As with last year, the bond evident between members of the VSWF ensemble gave the festival-ending showcase “On the Edge” real poignancy. “On the Edge” pushes the festival poets to the extremes of their art by forcing them to build, with help from each year’s Poet of Honour (Chris Masson this year), an entirely new show in the span of one day. The result is a work of monocarpic beauty, seen only once by those fortunate enough to be on hand, before disappearing forever.
The 2012 ensemble opened by introducing one another with obvious relish, a highlight being Aaron Simm’s description of Johnny MacRae. As “MacCrazy” reclined on the ground, Simm described his early forays into performance art – improv class – which in MacRae’s own words “really fucked [him] up.”
Dahveed Delisca, who played bashful on Friday night with a tribute to his unrequited love for
“the girl on the 9th floor”, came out swinging Saturday with his acceptance speech for induction into the “Pornography Hall of Fame.” With the rest of the ensemble arranged around him in tableau, “It’s Not Delivery – It’s Delisca” swaggered through the address, dedicated to his “Fellow Fornicators.”
“On the Edge” is very much “seat of your pants poetry”, forcing the artists out of their comfort zone, so it’s not surprising that the subject of fear was raised more than once. Early into the showcase the poets confessed their deepest fears, some of them funny (Shoolie Sales’s drew a laugh with “frogs.”
Others, like dying alone or losing the ability to walk came from darker places and some – “that God is as angry as the Bible tells us” – came from the deepest part of us. Collectively, the ensemble overcame their fears and produced a show that was as memorable as the year before and reminded those in attendance that Victoria’s arts community is young, vibrant and always pushing against convention.
That’s all for the 2012 Victoria Spoken Word Festival and though we’ve got a year to wait, there’s comfort to be found in the words of Aaron Simm:
“Time doesn’t count up the seconds since you left, it counts down the seconds till you return”