Friday, April 1, 2011

Belated Reading Report: Battle of the Bards

If you're the sort of person who reads this blog, you probably already know that yours truly was one of five readers chosen on Wednesday by the Harbourfront jury to read at the International Festival of Authors in October. I had the advantage, thanks to the alphabet, of reading last. The Gattling gun procession of poems certainly blurred for me, so I imagine it would have been quite a challenge for the jurors to keep track of everything in their memories whilst deliberating.

It was a very fun, albeit disorienting evening, and obviously I'm pleased with the results. Also happy for the other four: co-winners Gary Barwin and David Groulx and my fellow runners up, Ruth Roach Pierson and Souvankham Thammavongsa. Gary and Souvankham's work I've followed and enjoyed for some time. Pierson and Groulx were more or less new to me; a nice mix of styles and voices, overall.

I'm a bit disappointed that my Biblioasis stablemates David Hickey and Robyn Sarah weren't chosen. Robyn, especially, would have been a no-brainer for me had I been a juror; besides having read beautifully, she's widely and justly recognized as one of the leading poets of her generation, to say nothing of her top-notch contributions as a critic and editor. But so it goes in the world of taste and discrimination.

I'm really looking forward to spending some time with Dave's new collection, Open Air Bindery, which is fresh off the presses and most beauteous. As I posted earlier, I'll be reading with Dave and Joshua Trotter three times in the week to come. Should be a blast. TTFN.

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