Beat Salad

BEAT salad


On Wednesday June 18 poets and gourmets and listeners and musicians from Kelowna, Vernon, Lake Country, Armstrong, Salmon Arm, Nelson and Calgary converged. The Woodhaven forest sprouted an outdoor banquet hall, and the Eco Culture Centre house a poetry stage glossy as a peacock’s tail. Beat Salad!

P1190822       P1190821P1190829

If a tree falls in the forest, yes ali and clay and julia hear it.
– a review of Beat Salad by Megan Hunter

An evening of 100 mile-ish feastings,
potlucked beneath the forest canopy,
sprinkled with delicate rain and falling
trees looming in on us; we moved the
feast in case of further trees crashing.
To the upper deck all decked out we
became seated upon the outdoor
awesome living room styling with
lamps, rugs, comfy pillows, throws for
warmth and hidden libations of mint
tea and other warming things. With a
backdrop of peacocks local poets read
their lines and those of Ginsberg,
Burroughs, Whitman, Snyder and
Sakaki. Woodhaven resident artist
Ali Riley reads the ‘fur as metaphor
for love’ series from her third book
of poems, 33 Million Solitudes
(Frontenac House, 2012).

The creek sings on in the sidelines,
as Rhoneil makes music to the woods,
a perfect backdrop for her ethereal
musings. Trees dance in the wind; a
rainbow fades in the distance. Yes, we
will read Ginsberg and di Prima, we
will play Simone and Baker, we will
dance in the forest, we will build
something special out of the remains.

We played at life as beatniks, all of us
too young to remember the real thing,
but not too old to play at it. The
reliving of an alternative culture:
celebrating literary freedom, feasts,
stripes and other things. And garlic
scapes. Lots and lotsa garlic scapes.

“To hole up and practice your art
(particularly jazz), exclusive to
everything else.”

P1190844          P1190841
Clayton McCann                                           Rhoneil

P1190845          P1190855
Ali Riley                                                         Janet(s) aka Amy Modahl and Julia Prudhomme

D. Soul the Soulsamurai


* All those who traveled from far and near, with words and tunes and umbrellas
* Everyone who shared their wholesome delicious food
* Marilyn, representing Okanagan Garlic, for the very generous and yummy donation (with my apologies: none of my garlic photos turned out very well)
* Karen Donaldson Shepherd for the sound system and technical expertise
* UBCO Facilities for the use and delivery of tables and chairs
* Jessica Bonney, for the early Beat reading conversations that ultimately led to this
* Julia Prudhomme and Clayton McCann, for organizing, sign-painting, innovating, MCing, website- and poster-creating, networking, thrift-store shopping and decorating . . .
* And anyone else who helped out, who I may have forgotten here

Unfortunately not every performer could be featured in these photos; please see the Beat Salad website for more images of the evening.

1 thought on “Beat Salad

  1. Clay McCann

    Thanks, Kelly! I compiled this opening poem but never managed to read it. Maybe it can be used for the subsequent ‘Salads? It incorporates phrases from several other poets and writers…can you guess who?

    Invocation of Being: A Beat Salad Dressing

    Since our roads lead out into nature and not inward
    to the wearisome, odious anatomy of ourselves;
    Since there’s nothing at the back of infinity;
    Since the only war that matters is the war For the imagination,
    and since you can’t really TRUST your robot hand,
    or since even the WILDEST of fables
    are threatened by the development of otiose condo soul;

    Since poetry should surprise and seem an astonishing remembrance;
    and since it is instrumentality that counts,
    that TRUTH is determined by the success
    of ideas or forms in solving actual problems;

    Since the Flitcraft parable has kept many a soul
    from his or her own ruck-sack rebellion;
    and seeing how our consequent tragedies
    exude the coffee-rank odour of the office;
    Since the corporate-capitalist project may have gotten out of hand,
    rendering us all eco-vagabonds of the ruined and ruining world;

    Ever since the bright sediment was fracked,
    and in retaliation we broke the iamb’s back
    and were charged in our court of conscience
    with raising to consciousness:
    the outcast, the sub-altern, the queer, the worker. the animal and vegetative,
    the unconscious and unknown,
    the criminal and the failure,
    into the creation of what we consider we are;

    And since hand in vibrant hand we were made to sing,
    to behold the dance of the intellect among the 10,000 things,

    We humbly ask that you join us as we hunt the spirit of these words
    at the speed of the voice,
    that ephemeral fire whose flames leave no ash.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *