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Upcoming Poetry Events
Aug. 9th on London's Boler "Mountain"
Roy MacDonald is four syllables, tens of thousands of miles and three-score and seventeen years long, a memory like a steel trap, the fist of a revolutionary, the mind of a thinker and a brief bio presently in my quavering hands. I’ll keep to the facts. Selah.
Roy was born in London in 1937 to the tuning of global war drums. He has since been an active member of the demonstrative community: he participated in the call for universal civil rights, environmental awareness and an end to the southeast Asian bloodbath of the 1960’s and 70‘s, and, more recently, denounced and supported the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the Occupy movement of 2011, respectively.
1970 met Roy with the publication of his poem “The Answer Questioned”, a stream of idiosyncratic puns which found the January edition of 20 Cents Magazine; it was reprinted and bound in 1979 by ERGO Productions and twice since by Conestoga Press. In 1978, ERGO productions again favoured Roy with the publication of “Living: A London Journal”. In 1979, Don Bell’s “Pocketman”, a novel which loosely follows Roy’s “wanderings and exploits”, was published by Dorset Publishing. A play about Roy’s life entitled “Beard”, written by Jason Rip, found the ARTS Project theatre in 2012 under the direction of Adam Corrigan Holowitz. After decades of transience, including residence in Montréal and Rochdale College in Toronto, all the while comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable, Roy presently lives in his childhood home in London, Ontario.
Last month, Roy and I sat down for a conversation in anticipation of his featured reading at Mykonos on October 1st. Next month, Stan will be posting a transcript of our conversation on the Open Mic website.
Here are a few excerpts:
RM: ... The arts are incredibly important. And yet, we know what’s happening with funding, eh? The arts are the first to go because they’re frills. People consider them as airy-fairy stuff, that you know... Well, what do we remember of past civilizations? Do we remember the millionaires and the rich people? Or do we remember poets and writers and artists...
KH: But, I guess one of the arguments that could be made against art - just to entertain the thought - that could relegate it to the fringe in terms of funding, would be that it’s not as functional as, say, a bridge, or a road repair.
RM: Yeah. But you see, to me it is not either/or. That’s the mistake that people make. Are you going to put the money into art and culture or into things like hospitals and things that are needed? We need both. You know the statement, and it’s a good one. Jesus: “Man does not live by bread alone.”
RM: Well, the concept that I hold to is that we are part of a soul. A universal soul. Everything is tied together and even quantum mechanics, quantum physics, tells you that. We’re all interdependent. We couldn’t last for five minutes if it wasn’t for the air around us and the air around us is exchanging molecules from you and I and from other people and so on. We are beings in the environment. We can’t last without the grass, without the trees, without the animals...
Bio & Interview by Kevin Heslop
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: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
LIVE MUSIC: Jef-something Brian Thomas Ormston will open the event at 6:30. He will also perform during the intermission and at the end of the event.
THE FEATURED POET: Roy MacDonald will open the poetry portion of the event at 7:00, followed by a Q&A.
OPEN MIC: Following the featured poet, 15 open mic poets will read for about 1.5 hours, ending about 9:00 pm. 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.
RAFFLE PRIZES: Anyone who donates to London Open Mic Poetry Night 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. We still haven't paid off our initial debt!
THE MYSTERY OF THOSE GREAT DRAWINGS ON OUR WEBSITE
I recently began wondering if I could zip up the open mic website with some art of some kind, and wondered if James Wood, one of our regular attendees, could help us out. So I send him this email:
“I have a proposal for you regarding your drawings.
“I`m always trying to make the home page of our website as attractive as possible. I view it as the front page of a newspaper. It`s in two columns, with the top stories at the top with the largest headlines, and the lesser and older ones further down with smaller headlines. When I put a new story at the top, an old one comes off the bottom. And I try to have them illustrated with photos so that the page isn`t just boring words. The only little problem I have is that sometimes I get the body of two articles side by side, with no photos, only words. Well, I was thinking about you and your art the other day and it occurred to me that a drawing would be the perfect thing to insert there.
Four months have passed now and, as you can see, James has agreed! Just as I had hoped, his wonderful poem-like drawings do indeed add visual variety to the homepage. A new drawing appears there each mid-month. Following James’ stipulation, the drawings only appear on the website homepage, not on our Facebook page as well. Also, when each is posted, the old one disappears. And there is no page where the old drawings can be found. Check below for his latest while it’s still here.
One Volunteer Photographer
London Open Mic Poetry Night needs a still photographer. If you love to take photos, this is for you. You will get to practice your portraiture. And refine your technique. For every monthly event, we need good photos of the musicians, the featured poets and the open mic poets, plus a couple of the audience enjoying the evening.
Your duties would include not only taking several photos of each person (to choose a good one from), but also editing them (cropping, getting the exposure and colour right, and eliminating red eye), and entering them as galleries in the open mic website and Facebook page.
What would you earn for all this work? The excitement of being an integral part of the local poetry scene, meeting people, taking part in decision making as a member of the London Open Mic organizing committee, having your own blog on the well-read London Open Mic website if you want one, and getting a good letter of reference if you should need it.
Contact Stan at email@example.com
London Open Mic Poetry Night will open it’s third season with a new host, Joan Clayton, who was familiar during the first two seasons as a regular open mic reader.
Dr. Clayton is a clinical psychologist in private practice. She began writing creatively ten years ago. She has had seven plays produced, and several poems and articles published. Joan thinks of herself as a story teller and enjoys the research behind many of her productions, the most recent being ‘The Power of Work’ for Goodwill Industries which told the history and future vision of Goodwill International.
She received the Kobzar Scholarship to attend the Humber Summer Writers Conference in 2012, and last fall received funding from the Shevchenko Foundation in Winnipeg to publish a children’s book on the Ukrainian Genocide of 1933, the Holodomor.
Joan is currently working on a one act play about Frida Kahlo for a Festival in November, as well as an erotic collection of poems called CHOCOLATE CAPPUCCINO MORNINGS, and a series called ‘When Smoking Was Still Sexy’.
Joan Clayton’s first shot at hosting London Open Mic will be Oct. 1st, when Roy MacDonald will be featured. MacDonald will be introduced by London Town Crier Bill Paul and warmed up by the music of Jef-something Brian Thomas Ormston.
Previous host, Dawna Perry, who pulled London Open Mic through it’s crucial and difficult first two seasons, is now putting her time and energy into a full load of post-graduate studies.
From the June 4th London Open Mic: