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Maxine Gadd reading “Shore Animals” with improvised flute by Richard Sommer – Sir George Williams University, February 18, 1972

September 12, 2019
Katherine McLeod

After reading for about 45 minutes, BC poet Maxine Gadd invites host Richard Sommer to improvise on her flute to the poem “Shore Animals.” Starting with the negotiation between Gadd and Sommer about what to read and how to perform together, a process that constitutes its own audible improvisation, this clip includes the first two minutes of a six-minute improvisation, which ends with a crescendo into a raucous shout. Their improvisation is a singular moment when an audience member formally performs in the SGW Poetry Series. Though, at the same time, this recording reminds listeners that the audience is always present – ready to improvise, interject, and even interrupt – and that the audience is also what we are listening to as archival listeners.

Listen to the entire recording here.

For more information on the Sir George Williams Reading series, see:

1. Camlot, Jason. “The Sound of Canadian Modernisms: The Sir George Williams University Poetry Series, 1966-1974.” Journal of Canadian Studies / Revue d’études canadiennes 46.3 (Fall 2012): 28-59, https://muse.jhu.edu/article/519864/summary.

2. Camlot, Jason and Christine Mitchell, eds. “The Poetry Series,” Amodern 4 (2015), http://amodern.net/issues/amodern-4/.

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.