All Things Considered
On the shelf inside the storm, an empty
pitcher of light awaits sage and summer
savory. All puns are planted to present
these things as if saying were enough
to conjure the perfect illusion illuminated.
Now. At the turning of the year after
nadir of deepest darkness, the small
Moon of Long Night turns to beam
over the orchard above the frozen lake.
The sun stands Solstice still, holding
its breath, biding its time until released
to start once more in utter clarity of cold.
In that perilous moment before cycles
start up again, we all can fall through
cracks. Interstices of ice drag us down.
We grope from dusk to dark to light.
We slip between stars, drawn out
beyond what we know, considering,
considere, to be with the luminary.
Night rustles outside our window, murmurs
and squeaks. Whimpers follow outraged
raccoon yowl. Orange and black streak
across the dark pane I can’t see through
conjuring night creatures’ obscured world,
Scent leads a trail to territorial war, deep
enmities nurtured throughout the long wee
hours before dawn lifts that velvet cloth to
reveal grey, seeping shade back to clarity.
The last lines of this poem were first published in “from Dream Sequins” with drawings by the brilliant Steven McCabe. See his gorgeous https://poemimage.wordpress.com/.
for all those missing and murdered
Come say hello, women. While the veils are still
thin, we welcome your presence, no longer missed
but present, with all the disappeared you stand for.
As if you were in the prime of life now. As if
your daughters bloomed full-grown around you.
As if your mothers were crying delighted tears.
And if you were here to see what has changed
and what has not, would you hide your eyes in
shame for what has been done, what has not?
Come into the light and tell us how you are. As
if you have life beyond what we recall or remember
before this dark December claims its own again.
The Palace Theatre and Eldon House present The Triumph of Teresa Harris
Procunier Hall, The Palace Theatre, 710 Dundas St., London ON. 519-432 1029.
The indomitable explorer Teresa Harris returns to London in Penn Kemp’s new play
The Triumph of Teresa Harris!
Her adventures are on stage in 5 Performances…
Procunier Hall @ The Palace Theatre 710 Dundas Street London, ON, N5W 2Z4 Canada
“From the pen of Penn Kemp”, http://www.thelondoner.ca/2017/03/08/from-the-pen-of-penn-kemp
“Writer revisits adventures of heroine Teresa Harris” https://www.ourlondon.ca/community-story/7165300-writer-revisits-adventures-of-heroine-teresa-harris/ by Mike Maloney
“Two productions by poet Penn Kemp celebrate 19th-century London woman who ‘untied the corset strings’” by Joe Belanger
Bob Smith interviews Penn about March events celebrating Teresa Harris: http://www.rogerstv.com/daytimelondon
The video is up on http://rogerstv.com/show?lid=12&rid=9&sid=3268&gid=271401
“Play stands as tribute to one woman’s Triumph”,
A scene from our March 4 performance of The Dream Life of Teresa Harris:interactive video by Mary McDonald:
“A marvelous performance, blending music and words to bring an amazing woman to life. Can’t wait to see the pla based on this story at the Procunier Hall, at the Palace Theater. We have our tickets already. They are going fast!” Susan Cassan
“I almost checked my passport on returning home for extra stamps (such was the journey we were on today)” John Hassan
The script of the complete play, THE TRIUMPH OF TERESA HARRIS is now available, on line & in print!
The Eldon House version, THE DREAM LIFE OF TERESA HARRIS is also now available, on line, in print & in London Public Library!
“I believe I have a little of the Bedouin Arab in me.”-Teresa Harris
March 22-25, The Triumph of Teresa Harris: a play in two acts
March 22, 2017 – 8:00 PM
March 23, 2017 – 8:00 PM
March 24, 2017 – 8:00 PM
March 25, 2017 – 2:00 PM ** Matinee
March 25, 2017 – 8:00 PM
Tickets: $23 seniors/students. $25 adults. Online: an additional $1.00.
Preview, March 27: $15
The Triumph of Teresa Harris is written by Penn Kemp and directed by Diane Haggerty <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Performed by a cast of 16 with 2 musicians!
The Cast for The Palace Production, March 2017
DIRECTOR: Diane Haggerty
MUSICIANS: Mary Ashton and Panayiotis Giannarapis
Ammar Abraham: Lieutenant/Tenzin
Dean Andrews: Scott
Bridget Corbett: Sister
Grace Ginty: Sister
Maya Gupta: Mid-Teresa
Brenda Hamilton: Amelia 2
Afia Kyei: Chris
Kassia Mobbayal: John
Christopher Noble: St. George
Irene Paibulsinjit: Annie
Karina Redick: Sister
Kendall Robertson: Sister
Jan Sims: Amelia 1
Old Teresa: Maureen Spencer Golovchenko
Passing Stranger/Cook: Heather Weitzel
Young Teresa: Jordyn Taylor
With thanks to London Community Players at the Palace Theatre.
Young Teresa: Jordyn Taylor
Photo: Mary McDonald
Cementing relations with Guerilla Poetry!
