It is the first Sunday of the month, and for this Lost Shark that means SpeedPoets, but as today is Easter Sunday, we have moved the gig back a week to let everyone enjoy the festivities. But believe me, it will be worth the wait, as the April SpeedPoets features sets from Benjamin Sawon and the lovely Amanda Joy. Here is a recent interview with Amanda and a couple of poems to carry you through until next Sunday… Hope to see many of you there…
Amanda, what pleasure does a poem bring?
When I was a kid, one of my favourite things was lifting up rocks to see what was underneath, I think a poem, whether I’m reading it or writing it gives me a similar sensation.
There’s a quote from Jean Baudrillard which I love which says something like, “Never resist a sentence you like, in which language takes its own pleasure and in which, after having abused it for so long, you are stupefied by its innocence.” I think language taking its own pleasure is quite a delicious idea also.
What are the themes you keep coming back to in your poetry?
I suppose anything that has given me a strong feeling or an intense moment in life is something I return to in my poetry, the desert, music, the ocean, relationships, other poems. Deleuze wrote some great stuff on poetry as sensation, Steiner in ‘The Arts and Their Mission’ wrote that meaning equals feeling. I suppose in a few ways that is Romantic with a capital R, and always a little bit beyond itself, but I also think that’s where my love of poetry squats, I want to keep striving for some primacy of image, of sensation, but all I get are these refractions.
Your MySpace blog and poetry blog Little Glass Pen both attract a large readership. How have you established such a strong online following? How do you see digital platforms such as blogs evolving in the future?
Ha! by accident and naivete originally. Three years ago I posted some poems on Myspace for my partner to read in Africa, without really thinking about the public forum it was in, someone read my blog and commented, I read someone else’s blog and commented, it was a viral thing. By the time I set up Little Glass Pen I had a really dedicated group of readers who had been encouraging me for a while, including Jon Sanders, a poet and pro basketball player who created the Poetry Blog Rankings site, which still directs a lot of new readers through to LGP.
I want to get back to using Twitter for my six word poems too, although I have the sense that I’m enjoying them more than anyone following yet.
I enjoy the egalitarian nature of blogging. I think anything that encourages people to get up & turn off the tv and write or paint or read or do anything creative has to be a good thing. It takes such a little bit of encouragement for most people to continue to create once they put something out there and elicit a response in someone. I try to respond to everyone who asks me to read their blog.
I really enjoy reading poetry or viewing blogs which are created specifically for this media, visual poems, audio recordings, even poems written simply with scrolling in mind make me smile. I will be curious to see how much more video and audio work appears online over time and in what forms they evolve.
We are honoured to have you as our feature poet for the April SpeedPoets event. How do you go about selecting poems for a reading? What makes a poem perform better in a live setting?
Jeez louweeze, the honour’s all mine and I can’t wait.
As for selecting poems, well, I’m learning a really simple thing and that’s to read what I enjoy reading (It seems to have a follow-on effect) and that clever tricks with enjambment and line breaks tend to trip me up rather than any one else when reading them aloud. I wish I was more disciplined when it comes to writing for spoken word.
I used to write a lot of songs and I think a split stemmed from that; if it sounded good it became a song, if not it became a poem. I’ve still not really padded around in that place between.
When I was in Belgium I went to a performance by a group of sound poets, which really excited me, just feeling the vibrations of the words, the air, gesture and the tone was a really profound sonic experience. I really enjoy listening to Gabby Everall read, Santo Cazzati is great too. I suppose its always exciting to hear a different rhythm or cadence, the way it revitalizes language.
SpeedPoets, Sunday April 11, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, InSpire Gallery Bar – 71 Vulture St. West End
Amanda Joy + Benjamin Sawon
Entry is a gold coin donation