Ode for the Feast of Words

WORDSFEST is happening all weekend long at Museum London: see http://www.wordsfest.com/

http://www.lfpress.com/2016/11/03/words-fest-gives-instant-feedback
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!

Here, here!
Penn Kemp

http://www.lfpress.com/2016/11/02/wordsfest-authors-and-eager-fans-come-out-from-under-the-covers

wordsfest-belanger

penn-bassnett-wordsfest

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Photo: Toban Black

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Q & A Featured, Playwright’s Guild of Canada

What a celebration of Canadian writing in all its forms! Such an opportunity on such a scale is unprecedented in Canada and a terrific occasion for synergy. It will be fun to meet old friends from across the country and to hear and meet writers new to me.

  • What do you see as the role of the playwright within the greater Canadian writing community?

By their public nature, plays have a great sense of community and collaboration, involving so many— whether on stage, off stage, or in the audience. Other writing forms are more private or personal: the author of a poem or novel is single

Plays written with the local in mind bring that sensibility wherever they are performed across Canada, so that we get to know each other better, experiencing different communities and perspectives in their public expression. The particular becomes universal.

I’m closely tied to the idea of collective in writing and co-creating plays. For me playwriting is an interactive political act as the actors are so immediately present and engaged with the audience. The stage offers a chance for dialogue among opposing personalities, forces, themes, opinions: that’s what makes up a drama.

I think our deepest purpose as playwrights hasn’t changed since Aristotle stated claimed that drama should portray a form of truth. Molière claimed that tragedy might be heroic, but comedy must hold the mirror to nature. To continue the idea that plays reflect nature as well as society, I can but quote Hamlet in his advice to the players:

Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this
special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature:
for any thing so o’erdone is from the purpose of playing, whose
end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold as ’twere the
mirror up to nature: to show virtue her feature, scorn her own
image, and the very age and body of the time his form and
pressure.

  • You will be speaking on the Performing Women: Playwrights and Performance Poets panel on Saturday, June 18th. How did this panel come together?

Every year, the Feminist Caucus of the League of Canadian Poets publishes a chapbook. At the annual League meeting last June, I suggested the topic, Women and Multimedia, and agreed to edit such a work. Ideas proliferated so quickly that it soon became apparent that we’d need another anthology: Performing Women: Playwrights and Performance Poets, for which I put out a call. What started off as chapbooks soon expanded to 70-80 pages each. The two anthologies I edited will be launched at the Summit. See www.poets.ca/feministcaucus. We are also hoping to produce a CD, Performing Women, from the panel proceedings.

Our project is a joint venture between Playwrights Guild and the League of Canadian Poets. How wonderful to see the close and keen co-operation between our writers’ organizations in supporting both the panel and the anthology— a collaboration to be celebrated in itself! With thanks to Anne Burke, chair of the Feminist Caucus and publisher; the League of Canadian Poets staff; and Robin Sokolski from Playwrights Guild of Canada: they were midwives to this anthology.

Our panelists are playwrights, performers, poets… and several are all three. Kelley Jo Burke and Cornelia Hoogland were sponsored by the Guild of Canadian Playwrights. Catherine Kidd, Susan McMaster and I were sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets. Sheri-D will be with us in spirit: her work is in the anthology

Each panelist will present her experience and ideas concerning performance— reading from her essay or performing work that illustrates her points. We’ll conclude with a Q & A. I’m truly honoured to work with such talented co-creators. It is inspiring to hear the personal stories that have transcended and unfolded with creases the tumultuous experience of twisting experience and ideas into art

  • Tell us about the anthology you’re launching at this event that is being published in the League of Canadian Poets’ Feminist Caucus Archive series.

“Playwrights and Performance Poets: the Panel, the Anthology”

Here’s an anthology that surges with energy to create a resonating concert of variety and scope. These pieces are not just lifted off the page: they are singing, dancing spheres of possibility, sparking new connections. So many threads weave through the works. With titles like these, how could you not read on?

