25th Trillium Award

Grey Borders Reading Series Commences a New Season

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Football season has its first kick-off of the year, hockey season has its first face-off or puck-drop of the year, basketball season has its first jump-off, but how does a new season of a reading series begin? On Friday, September 21st, 2012, Grey Borders Reading Series (GBRS), to borrow a phrase from Matthew Tierney, had their first ?twist-offs? of the year at the Niagara Artists Centre in St. Catharines as beer and wine were distributed to a full house of people anticipating the first drop of a word. The line up: Matthew Tierney, Leigh Kotsilidis and Dennis Lee. The result: a successful start to the new season.

The GBRS season couldn?t begin at a better time: the Grape and Wine Festival had begun that day and it was Leonard Cohen?s birthday. The night began with Eric Schmaltz, the curator of the GBRS for the past two years, welcoming everyone to the event and introducing a new addition to the series: Craig Dodman. Eric announced that his friend and colleague, Craig, would be joining him as co-curator throughout the new season.

Matthew Tierney commenced the literary proceedings, reading from his new book, Probably Inevitable (Coach House Books). The poems and preambles before poems consisted of topics that ranged from intermittent insomnia to a 60-foot clock set amongst mountains that stands the test of time (but has, as of yet, failed to do so), and the many things we do that require us to just sit and stare.

Next up was Leigh Kotsilidis, who read from her debut book of poetry, Hypotheticals (Coach House Books). The most interesting image that appeared amongst the hypotheticals in Leigh?s reading was the mouth-less moth, the Golden Sun moth. What would it be like if we were born without a mouth? This question and others like it were raised but never given an answer. Where's the fun in hypotheticals if there's a straight answer or any answer at all?

To end the night was Dennis Lee, Toronto?s first Poet Laureate. Lee began his reading with a manuscript of children poems that brought out the inner child of the entire audience as they laughed along to his tale about Melvis and Elvis. Lee then delved into more serious poems that hushed the audience. He ended his reading just as he had started, but this time with a little bit of air guitar. With air guitar in hand, Lee strummed along to a Talking Blues poem. The refrain, ?Strumming on my air guitar,? was soon picked up by the audience and rang throughout the venue and onto the streets of St. Catharines. A fitting end to a terrific night.

?Craig and I are very pleased with the event overall,? said Eric Schmaltz. ?We had a lot of fun. It was an energetic start to the season.? Indeed, it was an energetic start to the season that set the bar for future events. As one audience member lamented, ?I can?t believe I?ll be missing bill bissett next month! I was looking forward to it.? Already the people in the audience are anticipating the next reading featuring bill bissett, Steve Zultanski, Pearl Pirie, Donato Mancini and Beatriz Hausner. If you missed the start of the season, don?t miss out next month that will surely have every bit of energy as this one and more!

For more information and to keep up on updates follow GBRS?s blog.

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