For further information, contact Open Mic, http://www.londonpoetryopenmic.com/news and sign the Petition!
London Letter for Concrete Poetry
Dear London Arts Council,
The Sidewalk Poetry project to stamp poems into wet cement is delightful, innovative and almost literally ground-breaking. As an initiative new to Canada, it would stamp London on the poetry map in a very concrete way. It’s pop-up poetry that will last as long as the sidewalk does. Such poems will give folks pause, a moment to slow down and enjoy the word. Poetry of the people and by the people. A word, not written in water as poet Keats feared, but in cement! Poetry is eternal, and cement is the next best thing.
I heartily endorse this exciting initiative, especially as it comes from local poets and poetry lovers, Western students and Open Mic: another way of connecting town and gown.
“I am writing to show my support for the Sidewalk Poetry project proposed by the London Open Mic Poetry organization. I believe that this is an exciting creative project that will benefit the community of London in many ways.
To quote Open Mic: “The project offers an opportunity for the city to support literary culture throughout all areas of the community. It opens new doors for engagement with poetry for all demographics, making it accessible and adding a new dimension to readership. The project will help develop interest in poetry for younger generations by bringing it into their lives outside of the dictated school atmosphere, and allowing them to discover poetry on their own terms, making it a part of their lives as they read the same poems regularly while they grow up. The project will also foster community involvement in the arts, and offer poets the honour of making a lasting impression upon their city. I believe that this project is an excellent opportunity for this city, and I eagerly await the chance to witness it unfolding in the future.”
Yours in poetry,
Your inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of London
525 Canterbury Road, London ON N6G 2N5
Image by Steven McCabe in our Dream Sequins, Lyrical Myrical Press
Available from Quattro Books, http://quattrobooks.ca/books/barbaric-cultural-practice/
November 6, 10am. Penn Kemp and Madeline Bassnett read together for this session @ Words, London’s Literary and Creative Arts Festival, http://wordsfest.ca/. The Lecture Theatre, Museum London, 421 Ridout St N, London, ON N6A 5H4. Contact: Joshua D Lambier, Artistic Director, email@example.com. https://www.facebook.com/events/1136768886402917/http://wordsfest.ca/events/2016/penn-kemp-madeline-bassnett-in-conversation
Saturday, November 26, 2-4, pm. Book signing and Launch of Women & Multimedia and Performing Women: Playwrights and Performance Poets. The Living Archives Series, The Feminist Caucus, League of Canadian Poets, http://poets.ca/wordpress/programs-2/feminist-caucus. Essayist and editor of the two anthologies. AND Barbaric Cultural Practice! Brown & Dickson, 519-318-1983, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.brownanddickson.com, 609 Richmond Street, London N6A 3G3
Many of the poems in Barbaric Cultural Practice were provoked into being by political events, ongoing, so I have co-opted the hashtag, #BarbaricCulturalPractice. I’m thrilled that Quattro was able to insert QR codes to sixteen of these poems, so you can experience them off the page as audio and video. My impulse in writing hovers along a long spectrum of indignation, compassion, horror, scorn and ridicule: a multitude of response that only poetry can, for me, express. Such reactions are expressed in http://www.thelondoner.ca/2016/09/28/penn-kemp-as-barbarian and this interview: https://pacifictranquility.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/what-made-me-a-poet-curiosity-the-thrill-of-adventure-of-new-worlds-qa-with-poet-penn-kemp/.
I’m deeply grateful for family and friends’ encouragement en route and ongoing during the evolution of these poems. The list is long and extends back decades. Special thanks to Allan Briesmaster, my editor and publisher of Barbaric Cultural Practice. A fine poet himself, he is the ideal editor, encouraging, engaging, and always astute. Thanks as well to my dear poet friends, Katerina Fretwell, Susan McCaslin, and most especially to Susan McMaster, for their keen eyes and ears and discerning comments. I’m grateful to all who wrote such enthusiastic endorsements: Di Brandt, George Elliot Clarke, Katerina Fretwell, Laurie D. Graham, Leona Graham, Dennis Maloney, Susan McCaslin, Susan McMaster, Elizabeth Waterston and Sheri-D Wilson! See https://pennkemp.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/endorsements-for-barbaric-cultural-practice/. Thanks to J. R. (Tim) Struthers, for suggesting the title, “The Hart of London.” And to Catherine Ross, my literary executrix!
The cover painting, Transporting, is by my beloved friend, Anne Anglin. It is her vivid
interpretation of an equally vivid dream I had. Gavin Stairs included some of these poems in artbooks, republishing earlier works through our little company, Pendas Productions. I have posted poems on www.pennkemp.wordpress.com. Several of these poems or lines therein have been published in my books: Binding Twine (Ragweed Press), Trance Form (Soft Press), Some Talk Magic (Ergo Productions), Throo (Moonstone Press), ANIMUS (Caitlin Press), as well as two chapbooks: Eidolons (White Pine Press) and from Dream Sequins, (Lyrical Myrical Press).
