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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Fortner Anderson's Verses

The Golden Star Lounge presented Ottawa with bilingual night of spoken word poetry.
Outaouais poet, Eddy Garnier read a briefly after one open mic participant. The poet Marcel Joseph then recited a powerful rhythmic piece entitled "Rien qui ne reste", loosely translated into English, titled "Scraps" (Nothing remains). "What do we have left? Nothing but scraps..."

To finish the evening with just as much a strong political message was Fortner Anderson. He read numerous poems including "Vegas", of which you can be read on his website. By far the most moving of his poems was "His Song", about the sixteen (?) year old "prisoner of war", Omar Khadar and his brother Abdul (but whose family [grandmother] lives in Toronto.) The poem is Anderson's poetic protest against the US military who justified the 'torture' of Khadar in the "heinous and montrous" secret and not-so-secret prisons to torture others gained from his confession under duress. Bush said " he sang like a canary", hence the title of the poem, "He Sings".

Some lines includes:
He is a boy who sings of his single weeping eye.
He sings while hanging
He sings while hanging from his wrists
He sings while hanging from his wrists for 21 days - 16 hours a day
He sings a song stiff with silence

Fortner finished of his set on a less political note with a new poem, "There is a Quiet" (2003) from his recently released CD. The poem is dedicated to Paul Dutton. It starts out, "There is false quiet in the place where you have come to rest." The last poem talked to the 'problem of identity'. After a false start, he then remembered the words to "Who I am". Fortner Anderson is a really good idea is line that stuck out to me. A thoughtful autobiographical poem.

Allan Wigney of the Ottawa Sun ran a brief column on this literary event a few days ago on Fortner Anderson. Check it out.



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