At nearly every open mic, something unexpected happens, the kind of thing people carry home carefully, and talk about afterwards with a glow and a smile. This time it wasn’t one of the open mic poets, as diverse and lively as they were, many with truly amazing poetry. And it wasn’t the featured poet, Stratford’s Charles Mountford, who delivered several of his famed dramatic monologues, each describing an intriguing woman, with a delivery that was no less so.
No, the unexpected treat of the evening was Gavin Stairs, who introduced Mountford. He replaced his wife Penn Kemp, who couldn’t make it due to a slow-healing torn ligament. Gavin had Penn's notes to read, but ad-libbed his way through them, to outbursts of laughter from the audience. His first words were, "I'm Penn Kemp." With that, everyone settled back and opened up to his calm and comfortable sense of humour.
The November open mic split some of its usual audience with our second open mic of the month, set for only three days later (Sat. Nov. 7th at the Marienbad Restaurant, 122 Carling St downtown) at the Words Fest Literary and Creative Arts Festival. But still we managed an audience of 32, a respectable number for any poetry event. Sixteen poets read at the open mic.