December 15: Several novel selections on Dead Poets Night

The Art Bar generally likes to celebrate vibrant and living poets, but once a year we make a little bit of room for the deceased.

This year, for some reason, a number of our poet guests reached a little further than usual into the attic of cultural memory and dusted off several unexpected cultural nick-knacks, many of them by authors better known as novelists.

The strange, disembodied sounds of the Beatles, Rush and the Tragically Hip permeated the reading. Their decidedly unsupernatural cause was eventually discovered, much to this writer’s embarrassment. Sometimes our gadgets turn on us, especially when we don’t turn them off.

Stephen Humphrey

David Clink

Either out of graciousness, love of literature or morbid curiosity, Rowers Pub series organizer and one-time Art Bar overseer David Clink again returned to host Dead Poets night.

Lisa Young

Lisa Young presented the supernaturally-themed poem “Earthbound” by “Highwayman” author Alfred Noyes, appropriately using a ghost story to kick off a night of dead poets.

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Nik Beat

Nik Beat, a long-time fan of the Romantics,  read poems by George Gordon Byron, the club-footed English baron better known as Lord Byron from a big, handsomely-bound book.

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Violet Fodor

New mother and poet-novelist Alison Pick read a creation by Al Purdy appropriately titled “The Dead Poet“.

Edward Fenner

Poet and communications consultant Edward Fenner read from two clever curmudgeons of letters, Stephen Leacock and Mark Twain.

Violet Fodor

Violet Fodor read material by the much revered and long-lived American poet Gwendolyn Brooks.

Francine Lewis

Poet and budding sci fi novelist Francine Lewis read some curious rhyming poems by adventure writer Robert Louis Stevenson, who influenced her since childhood.

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Kurt Zubatiuk

Kurt Zubatiuk takes home the prize for dressing the part for reading the work of his selection, the 20th-Century Ukranian poet Anna Akhmatova. He heartily toasted the anti-Stalinist writer with quaffs of vodka.

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Phoebe Tsang

Keeping with the trend of trotting out verse written by fiction writers, recent feature Phoebe Tsang presented  three prose poems by Ernest Hemmingway, written to preface his stories.

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Dane Swan

Dane Swan is a poet who straddles the worlds of music and straight-up writing, which was reflected by his choice, folk singing legend Odetta, who passed away last year. “She considered herself more a historian than an artist,” he said, “which to me makes her a poet.”

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Clara Blackwood

Clara Blackwood added a touch of old-school decadence to the night when she presented poems by French Romantic, Orientalist, proto-surrealist and hashish advocate Gerard De Nerval.

Catherine Graham

Waxing lyrical about the emerald isle, but not to the point of breaking into song, Catherine Graham read selections from Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh.

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Rocco de Giacomo

Rocco de Giacomo saw fit to regale the winter-bound audience with that hoary old rhyming tale of the wild frozen north by Robert W. Service, “The Shooting of Dan McGrew“.

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Nashira Dernesch

Nashira Dernesch presented a case study in merging the concerns of science an poetry via the words of Czech poet, essayist and immunologist Miroslav Holub.

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Ray Hsu

The letter H is brought to you today by Ray Hsu, who read poems by Martin Heidegger and Homer. Congratulations to Ray for making the difficult choice between Heidegger (“What a jerk!”) and Einstein, and for braving the potentially infinite regressions of classics in translation.  Additional congrats for being the first Art Bar feature to conduct the reading entirely from his iPhone.

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Heather Cadsby

Author and longtime pillar of the Art Bar Heather Cadsby closed the evening with tender, elliptical verses from Gertrude Stein, which have fascinated her for years.

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One Response to “December 15: Several novel selections on Dead Poets Night”

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