PLU Open Mic featuring Carla Drysdale
[Hosted by René Ghosh, photos by Armando Segovia]
A rainy evening in Paris didn’t prevent a slew of talented writers and musicians from calling up sun from their performances on April 14th. Carla Drysdale traveled from Ornez, France to regale a packed Culture Rapide with her feature, a selection of poems from her books Little Venus and Inheritance.
Round one kicked off with an open mic virgin, Amina, whose poem evoked spring light on skin and had everyone yearning for a real spring day. Stéphane then recited a touching poem about a friend of his who passed away recently. The poem was written by Riad who always says he doesn’t do stage. There were evocations of tears in Belleville glasses, picons being traded for p’tits cons. Simon came thinking the theme of the evening was love, for unexplained reasons, and recited a dating website-inspired poem that surged and fell relentlessly, running from impossible love to ducks, the homeless, and a list of all the things he loves. Yasser read a Berthold Brecht poem, noting that though the playwright is better known for his drama, he did pen some pretty great poems too. Gucci read a rhythmically pounding poem exploring Paris paradis par-ici, liquide qui glisse, and reminded us that we are all magnets. René took his hosting hat long enough to play one of his recent songs, of which he forgot some lyrics and made up other lyrics on the spot, which sounded like made-up lyrics. Lara presented a long list of quiz questions designed to help the tester determine many things, not least of which how to find through one’s favorite dogshit-infested Paris street, what one’s totem animal is, and what kind of parent one becomes depending on one’s favorite piece of cutlery. Carla closed up the round with her feature, reading poems from Little Venus and also from her recently released chapbook of poems, Inheritance. The choice of poems was sultry, breathtaking, breath-giving.
Round two saw Mo reciting poems at the early hours of the morning, 4AM, then 5AM, touching on jungle cats on mating calls and pigeons who fight like cats and dogs. A young but decidedly self-assured Arthur read a monologue from a man-machine he wrote for an online role-playing platform he frequents. Marie read a personal piece about it not being her but her ghost who went up to an apartment, then took the guitar to sing some Angel Olsen. Stéphane came back as well, evoking sunlight filtering through closed eyelids and asking why he still draws her face in chalk on streets. Bridget read an epistolary piece about emailing sociopathic narcissists and their very smart but disquieting replies. Emily read a poem about bicycling in Paris and all the places she’s been, addressed to the City of Light and describing its body parts. Axel ended the round, starting off with a reference to a 17th Century writer’s 27000 questions about death, but reassured everyone he wouldn’t go that far because his phone had only 6% battery left.
Open Mic springs along through April with a special out-of-town guest, Carla Drysdale. For everyone else, sign up is free and starts at 20h. We go ’till late late late and any form of expression is welcome: read, sing, dance, shout. The stage is yours, and the whole world is a stage.
Carla Drysdale’s first full-length collection of poems, Little Venus, was published in 2010 by Tightrope Books in Toronto. Her first chapbook of poems, Inheritance, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in October, 2015. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including PRISM, The Same, LIT, the Literary Review of Canada, Canadian Literature, The Fiddlehead, Global City Review, Literary Mama and in the anthology, Entering the Real World: VCCA Poets on Mt. San Angelo. In May, 2014 she was awarded PRISM’s annual Earle Birney Poetry Prize for her poem, “Inheritance.” Born in London, Ontario, she lives with her husband and two sons in Ornex, France.
The poems in Inheritance probe the dynamics of the parent/child relationship and what we owe our parents, our children, ourselves.
“The majestic, determined poems in Carla Drysdale’s stunning debut chapbook Inheritance act as a dual lens to art and motherhood. They reflect the thriving childhood of the poet’s sons and also refract their mother’s childhood, demonstrating that what is inherited can both be passed on and reversed. In Drysdale’s poems, the fruit of tenderness is always set inside a rind of candor…” —Molly Peacock, Author of Cornucopia and The Second Blush
“In moving poems that sting with honesty, Carla Drysdale creates a haunting past and a tender and tentative present. The poems emerge from a ghost space between her life as an abandoned daughter and her life as a young mother. Drysdale’s Inheritance is hard-won and these poems are unflinching. But if creation comes from a place of joy, then these poems with ‘their tough braid of blue and red still binding us’ navigate suffering and loneliness to return again and again to love and knowledge. I am grateful for the imprint these poems left on me.” —Anne Marie Macari, Author of Red Deer (Persea, 2015)
“Someone once wrote that poetry tells the world about the world. Carla Drysdale’s poems encompass many worlds – childhood, motherhood, city, landscape – worlds resonant with shadow, worlds suffused with light; but in every case the precision and immediacy of her poetry not only opens that world to us, but leave us feeling we have been inhabited by it.” —John Glenday, Author of Grain and The Golden Mean (Picador)