So inside there’s a large open square centered by a high willow whose fronds hang a few meters above the dun-coloured floorboards which run to the edge of each of four adjoining, thematically-distinct alcoves. (It’s actually more of a rhombus inside one of the obtuse angles of which you’d find yourself standing at the entrance, across from the other obtuse side where the alcoves are, but you get the idea.) There’s a statue of Shakespeare’s Shylock to your left; its back is to the pale pine fence which abuts the house’s rear façade of gray brick bedecked with candleabra, an enscribed mahogany panel, and shelving upon which stand bronze statuettes so polished and liquescent you’d think
And so this place actually exists, and to substantiate:
Wednesday, August 19th, 6:30 PM.
* the epithet of Cook’s backyard (read ‘anterior hamlet’). Built in 1891, the house (a Heritage House**) was the childhood home of actor and novelist Alexander Knox (1907-95) and, since 1998, Cook’s home.
**The City of London ‘Inventory of Heritage Resources’, supplemental to the Ontario Heritage Act (1975, amended 2005), defines an H.H. as one of approx. 3 900 buildings and structures (about 3% of existing buildings in the city) which satisfy certain approved architectural, historical or contextual criteria (i.e. “representative of an architectural style or period”, “associated with a period or movement or group of persons of local, provincial, national or international importance”, “in a critical location where ill-considered construction would adversely affect an important complex of structures or damage an important view or vista”, etc.) 244 Hyman Street is one of several other buildings on Hyman St., extending to Richmond Rd., so designated.
We’ll basically follow the format of the Mykonos events, but with two musical acts –– one before and one after the readings. The event’s been organized by Joan and Kevin. The open mic section, which will follow a featured reader, has been relaxed to include readings of excerpted drama and spoken word performances. BYOBeverages; ice, cups provided. Music will be performed by Jayne Hysen et al., and Jan Figurski, whose brief bio follows; our featured reader will be poet and playwright David Stones, who performed his first book of poems, Infinite Sequels, as a one-person show at the Spring Works Festival in Stratford this year; Stones’ bio follows. As we won’t be doing an interview for this event, a good article about Stones’ recent work and performance can be found at: http://www.stutter.ca/news/news-items/184-david-stones-reads-from-infinite-sequels.html
David Stones, poet and spoken word performance artist, lives in Toronto and maintains a secondary residence in Stratford, Ontario. Since semi-retiring from senior executive roles in the marketing/communications and business sectors, David now devotes his creative energy to the craft of creating and performing “little islands of grace” and what he jokingly calls “small acts of poetry to change lives.”
David published his first book of poetry, Infinite Sequels, in 2013, and his one-man show of the same name followed soon thereafter. Acclaimed by audiences and described as “mesmerizing,” “riveting” and “not to be missed,” David has performed Infinite Sequels on stages throughout southern Ontario, from Toronto’s Arts & Letters Club to a recent stint at Stratford’s 2015 SpringWorks Festival. Published in various poetry journals since his student days at the University of Toronto, David also performs his poetry regularly at various locations such as Toronto’s Art Bar at The Black Swan, Poetry Stratford and London’s Open Mic Poetry Series at Mykonos Restaurant.
With a focus on “affairs of the heart,” it is said that David’s poetry casts “a unique and understandably frail beam of illumination on the joyous, sometimes pitted, landscape of human experience.” David’s second book of poetry, Such A Frail Book Of Endings, along with a new show and original soundtrack, will be hitting Ontario’s theatre and poetry circuits shortly.
Ottawa-born Figurski has a degree in English literature in 1975 from Carleton University and a Masters from Western. He has recently retired after over 30 years practice as a professional librarian.
Jan’s poetry has been called “witty and wise” by Canadian poet George Johnston, “energetic and striking” by the CBC's Carol Off, and “very moving” by Gay Allison, feminist and poet. He has published three collections and his poems have been published in numerous literary journals. He edited a literary journal, Eclipse, for two years, and has edited books by James Reaney Sr. and Thomas Nashe.
In addition to his poetry, Jan is a musician. He has played in a number of London bands. His playing and singing has been recorded on 6 CDs.