Maxine Gadd reads from several poems that were later collected in Lost Language (1982), one poem from air two (1971), but it is likely that many poems that she read went unpublished.

Richard Sommer (Introducer)

00:00:00.00

I'd like to introduce you to two poets who are Vancouver friends of mine.  Their poetry is quite different, as you'll discover.  But from my own point of view, they...I owe both of them a debt that is similar in both cases though neither probably knows it.  They've made me, in their own ways, rethink my own feelings about  what ought to constitute poetry and poems.  And in the case of Maxine Gadd, this thinking went into a review which was then sent to the Firepoint which then folded.  So you may never see that.  And in the case of Andy Schroeder, found its way into a long tape harangue between the two of us on the subject of form in poetry.  Which I think is now in the Sir George Williams Library, where any of you can endure it if you wish to.  At any rate, the first of these poets to read will be Maxine Gadd.  There will be a fifteen minute break, and then Andreas Schroeder will read.  Maxine.

 

Annotation

00:01:32.06

Applause.  Some inaudible muttered comments off-mike during setup.

 

Richard Sommer

00:02:01.18

You're plugged in.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:02:03.41

Oh boy.  Can you hear me?  I don't know how much projection to do.  I don't know how much to talk about the poetry.  My connection is very loose to the mainstream I guess, because, I don't know, I'm just not socially related to what's going on maybe in the poetry reading.  I guess my identifications with words are somewhat with a West Coast hippie trip.  And between the country and the city, the first feeling being, you know, the desire for purity, you know when you're seventeen or eighteen years old and you've figured the country life is it.  And later coming to realize the necessity of the communal life and the city.  So I think that's a task I'm going to try to set myself right here.  I...this...I'm going to read first of all the second "well" poem, which I did, experienced in the country, living in the country.  I remember the first "well" poem, I don't remember where it's gone, because it didn't get published.  I disregarded its importance, you know.  I tended to take the judgment of editors, and you know, people that set themselves up as authorities, and that's why I'm here, you know.  I've kept close enough to them, I guess.  I remember the first one went something like, "Wanting pure water I went to the well/too wonderful"...and there was something about the oracle as the bucket clacked.  This is the “Second Well Poem”.

 

Annotation

00:03:57.01

Reads "Second Well Poem".

 

Maxine Gadd

00:04:41.45

Which is about where I feel right now.  But that's about where my connection to poetry is right now.  I wonder if that...I wonder if that one's around.  I don't think it is.  I guess I'll just take it as it comes.  There's some scheme in this.  I guess, I got published by a cat by bill bissett you might have heard, who did the thing, did the guru thing, the super-energy thing of getting a lot of work done, and getting a lot of people's work out, and a lot of his work out, a lot of it was real shit but he got it out, you know, and some of it worked and some of it didn't, but there was so much of it, you know...I'd like to have had that confidence, you know, I guess almost, most people write poetry, they've got it all in their trunk, you know, they don't get it out.  But I guess that's what it takes.  This is from one of his first, really cheap magazines.  He put, he...it's typed, you know.  Pretty good typing.  His typing got worse, I get very angry, he makes lots of mistakes.  But he did a lot of drawings and things, if anybody wants to look at it, you know.   I mean, he did it minimum, you know, he was living really poor.  And a lot of people still read his stuff, so, I mean, to me he was a folk poet in that sense, a lot of people still read his stuff because he got the stuff out cheap, you know.  "Trip."

 

Annotation

00:06:05.01

Reads "Trip"

 

Maxine Gadd

00:07:47.85

I'm going to go over there.  This one is to a poet who is in the, is in another world, okay?  He looks like a silver lizard, and he's very beautiful, and he knows all about the Greek trip, and Eleusis, which is one's talking about in the first poem, okay, the oracles from under the ground, that belief you must start out with.  It's called...and it's admiration, as well as a bit of terror.

 

Annotation

00:08:22.46

Reads first line "Robin has the horse in hand...”

