On the fifth of November 2021 the Feel-ed Lab held the first of a string of gatherings by the name of Littoral Listening. As a low-stakes come-as-you-are reading group, Littoral Listening is a gathering space for being intentional about listening together and separately. Like the littoral, a habitat of land and water, at each of our edges we meet, ebb, flow, and articulate our mutual inextricability: sharing digital space and corporeal time.
Together we, nine of us, read Jeannette Armstrong’s widely published poem “Water is Siwlkw” and re-visited Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s recent prose poem, which lent it’s theme to the event, “In Case You Wanted to Save the Planet.” At each of their edges these pieces met, ebbing, flowing, and articulating their momentary inextricability.
We read the poems aloud together. One visitor read Armstrong’s poem just as one should read poetry (according to another visitor): as slow as you can, and then a little bit slower. Once the poems had been shared, each participant took the floor for two minutes with the following instructions:
If you wish to share your reflections on the readings, the rest of us will listen. If you wish to share a memory that the readings brought up for you, the rest of us will listen. And if you wish to remain silent, we will listen together to the silence, and perhaps find that in each of our places, it's not so silent after all.
We would like to acknowledge that this format might be uncomfortable. We would like to acknowledge that discomfort, embrace it, and hold it in community, uncomfortable together.
We listen without comment to what others share. We give the person sharing our full, uncritical attention.
After the listening round, the floor will be open for a discussion.
Thank you to all the visitors who gathered with us for this first Littoral Listening! Cameras on, sharing digital space and corporeal time across continents and neighborhoods: broadcasting Kelowna rain.