If you are in BC, I hope you can come and be with dear friends and me!
At each event, I’ll read my poem, ‘The Stand of Oak” in honor of the Vimy centenary,
I will be reading from Quattro Books’ BARBARIC CULTUAL PRACTICE (http://quattrobooks.ca/books/barbaric-cultural-practice/) at events sponsored by The League of Canadian Poets and pieces from Sound Opera and my new play (https://teresaharrisdreamlife.wordpress.com/) at events sponsored by the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada.
Thursday, April 6, 2017, 7-9 pm. “After Cézanne”: Ekphrastic reading: Fort Langley Art Gallery with Susan McCaslin. Contact: Edith Krause. http://www.fortgallery.ca/first-thursday-arts-evenings. http://www.langleytimes.com/entertainment/416981724.html. Sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada.
Sunday, April 9, 2-4 pm, 2017. Poetry New West, Heritage Grill Backstage Room, 447 Columbia Avenue, New Westminster BC. Contact: Alan Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org, @poetrynewwest. Reading “A Stand of Oak”, http://www.vimyfoundation.ca/vimy-100/vimy-oaks-poetry/the-stand-of-oak/. Sponsored by League of Canadian Poets. https://www.facebook.com/events/1755788391312780/
Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 2:00– 4:00 pm. “An Afternoon of Performance and Paper Works”, with Terry Ann Carter and Penn Kemp. Free. Oak Bay Library, Greater Victoria Public Library, 1442 Monterey Ave. Victoria, BC V8S 4W1. Contact: email@example.com or Carl Cavanagh, Public Service Librarian, 250-382-7241 ext. firstname.lastname@example.org. Writers Readers & Storytellers. For Adults. Ontario-based poet and playwright Penn Kemp will kick off this program with a performance of her play sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada, followed by a paper craft led by artist Terry Ann Carter. Fold paper into a concertina-style, accordion book, using hand-written letters, words and text to decorate the interior pages. Use water colour pencil crayons to add embellishments to your keepsake book. Register at gvpl.ca or email Joy, email@example.com. Call 250-940-GVPL (4875) for more information.
Saturday, April 15, 3pm: Reading with Mona Fertig. Salt Spring Island Public Library, 129 McPhillips, Salt Spring Island BC V8K 2T6. Contact: Karen Hudson, Chief Librarian. 250-537-4666, ext. 223, firstname.lastname@example.org. http://saltspring.bc.libraries.coop/. http://saltspring.bc.libraries.coop/event/mona-fertig-and-penn-kemp/?instance_id=96840. Sponsored by League of Canadian Poets. https://www.facebook.com/events/231320154008905/
April 16, 11:30-1:30pm. Reading with Sharon Thesen, Poetic Justice, Boston Pizza, 1045 Columbia St, New Westminster BC V3M 1C4. “two writers who have not been carving but excavating literary history in Canada. Their reputations have already made it to the top-most bookshelf. It’s likely this will be a poetry reading you’ll remember for a while.” Contact: James Felton, james@PoeticJusticeNewWest.org, 604-767-6908. Sponsored by League of Canadian Poets. http://poeticjusticenewwest.org/uncategorized/april-poetry-reading/.
James Felton writes;
A Reunion of Sorts
Back in the 70s and early 80s, Vancouver boasted a vibrant poetry scene and next month’s featured poets were no small part of the ‘happening’. Good friends Penn Kemp and Sharon Thesen have sustained a friendship and their prolific writing paths ever since.
Though both now live elsewhere, Poetic Justice is honoured to bring these two exceptional writers back together for our special Easter Sunday reading. Read more about our fabulous April featured poets on our website.
Happy spring, whenever it arrives! Bring on the Magnolias. Bring on the Cherry Blossoms!
Adebe deRango Adem, Quill & Quire, December, 2016.
“Down the paths of most resistance”!
This review truly gets the book, I’m grateful to say! It’s available for $18 from
WORDSFEST is happening all weekend long at Museum London: see http://www.wordsfest.com/
Send your responses about the Festival to http://www.wordsfestzine.com/. Work for this zine will be collected from Festival-goers on Friday and Saturday, then published and launched at the Rhino Lounge in Museum London Sunday, Nov. 6, at 5pm. Whew! Here’s my poem for the zine:
Ode for the Feast of Words
Our London Muses, amused, proclaim:
Come join our Museum feast in joy
of joining, reading, weaving a way,
riding a wave, waving a welcome,
well, come in then. Here. Hear!
Attendance’s high, attention is close.
Words are our vocation, invoking
the vocative, pro vocative, calling us,
calling on us, call sure, culture, meeting
our many cultures, collected. Whatever
the weather, we conjure com pose
words worth envisioned, inclusive in
terms of the other, for all our sakes.
