My Fulbright stay in Moncton has formally ended. And the Frye Festival was the perfect way to do it.
From Wednesday to Friday, I entered the anglophone highschools on the Moncton area and essentially read poems to teenagers. You would be surprised how much poetry still can affect people. The kids were engaged and shocked and were thoroughly moved, I think, which was energizing and validating and anything you need as a writer. I couldn't have asked for a better audience in many cases. Also, I received cool highschool schwag, such as a leather portfolio (from Moncton High), a cookbook (from Caledonia High), and a t-shirt and mug (from Harrison Trimble).
Wednesday night I saw the Zachary Richard concert, where I met the artist. We were just two Cajun anglophones talking to one another in French in Acadie.
Linda came Thursday night just in time for the last poem of my reading, "New Orleans [kudzu king]."
On Friday I conducted my first radio interview, with Radio Canada, and totally in French.
The final event of the Frye Festival (for me at least) was the Frye Jam on Saturday Night, which features readings by authors with musical accompaniment from the band, Les Païens. This was the highlight of the festival. I "performed" four poems quite theatrically while the band played amazing and genre bending music from and industrial rendition of "Offshore" to the Saint James Infirmary behind "New Orleans [final]." It was surprising how well I fell in to adapted the rhythm of my speech to the pulse and melody of the songs. For the first time in my life, I felt like a rock-star.
Incidentally, I feel like I want to cut an album of my poems now.
I didn't stay long after my performance because Linda and I had to drive to Rhode Island, which Linda bravely led--I was burned out after the week of visits and packings and endless endless goodbyes.