Penn Kemp

Moss Trill

In Our Back Yard

Reading The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert. Past mass extinctions and now

the sixth. Frogs and toads, myriad amphibians in
garish armour warning of poison, or mottled dun

Gone in an evolutionary flash.

Toad tadpoles in our pond were just developing
arms when they all… disappeared. Overnight

racoons? Drowning? I know I am responsible
somehow. NIMB, the warning close to home.

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The Rolling Blog Tour Stops Here… for a week!

The Rolling Blog Tour Stops Here… for a week!

July 14, 2014.  My thanks to Debbie Hill for inviting me on this Virtual Blog Tour. Her own excellent presentation is on http://okunhill.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/all-aboard-hop-on-the-my-writing-process-blog-tour/ and reposted on my WordPress blog on July 8.  Debbie asked me to write about my writing process and then introduce three writers and their blogs.  These writers will in turn write for the rolling blog tour on their blogs July 21 and introduce more writers on their websites.  And so it goes…

To see my choices, scroll down.  Enjoy and happy writing!

 The Questions…

1)  What am I working on?

Gathering Voices, my lit.-on-air radio show is heard on alternate Tuesdays at 6:30 AM and PM on CHRW, Radio Western, 94.9 FM and online. For upcoming programs and archived shows, see: http://chrwradio.ca/content/upcoming-episodes-gathering-voices. The complete schedule is up now for the rest of 2014 on https://pennkemp.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/gathering-voices-on-radio-western/.

AlvegoRoot Theatre will be directing and producing my play, “Heart P’Art” in 2015. The play portrays my father, painter Jim Kemp, and London’s arts community of the mid-20th century. It will be directed by Adam Adam Corrigan Holowitz. Produced by AlvegoRoot Theatre Company.

Jim Kemp’s paintings were in the London Visual Fringe, June 3 – 14, 2014 at The Arts Project, http://www.londonfringe.ca/schedule/visual-fringe‎. Videography for the play is by Dennis Siren: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JoNJmilHnE&feature=youtu.be.

Tall Poppies by Jim Kemp

Tall Poppies 481948_10151091650089402_1953963330_nThanks to The Grand Theatre for a OAC theatre reserve grant for writing. “Homeward Bound”, another take on this play will be part of the Playwrights Cabaret at the McManus Theatre in London, January, 2015. We will be workshopping this piece at the Grand Theatre in the Fall.

“Heart P’Art”: This celebratory play about London painter Jim Kemp’s last week takes place in University Hospital. Dying in our culture is passed over in denial, but the gathering family experiences conflicting emotions ranging through memory, humour, and lament. A resolution in ritual acknowledges the importance of this most profound life passage. This play celebrates art and London’s artistic community mid-twentieth century and the spectrum of a life lived full-throttle, with humour.

Penn Kemp Photo Courtesy Gavin Stairs

Upcoming Events are posted on www.mytown.ca/pennletters.

Poems are posted on www.mytown.ca/pennkemp.

2)  How does my work differ from others of its genre? Why do I write what I do?

See Stan Burfield’s interview with me on http://www.londonpoetryopenmic.com/season-2-interviews–poems-only-from-dec-4th-2013/1 and Kathryn Mockler’s interview with me on http://www.therustytoque.com/rusty-talk/penn-kemp-poet.

3)  How does your writing process work?

This summer, I am writing poems for Dream Sequins. Five of these poems are up on http://www.londonpoetryopenmic.com/season-2-interviews–poems-only-from-dec-4th-2013/1. I write best early in the morning, when dreams are still vivid. I’m finding it tricky to convey the bizarre narrative of dream into a language that reflects the adventure but is not limited to a straightforward recounting of the dream.

Usually, my process is to follow the sound throughout a poem rather than a theme.  I find the resonance that the poem wishes to convey and follow that sound down the rabbit hole and back again…

4)  And here are the Guest Bloggers for Next Week’s Tour!

