amongst books

amongst books

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rambly impressions of Day 3 - OIWF

I can do no more than share impressions of last night's John Newlove Poetry Award reading from the point of view of hosting, which is quite different from the point of view of a member of the audience. I was pleased that all participants arrived on time, that the stage was prepared. That my favourite team of sound magicians was in place. That Sean Wilson was there to introduce me, that I didn't have to be overly concerned with time because the event was well choreographed in advance by me & during would be overseen by Sean. He has a wonderfully calming presence.

I was happy that the CBC All in a Day event with Lynn Miles was following ours. It fit well with our event, since ours included music.  I was less pleased that the event at the start didn't look like it was going to be that well-attended, but gratified, in the end, when it was. Traffic difficulties due to the sink hole on Elgin at Laurier caused delays for some people, but they made it. Hurray!

I was pleased to see many friends & supporters of Bywords in the room. I was touched by the generosity of the festival in providing our participants with free passes & festival back packs full of goodies as they have done every year for nine years. & by Neil Gerster's kind gift of his CD to all participants.  

I was thrilled that all the readers gave wonderful readings & I was especially moved to hear the John Newlove poems read. This event is a tribute to his words & I'm glad people participated in the homage. I was glad that Neil Gerster, our musician, sang & played beautifully, so much so that by the end I was so engrossed in his performance, I almost forgot to resume my hosting duties. I was happy that we could publish rob mclennan's Miss Canada (International) & quite pleased at how it turned out. I am grateful to the festival for continuing to be a home for the John Newlove Poetry Award & being so supportive & helpful to our participants & to Bywords. I enjoyed my glass of red wine & chocolate afterward.

Congratulations to Jenna Jarvis, the year's winner & to Abby Paige & Ramesh Dohan, the honourable mentions.

The Lynn Miles show was amazing. Alan Neal had done a great job of gathering together clips from past interviews & messages from people who weren't able to attend, such as former record producers, fellow musicians Murray McLauchlan, Jim Bryson. The performances by Lynn & by the surprise guests were incredible. Of particular excitement for me was hearing Sarah Slean sing Black Flowers, one of my favourite Lynn Miles songs. it was spine shivering. Also Erin Saoirse Adair, the winner of the contest to perform a song based on a lyric of Lynn's was so poised & talented. Her song about a drunken booty call in the wee small  hours, featuring Alan Neal as the drunk caller, in which Lynn sang along, was so much fun. She has a beautiful voice & seemed comfortable on stage. I hope to hear more from this local musician in future. If someone gives me her name, I'll correct my entry.

Another memory, the two people who came up on stage, whose names I sadly can't remember at all, : one who had supported Lynn early on by investing in her CD; another fan who had been given the opportunity to request a song & explain why it was important to her chose Loneliness, explaining that Lynn's lyrics represent what we are all feeling & are cathartic. The very beautiful drummer from Senegal (whose name I didn't catch, so mesmerized by his drumming & stunningly handsome looks )improvising with Lynn on The One You're Waiting For. Lynne Hensen's (sp?) performance too. gosh so many great highlights, hard to pinpoint just a few.
The room was packed with fellow musicians, well known members of the local folk community & more than a few authors. Lynn & Alan's on stage rapport was enjoyable. Lynn is not only a skilled & talented musician, but also has a fine & wonderful sense of humour. I laughed so hard I had to wipe the tears from my eyes. & the poignant music brought tears to my eyes as well.  I was thrilled by the evening. it was a true gift to this ardent fan of Lynn Miles.
please forgive the rambly, barely grammatical or logical impressions today, mes amis.  why do I sense these posts will become more so as the festival continues?

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