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On Tour

April 22, 2008

Tough Acts to Follow
Posted by Heather Burt

My tour mates are mighty impressive folks. Yesterday and today I had the pleasure of watching large groups of high school students groove to the poetry and inspiring commentary of Rita Wong. I think my sense that thoughtful, thought-provoking poetry might be difficult to pitch in a contemporary high school setting reveals my underestimating of both teenagers and poetry. At the same time, I think it took Rita’s passion and warmth to make the connection between her poems and her audience happen. And happen it did! I was too gripped by Rita’s words to be studying the audience very carefully, but even my brief glances found many sparks of excitement and recognition in their eyes. That was tough-act-to-follow number one. The next was Meg Tilly’s reading from her novel Porcupine. I’d been getting to know Meg as my very kind, funny tour mate (funny as in good sense of humour!) and had sort of forgotten that she’s also a stunning actor — that is until she launched into her reading last night at the Cornerstone Café in Trail. Holy captivating performance, Batman! She read an extremely tense scene with a lot of dialogue, and she so completely inhabited each of the different characters, through voice and gesture and a certain je ne said quoi I can only imagine, that there seemed to be five completely different people battling it out on the little stage. Wonderful imagery in the prose as well — I remember in particular the vivid image of a character’s eyebrows coming together in a storm cloud over her face. Ooh. And, last but not least, I’ve spent some of my most enjoyable free time over the past couple of days devouring the novel of my third tour mate, David Jones. Baboon is terrific — totally compelling. This novel achieves something that never fails to amaze and impress me: it tackles important philosophical/existential questions in a page-turning narrative. A boy turns into a baboon! It’s such a weird and wonderful idea, and David has tapped into all the practical and philosophical implications in striking and often hilarious prose. I could go on ... but it’s a sunny, warm(ish) day here in Nelson, I’ve got a few hours off, and I need to justify the space being taken up in my backpack by my running gear. But first ... lunch.

We’re reading at the Nelson Municipal Library this evening, 7:00, and if you happen to be in the vicinity, we’d love to see you!


P.S. Happy Earth Day!

Filed under: Kootenays Leg 2008 | 5 Comments | Permalink


Apr 22, 2008 at 03:25 PM

Thanks for the generous descriptions!  You are so modest that you omit the audiences’ great responses to your work. It was a joy to see you inspire students working on novels and movie scripts, and to hear the compelling stories that surround and constitute Adam’s Peak.  I bet some of them will enter the 3-day novel contest someday, thanks to you.
Rock on!

Heather Burt
Apr 22, 2008 at 09:53 PM

Thanks, Rita! grin

May 13, 2008 at 06:34 PM

It was a joy to see you inspire students working on novels and movie scripts, and to hear the compelling stories that surround.

hanım abla
Sep 20, 2008 at 07:01 AM

Peak.  I bet some of them will enter the 3-day novel contest someday, thanks to you.
Rock on!http://www.sihirler.net

buy books
Mar 16, 2009 at 10:25 PM

It is really great that Rita’s poetry and words are magical. i always search for the poetry books from online bookstore. i love to read poem.

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