Three of my favourite activist writers!  On their blogs, Monday July 21, they will respond to the questions on writing and introduce new bloggers.

1. My first guest is the indefatigable Edward Pickersgill. His Sanity Claws News Network Magazine is on https://www.facebook.com/sanityclawsnewsnetwork: a c(l)ause for sanity.

View photo in message

Edward Pickersgill, aka John “Underling” Doe, born in Glasgow Scotland, has been in Canada since 1957 at age 12.  Long an anti-poverty activist, Ed oversees the 40 Baker Street community centre in downtown Guelph ON, Additional information is available via the usual highly suspect search engines.

2, I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Sophia Bonnie Wodin.

Sophia is a spiritually oriented therapist, writer and teacher who delights in weaving together strands of the natural, physical reality with the journey to spiritual and emotional empowerment and wholeness.  Check out her beautiful www.sophiabonniewodin.blogspot.com.

3. My third guest writer is Stan Burfield, who does yeoman service for poets in London ON, my home town.  

Stan is a farm boy from Alberta, one-time adventurer, reporter, florist, currently organizer of London Open Mic Poetry Night and part time support worker for people with autism and developmental disorders. Take a look at his blog on his very informative site, http://www.londonpoetryopenmic.com/. 

Next Monday, July 21, check out Stan’s, Edward’s and Sophia’s own Blog Tours. They will introduce upcoming blogger writers there, and then!

 

 

 

Interview on www.therustytoque

Kathryn Mockler’s interview with me on http://www.therustytoque.com/rusty-talk/penn-kemp-poet.

London, Ontario performance poet, activist and playwright Penn Kemp is the 40th Life Member of the League of Canadian Poets. This year she received the Queen Elizabeth 11 Diamond Jubilee medal for service to the arts. Penn has published twenty-five books of poetry and drama, had six plays and ten CDs produced as well as Canada’s first poetry CD-ROM and several award-winning videopoems. As the inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of London, she initiated and judged Poetry in Motion and the National Haiku Competition. As Canada Council Writer-in-Residence for University of Western Ontario for 2009-10, her project was the DVD, Luminous Entrance: a Sound Opera for Climate Change Action, Pendas Productions.

RUSTY TALK WITH PENN KEMP

Kathryn Mockler: What is your first memory of writing creatively?
Penn Kemp: I remember my own early discovery of and delight in language. As a child, I did not coddle my dolls. I sat them up and read the poems, stories and nursery rhymes my mother had read to me. The words she read would sink into the well of my hearing and become part of me; their rhythms would dance inside my body like northern lights. I ate up those words with a necessity as strong as hunger. Even at first hearing, the words were somehow familiar as if I recognized in them old friends. I remember swelling proudly with the power of words, in learning first to read and then actually to write, to put down the letters so that they made sense to anyone who could read.

I wrote my first poem when I was six, excited and amazed at having created through apparent magic something out of nothing with marks on a page accompanied by a drawing of kids skating. I glimpsed a world in which words had a life of their own, just as toys did. I knew that if I could wake at the right time at night I would catch my toys at play. So too, I felt words could be surprised and brought to life on the page.

Writing that first poem was the first time that I recall consciously feeling that I was doing an adult thing ­creating something entirely on my own, assuming independence ­ growing up!  I felt like the Little Red Hen in the nursery story:  “‘I can do it myself,’ said The Little Red Hen, and she did.”

KM: What keeps you going as a poet or why do you write?                      
PK: When I write, I begin an adventure equipped with my writing tools and everything else I know about myself and the world. By the end of the day, everything I knew and thought may be transformed­ or discarded. It intrigues me that what I know and start off with is the very means for realizing what is unknown.

I write to articulate the moment, to puzzle out feelings or incidents I can’t figure out. The best poems come, though, when I follow the language of a striking phrase. Sound leads me.

