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Sunday, July 24, 2005

SUMMER DREAMS

"Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know,
Are a substatial world, both pure and good:
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and
blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow."
William Wordsworth (1770-1850) 'Personal Talk' sonnet 3 (1807)

Yesterday, the poets of my city united in a Summer Dreams Festival performing from 11 in the morning until 10 in the evening at a city square by the Art Gallery downtown.

The poets from the Pandora's Collective (of which I'm a board member) were the organizers of this gala of spoken word. What a wonderful way to spend a sunny day!

I spent about four hours down at the Square with a couple of my writer friends, listening to the poetic words, music (Original songs by various musical groups provided breaks between the sets of performers.) There were representatives from many different writer's groups, mostly poets but some prose writers too including the Story Slam performers and, of course, the Poetry Slam performers who never fail to amaze me with their ability to recite long rants with such fervor.

It was a good way to schmooze with other writers and booths were set up by many of the groups with hand-outs and information on writer's events that take place around the city.

I decided to enter a haiku contest put on by the public library. Haiki is a good poetic discipline and I encourage writers in my classes to try it, and to read haiku which is a good way to learn to pare down descriptive passages to the vital essence and imagry.

Although I don't consider myself a 'poet', there are times when I do write poetry (prose poetry) and in my prose writing I endeavour to be 'poetic'. In my work-in-progress Dragons in the Sky: A Celtic Tale I have used Bardic verses as some of the chapters. And I was thinking yesterday about a performance works I wrote several years ago: The Alexandrian Collection: Hymns for Gods and Heroes.

My poet friend James, who I used to chum with in Athens, challenged me to write a collection of poems about Alexander. I studied the form of the ancient hymns and odes and wrote a dozen or more verses that began with Samothraki, the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, and the meeting of Alexander's father Philip and Olympias, a young Epirote Princess. The verses were for two voices and were performed accompanied by a flute. It was quite affective and although it was an poetry form that many of the audience weren't familiar with, it certainly make an impact. I was considering, yesterday, that perhaps I ought to revive that work and see if we can perform it again.

I hoped, yesterday, to find some inspiration and just being around so many other writers was an excellent way to pass the afternoon. There are more festivals of the Spoken Word
coming up and recently there was a big day of spectacular readings by well-known and emerging writers. We're lucky to have so many venues in our city that provide a stage for writers/poets to perform. Next month the Pandora's Collective is hosting a troupe of roving poets in the Van Dusen Botanical Garden to spontaneously write and perform. I'll certainly mark that one on my calendar!

"I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams." William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

"We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep."
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) "The Tempest" IV, i 148

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