This weekend I headed north for the Vancouver International Writers Festival, an annual five-day celebration of the written word. One image from the event has stayed with me, from Saturday night’s “Poetry Bash.” (I have no idea why they called it a bash, or how a bash differs exactly from a slam, or why poetry events have such violent titles; it was a perfectly civilized evening in which six poets read aloud, into a microphone, next to a vase of flowers. Perhaps some poet can enlighten me.) One of the poets, whose work was vivid and eloquent, repeatedly stood on one leg while reading his work aloud; gracefully bending his knee and pulling up the leg, like a stork in a blue blazer. Was this something he did to emphasize the rhythm of his work, or a subconscious nervous habit, or maybe just have a recurring leg cramp? This was fascinating to contemplate, and while I watched him something struck me: If I saw a movie in which a poet read his work, and repeatedly stood on one leg, I’d think — and you would too — that it wasn’t believable. Just a reminder that life is often stranger than cinema; something to ponder, on a rainy Monday morning.
October 24, 2011 at 10:12 AM