Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tattoos of Heartache and Joy... Tristan De Plume

Well, well, well ToF fans, we've reached the saddest part of spring - that time when Tongues of Fire goes on summer vacation! Of course, that means summer... so it can't be all that sad. Especially since we're having a big party before we say good-bye. Our last show of the season is gonna be a twofer featuring our very lovely own Megan Ann Ward, as well as VanCity's delightful Tristan De Plume - who was a member of the 2010 last chance Wild Card Team at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, and badassed the score cards right out of the judges' hands with their one minute poem at this year's VanSlam Finals (which you can watch here). We took a moment to have a lil' webular chitchat Tristan, which we share here now with you...

Let's slap a label on you: Poet? Performer? Spoken Word Artist? Slam Poet? And let's take that label off (cuz labels aren't nice): now who are you? How do you see yourself in the world?

Lets call me a poet. I even went to school for it, but I really hope you won't hold that against me. I went to school for lots of things and poetry is actually one of the more useful ones. Next after that was the air brake ticket (I used to be a garbage man). They say a law degree is useful. I'm not convinced. So far it has only been expensive and very unpleasant to earn.

If you were to tattoo a poem to your body, what poem (or excerpt) would it be?

If I were to tattoo a poem on my body it would be the first fourteen lines of the Prologue to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in Middle English. That's pretty much the most pretentious thing I can think of. There are some Latin maxims that would come a close second: Cava canem eretus auris.

How did you feel the first time you stepped up a mic to read what you had written? How long ago was that?

I can't really remember my first mic. It was probably at a CUPE convention. I'm sure it felt just fine. I never really got the hang of stage fright. I do remember my first slam. I got a ten for my first poem and thought- well this is alright. Looking back I can't believe how cocky I was. I'm not an arrogant jerk. There is a reason I don't have Latin maxims tattooed all over myself.

What's the next poetry-related goal you want to fulfill?

Up next is this terrible little idea for a novel that I parked in 2000 when my thesis got in the way. I feel like I haven't really been able to write it until now. I'm not sure my evil boyfriend Law School is going to let me work on it though. When I'm writing I need to stay up late. That lifestyle doesn't really meet the 9am class very well.

Who is someone that really inspires you? Why?

Poets at the youth slam inspire me. Poets who are really risky and daring about their work inspire me. Religious people who take orders, or secular outreach workers who go into the service of others inspire me- but not for evangelism, for basic human service. It is such an antiquated idea but it used to be what all the younger sons did. Religious service is kind of the fate most of us escaped when the world changed. I really admire people who actually still do that.

Can you tell us about the poem you haven't written yet? And what are the subjects that are really engage you?

I haven't written many funny poems. Agony just comes. Comedy needs to be worked at and I'm sorry to admit that I am a pretty lazy poet. I write well about pain and loneliness and heart break and longing because they come so easily. I have the hardest time writing about joy. I feel like I don't know it very well and I get it sort of wrong when I put it down in text. Or faith. Those two cats are complicated. I feel like sadness is the easy way out. It takes real daring to write faith and joy. They make us so vulnerable.

We run your poetry through the ice-cream maker: what flavour do we get at the business end?

Strawberry with bits of typewriter.

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