Describing the arc, friends collect and
meet new, gathering poets in harmony |
with other authors. Rhythm rhymes us.
Creating community, fusion delights
this spacious collective, call elect if
held in the London community bowl.
The Graces are present, spirits high.
Lift the cup and dance, sing, speak, tell
the tale told, win, write welcome.
O may the best manifest
fest if all festivity
Cheer and exult.
Hail and salute!
Photo: Toban Black
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
See you at these Upcoming Events!
November 6, 10am. Penn Kemp and Madeline Bassnett read together for this session @Words, 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.
Saturday, November 26, 2-4, pm. Book signing of Barbaric Cultural Practice and Launch of Women & Multimedia and Performing Women: Playwrights and Performance Poets from The Living Archives Series, The Feminist Caucus, League of Canadian Poets: Penn is essayist and editor of the two anthologies.Brown & Dickson, 609 Richmond Street, London N6A 3G3. Contact: 519-318-1983, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.brownanddickson.com
Thanks for a grand couple of years to the London Arts Council!
Penn, sounding at Canadian Writers’ Summit at Toronto’s Harbourfront, June 2016. Photo: Monique Renaud for Playwrights Guild of Canada
Wednesday, October 5, 2016; doors open 7:00 pm; start time 7:30 p.m. Quattro Book Launch, Toronto, Supermarket Restaurant, 268 Augusta Ave. (event room at rear of dining area) Free. Contact: email@example.com, http://www.supermarketto.ca/
Six authors: Sanita Fejzić, from Ottawa, with her novella Psychomachia
Penn Kemp, from London ON, with her book of poetry Barbaric Cultural Practice
Susan McCaslin, from Victoria, BC, with her book of poetry Painter, Poet, Mountain
Richard Osler, from Duncan, BC, with his book of poetry Hyaena Season
Cora Siré, from Montreal, with her novella The Other Oscar
Laura Swart, from Calgary, with her novella Blackbird Calling
Friday, October 7, 2016, 7:30- 8:30pm. Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989, AGO Friday Nights in October, Signy Eaton Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto M5T 1G4. Call 1-877-225-4246 or 416-979-6648. AGO features Penn Kemp and Paul Dutton, sound poets. The topic is streaming influences from the ’70’s: http://www.ago.net/new-ago-exhibition-explores-the-experimental-energy-of-the-toronto-art-scene-in-the-70s-and-80s. More details, including a schedule of performances, will be posted on http://www.ago.net. Host Lillian Allen. Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989 is included with the price of general admission and is free to AGO members.
“I am wanting to feature some of the roots of the aesthetic influence on our city. I am thinking about the important and artistically liberating roles your (mostly) sound works played. The fact that you were a woman inspired me so much. Your sound explorations and experimentations always make me feel so happy and empowered. The power of your art has never left me. So I am paying tribute to you by asking you to read/perform in this series.” Lillian Allen. https://www.ago.net/toronto-tributes-tributaries-1971-1989
Tuesday, October 11, 7 pm. London launch of Penn’s poetry book, Barbaric Cultural Practice (Quattro Books). Oxford Book Shop, 262 Piccadilly Street, London N6A 1S4.
Contact: Hilary firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: 519-438-8336.
Saturday, October 15, 2016, 2 pm. Penn reading from her play “The Triumph of Teresa Harris” and Barbaric Cultural Practice. With Daniel Kolos, Antony Christie. The Garafraxa Café, 131 Garafraxa Street South (Highway 6), Durham ON. Contact: email@example.com or Michelle and Kevin Bossi, 226-432-2175, firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada.
The latest book of poetry by Penn Kemp, forthcoming October 1, 2016 from Quattro Books.
In praise and rant, the poems in Barbaric Cultural Practice pay tribute to our dear Mother World’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.
“… quirky, witty, funny, deep, wise & full of surprises.”
– Di Brandt, author of Walking to Mojácar
“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
“Penn Kemp, a poet at the peak of her powers, casts a loving gaze at poetry’s purpose, at our planet and all sentient beings. Through loving attention, wordplay, whimsy and wit, dream and prophecy, Kemp transforms the ineffable into an elegant expression of life deeply envisioned. Through metaphoric shape-shifting, Kemp shows us that “My work is the translator’s, to move one/ sense into another’s realm.”(“Blow by Blow”). This gift of synaesthesia heightens her calling for us to take our earthly stewardship to heart: These are poems to meditate on, to incorporate into the interstices of our layered lives. In the book’s title, Kemp transforms a political gaffe, “barbaric cultural practices”, into an elegy for earth and heart-song for each other. Above all, Love is this exceptionally talented and seasoned poet’s guiding light.”
