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Beat Salad, 2015—The Perfect Poetry Apotheosis!

 

Clay McCann hosting Beat Salad, 2015

Clay McCann hosting Beat Salad, 2015

What is Beat Salad? This seemingly straightforward question has seen the best minds of our generations destroyed by madness— raddled, discombobulated, naked and bedazzled—  run hooting into the Woodhaven forest, looking for their mad quail brothers. Beat Salad,  a confluence of performance poetry, prose, music, excellent company, Clay McCann, and The Beats. It’s Woodhaven’s most scrumptious event of the summer, and it simply can’t be beat, beautified, bounced, or hard-boiled, it’s the one and only Beat Salad!

 

Michael V. Smith reading at our second Beat Salad event, a night of poetry and music at Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre!

Michael V. Smith reading at our second Beat Salad event, a night of poetry and music at Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre!

This year’s event featured an astonishing marquee of talented performers, including: Joan Crate, W. Mark Giles, Matt Rader, Laisha Rosnau, Paul E. Nelson, Michael V. Smith, and more! These bonafide Beatrices performed original works and covers of their favourite Beat writing. The Beats and the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre go together like bongos and barrettes, promoting an ethos of sharing, embracing eco-arts, polyvocality, community and adventure.

Setting up for Beat Salad 2015

Setting up for Beat Salad 2015

 

The stage was set for a night to remember. Half a dozen talented writers, musicians, and over a hundred attendees along with wine from our sponsor St. Hubertus all combined to make this Beat Salad a most excellent occasion. As our Host Clay McCann said, “I think this may be my favourite night.”

Dustin McGifford

Dustin McGifford

After a last minute cancellation from our musician, Dustin McGrifford heroically saved the day by laying down some melody and scotch-smooth vocals.

The shuttle bus to Beat Salad 2015

The shuttle bus to Beat Salad 2015

The big yellow school bus shuttled Beat Salad attendees from Downtown to Woodhaven and back.

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Poetry aficionados arriving in droves.

 

Our gracious host, Clay McCann

Our gracious host, Clay McCann

Clay McCann

Clay McCann

Our gracious and well groomed host, Clay McCann.

“The Beat Generation, that was a vision that we had, John Clellon Holmes and I, and Allen Ginsberg in an even wilder way, in the late forties, of a generation of crazy, illuminated hipsters suddenly rising and roaming America, serious, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere, ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way–a vision gleaned from the way we had heard the word ‘beat’ spoken on streetcorners on Times Square and in the Village, in other cities in the downtown city night of postwar America–beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction” — Jack Kerouac.

 

Matt Rader

Matt Rader

Mark Giles

Mark Giles

Joan Crate

Joan Crate

Some of our illustrious poets. We took breaks to sip wine from St. Hubertus.

Wine from St. Hubertus

Wine from St. Hubertus

Harold Rhenisch

Harold Rhenisch

Paul E Nelson reading US America

Paul E Nelson reading US America

America

BY ALLEN GINSBERG

America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.

……………………………………………………..

Laisha Rosnau

Laisha Rosnau

Beat Salad 2015

Beat Salad 2015

Michael V. Smith is glowing

Michael V. Smith is glowing

Eventually it grew dark, and as you can see the wonderful Michael V. Smith began to phosphoresce.

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Then, it was time for music by the Syren + The Waves, who will be releasing their new EP the fall of 2015.

 

The Waves

The Waves

Syren + The Waves putting on a show at Beat Salad

Syren + The Waves putting on a show at Beat Salad

The end of a great night at Beat Salad, 2015

The end of a great night at Beat Salad, 2015

“Follow your inner moonlight, don’t hide the madness.”
― Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems 

Thank you

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I guess this is my last post on the WH blog! Working on this summer program has been such a great experience. Here’s the short version of the list of people I’d like to thank for all the help and inspiration throughout the spring and summer. THANKS TO:

Nancy Holmes! Poet & project overseer, professor & mentor.  Lori Mairs, for the advice & groundedness & all the behind-the-scenes work.  Karen Donaldson Shepherd, virtuoso Woodhaven soundscape artist.  Megan Hunter, for assistance with the earliest Woodshed Readings & for the hand-painted signs.  Emily MacMillen for the photo & video documentation.  Marlene Creates for her inspirational early residency & community eco-art workshops.  Jeannette Angel, for the initial idea of the old woodshed itself as a performance space.  Sharon Thesen for pointing out the verb “to woodshed” i.e. to do a retreat or a residency, in order to work on one’s art, music, or writing.

