MORE THOUGHTS ABOUT VEHICULE
When I consider the entity we call “The Vehicule Poets”, I find that, despite a desire for solidity, in fact, this construct no longer exists. The impermanence of VEHICULE is not changed by the fact that none of its erstwhile members have, as yet, left this incarnation. I am truly grateful to be able to reconnect with my former poetic companions, to rekindle friendship and stir the cauldron of memory. But I have no illusions as to the enduring importance of our small “team”. This is not to deny that we made a contribution to the Montreal and even, Canadian, literary scene, or that all we did had great value for us as individual young writers. Yet I have no interest in making the Vehicule Poets into any kind of hype.
What feels important to me, now, 25 years later, is to ask:
WHAT ARE WE DOING NOW AS POETS THAT’S INTERESTING/ RELEVANT/ FRESH?
WHAT CAN WE DO NOW WITH OUR LOVE OF LANGUAGE AND THE ARTICULATION OF LIFE EXPERIENCE?
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN WE MEET AGAIN, NO LONGER YOUNG, TO CREATE, SHARE, AND PERFORM?
HOW CAN OUR DIVERSITY INTERACT TO CREATE SOMETHING OF INTEREST OR ASTONISHMENT FOR AUDIENCES WHICH MAY NOT KNOW US AT ALL?
I DON’T WANT TO BE SENTIMENTAL ABOUT WHO WE WERE, BUT RATHER, ENGAGED IN WHAT WE HAVE BECOME AND HOW WE CAN POUR THAT OUT TO AN AUDIENCE.
For we have that in common – the love of giving out the words we discover, invent, recover. As Emerson wrote : “… The poet is the Namer or Language-maker, naming things sometimes after their appearance, sometimes after their essence, and giving to every one its own name and not another’s.” (quoted In THE NAMES OF THINGS, Susan Brind Morrow, 1997).
Cataloguing my poetic activities since leaving Montreal in 1979 is less important than expressing where my current directions as a writer seem to be leading. All of us have read at countless bookstores, classrooms, cafes, and gatherings. We’ve probably all presented and sometimes danced/enacted new poems in living rooms for our closest friends. We all feel connected to a global circuit of poets who have not forgotten how precious it is for humans to give language and song for free, to anyone who happens to be around to listen. We are all from another planet as far as seeing what we do as simply products to market. And we’ve all received some recognition, including monetary prizes, however small. Whether we write “full-time” or not (how many of us get up before dawn every day to write, as William Stafford used to?), the name POET defines most clearly our essence, the way we respond to, and even “understand” life.
What I’d like to collaborate on with this team would be an exploration of our current hot “tracks”. For my part, I’m focusing on writing poems/prayers for Peace, and exploring a language which parallels and antidotes the techno/advertising/ combat-focused speech being churned out today. (My prose poem in progress, BLEAK TALK, is an example of the latter.) I’d love to see us create a multi-voiced series of pieces that would integrate our past connections with present interests. This is not something we can have all figured out in advance. It awaits our next reunion.
Also, I’ve realized that since I began noticing rain-puddles-with-sky-reflections, which I now happily photograph and which have evolved into greeting cards and enlargements (“Sky Pools”, by the Poet with a Pentax), my image-making energy is less directed at written forms. I would like to find a way of incorporating some of these photos into whatever kind of show/exhibit/performance we do. With Tom’s video expertise and all the electronic “toys” we now have available, a mult-media event makes sense.