Culture Days and Invisible Books

National Culture Days are coming up, and Assiniboia’s Shurniak Art Gallery is right on board.  As a treat, I went to a presentation last night.
Timeless Books

An Evening @ the Invisible Library
Poet Paul Wilson and comic artist Jonah McFadzean present a light-hearted look a The Invisible Library, titles of books that exist only within books. Poster comics and readings, plus readings by Assiniboia writers.

Very glad I went.  The turnout wasn’t large but the audience was very receptive.  Sadly, there were no youth out for the presentation, which was too bad, because I think it would have been right up their alley.  Wilson and McFadzean had done a workshop earlier that day at the high school, but they did not show the students the work they were presenting last night, which was too bad.  The finished products of their collaboration were really attention-grabbers, and would have drawn the students in.

The topic of the night and part of the collaboration between these two artists was invisible books; these are books that are only found within the pages of other books, but exist somehow in completed versions within our minds.  This was the inspiration for the poems that Wilson was sharing las night, which he and McFadzean then worked together to transform into comics.

Wilson was quite a character, and an enthusiastic speaker!  I can imagine running into him at a festival somewhere, and finding that an hour or two has flown by talking to him!

I admit, I was a little skeptical going into the presentation, but it was partially because I had McFadzean confused with another McFadzean whose comic work I am not a fan of (sorry, not trying to be negative, they just don’t jive with me).  However the finished works were very, very well thought out and visually intriguing, as a comic should be.  I am curious if this refined feel of the finished works was largely due to the collaboration.   Group work, right fellow educators?  Wilson expressed feeling this way, that working with McFadzean really forced him to pair down his work a lot, and created something that was even more poetry than the original poem.

I’ve got lots of lesson ideas dancing ’round my brain after this.  We are doing some poetry this week, and I was tempted to make students pair up and help each other with the visual art/literary combination.  However, my kiddos just aren’t quite ready for that at this point in the year.  I need to work with them first  to help them understand the idea of editing each other’s work and constructive criticism.  They need to know that criticism is their FRIEND first, and learn to give criticism in a positive manner.

We were encouraged to write the names of imaginary books that we made up on the spot into a guest book, thus birthing new invisible books.  I had to add one that I joke about with my friends sometimes.  It’s inspired by another invisible book.  I call it the Necronomnomnomicon, and the discussion of this invisible book usually ends with me pretending I’m eating it.

Any book titles you’d like to share?  Or does anyone else have some Culture Days events they would like to plug?


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