Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Michael McCarthy Interview...

For the fourth and final show in our Aboriginal Showcase series, we're happy to introduce poet, storyteller and musician Michael McCarthy! Before the game on Sunday, we sat down for a coffee with Michael, just to prep him for the awesomeness that is the Tongues of Fire experience and ask him a few questions 'bout his life and art...

You grew up in Ucluelet and are of Nuu-chah-nulth ancestry. Tell us about your Nuu-chal-nulth name and what it means, both culturally and to yourself personally...

So my name, Chees Qualth, means "one who gathers wealth". It was my fathers first name and he passed it on to me before he passed away (going home). What it means to me is living up to his name and life.

In your professional life, you're deeply involved with addictions counseling and building cross-cultural bonds through communication and awareness. Does storytelling play a part in that and how?

Stories are tools that teach without teaching and they help me deal with the most basic aspects of communication. Stories help me realize that we are all the same at the end of the day.

We've been told your poetry is "non-traditional". While we're all for being surprised at ToF, we're wondering if you can tell us what you mean by that?

They're non-traditional in the in the way that the most common voice in the Indian world is focused on addictions, death, and suicide, among others, including managing poverty. I wanted my poetry to reflect love, happiness and compassion.

You're an artist of diverse talents; poet, storyteller, photographer... do you identify more strongly with one mode of expression over another?

Years ago I thought 'if I only did one what would it be?'; then I knew I could not do just one because I get creative in many ways and am inspired by many events and those effect me on different levels.

Is there a poem you haven't written yet? One that you aspire to write?

I think about writing poetry based on dreams I've had that have been life changing for me; most of them you could say were not dreams but a higher state of consciousness.

What are the subjects that really engage you?

They are all within happiness!

If your poetry was a flavour of ice cream, what would it be?

Blue cheese! Full of flavour and body.

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