Here’s to Spring, and the Spring Tour!

If you are in BC, I hope you can come and be with dear friends and me!

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.

Poster Fort Callery April 17

Sunday, April 9, 2:00 pm, 2017. Poetry New West, Heritage Grill Backstage Room, 447 Columbia Avenue, New Westminster BC. Contact: Alan Hill, afjhill@hotmail.com, @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.

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: terryanncarter3@gmail.com or Carl Cavanagh, Public Service Librarian, 250-382-7241 ext. 381ccavanagh@gvpl.ca. Writers Readers & Storytellers. For Adults. Ontario-based poet and playwright Penn Kemp will kick off this program with a performance of her play, 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 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, khudson@saltspringlibrary.com. 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.

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/.

APRIL 2017 Kemp Thesen

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!

Save

Save

Save

The Triumph of Teresa Harris March 22-25 at The Palace

http://www.palacetheatre.ca/shows-and-events/2016/9/8/the-triumph-of-teresa-harris

www.eldonhouse.ca

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

Press

“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
http://www.lfpress.com/2017/03/03/two-productions-by-poet-penn-kemp-celebrate-19th-century-london-woman-who-untied-the-corset-strings

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”,
http://news.westernu.ca/2017/01/play-stands-tribute-one-womans-triumph/

A scene from our March 4 performance of The Dream Life of Teresa Harris:interactive video by Mary McDonald:
http://touchcast.com/…/dream_life_of_teresa_harris_march_20….

“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

Publications

The script of the complete play, THE TRIUMPH OF TERESA HARRIS is now available, on line & in print!
https://www.playwrightsguild.ca/triumph-teresa-harris-0.

The Eldon House version, THE DREAM LIFE OF TERESA HARRIS is also now available, on line, in print & in London Public Library!
http://www.playwrightsguild.ca/dream-life-teresa-harris

See http://www.playwrightsguild.ca/playwright/penn-kemp.

Upcoming

“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

Performances

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 <info@londoncommunityplayers.com>

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

ACTORS

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.

https://teresaharrisdreamlife.wordpress.com

The main character is Teresa Harris, b.1839, Eldon House,
London. She tells her amazing life story from her home in
Eldon House. Born the youngest of a prosperous pioneer
family intent on bettering itself, Teresa married a Scottish
military man who promised to carry her off to foreign parts
she had dreamed of all her life. Teresa’s story emerges
through her own voice and that of her protective mother
and her two husbands. Both men offered Teresa escape
from the ordinary domestic constraint for a woman of her
time and position in colonial London society.
Young Teresa 2017
Young Teresa: Jordyn Taylor
(Photo Credits: Harris Family Fonds, Teresa on Camel Photo, Western Archives, Western University)
The Triumph of Teresa Harris
Previously…
March4 Penn Panayiotis Teresa
Penn and Panayiotis Giannarapis performing The Dream Life with Mary Ashton.
Photo: Mary McDonald

Save

Save

Save

Save

How we are (in)formed!

Listening to http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thesundayedition/farewell-to-2016-robert-harris-on-albums-that-changed-your-life-2nd-annual-shut-up-i-m-thinking-word-game-1.3906841/the-music-that-changed-your-world-episode-1-1.3906953.

Robert Harris’s choices are interesting, and all too telling!

The delicious Rosalind Russell sings, “Just throw your knowledge in his face… that’s the second way to lose a man…” And then George Gaynes sings for “his gentle girl, his quiet girl…” from On the Town, 1949. “We need no words./ She sees— she knows… Where is that special girl/Who is soft, soft as snow/ Somewhere /Somewhere, my quiet girl”.

Bernstein’s lyrics enforce the notion of ‘a gentle, quiet’ girl who is “a different kind of girl” from the “sharp, intellectual kind” usually picked. And so stereotypes are deeply embedded from childhood on… On the Town heralds in the ‘50’s!

Oh how things have changed… or not!

https://no1lyrics.com/song/one-hundred-easy-ways-483321
http://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/Leonard_Bernstein:A_Quiet_Girl

“It happens over and over
I pick the sharp intellectual kind
Why couldn’t this time be different
Why couldn’t she – only be
Another kind – A different kind of girl

I love a quiet girl
I love a gentle girl”

Ah, the songs were out of context…I stand corrected, though I still question Robert Harris’s choices:)! “It was Betty Comden and Adolf Green who wrote the lyrics, Not Leonard! and if you watch the play, the hero changes his mind about the unquiet girl and gets Ruth! The song ends up being almost satirical in its proper setting.” Good to hear. 

Penn Winnipeg bear

Photo: Heidi Greco

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

3393652597_bcc236b0bf_z.jpg

Photo: Toban Black

Save

Save

Save

A Year of Reading Dangerously: Memorial

Notes on Alice Oswald’s Memorial: a version of Homer’s Iliad
with an afterword by Eavan Boland.  W.W. Norton & Company.

“Like fire with its loose hair flying rushes through a city
The look of unmasked light shocks everything to rubble”

Alice Oswald’s Memorial: a version of Homer’s Iliad is a merciless, fully compassionate and all too relevant reading of The Illiad. This short, immensely weighted book drops the unresponsive body of narrative to reveal a poetry of pure heart: “I write through the Greek, not from it— aiming for translucence rather than translation.” Memorial is heart-rending into its specificity, enumerating the names of the dead in a litany reminiscent of Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans  Memorial. I almost wrote ‘fallen’, the word of memorialists since the Great War.

Oswald enlists “‘enargeia’, which means something like ‘bright unbearable reality’. It’s the word used when gods come to earth not in disguise but as themselves. This version, trying to retrieve the poem’s enargeia, takes away superfluous narrative. Instead, Oswald evokes through similes traditional Greek pastoral and lament. But why or why does she not use the more assuaging and mellifluous ‘as’ instead of the obstreperous ‘like’ when introducing her similes… Perhaps she prefers the bluntness of ‘like’.

I misspelled history as ‘histroy’ and Spell Checker suggested, appropriately, his Troy. “The Iliad is a vocative poem. Perhaps even (in common with lament) it is invocative. It always addresses Patroculus as ‘you’, as if speaking directly to the dead… a kind of oral cemetery”. The poem presents in a phrase or epithet a man’s whole history as well as the manner of his death.  The olive tree is granted slightly more space in Oswald’s astonishing simile of life’s cycle:

“Like a man put a wand of olive in the earth
And watered it and that wand became a wave
It became a whip a spine a crown
It became a wind-dictionary
It could speak in tongues
It became a wobbling wagon-load of flowers
And then a storm came spinning by
And it became a broken tree uprooted
It became a wood pile in a lonely field.”

Another Alice Oswald was my English teacher at Medway High School: a dry stick we considered ancient. A dry stick who would burst to flame when reciting Keats’s ode. The image on the cover of PERFORMING WOMEN honours that flame as well.

performing-women-2016

Save

at the CANADIAN WRITERS’ SUMMIT

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 admin@poets.ca 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/

Panelists:

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.

crystalEldonsm

Photo by Daniela Sneppova, cover of WOMEN AND MULTIMEDIA

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”