Poetry readings conjure the mental image of a dimly lit, smoky room filled with artsy men in berets and dark clothing snapping their fingers in response to deeply inaccessible gibberish. A point filling Station Magazine Managing Editor Derek Beaulieu hopes to make this weekend at the magazine's first poetry BLOW-OUTïœ¡ is that poetry readings don't have to be daunting or inaccessible.
Showcasing more than 25 Calgary authors over three days of poetry and prose at the New Gallery, the show promises to cater to multiple poetry palates.
"The show will appeal to a whole variety of people from casual to readers to writers, everything from little old ladies to college students," says Beaulieu of the show's three-day line up. "There's quite a large variety. If you don't like the first piece, stick around. The show gives audiences and the readers a really interesting overview."
Forget the standard microphone and barren stage of open mic night, BLOW-OUTïœ¡ features poetry and prose readings using alternate mediums to set the tone, including both pre-recorded and live music and images. The show's diversity comes through its line-up of Calgary-based authors with experience ranging multiple publications to burgeoning new talent. Beaulieu also explains the ambiance of the New Gallery and its commitment to the contemporary arts community in Calgary will only add to the feel of BLOW-OUTïœ¡
"It will challenge your concept of what an art show is and what a reading is," explains Beaulieu of the venue. "The New Gallery, throughout its history, has done a lot of cross-genre work. It's really trying to engage Calgary as to what art can be, so it makes a lot of sense to hold the festival here."
For authors who take inspiration from the BLOW-OUTïœ¡ performers, filling Station publishes three times a year in Calgary, and is always accepting submissions. Beaulieu admits sorting through hundreds of submissions to pare it down to the final five poets and five fiction writers to include in each edition can be an arduous process, but the contribution to the Calgary writer's community is rewarding in the end.
"If you want to be involved with the running of a magazine come out and talk to some people," encourages Beaulieu. "We're always accepting submissions. Everything will at least be read and considered."
All poetry enthusiasts are invited to attend this weekend's BBLOW-OUTïœ¡, provided they leave their berets at home.