Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Film, Photography and Verse at Homegrown Day2

"Poetry is the mother tongue of mankind." ~J.G.Hamann, 1762

Elipsis captures Sparhawk at the Red Herring.
Homegrown may have begun with music as its first heartbeat, but it has matured the weeklong Twin Ports phenomenon has matured to embrace all of the arts. Monday evening I was able to attend a portion of the film festival at Zinema, the photography opening reception at Red Herring with an original performance by Alan Sparhawk and the Poetry Showcase at Sacred Heart Music Center.

The Poetry Showcase is now ten years old. In previous years the venues were small, and when the doors opened last night I heard someone utter their concern that Sacred Heart was too big, that it might feel empty even with a good crowd. Truth be told, the room filled substantially and the change of venue proved to be a very good move.

I've not been at poetry readings in other parts of the country for a long time, but one thing that happens here is the addition of a sensitive musical accompaniment in the background.* The first time I experienced this was at Al Hunter's Beautiful Razor reading at the AICHO in 2013. Since that time I have noticed it effectively used several times including our readings at the Red Mug last year during Dylan Fest. In that occasion Richie Townsend quietly contributed with his electric guitar complement. Last night Townsend's guitar was joined by Gaelyn Lea on violin, an extra addition that added much in the context of the occasion. (EdNote: I later learned that this sentiment was not universally shared, perhaps because it was a little too loud and a distraction at times.)


One cannot say enough about the Sacred Heart as a venue, especially as the evening sunlight descended and the stained glass window shifted with the waning illumination. The grand arches, the pillars, the iconography all contributed to good effect as the poets shared facets of their life journeys and portions of their souls with fluency, occasionally pointed turns of phrase and potent lyric arrows.

Tina Higgins Wussow, who hosts a poetry gathering at Beaners Central the third Thursday of every month, served as moderator. Beaners, along with Katie & Jacob Farkas, also provided coffee and snacks for the evening.

Bob Monohan making an impression.
Those who missed it but who appreciate live poetry readings should mark their calendars for a very special evening of poetry during Duluth Dylan Fest later this month. The event, titled Poets of the North County, will take place at the Underground on Wednesday May 25 at 6:30 p.m. featuring Duluth Poet Laureates Barton Sutter and Jim Johnson, among others. It is said that when years ago Sutter was proclaimed first Duluth Poet Laureate he immediately corrected the interviewer and said, "No, the first was Bob Dylan."


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