Monday night was the 6th Annual World Poetry Gung Haggis Fat Choy Gala. This event was first created when I noticed there were no readings of Robbie Burns at the library… I contacted Ariadne Sawyer of the World Poetry Reading series to collaborate for this now popular program.
Just before our 7:30 start time, I chatted with the audience, explaining the origins of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, and sharing some of the events that happened the night before at the big Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, and at our small ceremony at the Robert Burns statue in Stanley Park – to celebrate the 250th Birthday of Robbie Burns.
We bring together the elements of Gung Haggis Fat Choy within a world context. We feature poetry of Robbie Burns, China, as well as contemporary Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian poets. And sometimes we add in music and dance and of course… singalongs.
This year's program was a lot of fun. It was hosted by Ariadne Sawyer, Diego Bastianutti and myself.
We featured poet James Mullin and myself reading poetry by Robbie Burns. I also brought my accordion to play some tunes too.
Rita Wong, the 2008 BC Book Prize Poetry winner, read from her books
Monkey Puzzle and Forage. With the World Poetry theme, Rita even read
a poem by Pablo Neruda, which Diego read in Spanish afterwards.
Tommy Tao, explained how he ended up doing poetry translations of 9th
and 15th Century poetry, and how he has come to love it. He read a few
poems about food and celebrations.I talked about some of the similarities about Chinese New Year and Scottish Hogmanay.
I read the Burns poem “A Man's A Man For A' That”, then later performed “Address to A Haggis.”
James Mullin led a group of four volunteers to dance my parade dragon around the room while I played “Scotland the Brave” on my accordion.
There were a number of Korean ESL students in the audience, and they really had a lot of fun.
My earlier attempt at playing and singing “My Luv is Like a Red Red Rose” was easily redeemed by my playing of Scotland the Brave, and leading the audience in a group singalong of “Auld Lang Syne”
Evrerybody really got into the spirit of the evening. This photo features poets James Mullin, Tommy Tao along with a Korean language student and Peter Clark originally from the U.K.
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