Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Banff Spoken Word Residency - day 3

Wednesday, April 19

Morning hike up Tunnel Mountain

Workshop 3, Led By Sheri-D Wilson - STEPPING INTO YOUR POETRY WILD 

Faculty Studios, Individual Meetings - Buddy Wakefield, Tanya Evanson

Evening camp fire

A group of us decided to start the day with a morning hike up Tunnel Mountain, the mountain behind the Banff Centre. It was an ideal morning for this, although very icy at the top. 

We began Sheri-D's workshop by writing a number of characteristics about ourselves and then choosing the three most important to keep while throwing the others into the centre of the room. Sheri-D requested that we gather all of the pieces of paper and burn them in a camp fire. This would be an opportunity to let go of those associations and hold onto the three we wanted to keep.

We were given writing prompts and then had a limited period of time to write. We were then each asked to share our writing with the group, speaking it out loud. After hearing the piece once, Sheri-D gave us each an individual instruction to change the way in which we delivered the piece. Suggestions included

say it as though you were explaining something to a group of 5 year old children

saying it whilst rolling around on the floor

break it into syllables

spin and lengthen the words whilst spinning

run and speak the poem

read it as a goddess

say it as you would paint/sculpt it

say it from a different angle - you / I / we / he / they / she

Individual Meeting - Buddy Wakefield

Buddy made a couple of book and music recommendations for me to research

We spoke about giving the audience a way out after a hard-hitting bit of text. Is it enough to share an experience with an audience? To make someone feel less isolated? Or do they deserve to get a message of hope and something to ease the reader?

Individual Meeting - Tanya Evanson

Tanya and I spoke about the purpose of writing and spoken word and what I want to achieve through writing

Different possibilities include

exposing things that people don't know how to describe

exploring history

telling stories

We spoke about the techniques used by sound poets and concrete poets.

That evening the group made a camp fire and we had a little ceremony where the pieces of paper from Sheri-D's workshop were burned. 

Mitcholos shared this list of questions written by Nasra Adem, and we used them to prompt some very interesting discussions.

Is love present in your poem?
If you are choosing to speak aloud, the poem is no longer for you.
Who are you speaking to? Who is in the room?
Have you created space for joy?
For breath?
In unloading your trauma are you further traumatizing someone else?
Who is afforded the privilege of trigger warnings?
Who are you asking to make room for your feelings? Are you doing the same?
If the poems are prayers, who besides yourself are you praying for?
In what ways do our responsibilities as poets intersect with our responsibilities as humans? As craftspeople?
How often and readily and urgently are we thinking about accessibility in these spaces?
How deeply does our respect and consciousness of the stolen land we reside on seep in to our poems?
What does this acknowledgment look and feel and sound like in our bodies? In the way we share ourselves?
Elders, how do you pass on your gifts with out extinguishing your fire?
New/younger poets, how are you taking care of your coaches/elders? Are you willing to learn how to hold them? You may need them, but they are human and imperfect and exhausted.
Step up. Grow up. Share the load.
How do we continue towards creating "safer spaces" while understanding this world may not ever be safe for some of us?
When we ultimately fuck up, bad, who is there to call us in and help us grow? Are we open to this? Like for real?
Can we agree to do better for each other? And the poetry?

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