Bernie Koenig and Emma Wise opened the evening with their incredibly beautiful vibraphone/cello combination. Their last piece, Koenig’s tribute to George Gershwin, held the audience spellbound, opening slowly with the vibraphone, picking up tempo as the cello slowly emerged brom the background, and finally the vibraphone being overwhelmed by the powerful, vibrating strings of the cello. The audience members, who before that were milling around, taking their seats, chatting with their neighbours, were hushed into complete silence by the beauty of the music.
Host Dawna Perry poked her finger in the eye of winter by wearing a lovely summer gown, despite the hopefully last late snowfall of the season.
The gracious Ola Nowosad, who co-facilitates Poetry London’s workshops along with Tom Cull, introduced the first, much-anticipated feature poet, Frank Davey, a man who can truthfully take credit for single-handedly introducing post-modernism to Canadian poetry. Ola added Davey’s decision, that very day, to begin a new chapter in his long career by launching a blog on April 30th on our very own London Open Mic Poetry Night website. No one has any idea what he will be writing about, only that the content will be “wide-ranging”.
Then Davey took the podium to read. Who would have thought that this great revolutionary poet and scholar would be such a funny reader. He read some of his famously post-modernist poetry, that to many might seem utterly mystifying on the page, with such zest and whimsy, with such humourous body-language and vocalizations, that the audience felt it was watching the emergence of a new Canadian comic instead of the sober poet they had expected. In the bar after the event, Eric Martinez Richards, our photographer and a great poet in his own right, told me we should try to get Davey to open the Frank Davey School for Stand-up Poets and give us all lessons in how to read poetry in public, because his technique just can’t be improved upon.
Then yours truly, Organizer Stan, told the strange story of how he decided to pair Tom Cull, a poet with not a single book to his credit, with the much-celebrated national legend of Frank Davey, who had his 27th book of poems, ‘Spectres of London Ont’, for sale at the back table. Suffice it to say there was much hilarity, amusement and, in the end, agreement that the right decision had been made. If Tom doesn’t mind, that introduction may be posted here later.
Tom Cull ascended the stage. And yes, it was the right decision. The audience emerged from his poetry knowing that they were witnessing the larger emergence of Tom Cull the public poet, with his scholarship behind him, his creative eyes open and his pen in hand.
We even had time for our traditional open mic after the intermission. And everyone went home happy.