Off the Stage: Soliloquies Reads, November 2015

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAYA POPOVICH

After the success of the inaugural event in October, Soliloquies Reads returned to Kafein on Thursday, November 19, where a fantastic lineup of past contributors read some of their recent writing and discussed their recent work.

“I’ve been writing quite a bit with Afrikaans words,” said reader Klara du Plessis as she introduced her new poem, “Ekke.” The title comes from the Afrikaans word used to refer to an emphasized ‘I’ and a multiplicity of identities.  The moving poem plays with cross-lingual homophones and concludes that “There is no lingua franca of the mind.” Du Plessis, who was recently interviewed for Soliloquies Writes, also discussed her experiences as the curator of the Montreal-based Resonance Reading Series

Rebecca Păpucaru, also interviewed not long ago, confessed that she had taken a break from sending out poetry for a little while. “I went through a period where I sent out a batch and the reaction wasn’t that great,” she said, describing a process many aspiring writers can sympathize with. Evidently, her perseverance paid off; Păpucaru had listeners in stitches with a poem recently published in The Dalhousie Review, titled “If I Had Your Cock.”

Poet, filmmaker, and fiction writer Isaac Sénéchal took the stage to discuss his recent work, much of which has been in or has incorporated film. He noted his interest in playing with different forms, such as mash-up poetry and a form of his own invention that alters the traditional ballad by replacing full rhymes with slant rhymes. “You get to work with new word pairings,” he mentioned off stage, after reading a couple of new poems. “It keeps the poetry fresh.”

Alex Manly, who interviewed a few years ago after being published in Soliloquies Anthology, returned to discuss his current work as an editor for AskMen.com. “You don’t have a lot of mental juice left for writing poems when you’re working 50 hours per week, but you try,” Manly said, noting the importance of making time. He offered some advice to undergraduate students looking to pursue writing or editing: “consider joining the student newspaper. You cannot help your career enough by getting some writing published or getting some time in the editing room. It changed my life.” 

Notebook in hand, Tara McGowan-Ross delivered four poems of increasing intensity that resonated deeply with the audience. “In the conceptual stages, I mostly write in my head,” she said of her creative practice. “Then there’s usually a notebook-loose-leaf-computer screen birthing process, and, when I go to read somewhere, I copy it down in a notebook.” McGowan-Ross is also the creative director and a collective member at Spectra Journal, a publication by and for queer individuals. “When [queer individuals] have a community of like-minded and like-experienced people, they tend to open up a bit more,” she observed.

Jay Winston Ritchie, author of both a poetry chapbook and a short story collection, discussed his work as an Assistant Editor for Montreal-based Metatron press. “See if [Metatron] fits with what you like to read and what you want to put out there,” he encouraged while emphasizing the press’ involvement in the Montreal community and fondness for local upcoming writers. Ritchie proceeded to share two poems and concluded the evening with a softly spoken line: “A blue bicycle, signifying nothing.”

Soliloquies Reads will return in early 2016. Until then, join us at La Vitrola on December 8th for the launch of Soliloquies Anthology 20.1. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up with our events and contests.