HS 9          HS 10          HS 14

Thank you to all of the many readers & listeners in the summer 2014 Woodshed Reading series! May this become an ongoing tradition.

Thank you to all of the visiting artists, scholars, teachers, musicians, performers, & volunteers who have made the woods & streambeds of Woodhaven hum like a tuning fork. May this energy keep flowing!

Thank you to the woods & streambeds of Woodhaven.

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(Who took this picture?)

 

 

The Cliffhanger Ending

August 27: the Woodshed Readings season finale. A full house! A hot summer evening heavy with words & leaves about to change their colours.

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Kelly Shepherd, Laisha Rosnau

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Darian Soulsamurai Saunders

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Michael V. Smith & Matt Rader

 

 

Laurie MacFayden

Friday August 22. The Woodshed Readings were proud to host Edmonton poet and visual artist Laurie MacFayden, who gave a reading from her second collection, Kissing Keeps Us Afloat. The book doesn’t officially launch until September, so we were fortunate enough to have a sneak preview. See Laurie’s website for more information, and for images of her paintings and photography.

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“Swinging and searing verses, meditative narratives, honky-tonk tunes and catalogues of favoured things (including what lovers bring — or leave behind), all merge to make Kissing Keeps Us Afloat a book for tongues and lips to sing. MacFayden knows painting and music, and she loves words and women. The result is art without limit, craft without regret, and poetry that faces trauma and embraces the erotic. MacFayden’s poetry is both red-hot and cool-blue, white lies and film noir, memory and truth. In the supposed mundane, she shows us, transcendence awaits.” – George Elliott Clarke

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Musical guest Karen Donaldson Shepherd, who has served as the unofficial — but absolutely fantastic, and very much appreciated — “Woodhaven house band” throughout the summer, played sets on the gayageum (a traditional Korean stringed instrument), guitar and vocals, and fiddle.

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A big thank you to Laurie, and Karen, and everyone who made the trip out to Woodhaven to enjoy this evening with us.

 

Daniella Roze workshops

August 16 at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre. A small but enthusiastic group joined us for Daniella’s “Wild Plants: Healing and Nourishment” workshop.

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(Current events.)

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We’re so fortunate to have had another visit from Daniella, whose deep knowledge and passion about the natural world — and plant life in particular — is impressive and infectious.

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Asking the right kinds of questions. Don’t worry about coming up with an answer too quickly.  Elusiveness is not a bad thing: at one point in the morning we followed in the tracks of a mother deer and fawn, who kept flitting out of sight on the winding trail . . .

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Getting grounded . . . sitting still and listening . . .

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Food and medicine, without irrigation systems or waiting rooms!

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Daniella Roze at the EECO

Environmental educator Daniella Roze’s “Living Wild in the Stone Age” slideshow presentation. August 15 at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan (EECO), Mission Creek Park.

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Here is the page that describes Daniella’s talk at Woodhaven in June, with more images from the slideshow.

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Paleolithic technology meets present-day scholarship . . .

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“It is not necessary to ‘go back’ in time to be the kind of creature you are. The genes from the past have come forward to us. I am asking that people change not their genes but their society, in order to harmonize with the inheritance they already have.” Paul Shepard, The Only World We’ve Got

“All around us, aspects of the modern world – diet, exercise, medicine, art, work, family, philosophy, economics, ecology, psychology – have begun a long circle back toward their former coherence. Whether they can arrive before the natural world is damaged beyond repair and madness destroys humanity, we cannot tell.” Paul Shepard, The Others

Five Alive 2014 Tour!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014: an evening set awhirl and abuzz with inspiring words and images and insect nocturnes. And with musical guest Natalie Ingram on acoustic guitar, we had ourselves a one-night Woodhaven arts festival! Not the first, and hopefully not the last.

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It was just by the luck of the crickets’ draw that poets Nancy Holmes and Natalie Rice (not pictured) read in the first half of the evening, and Brianna Ferguson and Megan Hunter read in the second; based on tone and subject matter these were perfect pairings.

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Salmon, rivers, and blossoming-goddess trees, wasps and musical mosquitoes and osteopoetics;* inebriation, customer-service employment, and the embodied memories of childhood; love and languages, sex and earth and walking pilgrimage. All on a hot August evening, with William Carlos Williams plums to eat. A night for poets!

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(Photographs by Karen Donaldson Shepherd)

* “poetry about bones”; neologism credit Cassandre Campeau-Bouthillier

Indigenous Activist Art at Woodhaven

This summer UBC’s Okanagan campus offered the Intensive Summer Indigenous Program, designed to provide students cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses that enhance their understanding of Indigenous artistic and theoretical practices.  For more information see the Art + Reconciliation / Indigenous Activist Art website.

