Roy Kiyooka reads from Kyoto airs (1964) and Nevertheless these eyes (1967).

Introducer- Stanton Hoffman

00:00:00.00

On behalf of the Poetry Reading Committee of Sir George Williams University I wish to welcome you to this, the fifth, in a series of poetry readings, given at this University during 1966-67. Tonight there will be readings by two poets living in Montreal, and members of the faculty of this University. There will be a fifteen minute intermission in between each reading. Roy Kiyooka was born in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, he studied at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art, the Instituto Allende in Mexico, and the University of Saskatchewan Emma Lake Workshops. He has had one-man exhibitions in Edmonton, Calgary, San Miguel D'Allende, Saskatoon, Regina, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, New York City and Montreal. He exhibited at the Sao Paulo Biennial, where he was one of four painters representing Canada, and where he received honourable mention and a Silver Medal. His most recent show was held last month at the Lane/Ling [spelling?] Galleries in Toronto. In 1964, his first volume of poems, Kiyoto Airs, was published by the Periwinkle Press in Vancouver. His second volume, Nevertheless, These Eyes is being published this month, in Montreal by Bev Leech. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Roy Kiyooka.

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:01:25.58

[CUT.].start off this evening by reading a few poems from my earlier book, the one that Stan mentioned. These poems were written as a result of a summer in Japan, and they are very much occasional poems, they address themselves to the particular occasion of having been there, and they were meant in part to account for that experience of having been there, to my numerable friends in Vancouver. I'll begin by reading three very short little poems, they all relate to what should we call it, the various contexts in which I saw the sculptured image of the Buddha. The first one is called "Waiting Out the Rain".

 

Annotation

00:02:51.26

Reads "Waiting Out the Rain".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:03:13.65

This is "Buddha in the Garden". Again, very brief.

 

Annotation

00:03:23.43

Reads "Buddha in the Garden".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:03:47.99

This is "Sunday at the Temple".

 

Annotation

00:03:53.40

Reads "Sunday at the Temple".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:04:20.22

And this is the image of a Buddha seen in the Kiyoto Museum, a reclining figure.

 

Annotation

00:04:30.24

Reads first line "Hovering, he is hovering, his eyes closed..."

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:05:01.82

Now the next is a sequence of four little poems, very much like the traditional Japanese poems called the Haiku. This is a sequence, the title of which is "The Stone Garden of Ryoanji". The first one goes like this:

 

Annotation

00:05:27.51

Reads first line "1. They whisper..."

 

Annotation

00:05:45.13

Reads first line "2. The boards..."

 

Annotation

00:06:07.54

Reads first line "3. White sand..."

 

Annotation

00:06:24.62

Reads first line "4. When each stone..."

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:06:49.49

Now this one is called "Children's Shrine", throughout most of the cities and towns and villages all over Japan you'll find way-side shrines, they're frequently just built into the wall in a very narrow street and people on whatever religious occasion come to worship there,  this is a shrine particularly for children. And it goes like this:

 

Annotation

00:07:24.19

Reads "Children's Shrine".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:08:41.94

Well this is rather a long sequence, once more very short poems, there are eleven of them, and the title of the sequence is simply "Higashiyama", now 'higashiyama' means, in English, 'east mountain'.

 

Annotation

00:09:22.00

Reads "1. Kneeling, she brought..."

 

Annotation

00:09:39.23

Reads "2. Oh the white pigeon..."

 

Annotation

00:10:04.28

Reads "3. You rise up..."

 

Annotation

00:10:20.97

Reads "4. She called Higashiyama..."

 

Annotation

00:10:38.58

Reads "5. Small comfort..."

 

Annotation

00:10:54.39

Reads "6. On Higashiyama..."

 

Annotation

00:11:13.54

Reads "7. Tonight, Higashiyama..."

 

Annotation

00:11:38.93

Reads "8. Beyond Higashiyama..."

 

Annotation

00:11:55.45

Reads "9. Put stone upon stone..."

 

Annotation

00:12:17.77

Reads "10. Tell me, Cid..."

 

Annotation

00:12:43.47

Reads "11. I have left..."

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:13:01.00

Well I'll go on to the last poem in the book, this is an attempt, as it were, to sum up the varied experiences that I had there. The poem is called "Itinerary of a View".

