The Scream has begun. I missed the first night's event, but last night there was an opening for a visual poem art show and an event celebrating the catalogue poem. You can check out the visual poetry over at Type on Queen for the duration of the festival. But the catalogue event is now over, lost to time.

As soon as I saw that there was a catalogue poem event, I wondered why I hadn't been invited to participate, but soon enough I was -- Bill Kennedy, who organized the event (and is the artistic director of the Scream in general), invited me in. The event was a choir of list-readers wandering throughout the bookstore, starting with a single voice, building up to a raucous cacophony of enumeration before settling back down to that same voice -- my voice, as it turns out, reading sections from the oldest list in Western Lit, the catalogue of ships from Book 2 of the Iliad.

I also read sections from Georges Perec's catalogue of all the foods he ate in 1974, Rabelais's list of types of fools from Gargantua and Pantagruel, and Valerie Solanas's list of acceptable and unacceptable men from the SCUM Manifesto. I didn't manage to sneak in Roussel's list of 200-odd things which are similar to each other but of quite different sizes (from New Impressions of Africa) or Cole Porter's list of topmost things (from "You're The Top") or Craig Conley's list of meanings of the word "x" or any of a great number of other excellent lists I brought along. Ah well, next time! Meanwhile other people read from Chistopher Dewdney, Kenneth Goldsmith, The Joy of Cooking, the phone book, and too many other things for me to remember or list here... It was a big chaotic listy mess, and a nice way to start the Scream.

I woke up too late for me to catch today's walking tour of dead Toronto bookstores, which is probably for the best as it would only leave me heartbroken. But tonight there will be some live poetry editing and then a few people (including me) will be reading a poem each before a screening of Fahrenheit 451. Perhaps I'll see you there!


  1. Unknown said...

    Another to add to your list: Christopher Smart's "Jubilate Agno," wherein he enumerates the ways that his cat Jeffrey worships God.  

  2. Chris said...

    That was, in fact, on my long list -- it was included in this anthology of literary lists that I was drawing upon, and it is an interesting and crazy poem. (I haven't read the whole thing, though, just various excerpts.)  


Template based on one by GeckoandFly which was modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.