 

Maxine Gadd

00:10:19.64

Leary, I should have mentioned, was Timothy Leary.  Oh, I should have explained that before, yeah.  Oh yeah, this is where I met...now I don't like it okay?  And it's probably not a good poem.  But that's, that's...you know, that's...the kind of art form I'd like to have seen was a collective art form, was what I yearned and hoped for.  Poetry is what people write in rooms alone, and I don't like...I don't, you know, that's what I was stuck with.  And I worked for a while with a group in Vancouver called, named, we called it "Intermedia."  And I had the experience of working with a group, at one point there were five of us poets, you know, or what we called poets.  And we'd go around to various places, we went to Edmonton one time, and we tried things, we tried chanting and wailing, like, was it...who was that crazy old lady.  Sitwell, Edith Sitwell, remember her?  And if you ever heard the sort of sing, the song, sing sing she used to do, you know, we tried that.  And it really worked, you know, but you'd go around and you'd say, "Do you dig the poems" and they'd say, "I can't hear them, but we really like your voice."  You know.  {Laughter]  So, you know, left that, you got an ache in the gut or something.

 

Annotation

00:11:37.26

Reads "Ratio"

 

Maxine Gadd

00:12:48.44

I don't like it.  I don't want to be there.  Here's one from last year.  I got into printing stuff myself, you know, and I do that--I wish, oh, you can't see it, can you?  It was mimeograph, it was real cheap, you know?  And you could take images, you could take newspaper articles, you could take scraps of anything you saw that you dug, you know, put 'em together, and to me that was a, that was a form of concrete poetry.  Can't, of course, I don't know, you couldn't really say that one or any number of them.  This one is half-said, okay.  Behind it I put a map, I found a map of B.C.  and Minster Island was a map, was an Island I found once when I was working on a ship as a mess girl, on a freighter.

 

Annotation

00:13:46.71

Reads first line "Heading up to Minster Island..."

 

Maxine Gadd

00:15:33.13

And where that ended up was just over the name Bella Coola, which is sort of where they do can fish.  There's no escape, though, you know?  And...so then I want to read about Kitsilano, where most of...I happened, you know, I grew up.  Kitsilano's a sort of slum district of Vancouver.  And it's disintegrating, and you probably all experienced this, you know, being city people, you know, they're bulldozing the places, there's no more cheap places to live, and so your friends, you know, you can't live there anymore, your friends can't live there anymore, so whatever you had, which was sometimes very heavy, you know, community's really beautiful, you know?  I used to go over and play music with my friends.  We had to move out, you know, because the city's being destroyed, and only the people who are well-to-do, who have some sort of stake in the city, you know, who are supporting the structure can stay.  And this poem is about somebody who I met one day on the street, you know, and her story, she's sort of sick, just on the street, everything's falling to pieces.

 

Annotation

00:16:55.13

Reads “bee-people on 4th avenue”.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:18:32.65

Who's singing out there?  But here, on the next street, you know, I ran into a friend of mine.  Her name's Martina.  And, you know, we're about the same age, and we've been through a lot of things, and, we've been through some bad things, you know, lots of rejections and refusal, no, there's no food now, you can't have any, go away, you know, fighting over somebody or other.

 

Annotation

00:18:58.04

Reads “4th ave.”

 

Maxine Gadd

00:20:49.45

Us old ladies.  Okay, but that's not entirely true.  I got involved into all that magic stuff, you know, the Sufis, and into politics, and like this summer I hope I'm going to start some sort of woman's centre, back where I live, you know.

 

Annotation

00:21:09.94

END OF RECORDING

 

Link to Part 2 of recording.

Annotation

00:00:00.00

Recording starts immediately with reading; not clear if poem's title or extra poetic speech is excluded from recording.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:00:00.10

Reads first line "Big there lady all come together..."

 

Maxine Gadd

00:02:20.91

I promised to Hackett, though the memory's gone, of all I thought worthy to tell you, the person.  [NOT CLEAR IF THIS IS A SEPARATE POEM OR CONTINUATION OF PREVIOUS.]

 

Maxine Gadd

00:02:29.46

Reads possible first line "The glistening tower in the ozone..."

 

Maxine Gadd

00:11:10.44

This is the thing that the guy that held onto the raft for fourteen days knew.  This is what Armstrong, Collins and Riley out there, those astronauts, this is what they saved up for.  It had to be good.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:11:29.74

Reads first line "I am obedient to every sign..."

 

Maxine Gadd

00:15:48.81

Continues with "At this point there's a maniac treading the stairs above my head"

 

Maxine Gadd

00:19:49.66

Continues with "No burn--the doctor promised this won't hurt"

 

Maxine Gadd

00:23:31.53

That's the end of that one.

 

Annotation

00:23:33.72

Applause.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:23:40.53

I think I made enough noise for a while, huh?  My voice is getting sort of sore, or, you know, like that was a trip, so.  I got a lot of poems, but...Did you feel like reading now or should we have a break or what?  Do you think...do you think we should read some more or what?  I got...

