John B. Lee will be the June 3rd, 2015 featured poet at London Open Mic Poetry Night at Mykonos Restaurant in London, Ontario.
In 2005 John B. Lee was inducted as Poet Laureate of Brantford in perpetuity. The same year he received the distinction of being named Honourary Life Member of The Canadian Poetry Association and The Ontario Poetry Society. In 2007 he was made a member of the Chancellor’s Circle of the President’s Club of McMaster University and named first recipient of the Souwesto Award for his contribution to literature in his home region of southwestern Ontario and he was named winner of the inaugural Black Moss Press Souwesto Award for his contribution to the ethos of writing in Southwestern Ontario. In 2011 he was appointed Poet Laureate of Norfolk County (2011-14) and in 2015 Honourary Poet Laureate of Norfolk County for life. A recipient of over eighty prestigious international awards for his writing he is winner of the $10,000 CBC Literary Award for Poetry, the only two time recipient of the People’s Poetry Award, and 2006 winner of the inaugural Souwesto Orison Writing Award (University of Windsor). In 2007 he was named winner of the Winston Collins Award for Best Canadian Poem, an award he won again in 2012. He has well-over seventy books published to date and is the editor of seven anthologies including two best-selling works: That Sign of Perfection: poems and stories on the game of hockey; and Smaller Than God: words of spiritual longing. He co-edited a special issue of Windsor Review—Alice Munro: A Souwesto Celebration published in the fall of 2014. His work has appeared internationally in over 500 publications, and has been translated into French, Spanish, Korean and Chinese. He has read his work in nations all over the world including South Africa, France, Korea, Cuba, Canada and the United States. He has received letters of praise from Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Australian Poet, Les Murray, and Senator Romeo Dallaire. Called “the greatest living poet in English,” by poet George Whipple, he lives in Port Dover, Ontario where he works as a full time author.
1ST OF THE FOUR POEMS
the mind is soaked
in the fallen soldier’s sorrowful story
like dipping a book
into grey-paged water
there in the memory of weeping ink
only the sound of one sad horse
under the saddle shadow
of a weightless rider
a lugubrious clip clop
gone silent but for the
quietness of imaginary war—endless elsewhere
the absent master sits where he drifts in the light
like smoke above burning
his empty boots facing away from the mane
as though they remained
at the foot of his bed
where he dreams on in timeless repose
over unmeasured reams of moonlit darkness
his mount turned to stone
in a vanishing orchard of shade
where he grazes on grass jeweled with dew
see where he sips
at the blackening pool
of the soul of the man he has lost
in an autumn of strangers
when evening falls early and soon
and then in the hoar frost of morning
with its white-glazed grasses of dawn
we are late to remember
the losses of gloaming
and lest we forget
we lived and were loved in a short-lived blue
but for the woe of one horse called forever
with his sad fardel of funereal grief
know that he carries us all to the sun
like a lake in a shivering landscape of rain
(Interview by London Open Mic Poetry Night)
KH: The brief biographical note in the final pages of your first collection of poems concludes with "… and hopes to write the perfect line." What did/do you mean by this?
JBL: “and hopes to write the perfect line ..." I suppose by this I throw my lot in with those who write poetry rather than those who aspire to be called poets. This latter ycleption seems something of a verdict. I want to write poetry, to be in the midst of the thrilling impossibility of doing the thing we do when we surrender. Henry Moore speaking to American poet Donald Hall put it this way, "The secret of life is to have a task, something to devote your entire life to, something to bring everything to, every minute of every day for your whole life. And the most important thing is--it must be something you cannot possibly do!"
KH: Describe, if you would, your writing process. Has it, or the degree to which you edit/re-write, changed?
JBL: I write when the first line comes. I rarely have any idea what I'm about to write. Intention has little to do with execution. When John Lennon wrote "Nowhere Man," he'd spent the entire morning struggling with silence and failing to write a song. In frustration, he went for a little lie down on the couch, and the song came flooding into his mind in whole cloth. That's my process. Distract the conscious mind, and let the poem slip through.
