Pick up a copy of Tender Buttons, any edition of the countless reissues published since 1912, turn to any page, and you are bound to encounter some of the most strange, beautiful, and wise combinations of the English language you will ever read. It doesn't seem possible for a century old book of poetry to come off the page as fresh and vibrant as the most innovative work being produced today, but Stein's welcoming and accessible approach only seems to brighten as the 20th century grows distant in the rear view.
When it comes to classic literature the notion of timelessness (seems like this could've been written yesterday!) is automatic, a given necessity of its survival, but out of all the world's most bonafide 'classic' authors very few have had the same sort of magical ability "to capture 'moments of consciousness' independent of time and memory". The act of reading Gertrude Stein doesn't feel the same as what we normally refer to as 'reading'. It starts with the word on the page but somewhere along the way Stein gives readers complete freedom to fly off in their own direction.
100 years later poets from all over the world continue to respond to Gertrude Stein's resounding, foundational masterpiece. This Sunday, on the 68th anniversary of Stein's death, July 27, Calgary's Poet Laureate derek beaulieu hosts an evening dedicated to poetic responses to Stein's work.
100 TENDER BUTTONS: CELEBRATING GERTRUDE STEIN
The event takes place at Loft 112 - 535 8 Avenue SE. Starts at 7 p.m.
The lineup of poets will include readings by Christian Bök, Natalie Simpson, Nikki Sheppy, Rachel Shabalin, Anj Fermor and Helen Hajnoczky.
You can read the full text of Tender Buttons at Project Gutenberg.
For a list of upcoming events at Loft 112, check out the full schedule, which includes dates and times the Loft is open for 'drop-in' - a place to get out and write and meet other writers and share ideas.