amongst books

amongst books

Monday, March 18, 2013

VERSeFest 2013 - final thoughts

thanks to the dedicated VERSefest team. I'm gobsmacked. the festival was such an incredible array of poetry. loved getting a chance to chat with the poets as well. I do believe that the festival, already fantastic in its first year & second, is improving with age. & according to its director, Rod Pederson, it's going to be here for 122  years. I plan to attend all 122.

it's only a day after the festival but so much of it will stay with me. highlights included 
Rob Winger's the Next Poem;
Emile Zoe Baker's imaginative set, vegetarian zombies; 
Luna Allison's Don't Date To Domesticate accompanied by the talented Glenn Nuotio on keyboards & his socks;
Nathaniel Larochettte's choose your own adventure poem & his socks;
Matt Jones candour;
the deadpan wit of Rita Ann Higgins; 
the fanciful & wine-soaked imagery of Matthew Sweeney; 
the ghost trobaritz' whose shadows accompanied Catherine Owen's poems, & her portraits of two exotic worlds;
Stuart Ross' childlike I;
Don McKay's "Snowball Earth";
Gil McElroy's playful deconstruction & close up of language in the ABC IOU poem, like a biologist examining cells beneath microscope; 
Claudia Coutu Radmore's voice ringing out for the zany Dear Shark & the references to classical music;
Ewan Whyte's hushed Latin translations & playfully wry observations  of riding the Greyhound bus;
Magpie Ulysses' compelling tales of hitchhiking; 
RC Weslowki's candour, whimsy & mesmerizing stage presence...

Christine McNair's Dear Darling & the strength of her voice, the tension in her work, the word play & sound play; 
the very inspiring Hall of Honour event, including rob mclennan's wonderful intro, William Hawkins quiet & strong voice, memories of when Kent was a two-way street, King Kong, Greg Frankson's beautiful voice, the fruit picker poem, beautiful drumming of ArRAY of WoRds;
David O'Meara reading the English side by side with Eric Lindner's poems;
Hélène Gelèns brilliant performance & her tightly focused poems. I loved hearing the Dutch language, the places where it intersected with English & then moved away, the patterns of poems & their tone being understandable even without words;

the hosts of all the events, the volunteers: the front door folk, the back hall folk, the bartenders & tenderesses;

the indie table & volunteer vendors, David Dollin & the booksellers, well stocked tables full of great books, CDs & journals & chapbooks & VERSeFest merch;

conversations with dear friends, new friends, old friends reappeared after years of absence from our literary community. i'm going to miss you all...

what a week. beauty. see you next year!

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