With the slow bleed of so many Edmonton poets/artists to the West Coast, it is rare and most welcome when a Vancouverite of Catherine Owen‘s talent and infectious level of community engagement (and fondness for the vino) blows into town to put down roots. I am not sure that was her plan when she and bandmates of the blackmetal group INHUMAN arrived in wintry Edmonton, but it’s a few winters later and she’s showing no signs of flying the coop.
When not writing lyrics and exercising (exorcising?) her Warwick Vampyre bass as The Abbess of Abjection for INHUMAN, Catherine hosts the refreshingly eclectic 44th Avenue Troubador salon series in her and partner/INHUMAN frontman & guitarist Chris Matzigkeit‘s livingroom at Bermview Manor (down the road a spell from Thrushcross Grange). Visual artists, musicians, and poets—oh my—join forces to bring a convivial evening of performance, presentation and talk. The series has just wrapped for the summer, but I know many aficionados of the local culture scene are already eager for what’s in store next season.
Catherine has been writing for a very very long time despite her being even younger than me. Lately she’s been plumbing the depths of troubador/trobairitz poetry, coming up with some pretty innovative takes on a little known mode of versifying by Occitan women from around the 13th century. The cansos in 13 Lovers will tease you with some of the astounding possibilities of this medieval form, presented here and now by a most capable trobairitz.