Twas a crisp night in early October when I strolled to the bottom of Gloucester Street & into Ottawa’s City Hall where, aside from being given the opportunity to vote in the upcoming municipal election, I had the choice—a much more interesting one—to attend the opening reading of the A B Series’ 8th Season. Ok, it wasn’t a choice at that point, I’d already decided that this was my plan.
The reading took place inside the recently named Karsh-Masson Gallery with an exhibit by Karsh Award recipient, Chantal Gervais. I love it when readings are in galleries. As E. pointed out, when S. read, two arms from the photograph behind her surrounded her, as if they were buoying her up.
There’s a visceral rawness to Gervais’ work, triptych of a naked man’s body, photos of a neatly organized garage with a canoe suspended from the ceiling, x-ray type bodies, an examination of the other…the self…
“C has burrowed far into bodies—into intimate fat, flesh, the crooks of bones, injured limbs, her own scared, scarred heart…” from the catalogue & fitting for the evening’s readings.
S. read from new work & texts from recent responses to the art of Michèle Provost & the photography of Pedro Isztin. The new work was poignant & powerful. Sandra works primarily in the long poem format & the work is minimal. She reads carefully, gives the work space, given the readers time to breathe & take in her words. The Prairies were prevalent in both poets’ readings. & there were other intersections as well: music lyrics, fathers…
E. read from her latest book, Insecession a dual book with Chus Pato's Secession. C. writes in Galician. E. translates, adding her own parallel text. Biographies alongside notions of poetics.
Both poets work in the form of the fragment, don’t complete, don’t answer questions. This is satisfying to me. & then the organizer, Max Middle, took a photo of the two of them, side by side, jumping in at the last minute to be part of the moment.