Kelley Jo Burke, “Why Ducks, Anyway?”
Cornelia Hoogland, “Red Dresses Hang from the Trees and Towers: Red and Rapunzel are Missing”
Penn Kemp, “Sounding the depth, the surface resounding”
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”
Sheri-D Wilson, “Spoken Word Poetry as Political Act”

For the cover of our anthology, I’ve chosen the red dress of REDress, contributed by Cornelia Hoogland. This emblematic installation connects us graphically to the natural world: the post comes alive as a woman wrapping her arms around herself. Cornelia writes that she had “a fulsome email discussion with women who i thought were in a better position to provide a caption. Here is what we’ve ended up with, written mostly by Maxine Matilpi:”

“This installation was inspired by Jaime Black’s REDress project, an aesthetic response to the more than 1000 missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The location, Village Point (on Denman Island, B.C.), formerly a Pentlatch village, serves as a reminder that the story of missing and murdered Indigenous women is not only a current reality but is also deeply connected to colonial history.” Maxine Matilpi

Such a moving tribute is one of the most profound ways of stirring folks to take action for change, however it manifests. The line between actor/subject and audience dissolves in a sense of our mutual humanity. I believe that such shared participation is a core purpose of performance art, whatever guise it takes.

Performance of necessity demands a wider exploration and communication of the subjective self, as it expresses itself in the world with other people and/or other mediums. How does collaboration enhance and expand a single artist’s vision? With that sense of inquiry in mind, I called for playwrights and poets to explore the topic of women performing. Three of our contributors are primarily Spoken Word poets. It is fascinating to read how these women have expanded the possibilities of performing to include ritual and visual references as well as the resonance of sound.

Performing Women: Playwrights and Performance Poets can be read along with the Feminist Caucus anthology Women and Multimedia. All but one of the contributors to Women in Performance are also members of the League of Poets, so their work fits in beautifully. For even more synergy, take a look at these poets’ essays from Women and Multimedia: Poetry Collaboration/Elaboration: don`t these titles entice you to read on?

Di Brandt, “Wild, wild, wild woman”
Terry Ann Carter, “Poetry and the Artist’s Book
Moe Clark, “Prayer + Performance: Intersections of poetic transformation
Penn Kemp, “I am translated: How does multimedia give form to a poem’s alternate expression?”
Judith Neale, “Sum of all parts”
Cathy Petch, “De-Mystifying the Language of Tech”

Performing Women: Playwrights and Performance Poets is available from http://www.poets.ca/feministcaucus/ and the copyscript program of the Guild of Canadian Playwrights, https://www.playwrightsguild.ca/about/programs-and-services, Contact orders@playwrightsguild.ca.

5) People are perhaps most familiar with your work as a poet, especially in your capacities as the inaugural Poet Laureate of London, Ontario (2010 – 2012) and your Life Membership in the League of Canadian Poets. What drew you to playwriting? How influential is your poetic work on your playwriting? How do you balance your roles as poet, performer, and playwright?

All of my plays have begun as poems. In poetry, I can succinctly express the essence of my preoccupation in concrete lines that can then be drawn out, teased into different voices and displayed more elaborately on stage. My first concern is always with language itself, how a voice finds itself. I was drawn to playwriting when I started to hear voicesJ that grew more insistent as a theme developed. These voices erupted into dialogue and the conversation continued. Poetry is a fireball; sometimes it radiates out in different expressions into different characters.

Writing poetry is a necessarily solitary pursuit. I’m my own editor. But in plays, I depend very much on collaboration, even while the script is in process. I’ve worked with brilliant directors like Anne Anglin and Louise Fagan who have more of a dramatic sensibility than I do. They can visualize and enact the narrative thrust and arc of the drama. They can imaginatively realize the action on stage in ways that I don’t.

Sometimes, one form demands to be and experienced from the different perspectives of other art forms: a performance, a monologue, a drama. As an activist and Poet Laureate, I was able to draw attention to local and global issues in the community. When a poem can not contain such imperatives, I turn to plays or what I call Sound Opera. This is a collaborative form I developed in performance and recording over the last four decades, in a desire to lift poetry off the page to the stage. Our first performance, directed by Anne Anglin from my book, Trance Form, was in 1976 at Harbourfront. Sound Opera is based on text but it expands poetic possibilities to include voice, music and movement in expressing  narrative when emotions burst the seams of print. Anne also directed my play, What the Ear Hears Last, for Theatre Passe Muraille: a translation of my long poem, When the Heart Parts. The latter is also a Sound Opera!

The focus is different on stage. When I write plays, I am thinking politically and publicly about some topic that vexes or intrigues me. I am taking a position and attempting to persuade and to present different views. For example, my first play, ANGEL MAKERS, presented the first play dealing with abortion in Canada. Though firmly pro-choice, it presented the complex experiences of the six characters. My first radio play, BEARING DOWN, portrayed a woman in labour and its aftermath in a long sound poem on a subject that had not been articulated. What the Ear Hears Last is about a man dying in hospital, another subject that was at the time taboo, developed as well from a sound poem.

