Wednesday, June 03, 2009

will that banner never stop swinging?

I spent last evening in the dark with a bunch of excellent poets and one giant swinging banner.

The Griffin Prize shortlist readings were held yesterday at the MacMillan Theatre, tucked in off Philosopher's Walk at the University of Toronto. I try to go every year, and every year I sit and watch the giant "Poetry" banner stage right swing dramatically back and forth in some silent breeze from the ventilation system.

This year, "Poetry" kept nudging up against Kevin Connolly's shortlist banner, knocking his amiable portait sideways and starting up a billiard ball-style transfer of energy across the entire line of banners all the way to the other "Poetry" flag stage left. Rarely is there such a compelling and suspenseful (ha!) visual component to a poetry reading.

And the poets themselves did not disappoint. All three Canadian finalists, Kevin Connolly, Al Moritz and Jeramy Dodds delivered entertaining sets; international finalist Derek Mahon charmed everyone with his rambling Irishness; C.D. Wright spoke more words per minute than I thought was possible; and actors Guillermo Verdecchia and R.H. Thomson performed the works of the late Mick Imlah and the unfortunately absent Dean Young.

The Griffin Prize winners are to be announced this evening at a dinner in Toronto. I'll keep you posted about banners and such.

Bookmark and Share

1 comment:

Susan Glickman said...

I couldn't look up, that banner was making me so queasy! I spent a good deal of time studying the nominees footwear. DIdn't you find it odd that Derek Mahon wore running shoes?