I used to see her hanging around art festivals. Like every young poet with something to say. Waiting. Waiting for a chance to share her poems.
...A single tear falls remembering the happy times
So far and few between
Anger not understood, only felt
Time wasting as words go unheard...
Occasionally she would be given space to perform. Slowly, slowly the opportunities increased. And the poet she has always been, became the poet we are getting to know. A voice not to be ignored.
Let me tell you ...
The things I see and hear,
You'd not believe.
You bet I have opinions.
Kirsteen Main has earned her place among British Columbia poets. She has emerged with her own poetry site and from her unique advantage. Canadian playwright and writer George Ryga once wrote the role of poets is to serve up their opinions with ice. Kirsteen is that kind of poet. Commanding, frank, tender.
But still she faces obstacles. Because she 'talks' by pointing to letters on an alphabet board, not everyone believes she authors what she writes. Kirsteen understands these prejudices and biases. She rejects the weight of pity and disbelief. Here is an excerpt from, I Am Me
Watching, always watching,
People just pass by.
Oh, they notice alright,
But what they see is not me.
They see a wheelchair,
They see a body that to them is hopeless,
They see a body and then they say, "Oh, poor thing."
They, society, have not seen me. ...
But her sister Cat sees her, understanding as only sisters can, the link between perceiving and being. Cat Main is a Canadian performer and theatre creator. She is mounting a one woman show based on her experiences with Kirsteen, exploring the science and spirit of communication for the Neanderthal Arts Festival. Other Side Through You is a blend of fact and fiction combining interviews with researchers, speech pathologists, family members and sceptics. Other Side Through You takes us on a journey that explodes the personal into the political and immerses the audience in a dialogue on what constitutes real and authentic communication between any individuals.
Its world premier is Thursday July 21st at the Cultch, 1895 Venables (604-251-1363) and carries on until July 31st. Tickets
There's not a poet whose hasn't had to fight the odds. And who hasn't been sustained by friends and family. Poetry is born from those experiences. Kirsteen Main, with a little help from her sister, can proudly take her place among those whose words journey from their soul to disrupt our complacency.
I'll let the words from one of Kirsteen's newest poems, Kind Words escort you onto her website. Do subscribe - there is a 'whole lot of life' to be read there.
Release the weighted feelings
Like a word leaves my soul
To become a poem.
All poetry by Kirsteen Main