Interview & Four Poems: Laurie D Graham, Featured Poet for London Open Mic, May 6/15
Laurie D Graham was raised in Sherwood Park, Alberta, and now lives in London, where she writes, reviews, teaches, and helps edit Brick magazine. Rove, her first book of poetry, was published by Regina’s Hagios Press in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Her second book of poetry is due out with McClelland & Stewart in 2016. Work from that forthcoming collection recently won The Puritan’s Thomas Morton Memorial Prize, was shortlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize and Arc’s Poem of the Year contest, and is forthcoming in Prairie Fire.
(Interview by Kevin Heslop for London Open Mic Poetry Night)
KH: I guess one of the first things someone might notice is the sentence, that a voice more akin to prose in “Lady of Attiwandaron” sharpens into poetry; dispersive language focuses into punctuated knots and a tighter succession of images. I wonder if in the writing you feel a certain sense of incantation or a kind of Homeric supplication to the muses? A kind of seatbelt, headlights, try the wipers, put it in gear, reverse out of the driveway before the necessity of obstacles or byways determine your path. A kind of lubricate the subconscious with descriptive scene-setting before the going. In the context of being spoken through rather than speaking, to what degree do you feel at the helm of your work?
LG: A fair bit, ultimately. That move, in “Lady of Attiwandaron,” from prose sentences to image-litany is a deliberate one, to show the senses intensifying in that place (the Southwold Earthworks), the sounds and images revealing themselves and piling up and humming ever louder. But you might be right about getting into the mode of poetry, into the cockpit. I try to start with an image or an idea, and I try to start in an unassuming way—sort of surprising the reader into the poem—but I am indeed the one doing the sensing, the perspective is mine, and to claim that there is something speaking through me assumes that what I say contains some sort of unadulterated objectivity, some sort of truth, which I can’t (and mustn’t) claim.
KH: Who or which works would you cite as early influences, and from whom or what or which place or what kind of experience do you continue to draw inspiration?
LG: I count as earliest influences Shel Silverstein, Dennis Lee, Maya Angelou, Charles Bukowski, Diane Di Prima, and Allen Ginsberg, among others. While I was writing Rove, I had a handful of books acting as totems: Andrew Suknaski’s Wood Mountain Poems, Dennis Lee’s Civil Elegies, Jan Zwicky’s Robinson’s Crossing, Fred Wah’s Diamond Grill, and Myrna Kostash’s All of Baba’s Children. These days it’s the story of these lands and the colonial history of this place that’s driving the work.
Click here to read the rest of the interview, Laurie's poems, and the event info
April Fool's Day, with no fools
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Watch the SLIDE SHOW of the April 1st, National Poetry Month event. Here.
(The videos didn't work out this time.)
Sparrow Pencil work by London artist James Wood See James Wood's blog.
From Frank Davey Blog:
Will Naomi Klein Read Derek Beaulieu's KERN?
Kern, by Derek Beaulieu. Los Angeles: Les Figues, 2015. 92 pp. $17.00.
“Kern is made by hand using dry transfer lettering without the use of computers,” Derek Beaulieu begins his “Author’s Note” afterword to this impressive collection of visual poems. Most poems are made by hand, of course, even those made by hands on typewriter or computer keyboards. It’s not so much the hand, however, that Beaulieu seems concerned with here – disabled artists are known to draw with their feet or mouths, and hands are still used to turn on most smartphones and other computers – as it is the non-use of computers. Beaulieu follows the avant-garde tradition here of re-purposing commercial technologies that were abandoned before their full artistic potential could be explored. Usually artists have been attracted to commerce’s cast off technologies such as the letter press and the mimeograph because they’ve been inexpensive to acquire. That’s not necessarily the case here. In fact the production of Les Figues’ elegant 8" x 8" edition of Beaulieu’s poems appears unsurprisingly indebted to computers, right down the barcode.
