Photos by Sabine Dundure – full album here.
Hello poetry people! Monday, February 3rd was a monumental, experimental, instrumental experience for the senses; a first in the history of the famed Spoken Word Paris.
Due to circumstances surrounding David Barnes’ illness and the strange and yet to be explained disappearance of Alberto Rigettini, I, Gabriel Gorman, was called upon for hosting duties… the honour was immense. This was no ordinary poetry night au Chat Noir… this night promised something new, something grand, something people had only dreamed of previously… Moe Seager and his band of jazzy, bluesy greats.
The night was kicked off in traditional fashion with poet after poet entering the stage to read, perform, or belt their respective pieces. London Grant told us of her body saying no, and reminding our audience that he does not own her. Nandan went to make the point that parents “fuck us up” – a point that my mother would take issue with for certain, because she didn’t fuck me up at all. Lucy invented a new insult, “dicknut”, while railing against a former lover in an impassioned hate-filled rant that got the audience to a point of rabid salivation. Catherine contributed with her ukelele while Victor reminded us all why he is the king of story-telling – Maurice Chevalier would be proud, no doubt.
Round two was the big event. The band had the audience hot for words, and no performer brave enough to have signed up for the round disappointed. Ret spoke of winter in his patented sultry style, while Helene with a bluesy accompaniment spoke of adeptness and stealing books. Ferdinand got the whole crowd buzzing with his bilingual rap, and Diego spoke of liquor and love. Yann made video games sexy, somehow – he’s a talented writer. Evan reflected on heartbreak, while the great David Sirois before reading turned to the band and requested for his music, “utter beauty” – he got it, and he read it.
This most unusual round finished with the maestro himself, Moe Seager, dazzling the crowd with a poem about jazz, asking the jazzy question, “What is jazz is?” This round was surely one of my favourite that I’ve witnessed since I began coming to Spoken Word, and I was really honoured to have been involved. Thanks to Moe and the band. It was really fun.
Back to business – poetry, plain and simple. Round three was full of great readings. Alexe asked to be bled dry and Carole recited several stunning poems with one phrase for me really sticking out: “same silvery sea” – beautiful alliteration. Anna advised to rest your lungs, and Jules, for her first reading at Spoken Word, chose to read her own rhythmic, free associative poem inspired by a recent jazz performance – it was jazzy alright. Ashley connected bodily functions and art, while Kristina sang a beautiful original song at the piano. Ambjorn, for a bit of class, recited Shakespeare with his usual nonchalance, and Amruta read a great piece detailing the Indian accent in English. The round was full of laughs and gasps – it was a great way to cap off a truly exceptional night at Spoken Word Paris.
Thanks to David Barnes for asking me to host, and to everyone who came out to support. The night relies on quality people doing quality things, and we had it all in abundance Monday night.
Monday 17th’s theme is Reversals.