Last Thursday, Nov. 27, the Hamilton Poetry Centre hosted a reading by George Amabile at Bryan Prince's book store, as they did last month with Brian Bartlett. But what a difference for me! Bartlett, you may remember (see previous entries), left me dissatisfied and quite irritated. Amabile affected me quite the opposite.
Looking back on both readings, I believe the difference was in the manner of presentation. Bartlett, who teaches at St. Mary's in Halifax, came across as a professor, one who displays and explicates before a class. Amabile, who is retired from a lifetime of teaching at U of Manitoba, did not. Amabile's manner, language, his easygoing attitude of a raconteur, provided a completely different framework for the poetry.
The results? I didn't invest in any of Bartlett's books. I had considered doing so and inspected those on display before the reading. I'm sorry I didn't have enough cash to buy Amabile's latest.
Hurriedly I checked Bryan Prince's store yesterday but couldn't immediately find one on the shelf. I'll have to go back and ask for it.
Neither inspired a burst of creativity as sometimes happens, but Amabile's aftertaste is more pleasing. When he'd answered the last question from the audience, I felt as if I'd shared a drink and some conversation with a friend.
You can't ask more than that from a poetry reading.