Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kapuscinski and Translation at This Ain't the Rosedale / The Photography of Andre Kertesz

A few photos from the Kapuscinski I Wrote Stone/ Biblioasis International Translation Series Launch. I need to learn to take a better picture.

The event really was wonderful. Stephen Henighan gave an impassioned introduction on the need for translation, which I'll be posting here in the next day or two. Al Moritz read from the poetry of French surrealist Benjamin Peret. Goran Simic read two new prose poems, possibly from his upcoming Tattooed Land (hard to know, as I've not yet seen the ms). Diana Kuprel and Marek Kusiba did an exceptional job reading Kapuscinski's poems, both in Polish and in english. Diana's reading was superb. She quite skilled, eloquent, engaged, and gave I thought one of the best readings we've had at Biblioasis. Hopefully we'll get her out a few more times yet.

A good crowd of 60-70 people were in attendance. Leon Rooke showed up, and we announced the winner of the Metcalf-Rooke Award. The winner, Rebecca Rosenblum, was also in attendance. It was wonderful to be able to announce the award in a meaningful fashion with the winner present. It made the announcement more real and immediate.

It was also nice to meet Priscilla Uppal, who's made it to other Biblioasis events in the past, though I've never had the chance to meet her. Branko Gorjup was also present, as was Barry Callaghan, of Exile, though he left so damn fast I never got the chance to introduce myself.

Branko and Leon are the reason Biblioasis received the book. They suggested that Diana and Marek send it to us, after other presses turned it down, largely, I gather, because it was not a Canada Council eligible title. Dan and Charlie at This Ain't the Rosedale were gracious hosts, and kept the doors open late for us. I, alas, forgot my stash of remainders behind their counter, but perhaps will be able to pick them up the week after next, when I'm next in Toronto.

Spent the night at the GLadstone, which was nice, and the four hours before my train touring a few galleries with Tony Calzetta, a Windsor-born artist I've hooked up with through Metcalf, and someone I'm hoping to do a book on in the next couple of years. Hit a few gallery shows, most of which were disappointing. Though I did see the work of Dan Kennedy, a dada-ist influenced artist -- or so says his catalogue -- who merges 19th century typography, and freak show/travelling road show imagery in a rather surreal, powerful collage. I think his work would make excellent cover illustrations, and intend to search him out to see how interested he'd be in a project or two.

The highlight, however, was a photography exhibit, of the work of Andre Kertesz. I'd not heard of him before, though he was internationally renowned. This show was of his Polaroids, which goes to show that it's not the instrument but the man using it. The work was breathtaking, beautiful. Consisting mainly of still lifes, shots taken around his apartment, or through his window, the way he captured light, or honed in on an image was quite amazing. In the best of them there was a near abstract quality, where the object dissolved into light and colour and line. Kertesz started using the Polaroid camera late in life, in his mid-80s, when he was more and more confined to his house due to infirmity, and when he could no longer develop film in a darkroom due to vertigo.

The show runs at the Bulger Gallery on Queen St. until late December. I may head back when I'm in Toronto the week after next. If I had $4000, I'd have bought one of them. As it is, I really couldn't afford the book I purchased. But viewing them at the Bulger is free. I urge everyone who can to do so.

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