 

Maxine Gadd

00:23:57.41

You want to read some more?

 

Annotation

00:23:59.01

Inaudible - noise near mic, comments between Maxine Gadd and introducer off-mic, inaudible.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:24:03.66

Do you want to read some more?

 

Maxine Gadd

00:24:04.72

I don't know.  I've not nothing in particular form, just bits, that's the problem.

 

Richard Sommer

00:24:12.16

You can't do the one on the Goat-God....

 

Maxine Gadd

00:24:13.66

Okay, I'll do the Go-god.  Well okay, do you want to try improvising to a trip that's here?  I'll let you read it.

 

Richard Sommer

00:24:22.32

Seriously I'll do that?

 

Maxine Gadd

00:24:23.23

Yeah.  It's just going to be some sounds.

 

Richard Sommer

00:24:24.76

Okay.  I don't know if I can [inaudible]

 

Maxine Gadd

00:24:27.29

I gotta find it first.  What's that.  [Inaudible comment off-mic]  Are we?  Oh, sorry.  God.

 

Annotation

00:24:38.85

Some conversation off-mic; comments inaudible.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:24:39.38

What?  The flute?  I think it's over there.  For fun...the same message...I'm asking...Richard's going to make some noise with my flute.

 

Richard Sommer

00:24:55.17

I'll make some noise if you'll give me a microphone.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:24:57.28

Okay.  Which one do you want?  Let's share it.

 

Richard Sommer

00:25:01.63

Give me the [inaudible]

 

Maxine Gadd

00:25:02.43

It goes with the poem.

 

Richard Sommer

00:25:05.89

When'd you do that?

 

Maxine Gadd

00:25:06.71

What?

 

Richard Sommer

00:25:07.60

This, this knot.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:25:08.56

I tied myself into it.

 

Richard Sommer

00:25:11.76

Oh here we go.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:25:12.91

I don't even know if I can find it.  All these little pieces, pieces, pieces.  Oh, here it is.  Now how it goes, you have to keep quiet until...let's see now.  He's never done this before.

 

Richard Sommer

00:25:40.59

What did, yeah, what do you want me to with it?

 

Maxine Gadd

00:25:42.81

Okay, this is called "Shore Animals," and it's a speech-piece with flute, and the flute has to listen.  It can speak too.  [Laughter] You have to listen to it.  You never heard it

 

Richard Sommer

00:25:57.82

I think it's learning how to speak.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:26:01.03

It's called "Shore Animals," it's a speech piece with flute.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:26:07.24

Reads "Shore Animals" with flute by Richard [Sommers]

 

Maxine Gadd

00:30:13.72

[Groans]  Maybe I'll try to try that one...[Laughs]

 

Annotation

00:30:15.85

Applause.

 

Richard Sommers

00:30:24.14

I'll give you your microphone back.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:30:25.66

Yes.  How many minutes we got?

 

Richard Sommers

00:30:29.41

I don't know.  [Inaudible]

 

Maxine Gadd

00:30:35.44

Okay, I'm going to read, I'm going to do, this one's totally mindless, okay?  It's dedicated to my friend Gerry Gilbert who used to like to do those trips.  And you can go to sleep or something, because that's what I want you to do.

 

Maxine Gadd

00:30:51.96

Reads "Cantaloup, 29 cents"

 

Annotation

00:38:33.34

Applause.

 

Annotation

00:38:37.60

END OF RECORDING

 

Link of Part 3 of recording

Maxine Gadd at SGWU, 1972 (with Andreas Schroeder)
(Tape 1 of 2)

Tape
Catalog numberI006-11-109.1
Duration00:21:09.94
Sound qualityGood
Reading
SpeakersAndreas Schroeder & Maxine Gadd Part 1 (1st part of Maxine Gadd’s reading)
VenueSir George Williams University, Hall Building, Room H-651
DateFebruary 18, 1972, 9:00 p.m.

Supplemental Material

Maxine Gadd at SGWU, 1972 (with Andreas Schroeder)
(Tape 2 of 2)

Tape
Catalog numberI006-11-109.2
Duration00:38:37.60
Sound qualityGood
Reading
SpeakersMaxine Gadd, Richard Sommer
VenueSir George Williams University, Hall Building, Room H-651
DateFebruary 18, 1972, 9:00 p.m.