KH: Which author(s) or poem(s) do you continue to mine for insight, inspiration or instruction?
JBL: Right now, I'm reading an anthology of Peruvian poems. I'm fresh back from Machu Picchu, and my imagination is fevered by what I experienced there. The poets I'm reading, contemporary Peruvian poets in Spanish with English translations, fire my imagination at the moment. I've already written five poems since arriving home at 3:30 a.m. Friday morning. And it's now Sunday morning at 10:10. I revisit Dylan Thomas often. Recently I reread Yeats later poems. Reading poetry is my first love as a reader. Poetry, then essays, then non-fiction, then short fiction, finally fiction. I'm reading Wolf Hall right now.
KH: To what degree to do you value humour in your work and what, when maximally effective, may humour achieve?
JBL: Humour unlocks sorrow. If you want to make someone weep, first make them laugh. Humour takes us deep. I love silly jokes. Word play. I love to laugh out loud. I'm reading Lil Bastard by David McGimpsey. It's a book of what he calls 'chubby sonnets" sixteen lines long. I was reading it aloud to my wife at the airport on our way to Peru. And John Wing, he's a comedian by profession a poet by avocation. I recently read with him and he had the crowd laughing till they wept and their sides ached, and then he read an absolutely amazing and poignant poem inspired by his daughter who had recently given up on her dream of becoming a professional musician, a dream which she suddenly realized was her father's dream for her, not her own dream for herself. And the poem was not humourous at all. On the contrary it partook of the melancholia of disappointment when a child disappoints her father, and the father feels the burden of his own aspirations carried by the child. What made that poem go so deep in the heart, and hook itself there forever was the laughter that left us open to the sorrow.
KH: As a student, it sometimes seems to me that the humanities in general and languages in particular are viewed as "marketable" disciplines. I noticed recently, for example, in a corridor of the U.W.O. Arts & Humanities Building (formerly the Ivey MBA building) a poster which read, I think, verbatim: "Why get a degree in the humanities? Think Hire".
Articulate, if you would – and I realize this is a stupidly broad question, but – as an educator and a writer of long-standing, what is the importance of humanistic study for its own sake?
Read the rest of the interview and poems
May 6th: Videos of feature Laurie D Graham, her Q&A, and some of the open mic readers
Featured poets to come
London Open Mic Poetry Night has its roster of features filled part way into the fourth season.
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.
Scroll down for:
POETRY READERS WANTED FOR TWO JUNE LONDON EVENTS
Sat. June 6 – The Old East Village Street Festival. The Street Festival is being held in conjunction with FRINGE. Many of the shows are on stage at the Palace Theatre this year. But the poetry reading would be outside. A riser and tent (in case of too much sun or possible showers) would be provided. If enough of you are interested in participating, this reading will take place. It sounds like fun. Email me: email@example.com
Fri. June 12th: The Friends of the Coves Subwatershed, a non-profit environmental organization in London, is hosting an open-mike night at the Elmwood Ave. Presbyterian Church at 7:00 pm. The goal is to gather a diverse group of artists to explore nature and the connectedness between people and their natural environment. Anyone interested in reading, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: One of the "Signs of the Times" placed on the Dundas corridor as part of the Old East Village Business Improvement Area.
Locking Up Pencil work by London artist James Wood See James Wood's blog.
From Frank Davey Blog:
Kathryn Mockler Pitches THE PURPOSE PITCH
The Purpose Pitch by Kathryn Mockler. Toronto: Mansfield Press, 2015. $17.00. 95 pp.
Alfred Jarry’s founding definition circa 1900 of ’pataphysics as “the science of imaginary solutions” that “will explain the universe supplementary to this one” has been supplemented many times, recently by Christian Bök as a joyful perceptual set that “thrives wherever the tyranny of truth has increased our esteem for the lie and wherever the tyranny of reason has increased our esteem for the mad.” Canadian literature got its first glimpse of what a ’pataphysical imagination could produce in 1970 with bpNichol’s hilariously sobering The True Eventual Story of Billy the Kid in which nearly all of the historic Billy was displaced by a ‘supplementary’ Billy who vividly and cryptically enacted the cultural symbol he has become. Nichol went on to produce four collections of mostly ’pataphysical texts: Love: a Book of Remembrances, Zygal: A Book of Mysteries, Art Facts: A Book of Contexts and Translations,and Truth: A Book of Fictions.