The Summer Intensive finale was a tipi made of light and smoke at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre – orchestrated by Cheryl L’Hirondelle – which was a truly incredible sight. It was a powerful experience to stand under the poles, which were beams of light in the night sky, in a fragrant cloud of sage smoke. I feel blessed that I was able to see this, and participate in it. Thank you Cheryl!

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Thank you also to Sherry Farrell Racette, one of the Summer Intensive participants, who provided this writing (and an excerpt from facebook) about her time spent at Woodhaven:

We made such good use of the Woodhaven space – five artists, with a couple of visitors sleeping on couches. We had two evening gatherings, and I held a beading circle with students around the big kitchen table. Amy Malbeuf taught me how to tuft caribou hair at the patio table. We lived in the kitchen and on the patio, and had so many great conversations around those two big tables. I expect the trees are still buzzing. I, for one, hope to return to write and make art in that wonderful space. I grew up in a big log cabin, and it was like coming home. I have no writing per se, but I think someone might have pictures of us beading, and there is breathtaking documentation of the light tipi on our final night. All I have for you is this Facebook post, but it gives you a tiny peek into my experience. Please feel free to share. Thank you all for preserving and caring for Woodhaven and sharing it with artists.
SFR FB Post:
    • The creek sings constantly. Yesterday five eagles circled overhead. This morning a horse is whinnying. I love Woodhaven. [29 likes]
    • FB Friend:  Where is woodhaven?
    • Sherry Farrell Racette A big log cabin in the Woodhaven Eco park on the edge of Kelowna where five artists have been staying at UBC Okanagan
    • FB Friend: Ah! beautiful. have a wonderful time!
    • Sherry Farrell Racette A deer with spotted fawn this morning.

(Photos by Emily MacMillen)

Troy Nickle

Troy Nickle is a visiting artist from Lethbridge, Alberta. His eco-art installation Process, Place and Perception will be at the Alternator Centre downtown Kelowna until September 6. The Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre was also fortunate enough to receive a visit from this interdisciplinary artist, who installed this piece in the forest, next to the winding driveway . . .

Woodhaven Installation 2          Woodhaven Installation 1

The four stones catch the walker unawares — unannounced, unpretentious, waiting in a circle of light between trees — and the words engraved on them are like a riddle or a koan. All Time is Now; Time is All Now; Now is All Time. Which reading is correct? Will you stand and ponder the question, or will you take it with you when you go? If anyone can teach us mere mortals anything about time, it is probably a stone.

This installation is open to the public. More information here.  Photographs by Emily MacMillen.

Joanne Salé

My residency at Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre took place from June 23 – July 2, 2014.

mock orangeWhen I looked at the blooms on the Mock Orange, the words that came to mind were “Have you ever seen such urgency?” With their petals drawn right back, pistil and stamen thrust forward, and their beautiful fragrance, they could induce one to feel the ache of longing.

 

Shortly before being invited for the Woodhaven residency, I heard my friend, Lorna Tureski, read from her novel Mud Bay, in which she describes one character’s connection to the land – and that the character’s body might actually be the land. I knew immediately that I needed to respond to Lorna’s writing with my drawings.

My own work has primarily been about connection to land, so it was a perfect fit.

horsetailYoung Horsetail plant near the creek.

The opportunity to spend some time at Woodhaven was ideal. I was able to combine my own land/connection work, my response to images in Lorna’s novel, and my response to my immediate surroundings in the Woodhaven Regional Park.

The drawings themselves are still in progress and not ready to be photographed, but other images that are just as important to me are the photographs that I took as I spent time in quiet solitude, observing the land. They are a record of the time spent drinking in the place with my senses and practicing stillness.

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Sometimes the things that I observed caused me to respond, not so much to the marvel of their nature, as to odd events that that they stirred in the recesses of memory.

The Woodhaven residency was a respite from daily life, providing me with the opportunity to slow down and allow art-making to be my priority, and more importantly it was the opportunity to respond to a place and allow it to influence my work. It also provided the space to work on a larger scale, which is much appreciated!

In one of my pieces, I embedded text under the layers of drawing. The text was written using the same material that I was drawing with: grease pencil. The content of the text was my personal response to specific things that I was seeing on the site.

Here are a few of the many photos that I took during my time at Woodhaven.

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moss

Looking up.

 

berries

 Looking down.

(Words and images by Joanne Salé)