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Posts Tagged ‘mike blouin’

Since VERSeFest this past June, I had thought it would be a fun idea to cover all the poetry events that happen here in Ottawa. Not in ‘review’ format, exactly, but more like a sports ‘play-by-play’, just to let people know who is sharing their work at the poetry shows and what is new and different in the poetry community.

Alastair Larwill, local poet and poetry aficionado, decided to take me up on this idea and wrote a piece on poet Mike Blouin at the Ottawa International Writers Festival.

Eventually, these pieces will be showcased on the VERSe Ottawa website. In the meantime, check back here for coverage of Ottawa poetry events.

On April 27th Mike Blouin not only kicked off the Ottawa International Writers Festival but also launched his new book Wore Down Trust to a packed Barley Mow. Usually there can be some issues with doing readings at bars, unreceptive audiences, bad acoustics, and the scurrying of waitresses, but none were present during the half hour reading.

Sean Wilson took his time introducing Mike to make sure the radio was fully turned down and the patrons fully settled in. It was one of those events where it paid to show up early, if you wanted to get a good seat and a view for that matter.

Mike took to the stage with ownership and settled in with a soft poke at himself as well as read the acknowledgments before he dove into his book. He attempted to read without his glasses, but found it too difficult, so on the glasses went with another joke at his own expense. The pieces he read had a defined style and for the most part were narrative in nature. Mike has constructed this book around himself as well as two artist which I infer had a large impact on him, Johnny Cash and Canadian poet Alden Nowlan. His poems dance on the line of reality and fiction which peaks curiosity about the contact he had with these two iconic figures and just where he feels that he fits in with them.

Most of the poems had heavy feel to them, sentences that hit home with impact: “in poverty the test comes early” “every time I came to the surface; surprise” spoken softly as if the world could be quietly over whelming. There were some moments of light humor, which was nicely placed to lighten the darkened room with laugher.

The set itself felt a little short, but it is always good to leave the audience wanting. There were no valleys in this reading, just a strong consistency to it. Mike used some very brief pauses in between poems as well as only using some slight introductions to select pieces, which kept the flow steady, consistent and relentless. For those of you who have missed it, you can check out the end of it in this video.

bUy LARWILL (alastair)

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