Kate Flaherty & Laura Swart: Stone Soup & Blackbird Calling

Join us for an evening of poetry and prose with two authors published by Quattro Books, with musical entertainment by singer/songwriter Verne Luchinski!

The travelers in the Stone Soup folktale creatively offer a share of the nourishment to come by inviting the townspeople to contribute whatever they can. This simple gesture dispels fear and forges connection. In a similar way, the cauldron of these inviting poems effortlessly blends ingredients both earthy and spiritual, jaunty and tender, compassionate and ecstatic. The poems wonder, take delight, grieve, and console, as they encompass generations of family and friends, and embrace a wide spectrum of cultures and traditions, to reveal heights and depths of our common humanity from fresh and surprising angles of vision.

Blackbird Calling depicts the beauty and complexity that unfold when dominant and indigenous cultures fuse horizons. It begins on Cape Breton Island, where the protagonist, unnamed, encounters the agonies and exploits of childhood--and the prejudices lodged against Aboriginal people. These prejudices form a solid line between pigments, and the protagonist understands this line, lives at its borders. But when her family moves to the Prairie Pothole Region in Alberta, she sees another reality in the people of the Blood: she sees a remnant of ancient civilizations pushing itself into the present. Her older brother writes the stories of the marsh in the Prairie Pothole Region, and these small, isolated stories of the wetland, of its creatures and soils and vegetation, begin to fuse horizons with the main text, make their way into it--like potholes in the wetland working together, separate pieces forming a whole. Blackbird Calling, derived from dozens of interviews with Aboriginal people, carries within its borders poignant anecdotes of cultural import; there's a deep pride associated with being Native in the face of the racism, the hurt, and the agony of a disappearing way of life. But we are all indigenous in some part of our being, and at some level we understand the stories of the wetland.

Verne has been playing guitar since the ripe old age of was seven. At 15, started his first rock band and started composing songs with his school buddies about all things relevant to 15 year old kids. After graduating, [he] began exploring solo acoustic guitar and the great singer/songwriters like John Prine and Stan Rogers.

 

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