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Earle Birney asks George Bowering for a glass of water – Sir George Williams University, February 23, 1968

October 12, 2019
Katherine McLeod

After reading for about eleven minutes, Earle Birney pauses to ask if there is any water to drink. There is a glass and a pitcher (audibly present) but nearly empty, and thus the evening’s host George Bowering heads out into the hallway to find Birney a cold beverage. This interlude of extra-poetic speech reveals that, despite it being mid-February, the room temperature feels more like summer and, more importantly, the humourous nature of the extra-poetic speech attunes the listener to the sociality as well as to the poetry.

Listen to the entire recording here.

Resources

Camlot, Jason. “Transcript Collage: Things said at, and remembered about, poetry readings, c.1966/c.2014.” “The Poetry Series,” Amodern 4 (2015).

Camlot, Jason and Christine Mitchell, eds. “The Poetry Series,” Amodern 4 (2015).

Katherine McLeod

Katherine McLeod researches and teaches Canadian literature through sound, performance, and archives. Her recent publications include a chapters in the books Public Poetics: Critical Issues in Canadian Poetry and Poetics, Moving Archives (Wilfrid Laurier UP), and CanLit Across Media: Unarchiving the Literary Event (MQUP), which she also co-edited with Jason Camlot. Currently, she is an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Concordia University, where she researches CBC Radio recordings and where she is organizing SpokenWeb’s Ghost Reading Series.

Follow the site she curates for Montreal readings at WherePoetsRead.ca and @poetsread.