Another night, this time at Art Bar.

Last night I went to Art Bar at Pauper’s Pub to hear readings by Ryan Kamstra (iNTO tHE dROwNED wORL_D)**, John Wall Barger (Hummingbird)**, and Nathaniel G. Moore (The Zodiac is Speaking).  It was a great night of poetry and contextual anecdotes. Whenever I talk to people about poetry nights, they have this weird assumption about them.

Me: “Come! It’ll be fun, you’ll have a pint, and you get to buy some books too.”

Friend: “Oh poetry! *feigns fainting* Do I need a beret? Will people put on melancholic airs and wear scarves? ”

Me: “Maybe……hey, no! I mean, it depends on the poet. There are angry poets, poets who are born comedians, and there are dramatic poets, but it’s all good provoking fun.”

Last night was a mixture of it all. The three featured poets brought in their own brand of performance to their pieces. Kamstra was quite funny and I enjoyed his Madonna infused prose (I’m not so secret Madonna fan). Barger gave a small back story on his world travels that elicited each of the poems he presented. His account of his encounter with a Indian leper was particularly memorable. Moore gave his all as usual, even bringing in some artwork and surprise poetry to sell. I’m looking forward to his upcoming works, The Zodiac is Speaking and The Chelsea Papers.

At the last minute, I decided to sign up for the open mic. I always have one of my chapbooks in my bag, so I thought, why not? I have been going to Art Bar since 2009, and the last time I did the open mic, was also my first time reading anything anywhere. Back then, all my poetry was written in pink leger books that I had filling up since I was thirteen years old. That summer of 2009, I found out that Art Bar was just a block away from my house. This was the first poem I ever read to an audience.



We are waves in a memory


ever expanding-being stretched by the flow

preserving our changing faces, lifting

our voices…as a colour of crab-like language

pours into the air…aoh…ahh…

through the white gurgling crest…aoshl..expel the words..

the more mouth you are, the farther

away you are from the ground…Knowledge can kill you

and numb the rapids…these infinite amounts of recall

..have their purpose…aoshh…

grab hold to something solid

…letters…ABC…The earth we protect and kill

each other for…there is never enough

of it to stand on…we belong to this soil…

and the waves that carry it…

purify the crevices of our souls.

I am drowning in this sea of memory..entirely you..we are w..wahh…terrr..a.gua. Now we…I..I am 

vanquished and dry.

(November 1997)*

I remember my hands trembling and trying my best to pronounce the shhhh’s and wahhh’s without being too self-conscious about it. I was greeted warmly by the crowd and because of that confidence, I found myself breaking free from fifteen years of writer’s block.

I am grateful to the Art Bar Poetry group for their continued support and efforts to have these nights where poetry can run amok, and be consumed in any which way possible. Plus I have spent many an afternoon or evening with a book or manuscript or with friends before Dance Cave at Pauper’s Pub. The Annex is still pretty much my second home.

My friend Dawn (of, saw my post that I was reading yesterday and rushed over from her rowing class just to see me. It meant a lot to me. She even took a photo.

I read two poems from “Maybe.” Yes, I am wearing my Vibrams shoes (or as my kids call them, my gorilla shoes). As always, I had been cycling all day and they are very comfortable (built for moments when you want to break out into hardcore prose/rap. Ok, I don’t rap. Maybe.).

Needless to say, I had a good time last night and was treated with a great bike ride home. The clouds broke open enough for me to see the stars at my favorite bridge in The Junction.

*You can find that poem in “Tristise” my first chapbook.

**I have to go pick these up soon!


  1. i dont know where the beret image and finger snapping came from i think maybe the flintstones but how modern young people or anyone have this association with poetry reading is beyond me. whoever can solve this might have a great short film on their hands. STIGMATA : THE FINGERSNAPPING BERET WEARING DAMNATION OF CANADA’S FAVOURITE LITERARY PASTTIME

  2. but how do people connect that? what is the source!!!!! how is it a thing? where are the examples? noxema commericals? car commercials?

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