The concert at The Supermarket on April 15 in Toronto was terrific. The whole BookThug launching was actually really nice and interesting. For a start, a panel of three writers talked about a posthumous book by bpNichol, edited by Stephen Cain, that gathers some of his early works (from 1965 to 1971) and has recently been published by BookThug.
bpNichol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BpNichol — http://www.bpnichol.ca/) is an important Canadian artist, who developed himself in many different disciplines. bpNichol, as I understand it, was a curious, unsteady artist, always open to experimentation. In further readings, I find that he has worked on various poetry forms, but also on theatre and children books, spoken word, television, and the list goes on. bpNichol died tragically in a medical intervention due to a tumor located in his spine, he was 44 years old. Luckily for us, by that time he had accumulated an important body of work.
The following is a selection of poems by bpNichols, from bp: beginnings, edited by Stephen Cain, and published by BookThug, 2014.
JURNEYING & the returns (1967)
Part 2: Fire & Water
I raise the cup and take it to my lips.
this room will soon be empty
my having been here
made no difference
I run the water from the tap
but do not fill my cup;
hold it in my hands
and taste the air.
Part 3: Ancient maps of the real world
from east to west
eyes & train follow
Beach Head -transitions 66 & 67 (1970)
its soft fat fingers
over our faces
into our eyes
prising us awake
with soft punches
way. a way
of looking at things)
keep moving, shifting
(never see into it
never get close
counting the ways
yu’ve trapped yurself
should say) can
come to that. be
of lies like “i
love you” ties
that bind you
you really can’t
The panel that discussed the recent bp: beginnings, was formed by Gregory Betts, Brian Dedora, Lola Tostevin and Stephen Cain.
After that first debate, Jacob Wren read from his recent book, Polyamorous Love Song, and created a really distended atmosphere, with his nice sense of humor and good vibes. Then the moment came for Aisha Sasha John and her recent book of poems, Thou. Aisha is an intense artist. Her reading started in a ceremonial way, with a simple act, a water drop dedicated to her ancestors. It brought me back to a friend of mine that I made while working at an important bookstore in Buenos Aires, he is from Cuba and he does the same thing, following a Yoruba tradition.
Aisha read some poems from her book and the whole thing filled me with a profound sense of responsability towards our musical performance that night, and specifically towards my own responsibility with my music and my own roots, that I share in a way with Ana and Guadu.
The following is a selection of poems by Aisha Sasha John, from her book Thou, published by BookThug, 2014.
And of course the moon can strike you.
The night was bright enough that i wanted everything.
The night was bright such that the pool had transparency:
its visible grippy bottom.
We didn’t need electric artificial light-
I left a man alone with a guitar.
I did something
I did something romantic in my room.
I went up to my room.
That kind of nocturnal light merited
I probably also ate a Danone and loosened my bra straps.
This is speculation.
That evening is a night and I can’t arrive in it.
Showering before dinner, wet hair at dinner, going to the gym.
He asked me if I was cold.
To make a work is to sit with your irrelevance
and confront your importance.
I mean, the swallows just fly.
And then the papaya sweats when cut.
With the pad of my right index finger
I smooth my left brow.
It’s so easy and feels
feels so physical.
The taste of plain yogurt
wich has turned, slightly.
I knew I would change phisically.
I guess what I’ve done
is stablish a goal
and approximated the
behaviour I believed
indicated its arrival.
Also I slander.
they see everything: they’re blind.
Fuck marry kill.
We were in charge of that evening final act. Before the time came for us to take stage, Jay Millar invited author Stan Dragland to the stage, Stan is a friend of Guadu and he was her mentor during the process of writing Air Carnation, he presented my sisters novel and the project Songs For Runaway Girls, which made the event even more important to me.
We took stage with our homemade “pantuflas” on (snickers that my grandmother made), and after Guadalupe welcomed the public, I started my performance with two words in spanish that were and still are important to me, theese are “permiso” and “gracias”.
Bottles, boxes, bags came after that, followed by Green Song and a reading by Guadu.
The show went on fine and we felt comfortable and happy with it. Afterwards I had the chance to talk with Stan Dragland and his son, Simon, and it was nice to know such an important person in my sister’s life and such a nice person as well, we laughed and made jokes about us being now a full family, and we also could talk about his life in this particular place in Canada, called Newfoundland, where he lives with his couple Beth Follet, also a writer, that I couldn’t get to know yet, it looks like I’m gonna have to travel again some other time!
After the show, we went back to Jay & Hazel’s home. And Jay drove us to the airport at 6am in the morning, we were heading back to Montreal.
I’ll be uploading some new notes as soon as possible!
Hope you have enjoyed the upper lines and the featured poets,