Monday, March 12, 2007

Food Foundary Poets

Saturday afternoon at the Food Foundry, the young poets came out to play. Two workshop sessions with Jacob Sam-La Rose (above) resulted in new pieces and an increased confidence of delivery. Each young (at heart in Datuk Shan's case!) poet read three pieces - two old, one new, none borrowed, some blue.

Jacob introduced them, encouraged them, made us laugh, elicited cheers and applause, and read some very fine pieces of his own.

We listened, and let in whatever had the right shape and dimensions to slip inside our ears and lodge in our hearts. That wasn't everything, but whenever these poets were able to move far enough out from their self-conscious selves, and give us what had really touched them so that it could really touch us ... magic happened. Enough magic to make the afternoon very worthwhile.

Priya K is blossoming as a writer and reader of her work. Her poem about KL captured the city very well.

Liyana Yusof wrote movingly about a breakdown, about two souls in a salt-shaker ... but the best piece was a tiny poem about her grandparents.

Catalina Rebuyan read a few nights earlier at No Black Tie and impressed me. Her first poem was about controversial Sarawakian blogger Sixthseal. She also read the poem about the road through the hill that she has read at NBT, but I actually preferred her delivery of it there - it seemed more natural, more her.

There's one poet I forgot to photograph altogether, I realise now, putting this up. (Guilt!) It was Chan Sow Ping, who says about the workshop that she was "pushed to dream in words".

Datuk Shan captured during the interval. He read Mamee's Talk, Green Revolution and Rolling in But Kicking Out.

A better pic of Jacob.

Nicholas Wong, much teased for his lovely (natural) curls. His first poem made the most impression on me - a journey in a red sports car and a conversation about black holes ... inspired by his lift in Reza's lovely Lotus after NBT.

Divya Jiwa read Changing, and The Ways of You, and one as yet untitled piece.

Zalikha Harun is a lady with a big personality and a lot of style. She warned us that her poems were abstract and read to us Aries/Sagittarius, a poem about "jangling memorabilia", and about how people underestimate the power of widening vocabulary.

Sharanya Manivannan read a poem she had written in Jacob's workshop about hair - his and hers. Sexy stuff.

This photo is the most telling of the lot, perhaps. After the event, after most of the audience had trickled back home, Jacob sat with the poets for a very detailed post-mortem of their readings. It sounded like tough love.

I admire Jacob's commitment and all the hard work both he and the poets put in for this afternoon.

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