Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekend Grab Bag - Sunday Edition

Patricia Kathleen Page, known as P.K. Page, a poet, novelist and painter, passed away this week at the age of 93. Prolific and productive to the end, she published two new books just last fall.

P.K. Page travelled widely lived an interesting and  varied life which included many types of creative endeavours aside from poetry.  When you search for her name  in the NFB Collection there are 9 results returned.  The most well known of these is the film Still Waters: The Poetry of P.K. Page.  From the NFB description:
It encapsulates the varied life of a Canadian woman who has reached international stature as both a painter and a poet. Her imagistic brilliance is here explored through the multiple places of her life and the several forms of her art. This film shows how the powerful works of P.K. Page extend beyond literature and painting into the realms of anthropology and ecology.
Her poem, Planet Earth, was selected to be part of a United Nations program to foster dialogue among nations, involving readings in countries around the world and possibly from Alpha, the new international space station.  It is featured, along with the other author selections on Ecosphere, an anthology of ecological, philosophical, spiritual, economic and cultural articles, editorials and reviews exploring the values of the planetary Ecosphere, its ecosystems, communities and wild species - as the natural and time-tested source of a new and compelling "Earth Ethic" for humanity.

There is a very excellent and comprehensive article on P.K. Page in the memorial published in the CBC News article on January 15th. Go here to read IN APPRECIATION - The constant writer -Remembering the life and lessons of poet P.K. Page by Rosemary Sullivan.

I particularly liked her poem Single Traveller.

Single Traveller

P.K. Page

What is this love that is my life's companion?
Shape-changer, sometimes faceless, this companion.

Single traveller, I wander a wasting world
awaiting the much anticipated Companion.

A trillium covered wood one April day
served as a nearly consummate companion.

A horse, two dogs, some cats, a blue macaw
each in its turn became a loyal companion.

Behind the loved embrace, a face of light-
demon or angel-lures me from my companion.

The street of love is neither wide nor narrow.
Its width depends on me and my companion.

Am I too bound and blinded by coarse wrappings
ever to know true love as my companion?

O Poet, squanderer of time and talents
why do you search for love as your Companion?

TACtv - The Accessible Channel
Whilst exploring my new HD channels available on my new digit service, I found a channel I hadn't encountered before and was intrigued.  It is called The Accessible TV Channel and it is actually classified as a charitable organization (which means you get a tax receipt if you donate).

I quote from the TACtv Website:
... is a national, English-language, descriptive-video, closed-captioned, basic HD digital TV specialty service.
TACtv broadcasts popular TV programs from conventional and specialty TV services and foreign-rights holders in “open format” for persons who are blind, vision-impaired, deaf or hard of hearing — a world first. All TACtv programs are described and closed-captioned and can be accessed provided you have a basic digital package ...
Its unique approach to describing cinematographic works makes it suitable for open broadcast — and that’s why with the support of broadcasters across Canada sighted and non-sighted viewers can watch the programming together without any loss of enjoyment.
I think it is fantastic that we are becoming more aware of the needs of people with disabilities.  However, I had to chuckle while listening to the programming.  For a sighted person, it is a bit weird to hear action which I am seeing on the screen described.  For instance, during a fight scene in a short drama, the narrator described the fight - "The bald man delivered 4 round house kicks but the brown haired man ducked them both and delivered a good blow to the other man's torso."  When the hero kissed the lady - "Tony walks over to the lady and smiles, grabs her hands and looks into her eyes. He puckers his lips and delivers a long kiss full on the lips."  Maybe it is just my pecuilar sense of humour, but it did make me chuckle.  Not to say it isn't absolutely necessary for those who are visually impaired to get the jist of the story, but I just found it a bit distracting to watch because I am so used to observing these details visually. 

Described video isn't the only feature which has been added to TAC.  All the other ways of making visual images more accessible have been employed, such as announcing commercial breaks, sizing up text, etc.

This is just one of the Accessible Channels, designed to deliver programming to the more than 5 million Canadians who can’t independently access regular TV and other media due to low literacy, blindness, vision restriction, physical or learning disability or other impairments associated with ageing.

The other channel is called Voice Print which broadcasts readings of full-text articles from Canadian 24/7 from more than 600 of Canada’s newspapers and magazines.

Now, obviously, someone has to read all the discriptive video scripts so they can be recorded and played with the video content.  Since this is a charitable organization volunteers are welcomed.  Fancy yourself as a volunteer reader for the TAC channel?

AMI (formerly NBRS), who broadcast TAC  couldn’t operate without the support of dedicated volunteers. If you’d like to be one of the readers or sign up for  other volunteer opportunities with them you can call 1-800-567-6755 ext. 244.

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