‘Poetry saved me’: Tanya Evanson brings spoken word to House of PainT

House of PainT presents:

OG500 Poetry Slam

6 p.m. Friday, Fourth Stage, National Arts Centre

Tickets: $15, obtainable at NAC field workplace and ticketmaster.ca.

Festival data: houseofpaint.ca

Tanya Evanson, a Montreal-based author/educator and dancer, might not have survived her teen years if it wasn’t for the journal a pal gave her after a suicide try.

“I started writing and it was a way to sort out what was going on inside,” Evanson stated in a current interview. “It was a wonderful mirror. It wasn’t necessarily that I loved poetry and wanted to write it, it was more of a survival mechanism. Poetry saved me, and continues to save me.”

Decades later, she’s thriving as a genre-blurring author whose work goes properly past the normal phrases on a web page. A storyteller who additionally writes fiction and poetry, Evanson excursions internationally as a spoken-word performer and has launched 4 albums. The newest, Zenship, combines poetry, trance and jazz, and was impressed by Zen Buddism’s levels of development in direction of enlightenment.

Of course, her work additionally contains phrases on pages. Evanson has self-published six books, and collaborated with a writer to put out Bothism, final yr’s assortment of her work. A brand new quantity, Nouveau Griot, due for launch Sept. 1, is a compilation of the textual content from her 4 albums, together with Zenship.

To spherical out her creative observe, Evanson can be an arts educator within the spoken-word program on the Banff Centre, and has 15 years of coaching as a whirling dervish dancer.

She is in Ottawa on Friday to give a solo efficiency because the particular visitor at this yr’s OG500, a poetry slam that’s half of the House of PainT hip-hop pageant.

Here’s extra from the interview:

Q: Is your new guide, Nouveau Griot, a method to wrap up the poetry chapter of your profession earlier than you progress in a brand new route?

A: Yeah. I’m shifting into fiction however I feel it’s additionally about enjoying with mediums. There are so many ways in which we are able to launch work. We can put out video poems or do stay efficiency or work with music. I’m excited about pushing these boundaries, and seeing how literature, and, by extension, orature, might be offered stay. If we don’t push boundaries, what’s the purpose? It’s half of the work of the artist to replicate the occasions, ask questions, predict the long run. I’m excited about other ways of doing that.

Q: You started writing in a journal if you have been an adolescent. It’s a giant bounce to performing poetry on stage and having it revealed. What was that journey like?

A: The writing got here out of necessity and survival, then it became a love. And then after I had to select my self-discipline in college, I used to be going to go into medication as a result of psychiatry and the thoughts curiosity me. But I used to be all the time actually dangerous at science. So I switched, and did artistic writing and English lit at Concordia. And then folks began inviting me to current my work, and the invites simply stored coming. My work had a pure orality to it that I didn’t notice till folks began inviting me. I by no means went by way of the slam course of.

Q: You weren’t writing poetry with an ear to what it could sound like on stage?

A: Not in any respect. I used to be writing as a result of there was a necessity to write. And then I used to be crafting the writing so it wasn’t only a diary entry or a journal entry. Crafting and sharpening. Getting a level helped me to hone these expertise, after which performing additionally helped me hone totally different expertise.

Q: Your writing will need to have been very private to start with.  

A: Oh sure, however I feel the themes that I discover are nonetheless concerning the human situation as a result of when one thing is just too private, it typically isolates the reader. It has to be concerning the human being. I’m all the time within the human situation. I don’t write consciously, I write from epiphany after which I craft.

Q: What? You watch for an epiphany to hit earlier than you write?

A: Yes. It’s about whether or not you’re prepared to seize it in that second, after which what are you going to do with it afterwards.

Q: What if it doesn’t hit?

A: It occurs. If epiphany doesn’t hit, you possibly can all the time work on enhancing different items. You’re all the time doing one thing within the course of. Either you’re enhancing, conceiving or studying. Or listening to music, or doing one thing fully totally different like occurring a bicycle experience all day. Or going into the forest and letting the bushes communicate to you. There’s nonetheless self-discipline in permitting epiphany to are available.

Q: Do you’ve got any apprehension about performing a bit that could be deeply private?

A: Public talking is all the time going to have some worry related to it for anybody who does it at any stage of their profession. They may have a sure degree of butterflies. But the work additionally needs to be shared so it’s about getting out of the way in which and letting the work communicate. Have the boldness in your work. Do your rituals, drink your water, do your train and observe, observe, observe. There aren’t any errors. If Beyoncé forgets a stanza, she doesn’t cease within the center of the tune to apologize to the viewers. Poets will try this.

Q: Any different recommendation for individuals who need to be poets?

A: Well, both you’re a poet otherwise you’re not. Who would select that? It’s a loopy vocation. If you need to be wealthy and well-known, perhaps poetry is just not the way in which for you. 

lsaxberg@postmedia.com

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