Jarry had gone on to explain, “Why should anyone claim that the shape of a watch is round—a manifestly false proposition—since it appears in profile as a narrow rectangular construction, elliptic on three sides; and why the devil should one only have noticed its shape at the moment of looking at the time?” – unknowingly foreshadowing the elliptical and otherwise distorted watches and clocks of 1920s Surrrealism, images also from supplementary universes. Often the “mad” vision of things is closer to our experiences, alas, than is the “rational” or official one. One stark portrayal of this is the long flarf poem “April 30 - May 31 2014” in Kathryn Mockler’s new collection, The Purpose Pitch. The poem is constructed of 67 brief and bureaucratically factual official reports of sexual assaults on women in various countries. Despite that variety, the diction of the reports is depressingly – absurdly and surreally – uniform. But what each local report treats as a routine and contained event becomes through the poem a mad crazy global orgy of both bureaucratic and misogynist violence.
Mockler’s The Purpose Pitch contains many impressive – and purposeful – works of ’pataphysics. Her poem “Harper” – like Nichol’s portrait of Billy the Kid – exemplifies the power and ‘truth’ that an imaginary, ahistoric portrayal of a public figure can deliver, and thus the cultural work that the ’pataphysical imagination can perform. Here’s an excerpt from part 4:
Click here for slide show of May 6th open mic
MEET OUR NEW VOLUNTEER VIDEOGRAPHER
Sebastian Rydzewski is replacing Kenny Khoo, who resigned because he was finding himself called away on too many business trips on the first week of the month.
We will have Sebastian's first set of London Open Mic videos posted here tomorrow.
Sebastian Rydzewski's family moved to Canada in 1991, and has lived in London Ontario ever since. His passion is digital media and computers, and has taken Computer Science studies at Fanshawe College.
He is a self employed computer, media, and technology specialist and offers a variety of services to the general public of London and surrounding area. From web design to custom software solutions, video-graphing events/weddings to making your very own video DVD's, even home theatre design and setup, he can get the job done at most affordable rates.
For a more in-depth look at the offered services, visit his website or give him a shout at the provided information bellow.
Phone: (519) 878-9395
Sebastian is also a co-founder of the web-academic institute of "Academics Today". Their main goal: "Our goal is to make higher education available to everyone on the planet." How: "Using the internet, students sign up for free, with video lectures, peer reviewed assignments, online tests, and optional certificate for course completion. Instructors are able to create their own courses for free, and provide them to the community. We call this structure neutron learning, as it is learning, without charge." Their website is in Beta testing, you can visit them atwww.academicstoday.ca and find out more.
"UPCOMING POETRY EVENTS" PAGE TO BE CHOPPED
The Upcoming Poetry Events page, as well as the version below on this home page, will be discontinued after May, barring a last-minute stampede of protesters. So far, in the two years of its existence, no potential audience member has ever told us they have used it. Yet it's constant maintenance takes up a lot of time and energy.
This is part of our current streamlining process, which will hopefully allow this all-volunteer organization to stay in existence.
If anyone would like to volunteer to keep it up, and thus join our little team, they would be very welcome.
If you use it and would like it continued, email email@example.com
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.
UPCOMING POETRY EVENTS
IN THE LONDON AREA:
(See the page, Upcoming Poetry Events, for more details.)
NOTE: This service may be discontinued. If you use it and want it to be continued, please say so to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plus, for all performance poetry, including SLAM, events in London
Sat. May 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 23: Sheri-D Wilson*
May 30th: Sandy Ross
June 6: Penn Kemp, 10:30 am- noon