More Info.: http://www.facebook.com/events/811999785496729/
More Info.: http://www.facebook.com/events/811999785496729/
More Info.: http://www.facebook.com/events/811999785496729/
I had the pleasure of attending Catherine Kidd’s preview of Hyena Subpoena, which debuted pieces from her new performance and revisited a few old pieces too. The performance took place at New City Gas in Griffintown – a big old rustic space that was an ideal venue for the show. Kidd had a few benches set up for her guests, though far more than she expected turned up.
As always, Kidd’s performance pieces are energetic and poetic. She is a true wordsmith who fuses humour and facts (often pertaining to zoology and biology) and showcases an uncanny ability to tell stories in a truly vivacious way. A pro at making connections, she veers off on unexpected tangents and moves seamlessly from one subject to an entirely divergent one. This is all furthered by her incredible ability to perform– utilizing an array of voices, accents, facial expressions and gestures. Often she sets her pieces to music (provided by DJ Jacky Murda), and “video environments,” created by herself and Geoff Agombar, are projected behind her.
Kidd marched out looking convincingly like a nervous youth, with a colourful collaged helmet on her head. Her opening story was about two pre-teens into John Lennon and anti-violence being harassed by the jocks on their school’s lacrosse team.
Kidd explained that all of her new oral stories examine the notion of the outcast, those who are different from others, whose unique personalities result in their exclusion. The hyena was chosen for having a bad reputation while another piece touched on the attitude the majority of people have towards the homeless.
The title piece of her new performance, “Hyena Subpoena,” featured footage Kidd shot in 2007 in South Africa of a young female hyena. Kidd rapped her rhythmic poetry, which offered unique insights, while playing as always, with the sound and texture of language.
An unnerving film of a dying lioness (also filmed by Kidd while in Africa) was meant to make the audience squirm, which it did. The content of her piece “Dying Lioness” shifted from the irony of infection diseases to refugees fleeing poverty. Her performance of this piece at New City Gas can be viewed on Kidd’s website.
Another piece is told from the perspective of an acapela antelope and takes inspiration from the short story The Lottery. This piece began rather humorously, with an antelope reflecting on his species’ nature of chewing and listening and commenting on the slower antelopes, those who fail to follow the herd. The focus shifted to ideas of predator and prey and a tale of a young girl’s hazardous encounter with some older boys.
Kidd’s old performances were just as gripping. “Sea Peach” was about the sea creature that resembles a human heart, and a female woman who is in actuality a fox, her true identity only revealed is she allows herself to fall in love.
Kidd is a truly charismatic performer who never breaks character and whose show was flawlessly tight. Kidd has a lot of guts, to say the least, to perform alone on stage with her personal thoughts, words, and emotive expressionism. Kidd is not merely a poet, but truly a performer, and actress. Few writers would have the courage to put themselves on display in the manner she does, and performances of this type seem to, unfortunately, be few and far between these days. Her show stuck with me and all of my friends that accompanied me for days after and everyone in attendance that didn’t already have her previously released books rushed to purchase them. Missing the Arc (Kidd’s first and only novel so far) is one of my all time favourite novels and works of writing in general, infused with zoology, biology, poetry and an intimate sense of realism.
Kidd is planning to take her new set of performance pieces on the road in 2011. If she performs again in Montreal, I highly recommend attending. You certainly won’t regret it as it is an inspiring experience unlike any other.
Vallum’s most recent Café/Culture reading was held at the Divan Orange on August 15th. Most of the readers at this event are featured in Vallum‘s latest issue, “Renegades,” on newsstands now. If you weren’t able to attend, here’s what you missed! A good-sized group turned up for a rainy Sunday evening, the best time for reading! The Divan Orange offered a quiet, peaceful setting for listening to poetry.
Larissa Andrusyshyn captured the crowd with readings from her book Mammoth (DC Books, 2010). Full of insightful comments and factoids, from science and Paleontology to the humorous and imaginative. The way the words lingered on her tongue was captivating, as was her content, particularly the personification of kidneys in wool sweaters, unemployed, doing crosswords in Starbucks.
Nelly Roffe’s poem, delivered first in French then read in English for the first time, was a treat. Painting a vivid scene of Santa Maria, complete with church bells and the connotative emotions associated with religion.
Illona Martonfi’s poetic childhood tales were moving, particularly the depiction of her grandmother’s life in Hungary in the 19th century. Her first collection of poems is Blue Poppy (Coracle Press, 2009).
Our surprise reader, Jeffrey Mackie, offered poems on memory and comments on consumerism. His performance was entertaining and humourous, touching on pop culture and ‘cultural A.D.D.’
The final poet of the evening, Harold Hoefle, engaged the audience with brief yet complex portraits of characters and truly captured the sense and feeling surrounding bar encounters . His short poems conveyed impressively full worlds. Favourite line was “he was a ‘no,’ you were the ‘brainer’.