Thanks for the opportunity to articulate my writing process!

6) In a 2014 interview with Stan Burfield, you speak in great detail about your love of world mythology. How does that love translate itself into your playwriting?

Certainly my first play is based on fable and fairy tale. The Epic of Toad and Heron was created as a protest when Toronto Islanders were threatened by Metro with eviction. Instead of buttonholing Torontonians in protest, I chose to write a play that was first performed on the Island (and subsequently in schools). Even now my hero, the flying Toad, is proudly displayed on the Toronto Island flag.

Mythology for me is closely connected to the poetic spirit, where archetypes can dance more abstractly than on the stage. Perhaps my connection to mythology in theatre comes through my love of history and history’s resonance in the present. My latest play presents a Victorian woman, Teresa Harris, who marries to leave her colonial life in London ON, much as I did a century later. How does her life correspond with and differ from my own, or yours?

Another long poem, ANIMUS, had its own narrative arc that director Anne Anglin and I developed into a play, EROS RISING, Theatre Passe Muraille. It is also a Sound Opera, Re:Animating Animus . The recurring theme in both Sound Opera, poem and play is the myth of Eros and Psyche. That archetype is apparent in each title.

7) Do you have any advice for aspiring playwrights? What advice do you wish you had received when you started writing?

When I started writing for theatre, it was 1975, and Canadian theatre was just coming into its own: a very exciting time that allowed for theatre to break down the fourth wall. I came of age in the flaunted Sixties, so capitalism was anathema to me if we were going to change the world. It would have been useful through the years to realize that a more pragmatic approach was necessary if I were to support myself as a writer into old age. My way was to lower my standard of living through the decades since!

I think young artists are much more aware of the practical business demands of getting the work out there: the necessity of promotion and marketing through the present avenues that social media offers. So, aspiring playwrights… Let that spirit of the Sixties expand the possibilities of theatre. May collaboration replace competition. Throw caution to the winds and keep the doors open to let that fresh air blow through all your preconceptions of what theatre can be. But keep your business savvy.

8) What’s next for Penn Kemp?

This summer, I’ll be preparing several plays, Eros Rising and The Dream Life of Teresa Harris for the copyscript program. And hanging out in the garden.

March 2017 will be a busy month for me! Forthcoming then is a new collection of poetry, Barbaric Cultural Practice, from Quattro Books as well as a play, The Triumph of Teresa Harris. I’ll be working on this play after the Summit… trying not even to think about it till then! But it’s an exciting project. Eldon House Heritage Museum and The Palace Theatre in London have asked me to develop The Dream Life of Teresa Harris, an earlier processional play I did at Eldon House, into a two full act production for the Palace Theatre, with ten actors and the original two musicians. Teresa Harris was the youngest daughter growing up in Eldon House. She became one of the greatest explorers of the Victorian age, but her character is complex and contradictory: she remains a woman of her times. A fascinating project that once again began with a long poem.

More updates are on www.pennkemp.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/Penn-Kemp-126450531030/ as well as https://twitter.com/pennkemp. See you there!

“Featured Playwright Q&A”, 2016

The Cover of “Women and Multimedia”crystalEldonsm

Photo: Daniela Sneppova for “The Dream Life of Teresa Harris”

Celebrating Creative Age Festival!

Writing Your Way!

Upcoming Events for National Poetry Month 2016 and ON

from National Youth Arts Week to Creative Age Festival

Thursday, April 28, 6:30-8:30 pm. WRITING YOUR WAY!. Writing workshop and reading.  Beacock Library, 1280 Huron St, London, Ontario N5Y 4M2, (519) 451-8140.  2016 Creative Age Festival. National Poetry Month. Penn’s reading/workshop will be “The Road, The Path, The Way Not Taken: Writing What If”. “You inspired so many writers last year that we would love to have you back again for the 2016 Creative Age Festival. Your Poetry is bound to inspire as always.” Contact: Pauline Duncan-Thrasher, Community-Library Liaison, pauline@beamazinglyyou.com. Free but you need to register:
https://encore.londonpubliclibrary.ca/iii/encore/record/C__Rg1005885__Screative%20age__P0,3__Orightresult__X6?lang=eng&suite=beta

Saturday, April 30. Authors for Indies Day, Oxford Book Shop, 262 Piccadilly Street, London, N6A 1S4. Contact: Hilary bookorderprocessing@oxfordbookshop.com. Tel: 519-438-8336.  www.oxfordbookshop.com, http://www.authorsforindies.com/.

