Best Readings of 2010

Here are the readings that knocked me out in various ways. They are chronological.

Kenneth Goldsmith, Concordia University, January 2010
Goldsmith hit this one out of the park. It was a talk (based on the introduction to the new conceptual writing anthology Against Expression) not a reading, but it was full of energy, inspiring. Absolutely necessary. And I’m still hearing feedback from it.

Lisa Robertson, Greenwich University, London, July 2010
I’ve heard Robertson read many times and many places–New York, Philadelphia, Calgary–and now London. This reading, from R’s Boat, this was the most satisfying reading to date. She was her usual, articulate and confident self, but there was an insane calm, a kind of tremor, and I had the feeling that she went on a journey while she read–and so we in the audience did too. Brilliant.

Kevin McPherson Eckhoff and Nora Gould at the Winnipeg Writers Festival, September 2010
George Murray and I did okay, as did Ariel Gordon and Ignatius Mabas, but Eckhoff and Gould nailed, nailed, nailed the evening. Ugly sweater and all. More on Gould, who will have a first book with Brick in a year or two, in the coming months.

Vanessa Place & Darren Wershler, Pilot, Swallow, October 31 2010
Wershler’s inaugural Montreal reading. Brilliant. Fast paced, funny, smart. Place followed. Not many in the room were prepared for the power of Place’s reading though, and without context, in the French tradition, many were stewing and fretting about it days after the fact.

Everyone at the Snare/ Coach House Book Launch, Swallow, November 2010
Gary Barwin, Jon Paul Fiorentino, Jonathan Ball, Jake Kennedy, Helen Hajnoczky, Darren Wershler and Josip Novakovich. Sizzling. Fast paced. Absolutely satisfying.

Gail Scott and Eileen Myles, Drawn & Quarterly, Montreal, November 2010
Two very different approaches to both reading and writing. A powerhouse event. Notably absent: virtually all the male writers in Montreal…too bad. You all missed out.

Dave McGimpsey at the River of Poetry Event, Bibliotech Nationale, Montreal Quebec, December 2010
McGimpsey’s work seemed to be the most suited of all the poets for this show–everyone did really well, but I have to say, McGimspey’s work was the most at home. And funny. I couldn’t keep a straight face…

Plus, three amazing student readings: the inaugural Synapse Reading (highlights to come on the reading series website), VAV Gallery, Concordia, November 2010, as well as both the Eng 225 Introduction to Poetry and Eng 427 Conceptual Writing, Grumpys, Montreal, December 2010. Watch out for highlights of both Synapse and the Conceptual Writing event on their respective blogs.

There used to be more reading reports here on Lemon Hound but due to demands on my time and the changing nature of the blog, that hasn’t happened in a while. Some readings should be commented on though. Some should be celebrated. Some you wish you had recorded. Some you did record, but that doesn’t always capture the high notes of performance…what makes a good performance? Prepared, present, polished. It’s not difficult. I make my poetry students memorize their poem and another, canonical poem, for their first reading. I think I should do it for every reading because the buzz of memorizing a poem is intoxicating and the night always energetic. 
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