Monday, November 07, 2005

Kissing The Empty Page

I booked a table at Hamilton’s first Small Press Fair yesterday, thinking that the cost of the table ($10) would be a worthwhile price to give me a chance to get out and do a bit more self promotion.

That ten dollars was one of the best investments I’ve made in recent history. The event was well organized, well advertised (and slotted in to be run during the tail end of Hamilton’s literary festival, GritLit) and definitely well attended. I brought a book with me to read, thinking that there would be many quiet moments between noon and 5 PM that would need to be filled.

But on the contrary -- there was a constant and steady stream of people through the event. That, and I had the pleasure of sitting between two very interesting people: The talented Toronto artist eXavier Peterson on my left and humorist/artist/book binder James Spyker of 2X4 to the forehead on my right.

The fair had a stage in which different authors and musicians had a chance (about 15 minutes each) to read some of their work, providing a fitting and interesting background to the day. The stage area was, of course, hosted by Hamilton’s own literary renaissance man, Kerry Schooley. One of the scheduled segments on stage was spoken word with accompanying music (Dave Gould on percussion and Chris Pannell on bass guitar), and, when participation was a little lacking, Kerry jumped on stage in an attempt to show others how easy it was, and started reading random sections from the Fair’s show guide which included samples of each author’s work.

When Kerry started in on a spoken word rendition of my poem “The Sound of One Man Screaming” he gave it a far better reading than I could ever hope to do myself. Combined with the jazzy beat accompaniment, he kept jumping back to the following lines from the poem complete with perfectly matching body language:

The pen is lifted, balanced between three fingers

and brought down to kiss an empty page

I can honestly say that I’ve never heard my poetry performed in such a wonderfully stylistic manner. The whole spoken word segment, including the special bit performed by the New Phrenologists, a Hamilton music-performance poetry combo, was truly a thing to behold, and was quite addictive. I think I need to get out and listen to more.

In all, Hamilton's Small Press Fair was a wonderful way to spend the day.


Anonymous said...

it was great to see you there. had I known in advance I would've brought my copy of One Hand Screaming for you to sign.

the fair gave us PENUltimates a couple of ideas so we could have a table there next year!

kim :)

Franny said...

I'm so glad to hear it was a success! You deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Wish I coulda shared the experience with ya.

Mantaray Ocean said...

Congratulations and I am very happy that it went well!

Love that eye by the way!