Tag Archives: The Well

Poetry Night

Every now and then, a new opportunity, a new role, comes along. Tonight I hosted poetry night at The Well for the first time. The Well, for those who don’t know, is a quirky little hybrid place in downtown Victoria, part restaurant, part health food store, part bookstore, art gallery, clothing store, and most importantly, performance space. It is currently transitioning from a commercial venture into a not-for-profit society. Full disclosure:  I’ll be chair of the first Board of directors.

 

Way more exciting, of course, is the opportunity to be the host of a poetry night in a hotbed of poetry.  You have no idea….

 

So tonight I led off with:

 

Invocation

 

Grant me inspiration

Wash me in the river of creativity

Let my eyes see truth

Let me appreciate beauty in all its many forms

Grant me the grace not to hold tight but to give away

Allow peace to enter my heart

Let me give away my love unreservedly

Let me receive love unconditionally

Illuminate my path in the dark of night

Shade my way in the heat of the day

Grant me wisdom borne of struggle

Bring me tranquility in tragedy

Grant me inspiration

 

Devorah Stohl followed with several very good pieces including a Bill of Rights for poets. Next up was the past Poet Laureate for the City of Victoria Linda Rogers. She read a variety of wonderful pieces as fresh as today’s headlines and still glowing from the vicarious pleasure of Obama’s win. Richard Olafson, publisher and poet, followed with a retrospective look at his poetry from the early years to the present.  Richard charmed us with his time travel return to being twenty years old again, fascinated with the moon.  Finally, the city’s current Poet Laureate, Janet Rogers honored us with her readings.  Janet is not just a poet but an activist, a performance artist, radio personality and so much more.  And later I found out that she used to live just a block or two away but has since moved, pity!

 

Amin, who operates manages the food operations at The Well, closed with a poem in Bengali which, although we couldn’t understand it, moved us all.

 

My final offering was:

 

Eruption

 

Words cascade like flowing lava

Tumbling in a red hot fireglow

Out of a parade of mouths that strain

Implore

Cajole

Inform

Subvert and shock,

Not that anyone here shocks easily,

This room resists tectonic movement

These poems come crammed full of ideas

Concepts

Inner truths

Self-loathing and

Self-love

These words spill out overflowing

Like a broken levee spilling turgid water onto sodden streets

The more the better

Jam packed

Into impossibly long poems read from a single page

And I think that the font must be pretty fucking small

And their eyesight must be damned sharp

For one page to contain this jambalaya of wordfeast

While what I set down on my pages is sparse and spartan

Graphically arranged

Where phrases and words all need their space

And the space between the spaces informs the composition

While these chatterbox beat fiends fly paper kites in the light of the moon

Powered by the breath of a muse

These poems arrive in rhythmic cadences delivered

Naturally as a vaginal birth

Or pulled protesting from the womb in c-sectioned blood

While dilated irises betray the nervousness and fear

That shake fingers clutching just too tightly to a page

These lines explode over our heads like fireworks on a summer night

Briefly illuminating our dark thoughts and secret places

Synapses firing like bullets over Damascus

Punctuated by gentle heckling and raucous rebel yells

Roaring applause

Snapping fingers

Table thumping

While the red hot stream congeals into rock

A rock that will be mined and crushed and used for

Ornamental landscapes

Driveways

Pathways

Recalling the fluid past when rock was molten

Flowing in tongues of fire from the crater into the night

 

 

 

 

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The Well

The echoes of Ginsberg rolled into the corner

Ferlinghetti laughed out loud

As tonight’s poets stretched

Pushed

Cajoled

Seduced their audience into submission

Sub

Mission

And it was an undercurrent

In the depths of the well

The wellspring

Of creativity

Intellectual delight

Whatever the age or limitation

Whatever, what ever

(with special emphasis that only a teenager can provide)

Playing with words, with thoughts and emotions

People who gather

Or don’t

Together here in celebration of the muse

While disparate authors sing their tune

And tables roil

Tongues do what they do

As emotions spill forth

Through the night

At the well

Which isn’t doing so

Very well

That is

But hope springs eternal

At the well

 

 

David Trudel  © 2012

 

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Reading in Public

What an interesting and fun time I had tonight.  I entered a poetry contest called “The Spirit of Canada” at a local venue here in Victoria called The Well.  The Well is a unique place. Located downtown, it is part health food store and restaurant, part bookstore, part clothing store, and is also a venue for music and the performing arts.  The contest itself was all a bit vague and unstructured – I had been unable to contact Hopeton, the guy behind it all but had left a selection of poems and other info and paid the entrance fee to the lady running the restaurant.  So of course there was no record of that, but he didn’t seem to mind, and I gave him my receipt of the transaction.  The panel of judges was stellar: Bill Bissett, Linda Rogers, and Janet Rogers.  The emcee was Joanne Roberts, host of CBC’s Radio One afternoon show  here and the mom of daughters my girls went to school with.  Each of the performers were great; singer songwriters, poets, spoken word, writers, and essayists,  – it just amazed me the talent that showed up.  I ended up being second last in the line up and read my piece Canada Day.  As a rookie to these kinds of things I hadn’t quite grasped the concept of it all and had thought I’d be able to read several different poems.  Nope, just one.  I enjoyed the opportunity, and the thrill of it all.  Hanging with the other artists in the not quite green room was special.  Bill Bissett’s positive comments meant a lot to me, as did the support I got from everyone else.  I didn’t make it through to the semi-finals but it was great fun and I am looking forward to a lot more of this kind of thing.  Spoken word rocks.

 

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