 

Annotation

00:13:29.91

Reads "Itinerary of a View".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:17:07.19

I think I need to say a few words about this next group of poems, they were, they're from the book that I am having done at the moment, I started these poems in June 1965 in Montreal when I first came here, I don't know how to tell you this, except that at the time I came, I stayed with Alfred Pinsky, or rather I stayed at his home, at his invitation, while I was looking for a place to live. Now, this took me about two weeks, it was very hot, and in the evenings I used to go through his library and pick up things and scanned them. One evening I came across this book, which was a biography of the English painter, Stanley Spencer. Spencer, we could say is perhaps the co-partner in the origin and the form and the content of this book. The book is in three parts, the first part is called the mirror, "The Song the Mirror Sang at Midnight", and it is prefaced by a quotation from Spencer, which goes like this: "I am meeting you all the time, and sending my longing for you into chaos, into the darkness, beyond these walls". I may add that these poems, likewise, are on the whole, very brief, though some are longer.

 

Annotation

00:19:31.74

Reads first line "1. Climbing into the mirror..."

 

Annotation

00:20:34.97

Reads first line "2. Behind my eyes..."

 

Annotation

00:21:55.13

Reads first line "3. The image of her..."

 

Annotation

00:22:49.36

Reads first line "4. At least the shape of it..."

 

Annotation

00:23:23.50

Reads first line "5. Since you asked me..."

 

Annotation

00:24:18.59

Reads first line "6. The distance between..."

 

Annotation

00:24:46.28

Reads first line "7. Munch, stuffed her scream..."

 

Annotation

00:25:24.56

Reads first line "8. My hand covets..."

 

Annotation

00:25:51.06

Reads first line "9. The other face..."

 

Annotation

00:26:27.82

Reads first line "10. Turning away from the mirror..."

 

Annotation

00:27:02.17

Reads first line "11. The mirror that once reflected..."

Annotation

00:27:26.07

Reads first line "12. In all this space..."

 

Annotation

00:28:06.11

Reads first line "13. In a room..."

 

Annotation

00:28:36.89

Reads first line "14. It is the vision of her..."

 

Annotation

00:29:21.70

Reads first line "15. Now, other faces appear..."

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:30:05.51

The last one in this section.

 

Annotation

00:30:11.71

Reads first line "Who, among you, can say what..."

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:30:53.57

There's a terrible draft coming in from the back, I think you're right Dick, we're going to end up with arthritic ankles. Well, this is the second section, and it is called "The Proposal". Once more, prefaced with a remark from Stanley Spencer, a very beautiful one. They are set down, as I found them in the book, I have used them in the context of this section of the book and these four poems, taken from his writings are meant to define certain of her attributes. Now I have given a title to each one of these four poems, and I hope they will clarify the context in which they belong here. "Portrait of the Beloved".

 

Annotation

00:32:06.87

Reads "Portrait of the Beloved".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:32:56.83

This I called "The Marriage".

 

Annotation

00:33:05.68

Reads "The Marriage".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:33:37.13

This is called "The Separation".

 

Annotation

00:33:45.27

Reads "The Separation".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:34:07.38

And this, is "Her Apotheosis".

 

Annotation

00:34:17.98

Reads "Her Apotheosis".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:35:23.32

That incidentally, is a description he wrote to a friend about a painting that he in fact had made. From your response, I gathered, it has a comic element, but I don't think that he himself made it that way. [laughs.]

 

Annotation

00:36:05.44

Reads first line "The grotesque flash..."

 

Annotation

00:38:04.73

Reads first line "The beloved is resilient..."

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:38:36.97

The first stanza of this two-stanza poem is from Spencer, once again.

 

Annotation

00:38:43.51

Reads first line "The women say what I like..."

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:39:34.05

The reference in this poem is to an exemplary sculptor who died many years ago, who obsessionally sculpted the human female form, his name is Gaston Lachaise.

 

Annotation

00:40:02.45

Reads first line "Gaston Lachaise..."

Roy Kiyooka

00:40:59.50

The title of this poem is the same as the title of the second section, it's "The Proposal".

 

Annotation

00:41:14.81

Reads "The Proposal".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:42:27.18

This one is called "The Dance".

 

Annotation

00:42:33.70

Reads "The Dance".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:43:59.93

The title of this poem is called "Her Admonition".

 

Annotation

00:44:06.26

Reads "Her Admonition".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:45:28.00

Now the following five poems are called "Poems of Resurrection".

