Our star performer poets of the afternoon presentation were Hans Jongman of Welland, Ontario, and Luce Pelletier of St-Bruno de Montarville, Quebec. I asked them to come because I enjoy their poetry and because it would be an honour to have poets of such sterling reputation on the podium at Versefest. We had encouraged KaDo members to bring anything Japanese to the presentation, and what generous and imaginative poets we have! Special kudos to Betty Warrington Kearsley who picked up platters of sushi, and also mochi which is an Asian treat made of rice flour. Another hero of the afternoon was Bryan Cook, who brought four gorgeous painted scrolls and hung them on upright bulletin boards. Betty also brought a vase containing branches, which the audience was invited to decorate with haiku tags previously made by Lesley Strutt for Japan Day at Landsdowne Park a few months ago. Members also brought various kimono and lay them on the stage. Guy Simser sent two, though he was not able to attend.
The audience was invited to try them on and have their photos taken if they wished. Here are Maureen in a blue-and--white kimono, and my apologies for the image not being clearer, and Forrest in a short black one, which I think he considered was a ninja outfit, and in which he did a super job of decorating the branches. He is with his mom Sharelle. Forrest also helped with taking the covers off the treats, and making sure the napkins matched the plates. As you can see, thesushi, mochi and sake were a hit.
I haven’t said much yet about our presenters. Hans spoke with a great and wonderful confidence, reading a wide variety of haiku on all subjects, several on war. He read haibun from both Swooning and Shift Change. Had it not been so late in the afternoon, and had we not been preceded by four packed and terrific hours of lyric poetry by local and American poets, more lyric poets might have been blown away by his poems, and those of M. Pelletier, who gave a presentation which was brilliant in content and in performance. Her bilingual poems, given in her calm clear voice were from Papier rose pink paper, and, as luck would have it, her video presentation would not work, no matter what Jennifer Pederson (Bestest Hero of the whole festival) tried. However, she breezed through, and I hope people look her videos up on YouTube, where she has reached 7700 views. Afterwords we hammed it up, Luce peeking out from the side of the bulletin board, and then the three of us doing the same thing.
KaDo would like to thank all its members, and the Versefest organizers for making a place for Japanese-form poems among all the other forms at the festival. We especially thank the intrepid audience members (you know who you are!) who stayed late on Sunday afternoon to participate in our Haiku Pop-Up.