The last time I saw the A Reason To Listen Poetry Collective, poet Therese FitzMaurice was cooing about the dying of the sun, her hand on her big pregnant belly. The same voice mesmerizes during a rehearsal of "Wind," a piece in the collective's new show, Spoken Synergy: A Collaboration of Spoken Word, Music and Movement, on Saturday Nov. 23 at 7p.m. at Jambalaya ($10 sliding scale at the door). In "Wind," the words spoken by FitzMaurice and poet Laurie Birdsall mingle with Mary Thorton's flute and Ginny Ryde's English horn. Dancer Lacey Pipher enters like a visitor, both lulled and sent skittering. "The wind/ Rustled and turned/ Kissed the nape of my neck and replied," FitzMaurice whispers into the mic, "Here my darling."
The series of performance pieces combining spoken word, live instrumental music, singing and movement are all collaborative. The different elements actually make the poetry strikingly accessible to more than just the poetry savvy. Co-host Niko Sol, who contributed a 10-minute, three-act comedy play in which Jane sings a cappella to Tarzan, explains why there are no solos in the show. "We wanted to incorporate breaking boundaries as a group," he says, "... to pull in more of a community feeling." In the choral piece, "Structure of Learning," lines of poetry are spoken in harmony while on either side of the stage, dancers Melanie Quillen and Hanakekua Joao stand sentry, using their magenta hoops to create currents of shape and movement, creating a tableau of sound and emotion. Spoken word artists David Holper and Jerimiah Anderson, musicians Tommy FitzMaurice, Tim Lane and Lee Ryder and hoop dancer Joelle Jorissen complete the cast. The evening's music runs the gamut from English Horn to beat-boxed melodies. Join the cast on the dance floor with local band Likwefi and continue the party into the night with live art by Matt Beard. This isn't your junior year falling asleep in the back of English lit class while your teacher drones on about dead poets. If you already love poetry, you will be captivated. If you're not sure yet, take a chance — you'll be captivated, too.