Bio, Interview, & Poems: Patricia Black, Featured Poet for London Open Mic, March 4/15
PERSONAL: Born London, England in 1936
Immigrated to Toronto from London, England in 1958
Married Alistair Black in 1961 (Toronto)
Kirsteen born in 1962
Divorced in 1966
Moved with Kirsteen to London in 1970
Married Bryan Burwash in 2006
Grandmother to Scott, Jennifer, Heather, Rachel and Melissa
Step-grandmother to Kimberley, Jennifer, Jack, Carter and Keith
Great-grandmother to Landon and Tom
WRITING & THEATRE
BACKGROUND: First poem published in high school magazine
Amateur acting in England
Wrote humorous skits in London, England and London, Canada
Re-commenced writing poetry in 1960s in Toronto
Wrote occasional poems and prose pieces all my life
Following participation in a Creative Writing course in London, Ontario in 1981 approx, began writing poetry in earnest
Poetry: The Creative Circus Book, Red Kite Press 1984
(anthology edited by Marianne Micros)
Memory's Rapturous Pain 1987 (anthology)
Barbed Lyres – Canadian Venomous Verse - 1990 (anthology)
This Magazine (1990)
The Fourth Morningside Papers (1991)
Personal Memoir: The Fifth Morningside Papers (1994)
Interviews: Author and playwright Timothy Findley in Carousel Magazine (1994)
Many interviews with theatre personalities published in Scene Magazine
Numerous public readings and readings on Radio and TV in London and elsewhere in Ontario
Haiku (along with two others on the same theme) set to music by Hawksley Workman and performed at the 2011 Home County Folk Festival
Poem circulated on LTC buses in 2012 as part of the Poetry in Motion contest
Edited The Babbling Book, Vols I and II (an anthology of poetry and prose by the participants in the “For Love of Words” writing course, Program 60)
ASPIRATIONS: To write a play
AWARDS: The Nathan Cohen (National) Award for Excellence in Theatre Criticism (Short Review Category) 1994
The Chris Doty Award – Brickenden Award for Lifelong Contributions to Theatre in London 2013
SPORTS: Then: Field hockey, tennis, swimming, skating, walking, dancing, bicycling, horseback riding
Now: (Since two hip replacements): aquafit and walking
HOBBIES: Reading, music, singing, concerts, TV, movies, live theatre, cooking, gardening, conversation
Over my very full lifetime my work, my interests, tastes and activities have been eclectic; I have many passions, but above all for those whom I love, and for writing, and live theatre.
(Interview by Kevin Heslop for London Open Mic Poetry Night)
KH: Were there particular texts which drew you to writing? What specifically about those texts or their authors - perhaps in terms of style, diction, meter, atmosphere - encouraged you to recognize the theatre as one to which you would contribute? Do you identify with a school of poetics (i.e. Surrealism, Romanticism, Imagism)?
PB: I loved reading from a very early age and my two older sisters and I were fortunate to have had a father who encouraged us to read extensively. I was enraptured by words - one of the first books I read was a collection of children's stories based on Greek myths, "Tanglewood Tales" - I still remember reading "and she placed the child in her bosum" and thinking it was some kind of large bag!
My father and I used to share new words. He too was intrigued by language - in fact, in family discussions, at lunch on Sundays, if a word came up that was new to us, we girls were sent to find the definition in the dictionary.
We were so privileged to have had this encouragement and exposure to the arts all our lives. And it has paid off in spades, since our children and grandchildren and even my great-grandchildren are all readers, one is a dancer, one is a film-maker and composer, they play musical instruments and our family is full of teachers - all this from my parents who had very little formal education.
My taste in literature, poetry, art, music, dance and theatre has always been - and still is - extremely eclectic and I am thankful for that, because it is a kind of freedom to savour almost anything and everything that has been created artistically. My own writing and poetry also tend to be eclectic.
We were also taken to live theatre from a very early age - after Christmas each year it would be the annual Pantomime - and from those we were soon going to Broadway musicals in London, England, as well as other theatrical productions. I acted in school and in Sunday School plays from the age of about 7 - I played "Little Boy Blue" to another little girl's "Little Bo Peep" - it's a poem by A.A. Milne. Also, we always had music in our home - lisening to the "wireless," or gramophone records; my mother had a beautiful contralto voice and my Dad played piano - all our many parties included a singalong around the piano. I still have the words of hundreds of songs engraved in my memory. All these contributed to my love of words, rhythm and music.
I wanted to write from a very early age; my first published poem was in the school magazine when I was around 11 - about a swan, floating on a lake (how original)!
So I was throughly immersed in writing in its every shape and form from my earliest years and my passion for words has never waned. Theatre became another passion and it too still feeds my soul.
Click here to read the rest of Patricia's bio, interview, four of her poems, and the event info.
Open Mics will be quieter from now on.
Having live music at the open mic is a nice idea, but it has a negative side effect: It tends to be too loud for easy, enjoyable conversation amongst audience members. And we've noticed that most people try to talk during the music. Few are listening to it.
So we've decided that, beginning at the next event, on Dec. 3rd, we will only use musicians who don't mind just providing accompaniment to the conversation, and on those times we can't find any we'll just go with the restaurant's piped-in music.
We understand that many of the readings in Toronto have no music at all, just the buzz of conversation. After two seasons, we also have reached the point of not having to provide entertainment to get people to come to our events.
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From Frank Davey Blog: