Afterwords at the Jazz Club

by Kortnee Stevens
The wrap up for the Thin Air festival was held at the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain, in a large open hall that made whispers into echoes. A multitude of fruit and vegetables were supplied (along with sprigs of what we suspected were rosemary and thyme) and the lights bore down on a stage set with an upright bass and a trumpet stand. Accompanying the 20-some poets who braved the stage (myself included) were Derrick Gardner and Steve Kirby, two of the best jazz musicians in Winnipeg. While it was nerve-wracking to stand under scalding stage lights, playing along with a jazz accompaniment was more than refreshing, and the evening offered quite the variety of poems. We had everything from walruses to birds to woodchucks going at the speed of light to dogs to a beautiful saxophone tune before our 10-minute break to toad…metaphors. The final act featured pure improvisation as the man played a Djembe drum, first performing with the inspiration of ‘forest fire’ and then to the word ‘harvest.’
Steve Kirby, Steve Locke and Derrick Gardner
The entire evening was a remarkable wrap up to a fantastic week, and I am so looking forward to doing this all again next year.