1. Penn Kemp, Suite Ancient
(m)Other Tongue Press,
(A rectangular shaped handbound chapbook with Ibis lino-cut and papers the colours of gold and lapis blue will illuminate these new poems set in the heart of Egyptian mythology. Limited edition of 90, signed and numbered. ISBN 1-896949-18-5. $52. Published: 2001)
Reviewed by Daniel Kolos
Paul William Roberts took the same tour and recorded it in his book, "River in the Desert." His tour was also spiritual, but he told it from the point of view of a disembodied intellect. Kemp tells it as she feels it, as she experiences the multilevel reality where she, as a transcendent being, meets Egypt where past, present and future converge. The difference is not just journalism versus poetry. For Roberts, the body exists for the adventures of the mind. For Kemp, everything exists and the adventure is in her ability to move among the many realities both at will and as a response to subtle invitations.
Kemp can recount such a rich experience as her account of
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2.Posted on November 4, 2005
Trance Dance Form
by Penn Kemp
Reviewed by Daniel Kolos
Friday night was a professionally presented concert as good as anywhere around the world. I had annual subscriptions to the New Music Concerts during the 70s in Toronto and sat through many astounding performances and world premiers of newly composed music, including one where Maureen Forrester stood where St. Pierre was Friday night (albeit at Walters Hall, UofT) and belted out seemingly nonsensical soprano sounds that went on to become classics in New Music circles. One of Colleen Ostoforoff's composition provided a similar musical/vocal interaction. Coincidentally, Colleen had one of her first professional performances with Forrester singing!
The entire second half of the Friday evening concert honored Penn Kemp. I found something deeply moving in the fact that her persistent sound work can move two other creative people to continue the thread and expand her words into music!
Saturday night's Trance Dance Form brought out the third dimension with Wave Weir dancing: she had woven into the fabric of sound a visual dimension - movement. The net result was that the seemingly trite saying that 'the whole is greater than the sum of its parts' rang true once again. Instead of achieving a mere three dimensional effect by the addition of movement, the performance catapulted me - or 'entranced' me - into that umpteenth dimension where emotions, senses and intellect freely dance around one another.
Friday, September 30, 8 p.m. The Music Gallery, as part of the
“Composer Now Face to Face” series, presents “Deceptive
Moves”. music by Bill Gilliam and Colleen Ostoforoff.
Saturday, October 1, 7:30 pm.2005. TRANCE DANCE FORM: a sound opera by Penn Kemp
Performance by Penn Kemp, actor Anne Anglin, cellist Brenda Muller and dancer Wave Weir.
This review is also at http://www.mytown.ca/ev.php?URL_ID=108699&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201
PENN KEMP's Home Page:
PENN KEMP at the University of Toronto Library
3. POEM FOR PEACE IN TWO VOICES
A Canadian poet, Penn Kemp, wrote a Peace Poem as a response to 9-11. It grew, not in size, but in breadth, just another spark added to the communal light! I hope you will find the review of its latest 'incarnation' useful to your information series.
Posted December 6, 2003
by Penn Kemp
Reviewed by Daniel Kolos
"C'Loud is based on the myth of Demeter and Persephone: the story of loss
and return," Penn Kemp writes in her introduction. Between her personal
relationship with her own mother - or with her own daughter - and her deeply
introspective study of mythology, Kemp sees Persephone as leaving her
mother, Demeter, and going to her lover, Hades, willingly. She does not
gloss over or avoid death, but raises it to the level of Einstein's highest
physics, where matter turns into energy, then back into matter. Her poetry
with two voices unfolds around an unvoiced, unsettling and unanswered
question: do we go to our deaths willingly and return to a new life
willingly? This question represents Kemp's "c'loud of unknowing we wrap in:
black ink protects us." As she returns dancing among the Spring shoots of
vegetation, does Persephone remember where she's been?
Page after page sound poetry mixes with philosophy; playfulness gives way to
rhyme and alliteration - and then Kemp begins all over with a different
The hawk The matter is the truth.
soars, hovers, recovers That's what. That's what matters.
its perch with a lurch. Waits. And how can that be other
than the hawk's or the bomb's?
And we serve the truth, at least, Fivefourthreetwoone.
the truth of our own being. Spirit in matter's dissolution.
speak from truth.
At times Kemp seems to hold back, a weakness that keeps her from exploring
the full spectrum of her own sound. Beginning with 'his story', she goes to
'his tory' and continues to 'his stereo' but misses the counterpoint, which
would be 'hysteria', the unique and true way women can talk from their womb.
However, she catches up to herself by ending the poem with "man kills
dragon, woman rides her back."
Another instance she plays with 'mater' and 'water', both 'mother' concepts,
but does not use Demeter - perhaps because it would break her meter.
While exploring death, Kemp carefully juggles moths, butterflies, road-kill
and alludes to killing time. On one page she explores the morality of
killing in such an innocent manner that it could easily pass by the reader's
or listener's attention. On another page she throws it right into our face:
"Wicked mouths have black lips.." But the moment she has come to terms with
death, Kemp's poetry springs to life: "My lips serve ecstasy." Her alter
ego becomes one with the sun and the moon as matter and energy flow into
The turning point in Kemp's book comes with the introduction, "calm came
clear of cloud," a phrase that has become the first line of her Poem for
Peace in Two Voices. It is the poem that could. It is the heart of C'loud
that has now been translated into over seventy languages and has been read
and performed around the world.
The second part of C'loud switches to Persephone's return: "..the daughter
returns., flowers await her." It is now man who rides a bear and there is
rebirth: "down the red passage I am born backwards." With measured balance
Kemp mixes the bloody, deadly aspect of birth and life with death and dieing
encompassed by love: "It is possible to be that large,/ Embrace the whole
Almost as an afterthought, Kemp included in this volume her struggle with
her father's death, "As the heart parts., art stops." It is a sign of
maturity both in life and in art that as we bury the generation ahead of us,
we are left to carry on the art. In the case of Penn Kemp this matured
'art' reflects both in her poetry as well as in the design of the book
itself, a finely printed work of art.
C'Loud review has been sent to "David Herrle" <email@example.com> and it will be up on subtletea.com as of February, 2004!