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A night of poetry reading to celebrate Sonia Saikaley's new book A Samurai's Pink House! Two other local poets, Claudia Radmore and Guy Simser, will also be reading their poems to help us celebrate Sonia's new book.
Tuesday, June 13 2017
251 Bank St. 2nd floor
with performance by special guest Ryoko Itabashi
The poems in A Samurai’s Pink House are threaded with the transformation of the seasons from Matsuo Basho’s travels to a love affair between a kabuki cross-dresser and a lonely geisha and the struggles of women in ancient and modern-day Japan. The collection takes the reader on a journey through the fascinating culture of Japan with graceful and accessible language. A sensuous, powerful and beautiful collection that moves across rice fields, tea houses, cherry orchards and narrow alleys where characters, in different stages of life, strive to find identity, peace and love.
“The acuity of perception, empathetic sensibility and long imaginative reach behind these poems will authentically transport readers across historical and cultural distances into both the Japan of past centuries and the Japan of today.” —Allan Briesmaster, author of Against the Flight of Spring and River Neither
Sonia Saikaley was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada to a large Lebanese family. The daughter of a shopkeeper, she had access to all the treats she wanted. Her first book, The Lebanese Dishwasher, co-won the 2012 Ken Klonsky Novella Contest. Her first collection of poetry, Turkish Delight, Montreal Winter, was published in 2012. A graduate of the University of Ottawa and the Humber School for Writers, she lives in her hometown of Ottawa.
Formerly a soldier, international marketer, freelance journalist and diplomat (Japan), Guy Simser’s poems have appeared since 1989 in journals/anthologies in eight countries (The Antigonish Review, ARC, Vallum, Journey to the Interior: American Versions of Haibun: A critical review, Charles E. Tuttle, 1998, USA). Awards include Carleton University Poetry Prize. Diane Brebner Prize, AHA Tanka Splendor Prize (USA), Hekinan International Haiku Special Prize (Japan), amongst others. In 2016, his Shaking the Basho Tree was published by Inkling Press (Edmonton). Guy, retired since 1995, lives in Kanata with his wife, Jan.
Claudia Coutu Radmore writes lyric poems as well as Japanese-form poetry. Her bilingual tanka collection Your Hands Discover Me/ Tes mains me découvrent (2010, Éditions du tanka francophone, Montreal) has been followed by other chapbooks and collections. Accidentals (Apt. 9 Press, Ottawa) won the 2011 bpNichol Chapbook Award. She runs catkin press which has been publishing Japanese-form poetry since 2013. In 2016-2017 she has published 8 authors in that genre, including Guy Simser’s memoir, She Don’t Mean a Thing If She Ain’t Got That Swing, and My Head Filled With Pakistan, for well-known Ottawa lyric poet Blaine Marchand. She is co-editor with Marco Fraticelli of the 2017 Haiku Canada’s 40th members’ anthology, to be published by Ekstasis Press in B.C.. This spring, Cough of a Sloth, a chapbook of modern haiku known as gendai, was published by Pearl Pirie’s Phaphours Press, and the business of isness by Mike Montreuil’s Éditions des petits nuages.
Ryoko Itabashi was born in Japan and has been involved in music since childhood. Early on, she played violin and piano, but found her true calling in traditional Japanese instruments. The first of these was the Japanese Drum, or “Taiko”, which is played with an ensemble in a dynamic and vigorous style requiring significant physical strength. Ryoko joined the Aizu Tsurugajo Taiko Wakakomakai in 1996 and has since played all over Japan as well as Hawaii. Ryoko began learning the Tsugaru Shamisen in 2001 under the late Rinshoji Kida, who was a well-known Shamisenist in Japan. She also learned folk music for the Shamisen from Reiko Inasawa. Since moving to Canada in 2009, Ryoko has been playing the Tsugaru Shamisen at various venues in Montreal, Quebec and has expanded her activities to the national Capital Region since the summer of 2012.