As you enter the Tipsy Muse Café, alive with music and the smell of coffee, a small group can be found in the corner huddled around a table writing.
Rebecca Salazar, PhD candidate at UNB and author of Guzzle and The Knife You Need to Justify the Wound, leads this group through a “Music of Poetry” workshop, a weekly classroom held in the bustling café.
Salazar said the café is the perfect venue to encourage the connection between the Fredericton arts community and the university, which historically have been very separate.
“I was curious to have the workshop take place off-campus, since the university and downtown arts communities--at least in my experience--have not tended to overlap,” she said. “So far, the Tipsy Muse is a wonderful place to have this workshop: it has such a warm, casual atmosphere that I think makes the participants feel relaxed and welcome.”
The workshop covers the intersection of music and poetry and discusses how the two intertwine in practice, performance and history.
“Thinking of writing not as a quiet, solitary, page-only practice, but as something musical, sonic, and performative opens people up to thinking of language and how they communicate ideas and emotions in such a different way,” Salazar said.
The learning atmosphere at the table was largely collaborative and interactive, with engaged participants reading poetry aloud, swaying in time with songs and supplying their own expertise.
“Music of Poetry” has a broad target audience, including members of bands, individuals with academic backgrounds and those casually interested in the subject matter.
“I’m from Ontario, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to get involved in Fredericton,” said one participant.
Salazar hopes that the workshop will show participants of all experience levels a new approach to creative writing and poetry.
“For the more experienced writers in the group, I hope this gives them a whole new toolbox of communication to work with, and for those less experienced, I want to give them a variety of ways to approach writing poetry from which they can find their own voice,” she said.