Penn Kemp has been not only been a poet but a cultural icon around my home town of London, Ontario, Canada. Yes, her written words have inspired but her actions in a complex number of fronts have a…
Image of Penn Kemp linked from her WordPress site
I had been in a bit of a funk with my blog last week. The summer months have been busy on other fronts for me, and my personal reading and reflection time has been somewhat limited. I had been trying to look forward to the autumn new releases in hopes of something invigorating for my mind would come forward. Then a message from Penn Kemp came via Facebook, asking if I would look and review her new book coming out in the fall. I agreed and I found myself enveloped in her Barbaric Cultural Practice.
Penn Kemp is an icon in the cultural landscape. Her biography page on her blog states she has over 25 books of poetry and drama published, plus six plays and numerous works recorded on different electronic means. But this new work is brilliant in its form.
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The Tale and Trial of Tailtu
Here’s to Tailtu, foster mother to deity Lugh
whose day Lammas is. Tailtu prepared Ireland
for cultivation, clearcut demolishing all forest
so Lugh as Wind, as Lightning could open ways
to invention, new worlds of agriculture— laying
waste the trees to feed folk now at first harvest.
Tailtu lay down to die, exhausted. If she hadn’t
sacrificed herself, great Druid oak and ash groves
would still be flourishing to protect and teach us.
In her end is our beginning. Lughnasadh is called
Brón Trogain (Sorrow of Sorrows) to honour all
that’s gone before, all that dies so we may eat.
You can watch our Tales of Tailtu performance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xg6PB6E9cHw. With Eugenia Catroppa, Lyre Alice Jameson, Angela Rawlings (on Skype) Natalie Zina Walschots.and Brian Walsh, Transac Club, Toronto.
Penn Kemp and Bill Gilliam with Daniel Kolos
Saturday, August 6, 7 pm. StoryRoomToronto, 48 Dalton Road, Toronto M5R 2Y7.
Helwa! Experiencing Ancient Egypt. Egypt is a land of the heart, and the heart of earth’s land mass. Travel with us to timeless realms. Sample a piece from HELWA! here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM2Jg1Xf39g….
We will also be performing poems from Penn’s forthcoming book, Barbaric Cultural Practice (Quattro Books). These pieces are on the CD, From the Lunar Plexus, which will be available for sale along with Bill’s CDs. Seating is limited. Please note that all spaces are now filled.
Contact Penn@pennkemp.ca or Bill, 416 904 2157.
Daniel Kolos and Penn will be performing “Poem for Peace in Two Voices” in English and in Daniel’s translation into Egyptian hieroglyphs! You can hear us reading “Night Orchestra” on http://www.mytown.ca/pennkemp.
“What happens when the lyric power of a highly experienced and galvanically charged poet dances in the electron stream? Barbaric Cultural Practice collects a decade’s poetic exploration of digital world absurdities, of the vitality of the earth and its grave needs, and of community. Penn never just reads: she performs, even on the page, and we can’t help but listen. Connect with the surging circuit of her energetic and eclectic words, connect and recharge.” – Susan McMaster
Admission is free with the purchase of the chapbook, Helwa! ($6) or a CD ($20) or by donation.
Bill Gilliam is a Toronto based composer / pianist who improvises new music compositions. blending influences of contemporary harmony & jazz idioms into his unique style of playing. His recordings include Ensorcell for solo piano; Signposts with piano, percussion & spoken word; & Memory Vision, a DVD with electro-acoustic music & two poems by Penn. www.bill-gilliam.com
Performance poet and playwright Penn Kemp is the League of Canadian Poets 2015 Spoken Word Artist of the Year. She has created several CD’s of sound opera with Bill, including Night Vision. Her latest works are two anthologies: Performing Women and Women and Multimedia. Her new book of poetry, Barbaric Cultural Practice, will be out October 1.
Bill and Penn are next performing September 3 @ 2p.m, Words and Music Salon, Vino Rosso Bar & Restaurant. 995 Bay St., Toronto M5S 3C4. Free.