The evening ended with Patrick Hutchison on guitar and John Kerkhoven on harmonica and vocals. The tales they told in song and rhyme were a success. The audience stomped along to their lively folk music, ranging from Scottish, fisherman to pub songs.
Thank you to everyone who came out; readers and supporters alike, for making this event a success!
Don’t miss the latest event in the Vallum Poetry Reading Series, featuring Larissa Andrusyshyn, Ilona Martonfi, Harold Hoefle, and Nelly Roffé, with music by John Kerkhoven and Patrick Hutchinson.
Join us on August 15, 2010 @ 8pm for a night of poery and music at
Le Divan Orange
4234 Boul. Saint-Laurent – Mount Royal Metro (514) 840-9090
Larissa Andrusyshyn recently completed a master’s in creative writing at Concordia University. She co-ordinates writing workshops in outreach schools and works at a veterinary hospital. Her work has appeared in CV2, Headlight, The Future Hygienic (Pistol Press 2009) and Rogue Stimulus (Mansfield press 2010). Her first book of poems, Mammoth, was released by DC Books this spring.
Ilona Martonfi’s Blue Poppy (Coracle Press, 2009) is her first book of poems. She is also the author of a chapbook, Visiting the Ridge (Coracle Press, 2004). Martonfi’s poems have appeared in Vallum, Carte Blanche, The Fiddlehead, Poetry Quebec, Headlight Anthology, Accenti, Bibliosofia (Italy), Arcade, and other journals. She was a finalist in the Quebec Writing Competition in 2007; her short story, “My Daughter, Marisa,” appeared in the CBC’s Story Anthology III, and other work in In Other Words: New English Writing from Quebec (Véhicule Press, 2008). She is the founder, producer/ host of reading series at both The Yellow Door and the Visual Arts Centre in Montreal
Nelly Roffé has translated two books of Mercedes Roffé’s poetry published by Le Noroît, Rodolfo Häsler’s “ Tête d’ébène” ( Barcelona) by Les Écrits des Forges, Pura Lopez Colome’s “C’est l’ether” (Mexico), and a play by the young Mexican author Humberto Perez Mortera , “La dernière aventure de Poderoso.” Roffé gives also conferences on North African literature, poetry of exile, the Inquisition, woman and literature, and recently on tango at University of Quebec. She has participated in the writing of several anthologies of sephardic literature and has been granted bursaries for research in Madrid, Granada and Banff. She is now writing her own poetry.
Harold Hoefle‘s short fiction has been published in numerous journals, and his non-fiction won an Honorable Mention at the 2006 National Magazine Awards. In 2008, his novel The Mountain Clinic was published by Ottawa’s Oberon Press; last year, the novel was a finalist for the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, sponsored by the Quebec Writers’ Federation. Most recently, his short story “Reception” won 1st prize in the Carleton University Literary Contest.
John Kerkhoven is a writer, editor, and document designer who has been blowing harp and singing on local stages for a few years with no intention to stop.
Patrick Hutchinson has been playing on the Montréal scene for nigh on three decades and is currently, among other things, one third of Swift Years who have a soon-to-be-released fifth CD.
Reporting back from our foray into Montreal schools!
Talented poet, John Kerkhoven, hosted three 75 min workshops at Royal Vale School. He was greeted by Cynthia Bennett, the grade 9 teacher, and warmly introduced to her students. John read poetry and had the students work in groups to create their own poems about spring. Some interesting and creative pieces were produced.
Sandra Erickson, a visiting poet from Vermont, hosted four workshops at Westmount High, John F. Kennedy, Gerald McShane, and Lester B. Pearson High Schools. Sandra is a gifted poet and educator who challenged her students with acrostic exercises and other useful approaches to poetry. She found the students scintillating and witty.
We want to thank these two great poets for their contributions and support of Vallum’s Outreach Program. We also want to thank Michael E. Sweet for his assistance in organizing this event. And thanks to the teachers and students who welcomed poetry into their schools!
Held at Sparrow on St. Laurent north, the lounge provided the reading with the perfect atmosphere for a cozy Montreal reading in late March. The dim lighting, dark wood tables and old black and white portraits hung salon-style on the far wall was a warm retreat from the light snowfall outside. By the time the reading began the medium-sized room was packed with patrons leaning against walls and crouching on the floor.
Each reader, all featured in Matrix’s “New Feminisms” issue, offered a different perspective on the theme. The notion of translation, in particular, surfaced several times throughout the evening. Brownwyn Hsylam read translations of Nicole Brossard’s work. I was particularly impressed with the strict rules Hsylam imposed on her transations. She describes them as ‘anagram translations’ and offers further explanation in the “New Feminisms” issue: “… these translations use the same number of each letter as in the orginal French poem. This translation is tonal strain, inflecting English with the letteral character of the French.” The effect is a translation that combines both meaning and the feeling of the original language.
