Friday, 18 October 2013

“Tongues of Fire” Launches Chapbook, Celebrates the Spoken Word

A Victoria-based poetry series called “Tongues of Fire” is celebrating its second year of success, and steadily attracting attention. The series began with a group of three writers who met at a Sheri-D Wilson workshop at the Victoria School of Writing (VSW) in summer 2005. The troupe wanted to start a poetry series as an extension of their found love of spoken word art, performance poetry, and a means to stay connected in the writing community.
 
The group created “Tongues of Fire”, which occurs at the Solstice Cafe on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. The original three members, Steven J. Thompson, Julia Day Flagg and Genevieve Robichaud, grew to include three more keen ‘tongues’ – Kory Jeffrey Klassen, Graham Kelly, and Janice Thompson.  
 
“We were all interested in the art of spoken word as it was a fresh and raw version of poetry, and more or less, some of us had been heading in that direction with the work that we were doing. As for the show, we wanted to have an outlet for this newly discovered energy,” said Thompson.
 
Shortly after Julia moved to Vancouver, “the universe aligned in our favor once again.  Shayne avec i grec approached us.  We knew Shayne from the general poetry scene, as he was also running a short lived poetry series in Cook Street Village around the time when we were getting our show up and running.  Shayne joined the group in September of this year.  So we are now seven.”
 
“Tongues of Fire” posters can be found around town and at the Universities, highlighting each event. There is also a growing mailing list, as the troupe relies on word of mouth and/or passing out hand bills advertising the shows. Featured readers often also come with their own group of supporters, which helps to increase the profile of shows.
 
“Tongues of Fire” has begun launching chapbooks, showcasing the Tongues’ diverse poetic voices.
 
“The chapbook is something that we've wanted to do since shortly after the group was formed.  Now after almost a year and a half, the show is starting to run like a well-oiled bicycle.  So now we have more energy to do it,” said Thompson.
 
There is always a challenge involved in transferring spoken word performance poetry to the printed page, as the same impact may not be conveyed. The spoken word takes on a different energy.
 
“That's the challenge. If the content and the subject matter are relevant, and expressed in a fresh idea and fresh language, [the poem] will make an impression [on stage or in print].  I believe every poet faces that challenge,” said Thompson.
 
“Tongues of Fire” is created for “Lovers of poetry, lovers of lit, lovers of life, and people that want to be entertained,” said Thompson. “In our feature performers we try to bring in poets that can connect with an audience, and a diverse one at that.  We want poetry to be a place where you don't have to have a tweed jacket with patches on the elbows to fit in.”
 
“Tongues of Fire” happens at the Solstice Cafe, 529 Pandora Ave. 7:30 pm. The admission cost is $3.00.