Spain Remembers

Spain Remembers

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What a Great Evening

Ivan E. Coyote (centre) with Joan Baril and Margaret Philips of the Northern Woman's Bookstore

Last night, Ivan E, Coyote told three stories.  She is in a car with four slam poets heading to a high school reading in Surry B.C.  One poet, the one with bad breath, suggests they read love poems to the students because it is Valentine's Day.  Ivan E. Coyote, gender bender, cross dresser, lesbian, decides to explain why, in her case, it would be a bad idea to discuss her own love life in red-neck land. Then, she goes on to recount for  the poets (and us) her own love story.

Ivan's stories strike fire.  Like her American counterpart, David Sedaris, her topic is herself, unflinchingly herself.  Behind the comedy, lies the seriousness.  Ivan grew up in Whitehorse and still visits her extended family there.  Her voice, her phrasing has a northern directness, an earthiness without the overtones of irony so ingrained in literary material.

 Ivan is getting a haircut in Ottawa and the barber does not realize she is a woman.  Ivan is answering the questions put to her by a young nephew who likes to wear dresses.  Ivan is looking at old photos of herself as a child and asking her relatives if they knew back then that she was gay.

Ivan picks up a theme and moves with it slowly and deliberately, easily sequing into a deeper meaning, another layer.  Everyone in the Learning Cafe sits staring, a magic time encircled by story after story.

Susan Goldberg read a story about a wedding that became entangled with a conception and a death. Betsy Martin of Kaministiquia described snowshoe baseball. Gwen O'Reilly added some love poems and Ma-nee Chacoby's poem thanked the Great Spirit.   Great readings for a great evening.
Margaret Philips at the Northern Woman's Bookshop Table (with Joan Baril, standing).

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