Tag Archives: video

Poetry in Motion on All Lit Up / 5 Questions with… on IFOA blog

Howdy everyone,

Two big pieces of news this week. First (and just in time to get in on the hype for my performance at Battle of the Bards next Wednesday), All Lit Up has generously featured me and my book, Players, on the newest contribution to their Poetry in Motion blog series. The post includes a pretty sweet write-up and a poem from the book, “Love Song for Kazoo,” but the main event is a pair of videos of me reading two other short poems: “Lush,” and the ever-popular “for MF DOOM.” You should watch them, right now, here. Though I’ve performed both poems at readings a bunch of times, these videos were shot especially for All Lit Up (with many thanks owed to Amanda Boulos for help with the filming, and for letting me stand and yell in front of her artwork).

A quick word about performing ‘page poetry,’ and the film medium…. The whole idea of performing poetry that isn’t specifically written for performance is both something I’m seriously interested in and something I’m largely baffled by. For their part, All Lit Up’s Poetry in Motion features do a great job of showcasing the huge variety of approaches people take to the genre (that is, the ‘poetry reading’ as a performance genre), especially because combining it with the film medium only seems to exacerbate the variance: if you look through the archives, you’ll notice that Poetry in Motion videos range from recorded live readings to staged, for-the-camera performances to produced and edited video poems (an established sub-genre in its own right). In my videos, I tried to mix together some (very) basic theatrical principles, something of the emotional vibe of spoken word, and some of the from-the-book authenticity and intellectualism of lecture-style readings. But I’m still really curious about how this kind of presentation comes across. Is it entertaining? Engaging? Convincing? Is it any better or worse than reading the book? I’ve always felt that public readings are somewhere in between a unique experience of the art form and a largely artificial gimmick for organizing the literary community; perhaps that in-betweenness isn’t going anywhere, but I’m still always wondering whether it can or should be pushed in certain directions.

In any case, all of this only leads me closer to the aforementioned Poetry NOW: Battle of the Bards, which I and 19 other poets will be performing  nexatt Wednesday at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. As part of the build-up, IFOA has just posted a “5 Questions with…” interview with me and three other contestants–Julie Cameron Gray, David Goldstein, and Lisa Richter–on their blog. You can check it out here. It’s a pretty interesting smattering of poets’ opinions about poetry, and the format (each of us answered the same five questions, without knowledge of each other’s answers) gives it a kind of rapid-fire effect. Also, it continues to amaze me that David Goldstein was one of my professors (and a great one at that!) during my undergraduate creative writing days at York; some of the poems in Players were even first written for his third-year poetry workshop. Seeing our names together makes me feel (accurately) like a total fraud. But there we are (see below).

Finally, here’s a ballin’ promo pic from IFOA’s Instagram to cap things off. As always, happy reading!



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Livewords wrap-up and new video!

Hi all,

This’ll be quick. First off, I just want to thank everyone who came out to see me at Livewords last Thursday, and especially those who contributed their compliments and constructive criticism. I think my performance was one of my best yet, and the show as a whole was pretty spectacular. Even more importantly, I got a lot of excellent and helpful comments that will go a long way towards determining the direction I’ll be headed in with my poetry. So stay tuned for more open mic performances of new and radical pieces!

If you missed the reading (or if you enjoyed it so much that you’d like to relive it), I’ve also posted a video of my performance of one of the set’s poems, “Recorded Instructions for a Secret Agent,” on YouTube. You can check it out here. Take a look if you’re interested, and feel free to comment if you’re so inclined.

For now, I’ll be refocusing some of my energy onto the first weeks of graduate studies. But I’ll be sure to keep posting news of my creative writing endeavours to keep you all informed!

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New video posted from Art Bar reading

Hi again,

This is just a quick follow-up to my last post. As planned, I performed a 20-minute feature set at Tuesday’s edition of Art Bar to a fairly weighty crowd. It was something of an epic night–all of the former leaders of the Art Bar team were in attendance, along with several Art Bar Discovery Night winners from various years. I think my performance hit at a near-perfect balance of humour, gravity, poetic intrigue and sheer weirdness, so I’m pretty happy with it overall.

For those who weren’t there, my friend and fellow writer Miles Forrester happened to shoot a great video of probably the most animated part of the performance, my reading/monologue of “TV’s Jon Dore on Jon Dore and The Jon Dore Television Show.” I’ve posted the video on YouTube, so you can check it out here. Let me know what you think!

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