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Is a Session a Salon?

With a natural affinity to chicken and the number 9, Pamela Bentley’s “Chicken Session #9” was bound to catch my attention. A chance to hone my reading skills, enjoy good company and enter a contest for the best dish? This sounded like something I could support.

Salons have historically been held in the home of an inspiring host, with the intended double duty to amuse and increase knowledge. The more modern word Sessions brings music to mind and is aptly updated for Pamela's brand of get-together. Chicken Sessions’ edict is to debut original work. Poems, stories and songs should be never-before performed to an audience in public, whether finished or still in progress.

With a full line up of 12 reading slots + a guest poet and musician, Pamela kept things moving. The time allotments are either 4 or 8 minutes long. If you’re chicken about reading, this is a friendly place to unveil your new talent. The first woman had never read in public, while there were others who were regulars or members of other Vancouver literary circles

Food & socializing outside began at 7pm and at 8pm the first group of poets perched one by one on the exterior stairs as people lounged on chairs, blankets and a hammock in the back yard.

Dishes appeared and wine was opened. Those who wanted to be in the “toonie draw”, listed their dish and threw a coin into the pot for end of night voting. Jambalaya, a Greek salad, an Indian dal dish (mine), fish tacos, an espresso chocolate cake and a peach/pear crumble laced with ginger were amongst the evening’s mixed offerings. (The righteous crumble won the pot).

As dusk turned to evening, folding chairs were set up in the cozy living room and soon it was a packed house. Readings continued and the evening ended with “Chicken's Choices” Poet Lucia Misch and Singer/Songwriter David Newberry, performing with sister Sue Newberry from Toronto. Poet and musical duo each did a 20 minute set with at least one debut piece. Chapbooks and CD’s were on sale and the hat was passed for these featured performers.

The only prose reader amongst a wildly innovative group of poets, I grabbed an 8 minute slot for part of a short story and amped up the presentation. Great reviews, lots of fun, looking forward to reading the rest of the story at Sessions #10. To get involved, friend Pamela on Facebook and look for the sign up announcement – those slots go quick!

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