Supplemental Material

Timestamps

00:00- Richard Sommer introduces Andreas Schroeder and Maxine Gadd

02:03- Maxine Gadd introduces “The Second Well Poem”. 

03:57- Reads “The Second Well Poem”.

04:41- Introduces “Trip”.

06:05- Reads “Trip”.

07:47- Introduces unknown poem, first line “Robin has the horse in hand...”.

08:22- Reads unknown poem, first line “Robin has the horse in hand...”.

10:19- Introduces “Ratio”.

11:37- Reads “Ratio”.

12:48- Introduces unknown poem, first line “Heading up to Minster Island”.

13:46- Reads unknown poem, first line “Heading up to Minster Island”.

15:33- Introduces “bee-people on 4th avenue”.

16:55- Reads “bee-people on 4th avenue”.

18:32- Introduces “4th ave.”

18:58- Reads “4th ave.”

20:49- Begins to introduce another poem, unknown.

21:09- END OF RECORDING

Timestamps

00:00- Maxine Gadd reads, recording starts immediately, possible first line “Big there lady all come together...”

02:20- Potential first line or continuation of last poem: “I promised to Hackett, though the memory’s gone, of all I thought worthy to tell you, the person”.

02:29- Reads unknown poem, first line “The glistening tower in the ozone...”

11:10- Introduces unknown poem, first line “I am obedient to every sign...”

11:29- Reads first line “I am obedient to every sign...”

15:48- Continues with “At this point there’s a maniac treading the stairs above my head...”

19:49- Continues with “No burn-- the doctor promised this won’t hurt...”

24:12- Richard (Sommer?) asks for poem to be read, they sort out a collaboration with Richard and a flute

25:42- Gadd introduces “Shore Animals”

26:07- Reads “Shore Animals”, flute played by Richard

30:13- Sorting out of microphones, etc.

30:35- Introduces “Cantaloup, 29 cents”

30:51- Reads “Cantaloup, 29 cents”

38:37- END OF RECORDING.

References

Works Cited

Davey, Frank. "Schroeder, Andreas". The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature. Eugene Benson and William Toye (eds). Oxford University Press 2001. Oxford Reference Online. Concordia University Library, Montreal. November 13, 2009. <http://0-www.oxfordreference.com.mercury.concordia.ca/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t201.e1324>.

Gadd, Maxine. air two. Vancouver: Air, 1971.

Marlatt, Daphne and Ingrid Klassen (eds). Lost Language: Selected Poems by Maxine Gadd. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1982.

McLennan, Rob. “12 or 20 Questions: with Maxine Gadd”. Rob McLennan’s Blog. January 11, 2008. December 14, 2009. <http://12or20questions.blogspot.com/2008/01/12-or-20-questions-with-maxine-gadd.html>.

“Andreas Schroeder”. Story Tellers. Think City: Ideas for the 21st Century Vancouver. Think City Society, Vancouver, B.C. December 18, 2009. <http://www.thinkcity.ca/node/133>.

“Andreas Schroder”. Authors. Annick Press: Excellence & Innovation in Children’s Literature. December 18, 2009. <http://www.annickpress.com/authors/schroeder.asp?author=280>.

“Andreas Schroeder”. Members’ Pages. The Writers’ Union of Canada.  2009. December 18, 2009. <http://www.writersunion.ca/ww_profile.asp?mem=465&L=>.

“Intermedia”. The Intermedia Catalogue. The Michael de Courcy Archive, 2009. January 20, 2010. <http://intermedia.vancouverartinthesixties.com/voices/012>. (Maxine Gadd)

“Maxine Gadd”. One Zero Zero: A Virtual Library of English Canadian Small Presses 1945-2044. Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art: York University, Toronto, 1997. December 14, 2009. <http://www.ccca.ca/history/ozz/english/authors/gadd_maxine.html>.

“Maxine Gadd”. New Star Books website. Vancouver, British Columbia. December 14, 2009.<http://www.newstarbooks.com/author.php?author_id=3119>.

“People: Maxine Gadd”. Ruins in Process: Vancouver Art in the Sixties. Digital Archive of Artwork, Ephemera and Film. <http://www.vancouverartinthesixties.com/people/31>.

“Squabbling through Eternity”. Lost Language: Selected Poems by Maxine Gadd. Daphne Marlatt and Ingrid Klassen (eds). Toronto: Coach House Press, 1982.

 

Transcription by: Rachel Kyne
Print Catalogue, “Introduction”, Research and Edits by: Celyn Harding-Jones


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