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- Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the fonds.
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
1969-1994, predominate 1993-1994 (Creation)
- Action Poetry
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Name of creator
John Sobol, Program Director for Action Poetry '94, had worked in the performing arts in a wide variety of capacities. His career prior to 1994 had included being a Canadian poet, performer, musician, composer and music critic. Sobol recorded several albums, including "Blue History", by the John Sobol Poetry Band. Sobol ran a loft space in Montreal called "The Crossroads", which presented video and film screenings, dance performances, live music, art exhibitions and poetry readings.
In late 1992, John Sobol met with Vice President and Director Carol Phillips to discuss the potential for a program called Action Poetry ‘94. With his background in music and poetry, he recognized that there was an isolation of sorts between all forms of oral traditions. Therefore, he wanted to bring together multiple disciplines in one forum as a cross-cultural exchange of the many traditions of spoken word performance. This would occur in the form of a three-week workshop for the performers, which would culminate in a filmed presentation of their works.
Once the program was approved, John Sobol began scouting in Canada and the United States for artists he would like to include in the workshop. The participants would be from various performance backgrounds, including: poets, rappers, dub poets, monologists, performance artists, street entertainers, storytellers of various persuasions, and stand-up comedians from all backgrounds and cultures. Performers included: Lillian Allen, Uma Rao, Erik Belgum, Aaron Williamson, Sean “Spaz” Zitello, Deanna Ferguson, Judy Radul, Jeannette Armstrong, Jill Batson, Terrence Crane, Diane Wolkstein, Desaz Tempo and Richie D., Bob Holman, Wendy Berner, Tim Lander, Paul Dutton, Adeena Karasick, Gunargie, Greg Young-Ing, Mary Dalton, Tom Henihan, Kedrick James, Clifton Joseph, Tracie Morris, John Giorno, Alex Ferguson, Jayne Cortez, Meryn Cadell, Pine Trio,Shawna Dempsey, Tuong, Djewel (Don) Davidson, Darryl Keyes, Isobeau Miller, Lori Weidenhammer, Peter McPhee, Sheri D. Wilson, Stephen Humphreys, Murdoch Burnett, Ahdri Mandiela, John Sobol, and Flex Plan Nine (Harold Carr, Marilyn Lerner, Peter Valsamis and Tim Posgate).
The artists not only worked on their craft at the Banff Centre, but also participated in the Nat Christie Poetry Day and subsequent Nat Christie Poetry Jam. John Sobol organized these events that would see the artists visit various high schools in Calgary to work with students in performance workshops. Schools included: St. Francis High School, Forest Lawn High School, Bishop Carroll High School, Ernest Manning High School, Queen Elizabeth High School, and the Plains Indians Cultural Survival School. Chosen students would then perform their works on stage, along with the Action Poets, at the Nat Christie Poetry Jam at the Uptown Stage and Screen in Calgary.
Scope and content
Fonds consists of records generated as part of “Action Poetry ‘94”, a symposium and festival of the spoken word, organized by The Banff Centre in 1994. Records include internal and external correspondence, artist information, newspaper clippings, research notes, proposals, scheduling information, photographs, and video recordings reflecting the organization, build-up, and eventual three-week Action Poetry symposium that was held from April 11-29, 1994, and the Nat Christie Poetry Day and Poetry Jam festival on April 19, 1994.
The fonds is divided into eight series: 1. Action Poetry Artist Information and Correspondence (ACP1); 2. Action Poetry Event Planning and Research (ACP2); 3. Action Poetry Administrative Files (ACP3); 4. Action Poetry Event Information (ACP4); 5. Action Poetry Performances Contact Sheet Prints (ACP5); 6. Action Poetry Video Recordings (ACP6); 7. Nat Christie Poetry Day and Poetry Jam Video Recordings (ACP7); 8. Action Poetry Audio Recordings (ACP8).
91 photograph contact sheets
40 U-Matic videocassettes/40 VHS
37 digital audio tapes
605 GB of digitized material (116 mp4s)
Immediate source of acquisition
The records were created by the Banff Centre and transferred to the Archives by the Action Poetry Coordinator after the event. Each artist signed an agreement granting The Banff Centre the right to photograph and video record them for archival purposes.
The material arrived in several accessions: 1995-135, 1994-65.2, 1995-72, 1998-54, and 1999-32.
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Generated finding aid
Sound recordings in 12-02-05
Video (VHS) recordings are #3416-#3455
U-Matic masters located in 09-03-01 to 09-03-03; duplicates in 09-01-05
Digital material located on the R drive.
Standard number area
Place access points
Name access points
- Action Poetry (Subject)