Home It?s my party and I?ll read poetry if I want to

It?s my party and I?ll read poetry if I want to

by admin October 13, 2009

It?s my party and I?ll read poetry if I want to

by admin October 13, 2009

I didn’t expect to spend my birthday like this.
I’m listening to a poetry reading8212;in a restaurant. Michael Mirolla, a Canadian poet, is sitting at my table, calmly reading Charles Sandburg aloud while the other guests look on in astonishment. A waiter passes by, just in time to hear a reading of a Charles Bukowski poem. The couple sitting at the table next to us crane their necks towards our table, straining to hear the last lines of Mirolla’s own poem, “Passage: The Arabian Sea.” When Mirolla finishes reading, he hands out free copies of his book, “Light and Time,” to the people at my table. The couple at the table next to us get a copy too.
No, this isn’t an English major’s wet dream. We’ve just been involved in Random Act of Poetry.
Random Acts of Poetry, is a week-long event where poets read aloud at surprise locations across Canada, with the aim of exposing people to poetry. The event began in Victoria in 2003, with one poet. This year 31 poets will take part.
Michael Mirolla is participating in the event for the first time. “It’s a worthwhile initiative,” he says. “Raising the profile of poetry, to me, is very important.” Over the course of the past week, he has read poetry at events ranging from a soccer/volleyball tournament to a McGill class for learning in retirement. Last Wednesday, a CTV camera crew filmed him reading poetry outside McGill’s Roddick Gates.
Mirolla said that the reactions to his poetry readings have been purely positive, even if some people initially didn’t know how to take it. At a dinner party last week, Mirolla’s host was initially sceptical when he asked if he could recite poems. When he finished reading, however, the guests were so impressed that many volunteered to read poems of their own.
Besides encouraging people to recite poetry of their own, Random Acts of Poetry also offers a context to hear poetry read aloud that’s much different from a poetry reading. Taking only fifteen minutes, Mirolla’s performance is short, so he “doesn’t take up much of [his audience’s] time.” The readings are also accessible to people who might not ordinarily go see poets read; for example, Mirolla planned to read poetry outside of a bricklayer’s class last Thursday. More important than the accessibility the intimacy of the reading. Mirolla, who toured North America last year to promote his book of short stories, Hothouse Love and Other Tales, said there’s a huge difference between reading to promote his books and reading as part of Random Acts. “You think more about the audience,” he said. Instead of focusing on selling his book, Mirolla can relax and tailor his performance to each specific audience.
Poetry, Mirolla notes, began as an oral tradition. Shamans used oral poetry to recount the myths of creation and the afterlife. This is perhaps appropriate because, as Mirolla was reading with us on my birthday, his father was gravely ill. After leaving the restaurant, Mirolla received a call telling him that his father had died. Perhaps this is why Mirolla was so insistent on closing his reading with the poem “Life” by Miltos Sahtouris: “a girl/ with a strange/ green/ burn/ is being healed/ while/ the ghost/ in despair/ weeps/ in the corner.”

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I didn’t expect to spend my birthday like this.
I’m listening to a poetry reading8212;in a restaurant. Michael Mirolla, a Canadian poet, is sitting at my table, calmly reading Charles Sandburg aloud while the other guests look on in astonishment. A waiter passes by, just in time to hear a reading of a Charles Bukowski poem. The couple sitting at the table next to us crane their necks towards our table, straining to hear the last lines of Mirolla’s own poem, “Passage: The Arabian Sea.” When Mirolla finishes reading, he hands out free copies of his book, “Light and Time,” to the people at my table. The couple at the table next to us get a copy too.
No, this isn’t an English major’s wet dream. We’ve just been involved in Random Act of Poetry.
Random Acts of Poetry, is a week-long event where poets read aloud at surprise locations across Canada, with the aim of exposing people to poetry. The event began in Victoria in 2003, with one poet. This year 31 poets will take part.
Michael Mirolla is participating in the event for the first time. “It’s a worthwhile initiative,” he says. “Raising the profile of poetry, to me, is very important.” Over the course of the past week, he has read poetry at events ranging from a soccer/volleyball tournament to a McGill class for learning in retirement. Last Wednesday, a CTV camera crew filmed him reading poetry outside McGill’s Roddick Gates.
Mirolla said that the reactions to his poetry readings have been purely positive, even if some people initially didn’t know how to take it. At a dinner party last week, Mirolla’s host was initially sceptical when he asked if he could recite poems. When he finished reading, however, the guests were so impressed that many volunteered to read poems of their own.
Besides encouraging people to recite poetry of their own, Random Acts of Poetry also offers a context to hear poetry read aloud that’s much different from a poetry reading. Taking only fifteen minutes, Mirolla’s performance is short, so he “doesn’t take up much of [his audience’s] time.” The readings are also accessible to people who might not ordinarily go see poets read; for example, Mirolla planned to read poetry outside of a bricklayer’s class last Thursday. More important than the accessibility the intimacy of the reading. Mirolla, who toured North America last year to promote his book of short stories, Hothouse Love and Other Tales, said there’s a huge difference between reading to promote his books and reading as part of Random Acts. “You think more about the audience,” he said. Instead of focusing on selling his book, Mirolla can relax and tailor his performance to each specific audience.
Poetry, Mirolla notes, began as an oral tradition. Shamans used oral poetry to recount the myths of creation and the afterlife. This is perhaps appropriate because, as Mirolla was reading with us on my birthday, his father was gravely ill. After leaving the restaurant, Mirolla received a call telling him that his father had died. Perhaps this is why Mirolla was so insistent on closing his reading with the poem “Life” by Miltos Sahtouris: “a girl/ with a strange/ green/ burn/ is being healed/ while/ the ghost/ in despair/ weeps/ in the corner.”

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