What say you?

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Performance poetry 2005 #9

Performance poetry 2005 #9 (Photo credit: Clint Gardner)

Performance poetry 2005 #7

Performance poetry 2005 #7 (Photo credit: Clint Gardner)

Performance poetry 2005 #14

Performance poetry 2005 #14 (Photo credit: Clint Gardner)

So, now that I’ve tried a couple of variations on the theme of popping up, and now that it’s winter and very cold and icy and not the best conditions for street artists, I’m wondering what your opinion is. If given the option of receiving the spontaneous gift of poetry up close and personal, would you;

1. prefer to see some indication of professionalism, like a sign, or a business card, or a published book perhaps, to indicate that the person reading poetry to you isn’t a complete nut job? (ok, well, just because one has a business card, does not mean they aren’t a nut job, but at least they took the time to present themselves in a positive way, right?)

2. keep it casual, eyes up, smile on face, poet walking up to you and asking the simple question, “could I read you a poem today?” and you stopping on your way and listening for a while, attentive look on your face?

3. be more structured, like a lecturn or a podium that said poet reads from (with a sign), therefore offering a buffer between you and them, and the option to pass on by if they continue to read just a wee bit too long?

4. happen upon poetry spontaneously placed in the environment, with no poet attached, and be allowed the opportunity to enjoy without the pressure of the smile, or the voice, or the book, or the business card (like the wonderful examples in the photos of Clint Gardner)?

5. all of the above, at various times and in appropriate ways?

6. none of the above, I just don’t prefer poetry.

Please respond in the comments with your vote and your comments. Thanks! If you like what you read,  PLEASE COMMENT AND VOTE!!!

I think it’s time to hit the streets as soon as the mercury rises above, let’s say 10 degrees C on a day with no wind and perhaps a little bit of afternoon sun. Yes, I sense a wee bit of stir crazy setting in!

I’ll be seeing you,

Lesley-Anne, SDG, Pop-Up-Poet

Oh gosh, that was really awkward…

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Yesterday the sun came out for the first time in… weeks. Well, maybe not weeks, but many days have passed since the clouds have parted and we’ve seen blue and sunlight. It put me in a good place, and as I worked on a writing project at my desk in the morning, the thought began to percolate that it might be time to hit the streets again. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read outside.

So, off I headed, this time with a slight revision to my presentation style: the addition of a stand to place my poems on and a small sign (a precursor to the bigger sign I’ve ordered and which arrived today by mail from Vistaprint). The sign to announce who I am in the hopes of taking away the, “what’s-this-woman-trying-to-sell-me-anyway” aura that is faintly around me out there (my perception anyway). Rather than approach people and ask to read them a poem, I thought I’ll just set up my stand in a likely spot and begin to read. Passersby will see me and stop and listen or continue to pass by… their choice.

Only it was awkward. The walk from my truck, past the coffee shop outdoor tables to the spot I chose with music stand in hand, was awkward. The setting up of the sign and the papers and the putting on of reading glasses was awkward. Clearing my voice and beginning to read to nobody in particular was awkward. And people passing by and not stopping and not smiling was awkward. Sounds of traffic seemed louder. I fought with feelings of low self-worth and foolishness and embarrassment and I questioned my motivation, my intent, my purpose. Yes, all this was awkward. And perhaps a little foolhardy and a little dangerous???

English: Don't stand too close Warning sign ad...

English: Don’t stand too close Warning sign adjacent to gate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Until a fellow with a bike stopped and listened and nodded and carried on when I was done. And another man having a cigarette hung around and asked for my card, and a woman coming out of a store came over and told me she was a poet and then waited to hear an entire poem from beginning to end. She also wanted my card. Then I wandered to another spot, read out loud to pigeons and squirrels and a mobility bus driver who hid in the bus and one lady who kept her head down and eyes averted as she walked by (did she speed up?).

OK, so those encounters were worth it, I think. Usually it’s not really about me at all, but about the bigger picture. Sharing poetry. Sharing beauty. Being open. Returning the gift. Giving thanks.

Like Bill Cosby says above, or one of my favorite old Hebrew quotations that I keep on my fridge;

“… go in the strength you have…” Judges 6:14

Still popping up, next time with my new groovy sign!
Lesley-Anne

SDG

Hello world!

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Poetry
Poetry (Photo credit: Kimli)

So, here’s my new blog “pop-up-poetry” that will follow my adventures in reading my poetry out loud on the streets of Kelowna British Columbia (and maybe other locations). Each time I read a poem in public, I will post the poem here. I might share a story about a poetry reading encounter too.

I believe art is for all of us, first for the artist, then for humanity. Art for our need to create beauty, express the gift… and beauty for the sake of saving the world, exposing our gift to others to touch their lives in a positive way.

Yeah, a bit of a lofty idea perhaps, but I do believe it is true.

I’ve been writing for years, and now I’m going to lay it out there for you. I hope it grabs you. I hope it echoes. We’ll see what happens.

The idea of me popping up and reading poetry in a spontaneous way to complete strangers, was planted in my mind when I took a trip to Vancouver, B.C. and learned about Pop Up retail. I heard of a movie company that had set up shop in a vacant storefront for a couple of weeks to sell off props, then once they were done, they closed… vanished. Same thing happens with clothing, art, and other retail establishments that literally pop up overnight and are gone within a very short time frame. I thought HOW COOL IS THAT! I looked into it a little more, and discovered that there are poets out there doing this… or similar things to this. Check out this YouTube video of a New York experience of pop-up poetry. Like the Flashmob phenom., there’s this idea of taking what we have to offer artistically and giving it freely to others. The artist as cultural philanthropist kind of thing.

Anyway…I’ve been blogging for years, writing poetry longer. Reading to myself/family/friends/acquaintances is fun, but reading to strangers is… risky, exciting, and I believe, necessary for me to grow as a poet/artist. I need to up the ante. So, here goes…

I’ve popped up to read poetry spontaneously a couple of times. Once last April, I walked around a plaza and read a poem by someone else… for National Poetry Month. This time, I went out one sunny September afternoon and read poems to a dozen or more people… my poems. I had some unique responses, some very interesting conversations. It was good.

And I do all this knowing that in some circles, the idea of freely sharing your work isn’t done. The purse strings are tight, the rules restrict. I’m doing it anyway. Until I’m convinced otherwise. Here’s something I wrote on the topic.

If you are interested, you can check out my other blogs Buddy Breathing, Sometimes Suicidal Mama, and My Gracenotes, by clicking on their names.

I’m excited to meet you, I really am. As with all of my blogs, I consider this to be community… a dialogue… not a monologue. So, let me know what you think. (Talk back!)

Click here to read what I read first time out… it’s my next post!

Stepping out,

Lesley-Anne