Transient audience enjoys poetry in geodesic domes
by ANDREAS SCHROEDER
Intermedia has never had a reputation for featuring the best of Canadian poetry in it's programs, and it will probably be some time before it does. However, the poetry section of Intermedia at the Vancouver Art Gallery proved to be a pleasantly surprising step in the right direction.
Poets sat under five geodesic domes of various sizes and read their works to a transient audience which roamed from dome to dome sampling the different styles and forms of verse presented. Often the poets read not only their own work but that of a favorite poet or poets; I found a visiting writer from Big Sur, California, Bill Bradd, reading selections from Jean Cocteau' Opium: another read primitive verse and tribal chants from an excellent poetry anthology entitled Technicians of the sacred (which hereby stands recommended).
Canadian poetry magazines were sampled and listeners were urged to read from them if they hadn't brought their own material. One poet read his poems in the original Japanese. There was none of the usual competition for sound-space which which usually destroys such simultaneous readings; none of the presentations intruded on another, and a relatively small audience found it easy to engage and disengage at will.
Of course there were still a few poets who should never have been there. I have always found it puzzling how the inevitable english student with Tennysonian diction and Emily Dickinson thought progressions manages to find a berth in these readings when this city bristles with competent poets. The standard word copier for whom poetry is the epitome of a hyperthyroid condition was also represented, stringing words on to chords of sound as if he were just learning how to talk, but the often fine handling of metaphors and music by poets such as Richard Sommer make the pain more bearable. At the risk of crediting Intermedia with more tradition than it has yet established, I would say that these readings have been their best yet.
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