– Katerina Fretwell, author of Dancing on a Pin
“In Barbaric Cultural Practice we are treated to some of the most clear-eyed, keenly felt articulations of the present moment, as well as Penn Kemp’s boundless capacity for play: the simmering, tangling, rocketing, warbling, wooing, cooing, and joyful boogieing of her poems working themselves onto the page. Kemp’s feet are so sure, dancing on that lip. Through this book we learn all that’s at stake between the poem’s lines. ”
– Laurie D. Graham, author of Settler Education
“Penn Kemp’s work is profoundly mystical, a tour into otherworldly realms but informed by this world’s concerns, the depth of poetry, and the ability of her language to cross borders into metaphysical realism.”
– Leona Graham, author of Cloudbank Across the Fens
“Kemp walks the line, exploring a new syntax of language, whether celebrating the goddess or the dance between voice and machine, hand to iPad, to transmit this map of her mind and dreams.”
– Dennis Maloney, author of Listening to Tao Yuan Ming
“Penn Kemp’s Barbaric Cultural Practice brings together etymological, sonic, and cultural layerings of the words “barbaric,’ “cultural,” and “practice.” This electric new volume distinguishes the truly creative and evolutionary from what impedes a fuller engagement with each other and with planet earth. In these poems, the source of true wildness (wilderness) calls heart to heart: “I has widened to include/ you and you and you.”
– Susan McCaslin, author of Painter, Poet, Mountain: After Cézanne
“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 absurdities, of earth’s vitality and grave needs, and of community. Penn never just reads: she performs, even on the page; we can’t help but listen. Connect with the surging circuit of her energetic and eclectic words, connect and recharge.” – Susan McMaster, editor of Waging Peace: Poetry and Political Action
“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
“What is it like, writing a poem? Penn Kemp knows. She has spent her life performing poetry, publishing poetry, being poet-in-residence, Poet Laureate, poster-person for other poets. Now she stows her yellow pencil, fingers the keys of her computer, opens a new window and waits for a poem to find its way onto the desktop.
This is the poem and I
take no hand in it. I
want to write a comedy.
That’s rich. That’s fun-
ny laughs the voice in
my head that keeps
right on talking the poem
down the tree and onto
That is from “Cogito Ergo Sum” in the first part of Penn Kemp’s new collection of poems, Barbaric Cultural Practices. Penn likes to play jokes with words, but it’s no fun finding familiar words playing silly tricks under the direction of the electronic impersonal:
How have I come to man-
ipulate this trackball
with fingers on a keyboard?
We are beyond the mouse.
My Spell Checker would change Cogito to Caught.
For someone’s Suggest salmon’s.
For trackball Suggest traceable
For Change all Ignore
For Add For Options
For Delete Close.
After you push the “Page Down” button, you can move to other sections, less high-tech, dealing with topics like “House – Hold – Man – Age – Meant.” Or with hearts, and strokes:
His mind is air-brushed
to a whiter, more spacious landscape
reflected in such snowy waste outside.
So we sink into sweet reverie fireside,
unthinking, unburdened, cuddled and
coddled warm by flame and the scarlet
beauty of this moment in flower here
only once but all the more present in
daring our ambivalent future dissipate
fear for now. Say it straight. For now.
Happier moments flower in poems like “Dream Visit, in Tune, In Time.” The rhythms, the internal rhymes, the spaces, work against logical walls:
Brilliance resounds all around. Redbud, mock-orange boughs
bow in the heightened breeze. Resonance ripples and whirls
to restore, re-story this walled garden.
But against the whimsical sequence of “Dream Sequins” Penn Kemp sets TV realities
I fall through the screams . . .
Women and men cleaving, cleft, bereft.
Dispossessed of a West they thought they knew.
Dis/oriented, where do they turn?. . .
Then another twist, and Penn Kemp launches a final fantastic essential plea for light:
Let us eat light like
plants. Let us chew
the bright air till we can
swallow light like
fire-eaters. Let us
assimilate light . . . .”
– Elizabeth Waterston, author of Readying Rilla: L. M. Montgomery Reworks her Manuscript
“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… Kemp has done something enlightening for readers by using the term for this collection of poetry. She has crafted her personal thoughts and views in this work and given all of us something to consider about our own actions… Literature should cause a reader to consider their world and their actions in the world around them. Penn Kemp has done that for me with her collection Barbaric Cultural Practice. No doubt I will be reading it again and quoting it here.”
– Steven Buechler, https://pacifictranquility.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/making-us-consider-our-actions-discussion-of-penn-kemps-barbaric-cultural-practicequattro-books-to-be-launched-autumn-2016/
Cover Painting of Barbaric Cultural Practice by Anne Anglin