was the featured reader at the dusty owl yesterday. the crowd was small, no doubt still hung over from senators celebrations, but it was an attentive audience. brown read from photographic evidence, states of matter and her most recent book night echoes. plus some new material from two manuscripts in progress. it is always a pleasure to hear her read. her poems are little stories with compelling characters and situations. much of what she read was dark, but it was interspersed with humour. there’s an integrity and honest to brown’s poetry that shines through. later in the evening brown also won the dusty owl object of desire contest with her excellent impromptu poem about a bread/cutting board.
one of my favourite of brown’s poems of the evening was a variation on jack and the beanstalk where a woman is told she “doesn’t know jack” and goes on to describe all the men she does know, including jack. i really enjoy the eroticism of brown’s poetry also. if she doesn’t write erotic fiction, she should. she’d be great at it.
the open set was fun also and included yours truly, Marcus McCann, Sean Zio. i really enjoyed McCann’s sestina, which was full of word play, humour and interesting pauses. Zio performed an old favourite, Wild Geese by Mary Oliver, and also a love poem that was full of sound play and rhythm. Martin Levine read his usual e-mail to his sister; one woman read a “funny” anti fat poem. i have to say that there’s usually always one person in an open mic who will use the precious time on stage to be mean or make fun of people. fat is the last acceptable hate it seems. i love sitting in an audience and hearing my body and those like mine referred to as lard. why is it that these kind of poems always seem to rhyme?
the rain meant another pitcher of beer and another and then karaoke. what happens at karaoke stays at karaoke, but i have to say that Steve Zytveld’s amazing Tom Waits does Bon Jovi's Bed of Roses is damn funny. one woman did such a beautiful rendition of Wham’s Careless Whisper that members of the audience got up and danced. she has such a soulful, haunting voice, she could easily take her talent in that direction. kudos to Chris of Dog and Pony Sound. he puts on a good show and makes everyone feel so at ease.
it was a wonderful afternoon of poetry, music, and good friends.
next at the dusty owl will be their mid-summer night’s dream group reading on july 17. i think they might be starting earlier than usual. funds collected will go to a charity. check their schedule at http://www.dustyowl.com/ or bywords.ca for more info.
don’t forget the small press fair is saturday, june 16th, preceded by a reading from out-of-towners: Jennifer Hill-Kaucher, Dan Waber, and Stuart Ross at the Carleton Tavern on friday night at 7:30.