Popping up on South Pandosy, Kelowna, B.C.

English: Alexander Blok's poem 'Noch, ulica, f...

English: Alexander Blok’s poem ‘Noch, ulica, fonar, apteka’ on a wall in the Dutch city of Leiden (corner Roodenburgerstraat/Thorbeckestraat) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, as I already mentioned, I set out on a September, sunny afternoon and went down to a local village area to read spontaneously to people I met. First time out my stomach was flipping… first person I asked said , “No I don’t have any time for that.”

I was careful to say I was not selling anything… sometimes I think I over-explained! I tried not to intrude, yet have a certain assertiveness about me. I tried to look friendly, yet not overly so. I tried hard 🙂

And, as I walked and as I risked, I met people who were willing to stop and listen for a couple of minutes while I read to them. I took a couple of different poems with me, tried to choose the right poem for the right person based only on my visual assessment of them… now that’s risky too! And I had a couple of conversations that came out of the reading. One about creativity, the other about the persons own realization that to stop and listen was not what she wanted to do, but when she did, she recognized a need within herself to slow down and pay attention to things other than work and her next appointment. And I didn’t try to draw out anything from these people… they shared their thoughts readily. One fellow challenged me on why I was doing what I was doing. Another creative type suggested it would be good to allow the listener to read along… that it was a bit difficult to follow just by listening to the words. Hmmm… really good stuff… great feedback from real people.

Here’s the poem I read most often.

Thoughts on dogs that get out of the yard

Lesley-Anne Evans

You came back. It could have been worse
like the sound of brakes, teeth
on shattering glass, could have been last gasp
flesh on metal. But, you came back smiling
tongue lolling like it was all a walk in the park
darkness no limit for eyes that glowed
in my flashlight beam another time
you went missing in the orchard after supper.

They say you don’t get the dog you want
but the dog you need. What do they know.
Like I need tongued welcomes, tracks
on Berber, eyes watching forays in the fridge.
Like I need chest pressed angry late night drives
’round the neighbourhood, cold hand squeezing
squeaky toys out windows, heat turned high.

You indulge in romps of freedom while I conjure
you drowned in a neighbour’s pool
you impaled on new house construction down the street
you riding in a stranger’s car, someone who is certain
they’ll do a much better job of keeping you safe at home.

Today we strapped a cow bell to your collar. We’ll hear you in the dark.


Hello world!

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,