The sixth meeting of Surrey Muse took place on the evening of May 25, 2012. The event was hosted by Poet Phinder Dulai, featuring Tariq Malik as its Featured Author, Valerie Parks as its Featured Poet and L.A. Burgess as its Featured Performer. The poet Susan Steudal was also on hand to sign copies of her new book of poetry, New Theatre.
Tariq Malik read from Chanting Denied Shores which explores the various streams that flowed from the 1947 partition of British India. His first story “Paani” (‘Water’), set in 1957, shows the life of a Pakistani Punjabi the village being slowly depleted of its vigor as its most ablest young men leave to pursue opportunities abroad. After Summer Pervez reciting Tariq’s poems, Tariq closed by reading from the prologue of Komagatu Maru which is told from the perspective of a Punjabi Muslim. Tariq also described the problems the book encountered in getting published given its controversial subject matter.
Valerie began with some ribald humor proving the point that women in their 50s are as sexy and as relevant as at any earlier point in their lives. She went on to read the first of four poems on the cello from her chapbook Pathways, followed by poetry on poets and women. In her Wisdom of a Thousand Fools, Valerie opened further the palette of human emotion reading poems on betrayal and hope.
The final artist of the evening, L.A. Summer, read from From LA to Paris: Dairy of a Grieving Mother, a story of loss of her daughter Paris and L.A.’s personal transformation. Moving between poetry and musical performance, from Paris conception, her body, going home, Paris’ final night, a vigil and a tribute to her, L.A. conveyed a poignant tale of grief but also triumph while weaving in Cole Porter and touches of Sally Bowles and Marlene Dietrich.
The open microphone session opened with the poems of Summer Pervez which had been composed in the days leading up to the meeting. Following Summer was Susan who read poems from New Theatre inspired by the spirit of Lenin, the Russian Revolution and the rolling fields of the Caucasus. Hari followed with his urban style poetry which reminded us why “rap” stands for rhythmic American poetry. The evening closed with two poems by Nirmal.
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