Being Offensive

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There are standout moments in my life as a community engaged creative being. Most are good. Some are, well, not.

For example, I try to be like water off a duck’s back when it comes to rejection letters from publishers. I thank some publishers because their rejection letters are kind, and personal. Others I skim read and move on. There are so many flavours in rejection letters that can be condensed down to one word: NO! It’s all part of the game of writing and putting yourself out there. You won’t always land favourably.

Being a poetry busker for a few years, I’ve also experienced being called out, and I don’t mean for a standing ovation! Still the positive far outweighs the nay sayers, and though I don’t busk anymore, it was a formational experience for me and I think of those times fondly.

Since 2012, I’ve played in the communities I live in and visit. I say “play” because Pop-Up Poetry installation is that to me (if playing is being brave.) Sometimes I hear back from folk who’ve found a little poem bit and liked it. You’ll find some comments here on this website that speak to what has resonated, what has touched someone’s heart specifically and meaningfully, what has been a bright spark. I feel lucky when that happens. I feel privileged too.

Mostly I follow my heart, and trust I’m doing something for the common good. PUP isn’t a money maker, an ego builder, an advertisement…it’s a gift. A small gift of words on a tiny slip of paper for taking…if you find one, please keep it!

So this might sound altruistic and wonderful, but it’s also complex. Truth is I don’t know what reception I’ll get if any, or who might be offended:

Kindly remove all the pieces of litter and metal from wherever you placed them in Tofino.
It is totally disrespectful to do such a thing.
If I find any more of them you will be reported to bylaws for littering.
We work so hard to keep this place natural and then you come along and put out garbage.
Clean it up please.

When I received this email last night upon returning home, I was initially hurt. Then I was gobsmacked when I found out the author was a local artist! But I do see their perspective. Who am I to presume my art is appealing, or fitting, or nothing more than trash? One human’s treasure…

Back to the play (bravery) part. And the cost. I will bear the cost of these words because that’s who I am, and I will also continue to play.

I just want to be honest and say Pop-Up Poetry is not all happy shiny creative fun. It can be disheartening, and adds to the angst of being me: an artist/poet who is never entirely sure, never brave enough to put myself out there, is sometimes offensive, and does it anyway.

Cue the bylaw officer. Cue the poem I write in response.

Onward,

Lesley-Anne

A busking she will go …

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English: A sax busker on the streets of the Fr...

English: A sax busker on the streets of the French Quarter, New Orleans. Photo by Gary Mark Smith. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s official. After an exciting half hour meeting with Festivals Kelowna Program Coordinator, Ryan Donn, I am licensed as a Poet Busker (street performer). The Kelowna Buskers Program has been around town for several years, and is managed by Festivals Kelowna who describe themselves as;

a non-profit society that produces community focused, family friendly festivals and events that enhances the lifestyle of our citizens and visitors.

Festivals Kelowna also do Parks Alive, Celebrate Canada Day and Arts Alive Programs… a huge focus of energy and passion involved in bringing fun, music and the arts to the very fortunate people of Kelowna. I love what they do.

Ryan tells me this is going to be one of the most exciting years for the Buskers Program yet, with new types of art being offered. Things like acrobatics, music, dance and spoken word poetry, to name a few. I’m thrilled to be on board.

Well then, it’s out I go. Be on the lookout for my “This is Pop-Up-Poetry” sign and me at one of fifteen different locations around the City of Kelowna, including several in the South Pandosy neighbourhood.

This is me hoping to see YOU out THERE!

Lesley-Anne Evans, Pop-Up-Poetry

Sunshine, summer, fresh air, people and poetry! I think I’m getting my happy on.

SDG,

Lesley-Anne