Penn’s readings are sponsored by the League of Poets, Metro Readings in Public Places.
As owl hoots through a spangled sky,
I slip from the dominant design of vision
to sleep doubling to dream, fallen into ear.
Atuned. Ear prints’ whispered lineage
alerts us to evolutionary danger even
as awareness expands beyond my scope.
Dropping off, all ears, I tune in, transform
visual illusion for glamorous aural chimera
wonder where Beauty disappears in clamour.
Duplicity entrances, the diversity of
possible beings that inhabit the world,
whose lives are played below our sight-
line. They know their path and do not
deviate. We who’ve taken wrong turns
over and over since the Neolithic watch
in wonder. And wonder how to return
to such simple complexities with intact
consciousness. The jewel in our crown,
that we know we know, we do not wish
to lose in merging with all that could be.
Night rustles outside our window, murmurs
and squeaks. Whimpers follow outraged
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Insects shrill. A thrum as of clacking bones.
Today tallies a long count of creation cycles.
On this winter solstice we climb our Sacred
Tree to enter wide zones of silence through
the doorway of darkness, our canoe riding
white rivers of night. The elliptic crosses
Milky Way precisely now, when elements
merge in a dark rift of source and return.
Cacti and palm leaves rustle dry in the ruins.
Terror cracks the heart open. Rivulets run
a scarlet sap to appease unknown gods be-
yond us. Blooming and blessing, this wound
wound tight round knots of surmise reveals so
little before our offering is received in sunrise.
Penn Kemp ~ Performance poet, activist and playwright Penn Kemp is the League of Canadian Poets 2015 Spoken Word Artist of the Year. Her latest works are two anthologies: Performing Women and Women and Multimedia. Her new book of poems Barbaric Cultural…
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The Feminist Caucus of the League of Canadian Poets is pleased to present the panel “Performing Women: Playwrights and Performance Poets” at the Canadian Writers’ Summit taking place this June at Harbourfront in Toronto. Find out more information about the Summit, and the League’s Annual Conference, at poets.ca/conference.
Friday, June 17, from 7:45 to 9 am, we will host our breakfast business meeting and open readings. We will be launching the anthology Women & Multimedia: Poetry Collaboration/Elaborations, with work from Di Brandt, Terry Carter, Penn Kemp, Moe Clark, Jude Neale, and Cathy Petch. This anthology is edited by Penn Kemp, and contains papers published in our Living Archives Series. This event is free to members of the League, and may be attended without registering for the Summit. Please contact the League office at email@example.com for more information.
Saturday, June 18, from 4 to 5 pm, Miss Lou’s Room. Join six amazing panelists to discuss experiences and ideas concerning performance. Our six panelists are playwrights, performers, poets… and several are all three. We’ll conclude the panel with a Q&A. The panel is a joint venture between Playwrights Guild and the League of Poets. We will be launching PERFORMING WOMEN, an anthology with papers by the panelists, edited by Penn Kemp. It will also be available through the League, or online through playwrightsguild.ca. This panel is only open to Summit registrants. Visit poets.ca/conference to find out more information about registration and pricing. Miss Lou’s Room is located on the second floor of the Bill Boyle Artport, along the south side overlooking the Natrel Pond/Rink and the lake. See www.harbourfrontcentre.com/venues/misslousroom/
Kelly Jo Burke, “Why Ducks, Anyway?”
Cornelia Hoogland, “Red Dresses Hang from the Trees and Towers: Red and Rapunzel are Missing”
Penn Kemp, “I am translated: How does multimedia give form to a poem’s alternate expression?”
Catherine Kidd, “Zoomorphic Poetics (or, Why I Write So Many Poems About Wildlife)”
Susan McMaster, “How does collaboration enhance performance poetry? The Intimate Power of Co-Creation”
Moe Clark will be performing from her piece in WOMEN AND MULTIMEDIA.
Photo by Daniela Sneppova, cover of WOMEN AND MULTIMEDIA