Roy McDonald 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...
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 McDonald 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!