Sunday, February 8, 2009

Reading report

What a turnout for the Best Canadian Poetry launch last night. I'm glad I got there early because it was standing room only. The venue, Cafe Montmartre, is long and narrow and gets narrower as it gets longer, as the bar and kitchen are at the back. It's not a bad spot for a crowd of 20-25, but wasn't ideally suited for the 70 or so who turned up last night. They also weren't prepared logistically. I tried to order food and was told they weren't taking any more food orders. Alas.

Each poet read his or her poem from the book, along with 2 or 3 others. One highlight of the night was Amanda Lamarche, who had some of the best between-poem banter I've heard. She could be a stand-up comedian, I swear. The humour was a nice counterpoint to the pathos of the poems she read. Another was Matt Rader, who gave the best reading I've heard him do, of his outstanding poem "The Great Leap Forward," which he launched into with no preamble other than a quick witty joke about Amanda's reading. Matt's poem is one of the best in the anthology. He then read a poem by David O'Meara and sat down. Short and sweet. His reading and Amanda's made for a nice study in contrasts, how totally different approaches can both yield attention-grabbing performances. I also dug Yvonne Blomer's "The Roll Call to the Ark," a poem in two voices, which she read with her husband. There were some laughs in a couple of the poems read by Leanne Averbach, who reads very well. I wouldn't say they were terrific poems, but they were entertaining at least.

Leanne Averbach's band played after, but I had to go. Pretty hungry by this point and I can't stay out late these days: Kaleb shows no mercy in the morning. I would have recorded the reading, but I was near the back and all that would've come thru would have been kitchen sounds, unfortunately.


Rob Taylor said...

Yeah, because of a missed bus transfer I was one of the poor schlubs standing at the door. Still enjoyed myself, tho.

I agree that Blomer's piece really stood out, and I knew you liked Lamarche's banter - I never saw you but I could hear you chortling from across the room.

p.s. The new page design doesn't seem dark and angry enough - you have a reputation to maintain...

Zachariah Wells said...

My chortle will be my undoing one of these days.

I was annoyed with the narrowness of the old template. I like this one better. Perhaps I'll make it dark n angry, but one craves light in these short basement days.