The Scream 2010 Wrap-Up Post
The Scream is done for another year. It seems like it’s been a good festival, from my somewhat time-constricted vantage point. I saw approximately 60% of what I highlighted as can’t-miss events, making the Christakos dinner, and two thirds of the Mainstage, and missing the literary reading cum pub crawl on Wednesday. Not bad. The Scream might be my favourite recurring Toronto literary tradition. As much as I like the IFOA, the fact that The Scream is ran by writers, all very much burrowed into their communitarian volunteerism for a few weeks a year, puts it over the top.
I’d also like to thank everyone who dropped by the blog this week. Those of you who are pals of mine on Facebook might know already that yesterday, and now today, were the two busiest days in Vox Pop history, in terms of traffic. This is conflicting news to digest, I admit. I wonder how many good, honest, considerations of individual books of Canadian poetry it would take to match the traffic numbers of one petulant literary micro-feud?
But seriously, I enjoy the conversation that is ongoing in the post below. I’m not going to comment anymore, but I hope to read many more opinions of others. To be honest, I’ve been around enough of these blog threads to know that, if nothing revolutionary is said within the first eight or so posts, it’s just going to go downhill from there, into a relentless mudslide of misunderstood sarcasm, redefined terms, and people who can’t remember their original point. Of course, this is only true for me, as I’ve been in the fight since round one. It’s not necessarily true for a hypothetical reader who may be just getting into it now, and has something fresh and unexpected to say. I look forward to reading along. And I’d like to thank all the new people who’ve shown up to comment with your various questions and opinions. It makes my day to see a new name in my comment stream. My day has been made several times today, even in the last few hours. The point of the blog, after all, is to collect other people’s interesting opinions. Literary blogs, including this one, often get slagged for having a limited variety of inquiry, for being tribal. Thanks for helping to further prove the inaccuracy of that dismissal.
And lastly, some of you have suspected that the fervour of my grumpiness this week has been something of an act, noting that I am on The Scream’s official list of volunteers, and that this year’s theme is “Agents Provocateurs”, after all. You people are pretty smart. I don’t think I said anything on the blog, or in public, that I didn’t honestly feel or think, but it is part of being an adult, even an adult poet, to regulate the expression of one’s convictions. My convictions have gone notably unregulated this week, and an element of this can be attributed to The Scream’s call for provocation. I’m not saying I was on the payroll or anything. Let’s just say this: I saw the theme, saw an opportunity, and saw a slightly different way to contribute. Some of The Scream’s organizers watched this happen and, I’m willing to guess, understood the performative aspect of the blog (I’m looking at you, Bill Kennedy). If anyone just thought I had become a little more of an uncouth asshole this week, I apologize. As for the nuts and bolts of the arguments going on in the post below this, I stand by everything I said, and look forward to further dissent. I’d like to thank The Scream for the opportunity to provoke my own thoughts into a public arena. Until next year…
I’ll end this post with some images of the three broadsides I picked up at The Mainstage last night, all printed by my friends Leigh and Andrew at The Emergency Response Unit as special limited-edition keepsakes of the event. They are: Damian Roger’s “Poor Jane”, Michael Lista’s “Louis Slotin and the White Lie” and an untitled broadside from Gil Adamson. They cost me a combined $12. A steal, am I right? These broadsides, and more, will all be available at TERU’s Etsy Shop starting in the next few days. They’re really beautiful. High quality cardstock, well-printed, totally world class. Buy some.