Poetry needs to be heard as well as read, so I have concentrated in recent years on audio renditions and videopoems in collaboration with Bill Gilliam, John Magyar, Dennis Siren, and Gavin Stairs: available from Pendas Productions, email@example.com.
Several of the poems in Barbaric Cultural Practice were commissioned by activist organizations. Versions of most of the poems were first published in magazines, literary journals and newspapers. I would like to thank the editors of all the literary magazines that support Canadian writing. The London Free Press and Metro News (London) have been most supportive in publishing occasional poems over the last decade. I would like to thank all those editors who support and promote Canadian writing. The League of Canadian Poets has supported most of the readings where these poems were performed. A Toronto Arts Council grant gave me much appreciated time to write
Where you may have read these poems, in other incarnations or reprinted:
“Celebrating Tree in Souwesto,” “The Hart of London.” Another London Anthology, harmonia press, September 2016
Tuck Magazine in Britain recently reprinted the following poems: “Arms and the Boy”, “Demeter’s Exclusion Sector” and “May Day, 1945”, http://tuckmagazine.com/2016/10/06/poetry-558/. “Smog Alert” and “Gender Bias Even Among the Elements”, http://tuckmagazine.com/2016/09/19/poetry-532/. “Synaesthetics”, “Filling the Cart” and “Giving Your Word”, http://tuckmagazine.com/2016/09/05/poetry-512/.
“Tip Line”, “The Nature of Food”, Tuck Magazine, http://tuckmagazine.com/2016/08/23/poetry-493/
Seven poems are in Danse Macabre: An Online Literary Magazine #99, Pictures of Life, Eletkepek, July 2016. The poem “Solstice” was chosen as Danse Macabre du Jour, https://dmdujour.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/penn-kemp-solstice/ “Reflecting Mimesis” and “All things Considered”, https://dmdujour.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/penn-kemp-two-poems/ and http://dansemacabre.art.officelive.com/DanseMacabreDuJour.aspx.
“Given a Line.”CV2. Contemporary Verse 2.V.38.3, Winter 2016. http://www.contemporaryverse2.ca/en/store/issue/the-open-issue3
“Walking on the Moon.” Cordite/Arc. http://cordite.org.au/content/poetry/ohcanada/, http://cordite.org.au/newsblog/walking-on-the-moon/
“Grazing the Face of Climate Change,” “Gender Bias Even Among the Elements,” “Middle March and Beyond.” Canadian Woman Studies: Women and Water, Vol. 30, Nos. 2, 3. Inanna Publications, http://inanna.ca/index.php/catalog/women-and-water/
“Heart to Art,” “Too Close for Comfort.” Goddess Pages, Issue #27: Summer 2015. http://www.goddess-pages.co.uk/three-poems-from-penn-kemp/#more-2890 https://pennkemp.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/goddess-poems-2015/
16 QR Codes will lead you to audio and video poems!
In praise and rant, the poems in Barbaric Cultural Practice pay tribute to our dear MotherWorld’s enchantments as well as her upheavals. They confront the stresses of urban life as juxtaposed to nature’s round, and deal, for example, with the effect of computers on our psyche and with the imprint of electronic media upon perception, consciousness and dream life. They are a response to the need for action against climate change and a humorous protest against overwhelming technology.
Barbaric Cultural Practice is an urgent set of makings, of remarkable and dramatic word-acts, that reminds us that language – the hallmark of civilization – also enables barbaric, human imposition on Nature and the eternal. The inaugural Poet Laureate of London (ON), Penn Kemp is an expert tool-and-die versifier. Proof? Well, that very pun you’ve just read is indebted to her, for she employs every poetry technique available – every tool in the toolbox – to stress the stubborn connection between concrete reality and supposedly abstract words. Nor does Kemp flinch from pondering how our distancing embrace (that’s not an oxymoron) of electronica interferes with our relationships to the earth, each other, and to Art. Barbaric Cultural Practice is so timely, it is an alarm clock, shocking us awake to our drowsy, Eloi circumstances.
– George Elliott Clarke, Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada
Penn Kemp’s Barbaric Cultural Practice is a stunning and magical tribute of travel wisdom of vision of longing of voices and of Goddess ways of seeing into and circumnavigating the heart of old ways of ancient catapulting into futures of tech-knowledge-able dancing back and forth of swaying of seeds of truth gardening matter of otherworldly mantras singing of the everyday made extraordinary. what movement in stillness what stillness in motion. what beauty what love!
– Sheri-D Wilson, author of Open Letter: Woman Against Violence Against Women
A witty tongue-wrestle with the mechanics and metaphors of the poet’s new tools, in a techno-unbounded universe where the only limitations are the electrical conduits from brain through fingers to glaring screen. What happens when the lyric power of a highly experienced and galvanically charged poet dances in the electron stream? Connect with a surging circuit of Penn Kemp’s energetic and eclectic words, connect and recharge.
– Susan McMaster