Christmas/Hanukkah Edition of Renaissance Revival Poetry Workshop

Our Renaissance Revival poetry workshop was lovely last night! My apartment just fit 10 people, in a circle, it was cosy but nice. The set up looked like a Poets Anonymous meeting! Everyone brought food, simple nibbleys to a fantastic spinach and feta cheese phyllo pastry roll (thanks Margaret!) and wine. Some people just read (incl me - rough notes from my poetry journal) and others brought a poem to workshop (with 10 copies). With Allan Briesmaster, Luciano Iacobelli and Norman Cristofoli there, all publishers and fantastic editors, those who workshopped received excellent feedback. I had intended to take some photos, but 2 hours before the workshop all the power in the bedrooms in the back of my apartment went out, and the Super came and then a man from Maintenance and apparently an electrician has to come today to replace the circuit breaker itself. It all kind of threw me and hunting for camera and tripod in the dark didn't happen. The room where we put the coats was candle-lit. Somehow the apartment itself, half lit and half-unlit, became a poem for what was a very fine evening indeed. Many thanks to those who came and shared their writing!

The Renaissance Revival poetry workshop is Norman Bethune Allan's poetry event - held on the 3rd Monday of every month at CSI , 720 Bathurst St (a block south of Bathurst Subway) in Toronto in the cafe - at 7pm - you have to knock on the window to get someone to let you in if you arrive past 7pm. If you're interested in joining this on-going poetry workshop, send him an email via his website and he'll put you on the email list.

The rest of this blog post is going to be about one of my current projects, which I shared with the group last night, and received some good feedback from on suggestions for the writing itself.

Busy cleaning, arranging furniture to try to increase the amount of space for the group, preparing some cheese and crackers and my emergency partial power failure took up all of the day, and I sort of panicked at what to workshop or read. I printed out a few things. Then decided to be brave and read something truly in-process.

From my poetry journal, where all rough drafts are first written in pencil, I read some rough notes towards a soundtrack for clips of my recent figure sculpture (which was always intended for video treatment, right from the start). A few nights ago, when the blizzard in Toronto subsided a little, I got out my video camera to take a clip, but the battery was dead. So I used my Canon camera - fine, except the video function needs manual focus and that's an eyesight problem since I need different prescriptions for different distances. Anyway, taking everything outside, using a lazy susan (that I had hunted through Chinatown to find for this very purpose), I took a few clips and then composed a tiny test run just to see. Later I searched through my GarageBand files to find a snippet of poetry to use - this little fragment from practice sessions of poems I read at the launch of my poetry chapbook in June, the luminist poems - and not what I am currently working on for this figure sculpture.

The actual poem has more to do with clay and art than the poem fragment in the voiceover here... but what I used as a test kind of works, doesn't it. The accompaniment is the sound of the lazy susan turning slowed down to maybe 83%. Spooky huh! I did 'freeze frame' the last frame but then cut it way back & wish I hadn't and wish I also had zoomed in on the face at the end of this clip. Hindsight is always good sight, huh.

Watching the clips, I also realized that the base needs to be black. So I have put black cloth over it for the video clips that will hopefully make their way into the finished videopoem. Also, I have many photos of the sculpture in process, and they may find their way into the piece too.


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