KM: Could you describe your writing process? (For example, do you write every day? When? Where? How do you approach revision, etc.)
PK: I write every day, in the morning, in the little room that was my childhood bedroom. It looks out on a small greenhouse, a source of inspiration and delight all year. The green throughout the winter keeps me from getting restless and hungry for sun. Often in the morning as I transcribe dreams, they become poems. They’re not usually very good poems so they don’t see the light of day beyond a file in my computer, but they keep the energy of poetry flowing. The problem I have with them is that they are too narrative and I feel I need to stick to the literal story line that the dream gave me. 

I revise constantly, even when I am performing, pencil often in hand. Reading the poem in front of an audience allows me to really hear what works…and what does not.

My first book, Bearing Down, was performed in four voices for a Seattle FM radio show in 1973. That performance opened up the door to possibilities for the spoken word in those early days. I’ve been lifting the word off the page any way I could since then, most recently in videopoems. But the ear remains my first love. Concentrating on the voice rather than gesture or physical presence in communicating poetry has taught me to listen acutely, and that’s had an effect not just on my sound poetry but on all my work. Collaborating with artists of different disciplines is exciting and energizing. And with the Cloud, friends and fans can hear the work in Brazil, in India, in Britain simultaneously!”

KM; What writers were influential to you when you first started out? And what poets are you reading now?
PK: Victor Coleman, the editor at Coach House Press and a neighbour on Toronto Island, was influential and encouraging in introducing me to the poetic community across North America.  My first book, Bearing Down, came out from Coach House, 1972. I organized a poetry reading series at A SPACE in Toronto for several years in the early Seventies. I invited poets I admired, like P. K. Page, Phyllis Webb, Daphne Marlatt, all of whom became friends and correspondents. In those days, the Canada Council sponsored American poets so I invited heroes like Diane di Prima, Allan Ginsberg, Robert Creeley and Edward Dorn, all very influential.

I read avidly and widely as poetry continues to inspire new poems.  These days I edit quite a few manuscripts for poets, and I read poets coming to London as well as books for my literary radio show, Gathering Voices. And new books coming out: I particularly like Brick Books

KM: Your funniest literary moment, if you have one.
PK: The funniest literary moment happened this year on January 11 at 8.30am.  As Poet Laureate for the City of London, I was formally addressing 1200 folks at the Mayor’s STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS” at the London Convention Centre. The topic was “Believe…”.  Well, I couldn’t believe the three very audible interruptions! They turned out to be the complaints of a Russian robot. It was squawking in Russian that its battery was wound down. I kept on talking: you can see the situation on livestream.

KM: What are you working on now?
PK: I wish I could say that I’m finishing a manuscript and I am, slowly, but the times demand I continue as an activist in protesting federal budget cuts.

So I’m organizing a reading Saturday, September 29, 2012, 2-4 pm. “100,000 Poets for Change” Reading for Culture Day. Landon Public Library (downstairs), 167 Wortley Rd., London, ON. Our free afternoon reading will be part of an international event which will take place in many cities, in many villages and in the countryside all over the world, at the same time and date. 

The first order of change is for poets to get together to perform, educate and entertain, simultaneously with others around the world, changing how we see our own community and the global community. The host in Toronto who asked me to organize a London reading may be doing some Skype connections with us and other cities, other provinces. Such an event ties in nicely with our national Culture Days happening at the same time. There will be a blog for us on 100,000 Poets for Change. Twenty-three poets are signed up, including Susan McMaster, President of The League of Canadian Poets. Musicians Jennifer White and Robert McMaster as well! Good will? Immeasurable! 

And I am writing a book on Jack Layton’s support of and interest in the arts in Canada. I’m now collecting anecdotes, reminiscences and opinions or observations about Jack and the arts

Jack in the arts (that guitar, that piano, that revised song!) the role of the arts for him. As Jack would remind me, he was a proud member of the Writers’ Union! I’ve just collated all his emails to us and they include some interesting discussions. They’re bitter-sweetly sad to read now, given all we have lost in Jack…but of course we continue in hope. I’ll also be interviewing folks for my radio show, Gathering Voices

Olivia Chow endorses the work: “I heartily encourage folks to send Penn your stories of Jack’s relationship with and his support of the arts. This project is a great opportunity to share our stories about how Jack and the NDP celebrated our Canadian cultures and what we must do together to continue this relationship. You know he loved to make music and we loved to dance!”