Tuesday, May 3. Glendale High School, 37 Glendale Drive. Tillsonburg, ON N4G 1J6. TEL: 519-842-4207.  Contact: John Marriott <j.marriott@tvdsb.on.ca>. Sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets. Poets in the Schools National Youth Arts Week.

Thursday, May 5, 6:30-8:30 pm. WRITING YOUR WAY!. Writing workshop and reading.   Beacock Library, 1280 Huron St, London, Ontario N5Y 4M2, (519) 451-8140.  2016 Creative Age Festival. http://poets.ca/npm/. Penn’s reading/workshop will be “The Road, The Path, The Way Not Taken: Writing What If”. Contact: Pauline Duncan-Thrasher, Community-Library Liaison, pauline@beamazinglyyou.com. Free but you need to register:

Friday, May 6. Lester B. Pearson School for the Arts, 795 Trafalgar St, London, ON N5Z 1E6, (519) 452-8300. Sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets, National Youth Arts Week. Contact: Jennifer Chesnut, <feministsoulfire@gmail.com>.

Tuesday, May 24, 7 – 8:30 pm. Opening The Creative Aging Festival Showcase concert. Wolf Hall, 251 Dundas St. London ON. Contact: June Cole, diverse.arts@gmail.com. https://www.facebook.com/CreativeAgeLondon/photos/a.181607875346967.1073741828.181474082027013/545731032267981/?type=3&theater

Creative Age 2016

Friday, June 17, 7:45-9 am. The anthology, Women & Multimedia, edited by Penn Kemp, will be launched at the breakfast business meeting of the Feminist Caucus of the League of Canadian Poets. Contributors Di Brandt, Terry Carter, Penn Kemp, Moe Clark, Jude Neale, and Cathy Petch will present our work then. The 2016 Canadian Writers’ Summit, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto ON, 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8. http://poets.ca/feministcaucus/, http://www.canadianwriterssummit.com/english#/program/

Saturday, June 18, 4-5:30pm, 2016. Panel, “Women & Performance: Playwrights and Performance Poets”, with panelists from both Playwrights Guild Women’s Caucus and League Feminist Caucus members. Penn is panel coordinator and editor of the anthology to be launched at the same time. Sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada and the League of Canadian Poets. The 2016 Canadian Writers’ Summit, Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8, http://poets.ca/feministcaucus/, canadianwriterssummit.com.

On the Road for National Poetry Month!

Upcoming Events for National Poetry Month 2016 and ON

Saturday, April 16, 2-4 p.m. The Garafraxa Café, 131 Garafraxa Street South (Highway 6), Durham ON N0G 1R0. National Poetry Month reading: “The Road” with Daniel Kolos and Liz Zetlin. See http://poets.ca/npm/. Contact: danielkolos123@gmail.com or Michelle and Kevin Bosse, 519-369-2175, garafraxacafe@gmail.com.  See http://poets.ca/npm/.

Thursday, April 21. Post a poem on #pocketpoem, poets.ca/pocketpoem

Thursday, April 28, 6:30-8:30 pm. WRITING YOUR WAY!. Writing workshop and reading.  Beacock Library, 1280 Huron St, London, Ontario N5Y 4M2, (519) 451-8140.  2016 Creative Age Festival. National Poetry Month. Penn’s reading/workshop will be “The Road, The Path, The Way Not Taken: Writing What If”. “You inspired so many writers last year that we would love to have you back again for the 2016 Creative Age Festival. Your Poetry is bound to inspire as always.” Contact: Pauline Duncan-Thrasher, Community-Library Liaison, pauline@beamazinglyyou.com. Free but you need to register:
https://encore.londonpubliclibrary.ca/iii/encore/record/C__Rg1005885__Screative%20age__P0,3__Orightresult__X6?lang=eng&suite=beta

Saturday, April 30. Authors for Indies Day, Oxford Book Shop, 262 Piccadilly Street, London, N6A 1S4. Contact: Hilary bookorderprocessing@oxfordbookshop.com. Tel: 519-438-8336.  www.oxfordbookshop.com, http://www.authorsforindies.com/.

