The Shaken and the Stirred

Nestled away in the Scottish Arts Club is a collection of Canadian poets performing a variety of their work with different styles and a few excerpts from their novels, both published and to be published in the next year. Through their work, these four performers explore sex, politics and human nature with eloquence and style.

A true celebration of poetry

Ian Burgham’s poetry is succinct and intelligent with a series of poems about man’s relationship with the material, amber, depicting through his work the beauty of the stars and nature reflected in this material. While Catherine Graham continues this portrayal of nature she uses, and then alters, the “gloss” style of poetry which traditionally takes the final lines of someone else’s poem and uses them as the first of her own. She splits the final lines of works, such as that of Ted Hughes, and meshes them with her own writing creating her own twist on a classical poetic style that works effectively in her imagery. A. F. Moritz’s poetry is dramatic with one piece being a political libel, attacking issues with the military. His imagery is at times alarming but in a way that makes us think over the issues he explores. Jeanette Lynes’ work is just as striking as she reads from her book, Archive of the Undressed, exploring the different presentations of undressed women in art and Playboy magazines. Her work is witty, balancing the humour behind these scantily clad women with the tragic endings of some of these icons.

While all of the poets are clearly talented writers their performance is a little restrained without much expression in their voices. This is disappointing as, while they all have powerful voices, there seemed to be no passion behind the words they’re uttering. A brief Q&A with the poets followed where their personalities really shone as they spoke to the audience about their work, so it is a shame that they do not bring some of this feeling into their recitations. The Shaken and Stirred, however, is a true celebration of poetry so find your way to this peaceful part of Edinburgh and let the work of these poets wash over you.  

Reviews by Caitlin Powell

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The Blurb

Exploring acts of opposition and disobedience – the essential needs of poetry in a cracked and porous world – this event brings together five Canadian poets, including Canada's Parliamentary Poet Laureate. A key part of the country’s multicultural mosaic, these poems of beauty and knowledge honour Canada’s 150th anniversary.