When Jack Layton died last August, he was given a state funeral. Roy Thompson Hall was packed; the lineup of artists celebrating Jack stellar and the street theatre outside was sublime. I would like to commemorate Jack’s birthday in July and the first anniversary of his death with two e-shorts on Amazon.ca. I believe such pieces would be timely and widely read, given the nation’s outpouring of love and sympathy. Jack Layton’s support of and interest in the arts in Canada underlay his politics. In his long municipal and federal political life, he always included and encouraged artists to become activists. My working title is Jack Layton: Art for Action!

On Saturday, August 4, I’m participating in The Summer Soirée Festival of the Arts, Aeolian Performance Hall, London, Ontario.  Afternoon workshop Gary Diggins, Jocelyn Drainie and me on The Healing Nature of Sound and then an evening performance, Sonica Hypnotica.  Chris Meloche and I will kick off the evening event with new work in progress from The Electric Folklore Machine.


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PENN KEMP’S MOST RECENT BOOK
Helwa!, PigeonBike Press, 2011

Description
PigeonBike Press has launched Penn Kemp’s chapbook of Helwa!  alongside the release by Pendas Production of Penn Kemp’s CD, Night Vision, which includes Helwa!.

Since her first book was published by Coach House Press in 1972, she has been pushing textual and aural boundaries, often in participatory performance work. Many of her recent CDs are what Penn terms “Sound Operas”: poetic narratives that weave sound, imagery and music in the counterpoint of many voices. Working across a variety of cultural practices to engage her audience, she hosts an eclectic literary show, Gathering Voices, archived on CHRWradio.com/talk/gatheringvoices. Having performed in festivals around the world, most recently in Britain, Brazil and India, Penn lives in London Canada, where she edits poetry for Pendas Productions, a small poetry publisher she and husband Gavin Stairs run. Penn has been heralded by the Writers’ Union as a “one woman literary industry”. 


BETWEEN BETWEEN

Between Between is a short film that concerns the process of mourning, translating some of Penn Kemp’s performance poetry into visual imagery for a compelling, evocative portrayal of that state. Between Between examines the experience both of the mourner and (perhaps) of the newly dead. A Penn Kemp and Dennis Siren collaboration.

 

Penn Kemp, Interview and Poems, April 2014

 Penn Kemp, Interview and Poems for National Poetry Month, April 2014
 
 
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Penn Kemp is one of two featured poets at London Open Mic Poetry Night`s special April 16th event in celebration of National Poetry Month. The reading was at the Landon Branch Library in Wortley Village. 

Penn Kemp will be launching her latest collection, from Dream Sequins,  at the reading.  A batch of her poems from the chapbook follow the interview below.

Penn Kemp, a native of Strathroy and raised in London, has been heralded by The Writers’ Union as “a one-woman literary industry”. A poet, activist, performer, playwright and editor, Kemp was UWO`s writer-in-residence in 2009-10 and the Inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of London in 2010-12. She received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award for contributions to Canadian arts and culture. 


 

Gathering Voices on Radio Western

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Gathering Voices, 94.9 FM, Radio Western, Upcoming Episodes

Gathering Voices, Penn’s lit.-on-air radio show is heard on alternate Tuesdays at 6:30 AM and PM on CHRW, Radio Western, 94.9 FM and online. For upcoming programs and archived shows, see: http://chrwradio.ca/content/upcoming-episodes-gathering-voices.