Tuesday, May 3. Glendale High School, 37 Glendale Drive. Tillsonburg, ON N4G 1J6. TEL: 519-842-4207.  Contact: John Marriott <j.marriott@tvdsb.on.ca>. Sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets. Poets in the Schools National Youth Arts Week.

Thursday, May 5, 6:30-8:30 pm. WRITING YOUR WAY!. Writing workshop and reading.   Beacock Library, 1280 Huron St, London, Ontario N5Y 4M2, (519) 451-8140.  2016 Creative Age Festival. http://poets.ca/npm/. Penn’s reading/workshop will be “The Road, The Path, The Way Not Taken: Writing What If”. Contact: Pauline Duncan-Thrasher, Community-Library Liaison, pauline@beamazinglyyou.com. Free but you need to register:

Friday, May 6. Lester B. Pearson School for the Arts, 795 Trafalgar St, London, ON N5Z 1E6, (519) 452-8300. Sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets, National Youth Arts Week. Contact: Jennifer Chesnut, <feministsoulfire@gmail.com>.

Tuesday, May 24, 7 – 8:30 pm. Opening The Creative Aging Festival Showcase concert. Wolf Hall, 251 Dundas St. London ON. Contact: June Cole, diverse.arts@gmail.com. https://www.facebook.com/CreativeAgeLondon/photos/a.181607875346967.1073741828.181474082027013/545731032267981/?type=3&theater

Friday, June 17, 7:45-9 am. The anthology, Women & Multimedia, edited by Penn Kemp, will be launched at the breakfast business meeting of the Feminist Caucus of the League of Canadian Poets. Contributors Di Brandt, Terry Carter, Penn Kemp, Moe Clark, Jude Neale, and Cathy Petch will present our work then. The 2016 Canadian Writers’ Summit, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto ON, 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8. http://poets.ca/feministcaucus/, http://www.canadianwriterssummit.com/english#/program/

Saturday, June 18, 4-5:30pm, 2016. Panel, “Women & Performance: Playwrights and Performance Poets”, with panelists from both Playwrights Guild Women’s Caucus and League Feminist Caucus members. Penn is panel coordinator and editor of the anthology to be launched at the same time. Sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada and the League of Canadian Poets. The 2016 Canadian Writers’ Summit, Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8, http://poets.ca/feministcaucus/, canadianwriterssummit.com.

Penn @ school 2015
Photo: Westminster Secondary School, London

March 12- August 21, 2016. Jim Kemp’s painting, “Three Figures with Tall Hats” is on exhibit in “Portals”. Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. 101 Queen St N, Kitchener ON N2H 6P7. Curator: Edwin Outwater, Music Director. Contact: Ass’t Curator. 519-579-5860 x 230.
http://kwag.ca/en/connections/resources/kwag_newsletter_jan_apr_2016_web.pdf, p. 6

 

 

Playwright Reading, Sept. 12, St. Catherines ON

Author Series: 2015 – Penn Kemp, St. Catharines Public Library

September 12, 10am- noon. Reading and seminar  with Penn for Canadian Authors, Niagara Branch, St. Catharines Public Library. 54 Church St, St Catharines, ON L2R 7K2. Phone:+1 905-688-6103. Contact: Keith Inman inman@vaxxine.com.

There is no charge for this reading/workshop and all are welcome.

Workshop Description

Penn Kemp will begin with a reading from The Dream Life of Teresa Harris, a character play performed in situ in London’s oldest house and recorded there for an upcoming CD. After reading from this play, Penn will lead us in exploring and developing characters through sound and image. By allowing our Muses to speak through us, we’ll be surprised at the unfolding process of new writing.  Penn’s reading is sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada, open to the public.

Penn Kemp is an inspiring workshop presenter, poet, playwright, performer, activist and London’s inaugural poet laureate. www.mytown.ca/pennkemp.

DreamLifeofTeresa flyer

For more information on the play, see https://teresaharrisdreamlife.wordpress.com/teresa-harris/.

Penn’s reading is sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada.and her workshop by Canadian Authors, Niagara Branch.
https://www.playwrightsguild.ca

Activist poet, playwright and performer, Penn Kemp has been awarded spoken word artist of 2015-6 and a life member by the League of Canadian Poets, Penn has performed her Sound Operas around the world, also giving readings and workshops, often in schools. A prolific artist, Penn has to date published over twenty-five books and had six plays produced. She is one of Canada’s most active performance poets, with ten CD’s: see http://www.mytown.ca/pennkemp. Upcoming events are up on http://www.pennkemp.wordpress.com and twitter.com/pennkemp.

crystalEldonsm(2)

Photo of Eldon House by Daniela Sneppova.

