So. While I was at VERSeFest, I picked up Catherine Owen’s latest poetry collection, Trobairitz, about-which I will now squee at length.
Me being me, perhaps its no surprise that I saw the cover and had to at least check it out.
I pulled it off the merch table, and checked the description on the back cover:
Twenty-first century metalheads; twelfth century troubadours and their female counterparts, the trobairitz—what could they possibly have in common? The creation of an often misunderstood and at times reviled genre for one; for another, a kin preoccupation with the questioning of structures set up by class, gender, and religion.
So far, so good. That she got a blurb from Kate Braid (one of my favourite poets – you can listen to some of her poetry here) didn’t hurt, either.
But it was the random sellection – open the book at a random page, and see what’s there – that sold it for me.
I landed on a poem called “Metal Show” – a piece which, the next night, she performed in a spitfire style that would be at home on local slam stages – my heart sundered by the opening words “Tribe is what they are”. So, too, for Tribute (dedicated to RJ Dio), and for Plazer 3, for the Canso of As It Is, for the way she takes old forms and builds them into new situations, reforges those links between one rebelious, heretical musical tradition and another.
I’m biased, I know. I love the subject matter. Love metal, love music history, love this history of women’s voices, too. It’s my kind of book.
If it sounds like your kind of book, I recommend that you check it out, too.