 

Annotation

00:45:46.13

Reads first line "The way they lie there..."

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:47:27.24

Second "Resurrection" poem.

 

Annotation

00:47:28.96

Reads first line "The fallen have risen..."

 

Annotation

00:48:33.17

Reads first line "Number 3. The moon raises tides..."

 

Annotation

00:49:07.02

Reads first line "4. Stanley Spencer painted..."

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:49:49.28

The last Resurrection poem, which concludes with a very brief, two-line coda.

 

Annotation

00:50:01.31

Reads first line "The resurrected flesh..."

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:50:51.38

Now, the second to last poem is called "The Visitation".

 

Annotation

00:51:16.11

Reads "The Visitation".

 

Roy Kiyooka

00:53:14.24

And finally,

 

Annotation

00:53:22.15

Reads first line "What the beloved said..."

 

Annotation

00:53:56.30

Well, this is the final section. This is called "Nevertheless, These Eyes" and briefly, and again from Spencer, a preface that goes like this: "I am on this side of angels and dirt".

 

Annotation

00:55:25.80

Reads "Nevertheless, These Eyes".

 

Roy Kiyooka

01:00:20.34

And finally, by way of acknowledging the nature of this book.

 

Annotation

01:00:31.31

Reads first line "The figure in the poems are his..."

 

Roy Kiyooka

01:00:57.76

Thank you very much...[CUT.].. and I were reading together, decided we should write one for the occasion, so we have each come up with a haiku. This is my haiku, it's especially for Dick. I have in brackets here, "A gentle admonition to the audience following my reading, and preceding his" and it goes like this: "Let the stone tell how /snow-covered in whiteness, /these words, when his words come."

 

Annotation

01:01:42.65

END OF RECORDING.

Roy Kiyooka at SGWU, 1966 (with Richard (Dick) Sommer)

Tape
Catalog numberI086-11-030
NotesDick Sommer reads after Kiyooka.
LabelsOne 5” @ 3 3/4 (Howard Fink list)
Duration1:01:42.65
Sound qualityGood
Reading
SpeakersRoy Kiyooka, Stanton Hoffman (introducer)
VenueBasement Theatre
DateDecember 2, 1966

Supplemental Material

Timestamps

00:00- Stanton Hoffman introduces Roy Kiyooka Gallery in Toronto, Kiyoto Airs by Roy Kiyooka, 1964, Periwinkle Press, Vancouver, Nevertheless, These Eyes by Roy Kiyooka (1966), published by Bev Leech in Montreal, written in June 1965 in Montreal

01:25- Roy Kiyooka introduces Kiyoto Airs and “Waiting Out the Rain”

02:51- Reads “Waiting Out the Rain”

03:13- Reads “Buddha in the Garden”

03:47- Reads “Sunday at the Temple”

04:20- Introduces first line “Hovering, he is hovering, his eyes closed...”

04:30- Reads first line “Hovering, he is hovering, his eyes closed...”

05:01- Introduces “The Stone Garden of Ryoanji”

05:27- Reads haikus 1-4 of “The Stone Garden of Ryoanji Series”

06:49- Introduces “Children’s Shrine”

07:24- Reads “Children’s Shrine”

08:41- Introduces “Higashiyama” sequence of eleven poems.

09:22- Reads “Higashiyama, 1-11”

13:01- Introduces “Itinerary of a View”

13:29- Reads “Itinerary of a View”

17:07- Introduces poems 1-15 of the section “The Song the Mirror Sang at Midnight” from Nevertheless, These Eyes.

19:31- Reads poems 1-16 from “The Song the Mirror Sang at Midnight”

30:53- Introduces poems from the second section “The Proposal” from Nevertheless, These Eyes.

32:06- Reads “Portrait of the Beloved”

32:56- Reads “The Marriage”

33:37- Reads “The Separation”

34:07- Reads “Her Apotheosis”

35:23- Explains “Her Apotheosis”

36:05- Reads first line “The grotesque flash...”

38:04- Reads first line “The beloved is resilient...”

38:36- Introduces first line “The women say what I like...”

38:43- Reads first line “The women say what I like...”

39:34- Introduces first line “Gaston Lachaise...”

40:02- Reads first line “Gaston Lachaise...”