Penn Winnipeg bear

Poem for Creative Age Festival 2015

Here’s the poem I read to open the grand Creative Age Festival, June 4, 2015, in the London Public Library Rotary Garden.

Photo: Kathy Smith

Photo: Kathy Smith

Double Vision, i

Age is the phase for integration as we enter
the violet sphere, embracing shadows in
whatever form they appear, welcoming all.
We wear our lives on our faces, to be read.

We have stood in bright glittering sunshine
long enough. We have given to the world
what the world required. Now we inquire
what we ourselves need to feel complete.

We enter understanding, standing under all
we have done, all we are. We rest in the full
spectrum of fulfilment, scanning the span of
a moment’s totality. Time out of time expands

to include our whole life, with its possibilities
realized or still potential, yet to be enacted,
expended to the rest remaining to us, doubling
to manifest or stay outstanding as life allows.

Now is when to remember just who we entered
this world to become. To gather, to recollect, to
recall, to weave into a basket of plenty and pass
our basket of us as bequest on, nest for the next.

None of our history is lost. It lives in the present
as presence. We are the legacy we leave and
that which we’ve received, stretching back over
generations. We hold in our palms the prints

of past, present and unknown epochs to come.
What brings us to wisdom, this transmission
of all we are? Our grandchildren might hear
what our offspring may not yet have learned.

For our wisdom to ripen, we need shelter, a
place that respects us so we may continue
to live the love that is antidote to fear, free
of want. Where we can reflect upon, reflect

back gleams of insight gleaned from living
well, unhampered. May we listen to our body.
Despite the indignities our flesh is heir to, we
attend to aches in organs hitherto unknown.

Photo: Marque Smith

Photo: Marque Smith

Double Vision, ii

Now we understand why old folks walk as
they do, not from choice, but because knees
don’t bend and ankles tend to give way. We
see our parents in the mirror and marvel at

the flight of time, knowing that inside we feel
thirty or forty max., on good days. We know
the limits our younger selves blithely ignored,
growing up, growing over the lump in our heart.

As we enter elderhood, may we burn up rather
than rust away, till we are entirely retread, ready
for whatever awaits. Retired, may we try again,
treating ourselves as well we need be treated.

May our inner weather be sun-dappled no matter
what. May we recognize in the mirror the others
that we were, as we are. May we elders be seen
as lineage-holders, holding the mirror for the next

generation down the line and on. May we be heard.

Penn Kemp

This poem was  published in Cautionary Tales: Giving Voice to the Elders (2015) for the League of Canadian Poets Feminist Caucus Archives.  The original version of “Double Vision” was commissioned by Gina Barber for the Age Friendly London Report.  It was recorded by Dennis Siren on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B8DOIfinOs.

Photo: Bernarda Norwood

Photo: Bernarda Norwood

Sound Learning!

“Reading and Workshop with Penn Kemp”

Saturday, June 6, 10:30 to noon.
Landon Branch Library (downstairs), 167 Wortley Rd, London N6C 3P6.

All welcome!

Come celebrate the culmination of our  Creative Age Festival London readings and workshops with me!

Photo: Kathy Smith

Photo: Kathy Smith

Free, sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada.

Program Description:

Penn Kemp is an inspiring workshop presenter, poet, playwright, performer, activist and London’s inaugural poet laureate. After reading from some of her plays, Penn will lead us in exploring and developing characters through sound and image. In allowing our Muses to speak through us, we’ll be surprised at the unfolding process of new writing. Free. Drop in.

Photo: Deb Hill

Photo: Deb Hill

Reading sponsored by the Guild of Canadian Playwrights.

Photo by Carmelo Militano, just after he has interviewed me on P.I., May 31, 2015, Winnipeg. https://ckuw.ca/programs/detail/p.i.-new-poetry

Photo by Carmelo Militano, just after he has interviewed me on P.I., May 31, 2015, Winnipeg. https://ckuw.ca/programs/detail/p.i.-new-poetry

https://www.facebook.com/events/1019743298045749/
https://pennkemp.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/creative-aging-readings-and-writing-workshops/., http://www.eventbrite.com/e/what-lies-ahead-creative-age-readings-writing-workshops-with-penn-kemp-tickets-16177439156?aff=erellivorg.