To visit the Mocambopo reading series
For poetry by Wendy Morton
Mocambo Nights can be ordered directly from the publisher, Ekstasis Editions at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at Box 8474 Main Postal Outlet, Victoria, B.C. V8W 3S1 for $20 Canadian funds, including shipping.
a poetry reading series
Wendy Morton, Host
I've hosted a poetry series in Victoria, B.C. for three years; nearly every Friday night for three years. We have an open mike, followed by a featured reader. We call it Mocambopo, and it has been going on since 1995. For me it is always one of the highlights of my week, I look forward to the delights of the night: the singing poems; the poems sung; the dancing, the dancing poems. The words. There are poets who have come to the open mike with trepidation; the next week they come with more confidence and 3 months later they are featured readers, filled up with poetry's magic. Recently a young woman came to the open mike and recited two poems with her eyes closed. And we saw her poems as she spoke. When she opened her eyes and smiled , we smiled and her poems were our poems.
In 2000, I asked Richard Olafson of Ekstasis Editions, and a frequent visitor to Mocambopo, if he would be interested in publishing an anthology from the Mocambopo reading series. He said yes immediately. I then asked Patrick Lane, a Governor General award winner to edit it. He said yes. Then we asked all the famous Canadian poets who had read at Mocambopo to submit, and agree that they would not be paid, because 10% of the proceeds were to go toward a prize for an emerging writer. We invited submissions from anyone who had read at the open mike or as a featured reader and now we have Mocambo Nights: Poems from the Mocambopo Reading Series.
In the centre of the book is a poem by Don McKay, a two time winner of the Governor General's award ( Canada's highest literary award). The beginning of his poem, “Song for the Song of the Coyote” sets the tone for the entire book:
Moondogs, moondogs,The trickster arrives in William Knowles poem, “The Misanthrope in Me”:
Today I threw the first punch,In William George's poem, “Sockeye Salmon Dream” is an ancient wisdom:
sockeye salmon dreamMocambo Nights is filled with birds: birds that haunt us. In Susan Gee's “What we saw at the lake:”
When the heron fliesKelly Parson's “Monastery Quails” begins,
Think of them coming downIn “Homing Pigeons,” Barbara Colebrook Peace takes us inside the coop:
Woozy, in a world of constant warm,And in Chris Smart's “Ravens Speak,”
A woman opens her mouth and a thousand ravensAs for grieving, the poets in Mocambo Nights, know its dark grace. In Lorna Crozier's “The End of the Century,” the dead arrive:
Under the bridge the dead are gathering.In Marlene Grand Maitre's “Waiting for the House on Harwood,” we grieve again:
This Spring, iris leaves are a greenIn Joelene Heathcote's “Temporary Wives,” she grieves for love lost:
There is no other way for us.
Mocambo Nights will tell the reader the difference between tricks and wisdom, hunting and grieving. It is one of the finest collections of Canadian poetry that I've seen: great poets and emerging poets all singing in a voice that is clear and beautiful to hear.