Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

late night quick hit

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late night quick hit

So my tenure is almost over here and I have plans for the next three, my last three, posts. But I feel compelled to write something quick tonight before turning in.

I went to see The Sadies open up for Roky Erickson at Lee's Palace tonight. It was pretty amazing all around. I love seeing rock veterans — Erickson's band the 13th Floor Elevators are said to be the first band to describe their music as psychedelic — play to a packed audience. There was a fan blowing behind him and it sent his long, tangly grey hair flying around his head in a very groovy way. By the end, when he sang "Two-Headed Dog," the near-capacity crowd was cheering, their arms in the air, and the room felt full of love and respect. A friend turned to me and said, "Now that's poetry!" Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night.

I feel like it's not appropriate for me to talk much about The Sadies, since I'm married to Mike Belitsky, the drummer. But I will say that I have been watching this band play for over ten years, and they always blow me away. I consider myself lucky that I get to hear them so often — they just get better and better. (And I really like dancing to them.)

There's a documentary about Roky Erickson that came out a few years ago, but I haven't seen it. (I'll be hunting it down soon.) The old clips online are cool — this one isn't the best quality, but it's the moodiest looking. Plus, I love this song.

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I'd meant to comment on the idea of legacy — so many Toronto musicians were there last night to see Roky Erickson, including members of The Deadly Snakes, Quest for Fire, and C'mon — but it was late and my mind was not so sharp. My mind still does not feel so sharp, but I wanted to make the point that I think it's important to follow artistic threads back to their sources of inspiration. It's impossible to do this completely — and I don't even try — but I see this effort as a key to understanding that the most interesting conversations are happening across time. I have Pound's command to Merwin to "read the seeds, not the twigs" in my head now, but that's not exactly what I mean. I do find that quote instructive, though, in terms of recognizing that the work with the strongest pulse will survive passing fashions and will re-emerge again and again in the work it inspires. There are a number of poetry blogs that spend a lot of scholarly energy tracing the lines of influence and I like reading them once in a while, but I'd rather listen that dissect. I feel like it's all about listening.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Damian Rogers

Damian Rogers lives in Toronto. Paper Radio (ECW Press) is her first book.

Go to Damian Rogers’s Author Page