Just came back from a poetry reading at the Atwater Library featuring Carmine Starnino and Elizabeth Bachinsky. Both are fine poets and excellent readers, so it was a truly pleasurable experience.
Carmine Starnino went out on a limb and read from new material, some of it so recent he himself wasn't entirely sure it was "lame". Well, whatever lameness it may have had on the page, I didn't catch it, and it definitely had something: drawing upon the triggers of an "unaccountable sadness" as homely as a fencepost or a willow, each object was described with such precision it acquired a statuesque quality. A lengthy prose poem building on the conceit of "working class clouds" took its risks, but yielded rewards: a whimsical (yet peculiarly melancholy) tour de force, it will surely feature in a future collection. Curious that none of his books were for sale, as far as I could see; I would have seriously considered picking one up. Also a significant critic, editor and anthologist, here he gives an excellent interview in the Danforth Review.
Elizabeth Bachinsky leavened the reading with lighter entertainment: a palindrome and some mildly flarf-like poems derived from google searches from her first collection, and narrative poems from her second, including a series about pregnant teens from her hometown, about which she drew laughter with the claim that it was the teenage pregnancy capitol of Canada -- or at least, the town with the highest quotient. Her work was conversational, deft, yet penetrating, and certainly did what it wanted to do, and I can't see anything wrong with that. (Boy, I'm nice tonight, but that's how I feel: my evening teaching schedule doesn't allow me to attend many readings, and I certainly have no regrets about coming out to this.)
The Montreal Anglo poetry scene is so closely knit that in the audience I met several habitués I knew, and indeed didn't even have a decent amount of time to chat with them all. Let's see -- Elise Moser, Angela Leuk, Jon Paul Fiorentino, Raphael Bendahan, Peter Dubé (well, I was just introduced to him), David McGimpsey, and Maxianne Berger were all in attendance. I think I just named about thirty percent of the worthy few that braved the extreme Feb. cold to come to this reading...