40:59- Reads “The Proposal”

42:27- Reads “The Dance”

43:59- Reads “Her Admonition”

45:28- Introduces five poems called “Five Poems of Resurrection”

45:46- Reads 1-5 poems of “Five Poems of Resurrection”

50:51- Reads “The Visitation”

53:22- Reads first line “What the beloved said...”

53:56- Introduces “Nevertheless, These Eyes”

55:25- Reads “Nevertheless, These Eyes”

01:00:31- Reads first line “The figure in the poems are his...”

01:00:57- Introduces and reads haiku written for this reading

01:01:42- END OF RECORDING

References

Works Cited

Hancock, Geoff. "Kiyooka, Roy". The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature. Eugene Benson and William Toye (eds). Oxford University Press, 2001. Oxford Reference Online. Concordia University Library, Montreal. September 16, 2009. <http://0-www.oxfordreference.com.mercury.concordia.ca/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t201.e798>.

Marlatt, Daphne. “Roy Kiyooka: from eminence to immanence”. West Coast Line: A Journal of Contemporary Writing & Criticism. No. 38.3 (Winter 2005), pg 39. Literature Resource Center. Concordia Libraries, Montreal. September 16, 2009. <http://0-go.galegroup.com.mercury.concordia.ca/ps/start.do?p=LitRC&u=concordi_main>.

Stock, Sandra. “Kiyooka Examined”. The Georgian (Sir George Williams University, Montreal). November 4, 1966.

"Roy (Kenzie) Kiyooka." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center. Gale. Concordia University Library, Montreal. October 1, 2009 <http://0-go.galegroup.com.mercury.concordia.ca/ps/start.do?p=LitRC&u=concordi_main>.

“Poetry Reading Info”. OP-ED (Sir George Williams University, Montreal). November 25, 1966: page 7.

“Poetry Readings”. Post-Grad. [Sir George Williams University, Montreal.] Spring 1967: page 13.

 

“Howard Fink” List of Poems:

2/12/66
one 5” @ 3 3/4 time: 1 hr 10 mins

A) From Kiyoto Airs about his experience in Japan

1. “Waiting Out the Rain”
2. “Buddha in the Garden”
3. “Sunday at the Temple”

From series- “The Stone Garden of Ryoanji” (first lines only)

4. “hovering, he is hovering...
5. “they whisper...”
6. “the boards...”
7. “white sand...”
8.  “when...”
9.  title: “Children’s Shrine”

sequence of eleven poems

10. titled “Higashiyama” (first lines only) “kneeling, she...”
11. “o the white pigeon...”
12. “you raise up...”
13. “she call’d...”
14. “small comfort...”
15. “on Higashiyama...”
16. “tonight...”
17. “beyond...”
18. “put stone...”
19. “tell me, Cid...”
20. "I have left...”
21. Title: “Itinerary of a View” (a poem summing up his experience in Japan)

B)  from Nevertheless These Eyes; a collection which was motivated from Kiyooka’s reading the biography of the English writer/sculptor Stanley Spencer.

22. poems from section one; The song the mirror sang at midnight (first lines)
23. “Climbing into the mirror...”
24. “ Behind my eyes...”
25. “The image of her...”
26. “At least...”
27. “Since you asked me...”
28. “The distance...”
29. “Moonch...”
30. “My hand covets...”
31. “The other face...”
32. “Turning away...”
33. “The mirror...”
34. “In all this space...”
35. “In a room...”
36. “It is the vision of her...
37. “Now, other faces appear...”
38. “Who, among you...”

four poems from the second section, “The Proposal”

39. “Portrait of the Beloved”
40. “The Marriage”
41. “The Separation”
42. “Her Apotheosis”
43. first line- “The grotesque flash...”
44. first line- “The beloved is...”
45. first line- “The women say...”
46. first line- “Gaston Lachaise”
47. “The Proposal”
48. “The Dance”
49. “Her Admonition”

series of five, from Poems of Resurrection

50. first line “the way...”
51. first line “the Fallen have risen”
52. first line “the moon...”
53. first line “Stanley Spencer painted...”
54. first line “The resurrected flesh...
55. “The Visitation”
56. first line “what the beloved said...”

from section three Nevertheless These Eyes

57. first line “Nevertheless these eyes”

58. a haiku composed for the reading by Kiyooka

 

Transcript, Research, Introduction and Edits by Celyn Harding-Jones


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