On April 28, I was honoured and delighted to launch Trick Vessels with a reading at the Bocas Lit Fest, alongside the poet Vahni Capildeo. The reading took place at the Old Fire Station Building, Abercromby Street, at the heart of Port-of-Spain, just before noon.
I read several poems from Trick Vessels including: ‘An Authors Note on Trick Vessels Which’; ‘The Unnamed Creature Said to Come from Water’ (which features a spell in the opening lines); ‘The Sea Emptied’; ‘Prefaces for Other Occasions’; ‘Carnival’; ‘How to Put a Cat into a Hypnotic Trance’ (I later informed the audience that I had hypnotised them); and ‘This Is A Gift For Someone Who Will Not Have It’. I alsoread three new poems based on recent newspaper clippings: ‘Isaiah, Born at KFC’; ‘Confirmed Report of a Lionfish Spotted at Tobago’ and ‘She, of the Coco Palm Hotel, In the Shadow of Les Pitons’. I ended with a poem written by Vahni Capildeo, entitled ‘Fusion’.
Vahni began with a poem written by me from Trick Vessels, entitled, ‘The Oilbird’. She then read from her new book Dark and Unaccustomed Words, which is dedicated to Nicholas Laughlin, the editor of the Caribbean Review of Books, who also chaired the reading event. She also read poems from a forthcoming book, Utter, including ‘Creative Writing Lessons’ and ‘Four Departures from ‘Wulf and Eadwacer”, as well as new work including ‘into Darkness / Plus Que Noir’ and as as yet titled poem which began, ‘When he said Look at the lakes, I heard one thing with my head…’. Vahni also read from an earlier book, Undraining Sea, including ’Cherries Out of Season’ from the sequence, ‘Winter to Winter’:
FROM ‘CHERRIES OUT OF SEASON’
The heart no longer believes
in its vertical labour.
It clamours to stop
this vertical labour.
It wants relief
of a drop to all fours; to give
the spine and ribs a chance to curve
into a warm ball. The rest would follow.
Nicholas, also a friend, then asked a few questions about the process of preparing for a reading (I said the process of writing a poem is itself preparation for a reading which, in the end, you can never truly be prepared for given the unique dynamics of each crowd), the relationship between work life and writing poetry (I urged all politicians out there to buy my book!), our collaborative projects (during which Vahni and I confessed to being telepathically linked), and the thinking behind the titles of both our books (mine: ancient puzzles, Vahni’s: a quotation from George Puttenham).
Finally, Nicholas asked me to read a particular poem from Trick Vessels, ‘The Night Grew Dark Around Us’, the opening poem of the book. We ended, then, with a start.
SEE photos from the event here. GLIMPSE someone else’s account here. CHECK out highlights from the Bocas Lit Fest here. READ a review of Dark and Unaccustomed Words here. READ Capildeo’s poem ‘Fusion’ here. Photos by Andre and Jaime Bagoo.
5 May 2012 / 1 note