Luckily I went to see Susan Musgrave read at Poetry London last season. It was quite a lesson in the possibilities of how poetry can be read. Maybe it was an extreme, but it showed how far a reader can move away from just plain reading, and also how invigorating it can be if the reader can be included somehow in the reading, other than just as the voice reading the poems. She was up there for over an hour, and I could easily have listened to another hour from her. SB
We are now posting a list of all poetry events taking place in Toronto in the coming week, each week. In case you'll be there. Check our Upcoming Poetry Events page.
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.
London Open Mic's 2nd poetry workshop is Wed., Nov. 12th, at the Landon Library in London’s Wortley Village.
The facilitator will be Kevin Heslop.
Each workshopped poem will be read silently, then aloud by the poet, and will then be followed by a discussion. The workshoppers will try to see the intention of the poet, will comment on the poem’s strengths, and, with appropriate tact, on its weaknesses. The workshop should help the poet see the poem through the eyes of its audience.
If you want to have a poem workshopped, bring ten copies of it.
Time: Arrive before 6:30.
Location: In Wortley Village's Landon Library, the community room at the end of the basement hall.
A nearly full house of 58 showed up Nov. 5th to listen to the poetry open mic and featured poet Julie Berry. For the second London Open Mic event in a row there were very few empty chairs in the terrace of Mykonos Restaurant.
The evening opened with the music of the folk/jazz/blues trio called The Aforementioned, consisting of lead singer/composer Noelle Hall with Dean Thompson and Helen Thompson.
Susan Downe, our featured poet from one year ago, introduced St. Thomas poet Julie Berry who read from her two collections to rapt attention and laughter from the audience. Her descriptions of school teaching and small town and rural life managed to combine simplicity, mystery and humour with a powerful sense of poetry.
Fifteen open mic poets from all ends of every spectrum read late into the evening, punctuated by the sound of forks on plates of Greek food and the sipping of wine.
Photos by Brie Berry.
Julie Berry interview and poems
Musicians’ bio for The Aforementioned
This is just to remind you of our open mic Wednesday evening. Music starts at 6:30 and featured poet Julie Berry reads at 7:00, followed by Q&A. As usual we will also have 15 open mic readers.
It would be advisable to come early to get a chair, just in case the room is packed again like it was last time with 65 in attendance. If you want to read, you should also sign up early because it's first come, first served. The sheet is at the book table at the back. You'll have five minutes at the mic.
There will be a surprise this time. Definitely a very memorable thing. I'm not saying what.
We still don't have a videographer for this event, as Kenny Khoo is away on a business trip. If you would like to do it, or know anyone who would, just contact me, Stan, at firstname.lastname@example.org. It doesn't have to be a crazily expensive camera. Anything that can do the job will do the job. The only problem with a cell phone camera (which I don't have) is that it might get tiring trying to hold it still that long, unless you can come up with some kind of remedy. The main factor is the sound quality, which should be good enough that people can understand the poems.
The venue, as usual, is at the terrace room at the back of Mykonos Restaurant, at 572 Adelaide St. N. Overflow parking is available one block North in front of Trad's Furniture.
Julie Berry Interview and Poems