Poetry Reading Takes A Dip Into The Music Side

Photographed is Marty Gervais who put on the poetry series Marty Gervais Presents: an evening of song and spoken word.

by Shelbey Hernandez
The Lance – News Editor

Poetry readings in Windsor are rather common.

Google the three words together and you will find a slew of options, all containing the same thing: a bunch of poets, flipping through pages and reading poems they wrote so long ago.

But then there is the poetry series known as “Marty Gervais Presents: An Evening of Song and Spoken Word.” Instead of a poetry reading, it was more like a show, containing not just poets, but musicians who jazzed up the event.

“I think the biggest mistake people make when it comes to literary readings is they just have literary readings and they don’t think always about entertainment,” said Gervais. “That’s not to say poetry can’t be entertaining because it can be, but having both makes it more interesting.

This was the second part of the series and it was two hours long. It was held at the Rondo, a rather new establishment in the Windsor downtown area and had around 50 attendees. It featured locals and those from elsewhere. The headliner, Phil Hall, had won the Governor-General Award and with a rather quirky way of looking at things, he gave just about everyone in the audience a good laugh. He came from UWindsor himself, just like current UWindsor student Samantha Badaoa.

Everything was planned perfectly and was in no way an open-mic setting.

“When writers come from a distance I always encourage them to read specific things because I try to choreograph what you’re going to hear,” said Gervais. “So when we put this together, we didn’t just say, ‘Hey do you want to go first?’ It was planned.”

Even though there were current and past students who went on stage, it wasn’t limited to UWindsor. There were also Windsor locals like Chrissi Cochrane and Melanie Janisse-Barlow who not only read poetry that night, but also painted the posters seen on the stage. Janisse-Barlow herself is a lot like the event—she does multi-mediums. So these types of events are right up her alley.

“I have read with musicians before, I’ve performed poetry with musicians before,” said Janisse-Barlow. “I like multi-pronged, open-format events like this where it’s not just poetry. This way you’re able to vibe off other people or artists.”

Since this is part of a series, Gervais said he is expecting this type of reading will be done three or four times per year, with the next time being in January. But for those who don’t want to wait, Gervais said there is another poetry event for people to attend. It will be held at the Willistead Manor on Oct. 27 and will have poetry readings, story tellings and book signings, among other things.

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Phil Hall was the headliner for the evening of Song and Spoken Word event.

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Local musician Crissi Cochrane was one of the musical performances during the poetry series that incorporated music.

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