Wednesday, November 21, 2012

POETREMORS (March 21, 2011)


If the recent earthquake here had a name, it must be Arianna.

This Canadian poet of Italian and Maltese descent jolted us slowly and silently.

The first epicenter was the blacksoup cafe + artspace in Sikatuna Village in Quezon City during Womenspeak: Women Read Their Favorite Works with filmmaker Avic Ilagan as organizer.

With singer Pearlsha Abubakar as host, the night was made extraordinary by Rock Ed Philippines founder Gang Badoy, Philippine Educational Theater Association's Anj Heruela, and Romancing Venus' Ginny Mata as featured poets too.

Yes, Arianna Pozzuoli showed us the way toward seismic slam and spoken word.

Two years ago, she moved to Singapore and has performed at the Celebration of Shakespeare and Lit Up Festival in 2009 and 2010 with Joel Toledo and, supposedly, us.
Last Thursday, she surprised us with another undulation: first in the afternoon with the Tupada Action and Media Art's Solidarity in PerformAnCEpresentation. Entitled disKURSO # 4, it is actually a lecture series incooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) where Arianna had her Artist's Talk with Kaye O'Yek.

Eventually, Arianna conducted a workshop with the students of Dr. Adelaida Lucero and her colleagues from the Department of English and Comprehensive Literature at the University of the Philippines where the faultline was at the Faculty Center's Recto Hall.

Roger Basco, Boyet de Mesa, Rommel Espinosa, Crecee Roldan, Ronaldo Ruiz, Jo-an Sarmogenes, and Mannet Villariba exhibited the upheaval in our performance artistry with Belen Calingacion, Apo Chua, Eileen Ramirez, and Tence Ruiz as witnesses.

Indeed, it was a long vibrating day for the vibrant Arianna. She herself was shocked by the brand of our hospitality via Rio Alma who gave her and her pal Tiffany books as well of Patrick Flores who gave us a crash course on art history of the Philippines at the Vargas Museum – that led to this tremblement de terre at the Alliance Française de Manille!

This year's annual Printemps des Poètes coincided with her first visit to our country so its president, Deanna Ongpin-Recto, and its deputy director, Mickaël Balcon – let her jam with us and such equally earthshaking poets as Anne Abad, Gémino Abad, Yanna Acosta, Abdon Balde, Christine Joy Castillo, Noel del Prado, Johanna Fernandez, Mookie Katigbak, Marne Kilates, Gian Paolo Lao, Andrea Levinge, Francisco Llaguno, Asha Macam, Ed Maranan, Victor Peñaranda, Marivic Rufino, Joel Salud, Ramon Sunico, and Alfred Yuson who called our chanter partner Tapati “The Mellifluous.”

Premiere performance artist Jean Marie Syjuco, unassumingly and humbly,captured all the volcanic activities of her husband Cesare and her daughters Beatrix and Maxine.

Jacques Chessex's Je regarde la chaîne des Alpes was recited by Markus Ruckstuhl while Jacques Brel's Ne me quitte pas was interpreted by Tata Poblador who was accompanied by guitarist Lester Demetillo, the son of poet/critic Ricaredo Demetillo.

If you missed this annual earthshattering gig in Makati last Thursday, worry not.

We asked Arianna to share, or shake, her personal Infinite Landscapes with us.

As a poetess, as in poet + goddess, she won her very first Poetry Slam in 2006. Since then, she has competed at the Individual World Poetry Championship in Vancouver, British Columbia; the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Calgary, Alberta; the Women of the World Slam in Detroit, Michigan; the National Poetry Slam in Madison, Wisconsin; and Salt on the Tongue Poetry Festival in Goolwa, Australia. A Toronto Slam Team member, she was featured in various venues, festivals and schools across Canada.

Let's rock Women's Month with the temblor that's Arianna Pozzuoli.

Q: Are spoken word artists born or made?
A: I have no evidence to show that they're born but I do believe being strong-headed and good-hearted runs in the blood lines.

Q: If born, from whose genes?
A: Likely from the mother's side.

Q: If made, who was responsible for it?
A: It all depends who sat at your kitchen table.

Q: When and where did you start?
A: I started Slam in December of 2006. My best friend, Krystle Mullin (who's also a talented Canadian poet) encouraged me to write three poems and come to the December Slam in Toronto. The winner of that slam got to represent Toronto at Individual Poetry Slam. And then I pretty much haven't stopped since then.

Q: How was it?
A: Vulnerable, frightening and incredibly exciting. Oh and very hot. I think I sweat through my entire shirt.

Q: What made you do spoken word?
A: My mother. Her death had a big impact on me and it was no too long after she died that I decided to do slam. She encouraged me to be artistic my entire life and always told me I should be doing more. At one point, she told me that she didn't understand why I couldn't be a doctor, a lawyer and an actress all at once.

Q: Are you a poet first?
A: I'd like to say yes but truthfully if there's nachos in the room, I can become easily distracted. Does this make me a cheese enthusiast or a foodie?

Q: Or a public speaker first?
A: Don't think so. I wouldn't consider a public speaker first.

Q: How do you prepare?
A: For Writing: I write and write and write. Then i'll leave it alone, come back to it, usually hate it and then return to it after some time and say hey this isn't so bad.
For Performing: I read over it a million times and practice saying it a couple of new ways.

Q: What rituals do you before you begin?
A: Usually a cup of coffee and a meal that doesn't make me feel too full. I like to be a little hungry when I write.

Q: How many poems have you written?
A: A lot. I've probably performed 20 of them and the rest of them are on my laptop. These are the ones that I come back to and say to myself, "What was I thinking?" or "That wasn't so bad."

Q: Please give us some back stories to your first three favorites?
A: Miracle: The story of my nephew and his heart transplant means so much to me and I always look forward to sharing this story with others to talk. It reminds me how strong we can be. Co-Worker: Largely because it was me trying to look at the funny side of being angry at someone. Not sure about the third one.

Q: What is the best spoken word experience?
A: Winning my first slam.

Q: What is the worst?  
A: I was competing at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Calgary and I got into an argument with another teammate. Her actions made me very upset and it was hard to focus when I performed that night.

Q: What are some tips you can share for shy poets?
A: Rent Labryinth.

Q: What is the future of slam and spoken word?
A: I think it gets bigger and bigger each year. I can see it becoming a course taught like drama in high schools or primary schools.

The first women's magazine in the Philippines was El Hogar (The Home), which first came out in 1893.
With God we can
Take the choice and be contented
Take the tensions and be calm
Take the hurts and be brave
Take the obstacles and build faith

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