Culture & Conversation

The Résonance of The Void

On a warm Thursday night earlier this month I headed to Café Résonance, a new restaurant on the corner of Fairmont and Parc Ave., to catch their new monthly reading series. Curated by Klara du Plessis, the reading featured Sarah Burgoyne, Olivia Wood, Eliot D’Silva and Guillame Morissette.

Sarah Burgoyne is a West Coast poet who now lives in Montreal where she is completing an MA in English and Poetry. I was impressed by the internal constraints in some of her poems. One of the poems she read, ‘napowrimo #24: liptogram,’ uses only the letters found in the words “mountain coyote.” Here it is, as posted on her Tumblr:

anoint my mute canyon, cumin-coat yeti
ice-moon mutt, inmate to enmity.
unite my neat nation intent on a tame tie;
tune it into a mean taunt, a meaty canto,
a neumatic motto anyone can cue. coo
my monotone amity into an anemic minuet,
you, o coy one, a name no man can con.

As a prelude to each piece, Sarah provided the audience with some background information on where, how, when or why the poems were written. This helped me connect with the poems, deepening the listening experience.

One of my favorite Montreal poets, Portland-born Olivia Wood, read from a series she’s working on that are about (or inspired?) by Britney Spears. One line that stood out (I wrote it in my phone) was “glitter in its fricking pores” to describe a man’s office, including white carpet covering both the floor and walls.

Olivia also read a suite of poems that were published in the last issue of Matrix Magazine. I’ve heard Olivia read these a few times, and am only drawn closer and closer into the heart of them each time. You can read those poems, which deal powerfully with grief, on her blog. Olivia is an incredibly gifted writer and reader and I look forward to introducing her to you in a future post.

Eliot D’Silva is a poet I haven’t heard of before. After a quick Google search I can say that he appears to have studied 19th- and 20th-century American literature, is now at McGill University, cites prosody and poetics, psychanalysis and improvisation as interests, and who may or may not be inspired by the work of John Ashbery and William Faulkner.

Either way, Eliot read a long experimental love poem about the Olympics in London. During Eliot’s reading I wrote “readings breathe life into writing” on my phone in a moment of inspiration. With a soft spot for long poems, Eliot’s reading was my favorite of the night.

Guillaume Morissette ended the night by reading a story he had published in Maisonneuve Magazine (which is now accepting submissions for their second annual fiction contest) and 14 tweets—which struck me as being some sort of literary answer to David Letterman’s infamous Top 10 lists.

Guillaume will be reading on the last Sunday of March for The Pilot at The Sparrow.

Another reading I made it to was The Void magazine launch, which featured readings from Alex Manley, Lucy Cameron, Marta Barnes, Bianca Laliberte, Sarah Brunning, Steph Colbourn, Hiroki Tanaka and Emma Healey (author of Begin With The End In Mind).

The Void

Housed at La Brique, an emerging home for local literary readings, the room was packed. The event was hosted by the editors of the magazine: Mike Chaulk, Jacob Spector, Gleb Wilson and Sophie Bisping.

The theme for this issue was Outer Space. Editor in Chief Mike Chaulk writes in the magazine’s Letter From The Editor that “Outer space and the greater unknown, because it’s so essentially vast and unseeable, comes to represent our lack of reach, both in touching and knowing.” He bids farewell to the publication (retiring from his position), asking the reader to ponder this: There is as much space below us as there is above us.

The Void

Alex started off the night by reading a William Carlos Williams poem and his piece Promise Me This, published in The Void. Alex will be featured next week on this blog in my Whether You Like It Or Not interview series.

Biana represented the French language beautifully, reading from her story Une Femme Attend. I wish I had understood more of her reading, but she has inspired me to deepen my understanding of the French language!

I was mostly excited to hear Hiroki read. I met Hiroki in my first poetry workshop with David McGimpsey. As an early assignment we were asked to bring in and to read our favorite poem. I don’t even remember what I chose, but Hiroki chose The Cinnamon Peelers Wife by Michael Ondaatje and recited it perfectly. His poems were some of the few that managed to completely captivate me. Hiroki disappeared from class halfway through the course, and I hadn’t seen or heard from him until a couple months ago when I bumped into him at a reading.

Hiroki read from his piece in The Void called The Good Builder, a poem in 5 parts: Pre, Now Puzzle Solving, Anomaly, Crisis and Revolution. One line from the poem that resonated with me was ‘I don’t know what I choose what I see.’

I suggest if you’re ever around Concordia University that you dip into the library building to pick up a free copy of The Void, and make sure to check out the next reading at Résonance next month.