d seen so many people there. The all open mic night is your chance to read from your own work or from the poetry of other writers, “cover poems” as they’re called. Most people read their own; although a few such as Mark (aka Max Middle) and Josh read stirring stuff from others too. Mark read some very fine William Blake poems, showing us all perhaps where his love of the sound of words might spring from.
The readers last night included old familiars: Baird, Bob and folks I’ve never heard read before: Patrick, Leslie, Craig and Chris; emerging poets like Rona, Sean, Heather, Roland and me, and well published writers like rob, Shane, Anita. Michelle Desbarats and Rhonda Douglas in particular really blew me away with their poems. Roland even brought in his guitar, performing a passionate composition about Charles Bukowski.
Those of us who read got to choose blind from a bag full of great fiction and poetry. I scored “Whatever Happens” Stories by Tim Conley, Insomniac Press, 2006, which is apt right now as I’m writing a lot of short stories with an emphasis on the experimental, pushing boundary stuff.
The feeling I got when I read was that people were really paying attention to what I was saying. I don’t know if it’s true, but it felt good and I haven’t read at an open mic for some time, so it was a great experience and one that made me realize I have to get out and read more in public again.
This was Tree’s final reading of 2006. I tip my touque to Rhonda and Dean for doing a great job in their first year. Next Tree will be Greg Frankson (aka Rittallin on January 9) and the usual shorter open mic of 8 people at 4 minutes each. It will be a fun time. Greg is on my sexiest male Canadian poets list.
And don’t forget to attend Chaudiere Books’ launch of Decalogue on Thursday, featuring Stephen Brockwell, Michelle Desbarats, Anita Dolman, Anne Le Dressay, Karen Massey, Una McDonnell, rob mclennan, Max Middle, Monty Reid and Shane Rhodes.
Oh one more thing…Charles took some great photos and I’m sure they’ll be appearing on his blog sometime in the near future.
And then we walked home in the unseasonably warm December night.