In addition, Christine Sy read from her prose piece “An Anishinaabekwe Intellectual History, 21st Century Turtle Island,” featured in the issue. Her lyric prose included Anishinaabekwe words, which required some translation. Her strong presence as a reader and beautifully crafted images drew me into her piece and the world it described. The Anishinaabekwe words, which were only translated once at the beginning of her performance, reflected what her piece ultimately provided for me: a translation of experience.
Indeed, the notion of translating experience, particularly the experiences of women, was loosely present throughout the reading. (In fact, it could be argued that all writing is, in a sense, a translation of experience, feelings, senses etc.)
Melissa Bow, who began the evening strongly, experimented with a ‘cut-up’ technique in one poem, where she took apart Derek Walcott’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize and put it back together. Reminscient of Burroughs’ and Dadaist techniques, the poem can be seen as kind of translation, offering a new intepretation of Walcott’s own words.
Julie McIssac read from “The Baby Section,” a story that appears in the issue. Simple language and precise descriptions characterize her reading. McIssac embodied the main character in her reading, perfectly capturing the moment of revelation, where this young women reveals her pregnancy and thoughts about the absent father.
Angela Hibbs read poetry not featured in the issue. “Good Housekeeping” stood out for me. The poem described the landscape of a housewife’s environment, focusing on cleaning products and areas needing attention. Again, a strong sense of the female experience was present and highlighted by her use of language and rhythm.
Zoe Page injected the reading with humor— and chose to share a prose piece about attending a “specific” party. Indeed the repetition of “specific” combined with her honest description of the speaker’s fears and position in this “specific” scene, both vividly captured ‘that kind’ of party and humorously jabbed the ‘hip’ culture of today.
Ending the evening with a bang, spoken word artist T.L. Cowan read a long piece composed entirely of questions. Often humorous and with a focus on sexuality, the piece prodded at the notion of female sexuality. Cowan’s strong presence as a reader was a joy to watch.
Ultimately the reading was a great experience. I would highly recommend checking out Matrix’s “New Feminisms” issue and visiting their website for online content that wasn’t included in the issue.
For once, I won’t be using the word “chill” in reference to my daily trek to the post office (if we seem not to be answering our mail, I froze to the sidewalk on the way over. I’ll get to it when spring has sprung).
Vallum hosted our third Cafe/Culture, and we seem to be getting the knack for it. Larissa, Sherwin and Bryan all melded together brilliantly, and provided a logical progression to the evening.
Sherwin read us a chapter from his novel, alongside some poetry. Bryan meditated on winter depression and the joy of self-medication. Larissa read a selection of works in progress, commenting on the number of kidney transplants she has seen.
We continue to be motivated by the turnout and the warm reception granted to us by the Arts Cafe. I am getting less nervous about renting speakers. We are becoming resigned to the fact that the weather never cooperates (first we were seared in the heat, then rained out and now cold and snowy). At least in January we were more prepared.
Cheers all – we will head out again in the spring.
What’s cooler than cool…? Ice cold!
Vallum is shaking off the winter blahs by welcoming hot Montreal poets
Larissa Andrusyshyn, Sherwin Tjia and Bryan Sentes
to the Arts Café for the third edition of Café/Culture!
Chill with Vallum on Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 7pm
Mark it in your Facebook event calendar!
Arts Café is located at 201 Fairmount West, Montréal
This is a free event!
P.S. Zine press the unkindness of ravens will be joining us!
Okay, first of all, I was late. And that door banging shut behind me was real loud. I’m sorry, but schlepping in from St-Henri in a snowstorm is…no real excuse at all when you are taking the metro.
I was in time, however, to catch Larissa Andrusyshyn amongst other talented Concordia graduate students read a selection of their poems. They were presented by Stephanie Bolster, and they all presented richly textured poetry that made me forget my wet feet. Blizzarts was kind of eerie due to the focused silence that seemed to revolve around the microphone. I particularly enjoyed the work of Ksenija Spasic and her travelogue of poetry.
Standout memories from the night:
– Monty Reid’s descriptions of parasites that were both revolting and revealing
– rob mclennan’s attempt to win over the crowd by promoting the Ottawa Senators
– Jon Paul Fiorentino dancing like a flamingo (a direct side effect of Reid’s poetic and parasitic reading, I will explain, not in any way implying that Fiorentino can’t dance)
Anyways – kudos to Matrix and I promise, I’ll show up again.
Stop by and say hi to the Vallum crew on Saturday and Sunday (November 29 and 30) at EXPOZINE, Montreal’s not-to-be-missed small press, comic and zine fair! Freebies, deals and good times aplenty!
Details can be found the on the expozine website.
See you there!
P.S. Rumours have it the new issue will be available! Get yours!