The most widely known brand name of dry transfer lettering during the 1960s and 70s was Letraset, which bpNichol used in some of his early Ganglia books, and which I used on each page of the first four issues of Open Letter in 1965-1967. Beaulieu writes here that it was then “a specialized tool with an expensive price tag”; I don’t recall that. It was an inexpensive tool by contrast to typesetting, and could be easily combined with the other then developing technologies of offset printing, which I used, and xeroxing, which Nichol used, to make multiple
Winners of the 2015 Poetry London Contest
This year's judge: Gregory Betts
1st Place: Kevin Heslop: "all of language is braille"
2nd Place: Penn Kemp: "As if you are leaping in the air"
Honourable Mention: Jeremy Nathan Marks: "Newport"
The winning poems were read at the March 25th Poetry London event, which featured poets Gregory Betts and Matthew Henderson.
PENN KEMP FEATURING WITH JOHN NYMAN, APRIL 1
Penn Kemp will be joining John Nyman to feature at out April 1st event at Mykonos.
April is National Poetry Month. As in the past, London Open Mic will feature two poets, but this time it will also include its regular contingent of about 15 open mic readers. John Nyman and Penn Kemp will feature during the first hour, followed by a Q&A for both of them, and the open mic section after the intermission.
Penn: "I’m delighted to celebrate National Poetry Month through the League of Canadian Poets with London Open Mic and John Nyman at Mykonos. Our topic this year is, very appropriately, FOOD!"
FIFTY YEARS of Writing and Publishing in London… and Away
Activist poet, performer and playwright Penn Kemp is Creative Age London’s Writer-in-Residence. She is the inaugural Poet Laureate for London Ontario (2010-12), a Life Member of the League of Canadian Poets, and a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal. For Creative Age London, Penn has curated a series of four free reading/workshops to be held Saturday mornings in May at Landon Library.
Penn’s poetry was first published fifty years ago in Western’s literary magazine, FOLIO, when she was an Honours English student. Before that, she was the editor of the Masonville Gazette and the Medway Magnet! Since her first book was published by Coach House Press in 1972, she has been pushing textual and aural boundaries, often in participatory performance work. Penn has published twenty-six books of poetry and drama, had six plays and ten CDs produced as well as several award-winning videopoems.
As Writer-in-Residence for Western, her project was the DVD, Luminous Entrance: a Sound Opera for Climate Change Action, Pendas Productions. For seven years, Penn has presented an eclectic literary show, Gathering Voices, on Radio Western: see http://chrwradio.ca/content/upcoming-episodes-gathering-voices. Her essays have been widely anthologized in such Canadian works as the League of Canadian Poets Feminist Caucus archives, Windsor Review: special Alice Munro issue; Untying The Apron; Basements and Attics, Closets and Cyberspace; and Poetry London’s Possessions. Having performed in festivals around the world, most recently in Britain, Brazil and India, Penn lives in the house she grew up in here in London, where she edits poetry for Pendas Productions with her husband Gavin Stairs. She has been heralded by the Writers’ Union as a “one woman literary industry”. Updates and poems are on http://mytown.ca/pennletter and https://pennkemp.wordpress.com/, https://pennkemp.wordpress.com/, linkedin.com/pennkemp,twitter.com/pennkemp.
Penn Kemp: Interview and Five Poems, From London Open Mic, April, 2014
Click here to read five of Penn's poems on food and for the event info
UPCOMING POETRY EVENTS
IN THE LONDON AREA:
(See the page, Upcoming Poetry Events, for more details.)
Plus, for the coming week: All TORONTO poetry events
Plus, for all performance poetry, including SLAM, events in London
Sat. Apr. 25th: Reading by Andreas Gripp and Laurie D Graham: Central Library's Contemporary London Authors Readings Program
Location: Central Library 1st Floor Stevenson & Hunt (A+B)
When: 11:00 am to 12:00
Description: The Contemporary London Authors collection is a collection of fiction, poetry and plays written by London, Ontario authors. New authors and materials are always being added. Come join us for an afternoon of readings as eleven recent inductees will read from their works of poetry, graphic novels and fiction. 11-12 Poetry with Laurie Graham and Andreas Gripp. New Book Release: Andreas Gripp has just released his 20th volume of poetry, which will be on sale at the reading or online: Title: Apocrypha: Poems Selected & New Volume 3 by Andreas Gripp
Sat. Apr. 25th: Reading by Penn Kemp with musician Bill Gilliam
Location: East Village Coffee House
754 Dundas at English, London. 226-271-6141
When: 7:00 0 9:00 pm
Description:Welcome to our new sound adventure!To celebrate SPRING, we are performing “Wild Crafting” and “Trance Dance Form: a Sound Opera”! Light Eats! Light Sounds! Delicious refreshments
$5.00 donation at the door. Books and CDs will be available.
