Poet and Photographer Sharon Harris read first at the Factory reading July 19th. The subject was the pataphysics of the science of love. It is based out of love and her Avatar collection of poems. For its launch she painted herself purple. John W's Photo of Sharon Harris catches the spirit of her presentation, in lab coat, explaining in a sort of fringe fest presentation how the basic natural law of science is Love. She showed slides of how Love stretches and connects, in the atom nodes of the word itself as she talks of metaphors of love.
She played with it in so many turns, from taking a bpNichol poem, Blues, converting it into a braille of the same shape, zooming in on one dot, seeing that is is under microscope a quandrant swirl ressembling the brain, and made of the word love. The visual poetry was just delightfully deadpan and quirky.
She demonstrated with all kinds of visuals, including simulated dog-poop that spelled out I Love You, part of her collecting images of I Love You for her I Love You gallery. She showed how the phrase is changing the urban landscape in Toronto and New York. In Toronto a graffitti artist had spray painted it 150 times around the city. The guy in NY was arrested twice but the police hadn't the heart to punish.
It reminds me of how when the tag artists were working near my old workplace. I was told sternly and firmly that I was to report any new graffiti. The tired voice took the report, took a deep sigh and braced herself for the answer to what does the spray paint say? When I said the side of the building was covered with God Loves You, she laughed and said, hm, you know that's kinda nice. Maybe we can just leave it?. Love's the answer.
Ian Roy's reading was more improv. He read from his book Red Bird released only a few months ago as well. He preambled with loads of sidenotes. His poems covered his travels thru the East of Canada and U.S. As well as an assortment of dead animal poems which he remarked, with self-deprecating wit, that he'd continue on since he was on a roll with the dead birds.
One poem written as a letter to the photographer he admired, dialoguing with the image, the portraitist, his future and past selves and the reader or listener cast something of a spell. Not a pin dropped.
One of the attendees remarked on how it really helped him contextualize the poems, to hear more of the spirit of the writer.
Some of his poems from this book are being expanded on through videos. On the first business day of each month Roy is releasing another of his Chapter Project videos. It takes poems from the collection, mixed with music by his friends and combined with images. A recent video had one of his sons in it who wondered if that made them famous.