30 August 2009

poetry plus

Daniela Elza, left, and Al Rempel read at Cafe Voltaire on Saturday.

PRINCE GEORGE - A new collection of four B.C. poets is giving readers more than just poetry, with the infusion of drafts, theory, translations and interviews.

The first in Mother Tongue's New B.C. Poets series, 4 poets, was launched in Prince George at Cafe Voltaire on Saturday. Two of the four writers in the book, Al Rempel and Daniela Elza, marked the event with readings.

Rempel, a local poet and teacher, started the night with selections from the collection, as well as offering a glimpse at poems from his upcoming first book of poetry, understories. Between poems he shared anecdotal stories about his writing process and influences that were often as poignant as his writing.

Elza held the audience with an expressive stage presence. She also used Prince George as a road test for performing a song for the first time. Done a cappella in Macedonian as part of the poem Interpreting The Winds, the song was met with enthusiasm from the crowd, and she responded that she'd perform it again at her next reading.

The two other poets featured in the book are Peter Morin and Onjana Yawnghwe. See Al Rempel read at the event below.

Al Rempel reads the poem Fretting Winter

27 August 2009

decomposing darwin

PRINCE GEORGE – Poets Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott were joined by Prince George poet Ken Belford Wednesday night at a reading that marked the burial of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species.

The project DE COMP is in its first phase -- Collis and Scott have spent the summer on a GPS journey into B.C. with copies of the book, leaving one in a remote, outdoor spot in five distinct regional ecosystems. Next year, they will retrace the route and gather the books to discuss, read and compose based on the experience. Prince George represents the northern leg of the project. The final stop is the Kootenays.

The concept for DE COMP sprung from a dissatisfaction the two writers have with aspects of nature and eco-critical writing. Collis said that it is often too simplistic, and natural elements are added to the text to make a poem more "natural." As he put it, more birds and trees do not an eco-poem make.

"The idea of putting the book outside is to try and reverse that direction. I'm not going to put the natural into the text, I'm going to put the text out into the natural world and see what happens to it," he said.

Belford, whose anticipated new book of poetry (working title: Decompositions) is due out on Talon Books, opened the reading at Cafe Voltaire to about 30 people with a debut of 15 new poems. See clips below.

Stephen Collis reads from his forthcoming book, tentatively titled On the Material

Jordan Scott reads from Blert