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Sasquatch Reading: Sylvia Adams and Christopher Taylor

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May. 30th, 2007 | 09:21 am

sylvia adams

Sasquatch on May 27th had 2 guest readers, Sylvia Adams and Christopher Taylor.

Sylvia Adams read first after the open mic, from various books and chapbooks, including Mondrian's Elephant and her latest book, Sleeping on the Moon. Since her voice was coming and going, she brought her daughter to assist with carrying out the booked reading. (What a trooper.)

A set centred around African safari animals with some comic images such as handcuffs coming off a cheetah and luring elephants with tulip beds. She also read a few word sonnets which Seymour Mayne steadily promotes.

One of her word sonnets was about the heart-rending challenges of caring for senior members of family in nursing homes pink door, yellow door, forgotten color of home.

A striking story was in her triolet of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a romantic painter in every sense. He wrote love poems to be buried with his favorite model and wife, then exhumed them to regift to his next love. Lesson? Always keep a copy of your poems for yourself.

christopher taylor

The second reader at Sasquatch was Christopher A. Taylor. Taylor was a long-time resident of Ottawa although with nearly 2 decades here, now hails from Victoria, BC.

He read from his book of 2007: Shedding Knowledge. A Steady Diet(p. 35) talks about advice people give for life:

I have jotted everything down
and now my fridge is plastered with yellow post-it notes
telling me to relax, be careful, wait, stop, go, start now,
breathe, stupid, breathe. Ah, yes.
The light comes on when I open the door
and cold air spills onto my feet.

During this reading, he had a great to chance to show his good humoredness in not just the poems as just as he started to read the sax and bass of a band upstairs started. He decided to address it and said he'd roll with the mellow sax with some compatible poem choices.

Competing sound is all part of the live poetry experience. Like people in a movie theatre as opposed to recorded CDs at home, others can provide obstructions, or flavor, depending on how you look at it. Later in the reading, a loud-talker decided to do so in the stairwell. Chris Sorrenti went up to sort that. Taylor joked, you didn't have to get physical with him I trust. Sorrenti said no, he could settle it peaceably.

Taylor's poem entitled Festival got its inspiration at the Ottawa Folk Festival. It reads in part,

So lean you would think
she never ate solids
she took out her Tibetan bells
to ward off negativity
then set the air loose

This collection is not only covering some of the geography of the Ottawa Valley and Toronto but is owing to the Tree reading series. Because he was asked to be feature reader there in 2004 by James Moran, he collated up a lot of his poems, then realized he now had a working manuscript. The press he placed it with specializes in writing from north eastern Ontario.

Scrivener does a few titles a year including an anthology by the League of Canadian Poets called Spring-Fever a decade ago. They also published Roger Nash's gentle-humored poem Geraniums, which draws the scene of old folk pottering about plants. They put out another title by Nash last year, Something Blue and Flying Upwards.

From titles I see, they seem to prefer quiet elegiac moments to capture the everyday with poems often grounded literally in rock, from Susan Ioannou's Looking Through Stone: Poems about the Earth to ones set in outcrops, on bluffs, by lake shores, to the brush and spruce of Charlie Smith's Resurrection.

That's one of the beauties of just wandering out to readings on impulse. You never know what you'll find.

[Partially cross-posted]

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