Sat. May 2, 9, 23, 30, June 6 Creative Aging Reading/ Poetry Workshops
Curated and introduced by Penn Kemp, Writer in Residence, Creative Age Festival London
Five readings/workshops from several of Canada’s most rousing writers at Landon Library, London, will encourage you to step into creatively aging through their inspiration. Each reading is followed by a workshop to explore your own writing in whatever form it takes. Spring is the time for new beginnings: what springs to mind for you? FREE. Register by phone 519 661.5122, on-line or in person at any Library branch. Phone registration starts April 16th. The events are downstairs @Landon Library,167 Wortley Rd. London N6C 3P6. 10am- noon.
May 2: Allan Briesmaster*
May 9: Patricia Keeney*
May 23: Sheri-D Wilson*
May 30th: Sandy Ross
June 6: Penn Kemp, 10:30 am- noon
Wed., Thurs. May 13, 14
David Stones in Infinite Sequels at Stratford
David Stones is one of London Open Mic's regular open mic readers, and will be a featured reader in the future. His performance at the upcoming Spring Works Festival in Stratford, his home town, will be a major milestone in his life as a poet. London Open Mic's organizer, and possibly other members as well, will be travelling out to see his performance, and we encourage other Londoners and area poets to support him as well.
More events coming: Email me any poetry-related event, any kind of poetry, it all goes here. email@example.com
Featured poets to come
London Open Mic Poetry Night has its roster of features filled part way into the fourth season.
April 1st, our National Poetry Month event, as previously advertised, will feature two of London‘s “experimental” poets, John Nyman and Penn Kemp. And of course, after the intermission, there will be our third and most important feature--the full slate of open mic readers. The event is expected to be packed, so anyone wanting a chair would be advised not to come late. The venue, Mykonos Restaurant, holds 65 comfortably.
May 6, 2015, will feature Laurie D. Graham, a fairly new resident of London and a well-known Canadian poet.
June 3, 2015, will feature John B Lee, who has long workshopped in London with Londoners, and is the lifetime Poet Laureate of Brantford.
Season 4: 2015-2016
Oct. 7, 2015, will feature Madeline Bassnett, who teaches English at Western.
Nov. 4, 2015, will feature Charles Mountford, a Stratford poet and humourist.
THE APRIL 1ST EVENT
WHERE: The Mykonos Restaurant at 572 Adelaide St. North, London, Ontario. The restaurant has a large, covered terrace just behind the main restaurant, which comfortably holds 60 poetry lovers. Mediterranean food and drinks are available. Except for the coldest months, the terrace is open to the parking lot behind. Overflow parking is available across the side street and in the large lot one block north, in front of Trad’s Furniture.
WHEN: Doors: 6:00 to 6:30 (It's a restaurant.) Event begins at 7:00
THE FEATURED POET: John Nyman, followed by Penn Kemp, will open the poetry portion of the event at 7:00, followed by a Q&A. See John's bio.
OPEN MIC: Following the featured poet, open mic poets will read, the first 15 before a break at about 9:00 pm, and any more poets reading until 10:30. Each poet has five minutes (which is about two good pages of poetry, but it should be timed at home). Sign up on the reader`s list, which is on the book table at the back. It's first come, first served.
COVER: By donation (in donation jar on back table, or use Donate Button on website Donate Page).
RAFFLE PRIZES: Anyone who donates at the event receives a ticket for a raffle prize, three of which will be picked after the intermission. The prizes consist of poetry books donated by Brick Books and The Ontario Poetry Society. Donations are our only source of income.