Listen live on www.chrwradio.com/listen.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 6:30 – 7:00 pm.  (R. July 22, 2014, 6:30-7:00 am). Featuring Tanya Evanson’s evanescent CD, Language for Gods, available from Mother Tongue Media. Tanya is an Antiguan-Québécoise interartist poet, performer and director of both Mother Tongue Media and The Banff Centre Spoken Word Program.She has published chapbooks and studio albums of spoken wor.l.d music. A classical semazen or Sufi Whirling Dervish since 2002, she has performed and taught extensively. She parts not one truth from another. See www.mothertonguemedia.com.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 6:30 – 7:00 pm.  (R. August 5, 2014, 6:30-7:00 am). Gathering Voices features The Electric Folk Lore Machine by Chris Meloche with Penn Kemp (text) and Richard Moule premiered August 4, 2012, Aeolian Hall Summer Festival, London. Sound artists Gary Diggins, Jocelyn Drainie and Penn performed Sonica Hypnotica. On the show as well is “For Peace” from Gary’s CD, A Blue Tear. Listen

Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 6:30 – 7:00 pm. (R. August 19, 6:30-7:00 am). Featuring Saskatchewan poet Mari-Lou Rowley’s CD, Cellular Logic. Sound by Roderick Schoolbraid: a Revelations Production. Eco-science poet and interdisciplinary adventurer Mari-Lou Rowleyhas encountered a timber wolf, found over 44 four-leaf clovers, and published nine collections of poetry, most recently Unus Mundus (Anvil). Penn reads several poems from Unus Mundus.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 6:30 – 7:00 pm. (R. September 2, 2014, 6:30-7:00 am). Featuring Cat Kidd’s Hyena Subpoena Part 1. A formative figure in the Montreal poetry scene since the early 90s, Catherine Kidd is the author of the novel Missing the Ark, the poetry collection Bipolar bear and critically-acclaimed solo show Sea Peach. Her most recent poem series, Hyena Subpoena, was presented as a solo show in 2011, and released as CD/book, May 2014; see catkidd.com/. We’ll hear several of these poems with soundscapes now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 6:30 – 7:00 pm. (R. September 16, 2014, 6:30-7:00 am).  Gathering Voices celebrates 2014’s 100,000 Poets for Change event on September 27 world-wide, http://100tpc.org/. Part 1 features a poetry reading celebrating the theme of change that took place on September 29, 2013, at Landon Library. This afternoon celebrated Culture Days across Canada as well. http://chrwradio.ca/content/gathering-voices-100000-poets-change-parts-1-2

Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 6:30 – 7:00 pm. (R. September 30, 2014, 6:30-7:00 am).  The show celebrates 2014’s 100,000 Poets for Change event on September 27 world-wide, http://100tpc.org/. Part 2 features a poetry reading celebrating the theme of change that took place on September 29, 20013, at Landon Library. This afternoon celebrated Culture Days across Canada as well. http://chrwradio.ca/content/gathering-voices-100000-poets-change-parts-1-2.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 6:30 – 7:00 pm. (R. October 14, 6:30-7:00 am). Gathering Voices features the divine Brenda McMorrow in her latest CD, Igniting the Beauty, White Swan Records. With a deep devotion to the unveiling and celebration of our true beings through the power of sound, this beautiful former Londoner travels worldwide to share her unique blend of original folk-inspired melodies, world beats and sacred Indian devotional chants. Brenda sang and composed the music to Penn’s poem that opens each Gathering Voices show. Hear more on http://www.brendamcmorrow.com.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 6:30 – 7:00 pm. (R. October 28, 2014, 6:30-7:00 am). The show features circle of she by Moe Clark. Moe received mentorship from Sheri-D Wilson, who helped launch her career as a spoken word artist at the 2005 Calgary International Spoken Word Festival. Moe has toured across Canada and internationally. See http://moeclark.ca/

Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 6:30 – 7:00 pm.  (R. November 11, 2014, 6:30-7:00 am). Helwa! a Sound Opera Experiencing Ancient Egypt , Part 1 by Penn Kemp with The Helwa Ensemble: musicians Mary Ashton and Panayiotis Giannarapis, sound artist Jocelyn Drainie, Egyptologist/poet Daniel Kolos and belly dancer Ishra Blanco. Together we trace the soul’s journey across the nocturnal sky to rebirth the next day: a classical Egyptian journey that the star goddess Nut took nightly.  Recorded live at Aeolian Hall (August 2011) and mastered by John Magyar. Helwa! a Sound Opera Experiencing Ancient Egypt (cd) will be available from Pendas Productions, pendas@pennkemp.ca.  It is dedicated to the people of Egypt. Listen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 6:30-7:00 pm. (R. November 25, 2014, 6:30-7:00 am). Helwa! a Sound Opera Experiencing Ancient Egypt , Part 2 by Penn Kemp with The Helwa Ensemble: musicians Mary Ashton and Panayiotis Giannarapis, sound artist Jocelyn Drainie, Egyptologist/poet Daniel Kolos and belly dancer Ishra Blanco. Together we trace the soul’s journey across the nocturnal sky to rebirth the next day: a classical Egyptian journey that the star goddess Nut took nightly.   Recorded live at Aeolian Hall (August 2011) and mastered by John Magyar.  Helwa! a Sound Opera Experiencing Ancient Egypt (cd) will be available from Pendas Productions, pendas@pennkemp.ca.  It is dedicated to the people of Egypt. Listen http://chrwradio.com/talk/gatheringvoices/20120216GatheringVoices.mp3)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 6:30-7:00 pm (R. December 9, 2014, 6:30-7:00 am). Featuring Trieze, a CD by Vivian Houle, BC sound artist. As vocalist and improviser, Vivian deconstructs words into sounds on remarkable journeys that include jazz vocals as well. With Peggy Lee (cello), Lisa Miller (piano), Chris Gestrin (analog keyboards) and Jesse Zubot (violin).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 (R. December 23, 2014 6:30-7:00 am). Featuring Cat Kidd’s Hyena Subpoena, Part 2. A formative figure in the Montreal poetry scene since the early 90s, Catherine Kidd is the author of the novel Missing the Ark, the poetry collection Bipolar bear and a critically acclaimed solo show, Sea Peach. Her most recent poem series, Hyena Subpoena, was presented in 2011, and released as CD/book in May 2014; see catkidd.com/. We’ll hear several of these poems with soundscapes now.

 

Presses with Open Readings for Full-Length Poetry Manuscripts

The Line Break

In the past, I have created such lists as all the Small, Independent, and University Press Poetry Book Publishers (which was up-to-date as of 3-6-10 with 687 presses) and all the Journals with “Review” in Their Title, Who Accept Poetry, and Who Have a Website (which was up-to-date as of 2-29-12 with 344 journals.) The first lists I made were Poetry Book Contests with Spring & Summer DeadlinesPoetry Book Contests with Fall & Winter Deadlines (scroll down), and Poetry Chapbook Contests (scroll down).

Now, it’s time to start a new list, and I’ll keep it here and I’ll update it as I can. Currently, these are the only ones I remember or that other kind people have reminded me of. The list will grow, and if you know of any open readings, please note them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list…

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All Aboard! Hop on the My Writing Process – Blog Tour

Kites Without Strings

Writing transports you to places you’ve never seen before. Here’s an inexpensive adventure anyone can take without leaving home.

Cobalt, Ontario, home of the Spring Pulse Poetry Festival. Cobalt, Ontario, home of the Spring Pulse Poetry Festival. Watch for a future blog on this topic.

This is how it works. You start here, spend some time on my blog and then you may travel backwards to the Monday, June 30 blog of my writing colleague Marianne Jones. She’s invited several writers to chat about their writing processes and has also provided recommended links for additional blog hopping.

Then next Monday, July 14 you can travel forward and visit the blog sites of three more of my writing friends. Scroll down for my recommendations but before you do, below are the four questions that Marianne asked me about my writing process, followed by my answers:

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?

Professionally, I am working on three main projects:

1)…

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