Tom Wayman prepares for the launch of his poetry collection Helpless Angels Friday, May 26 at the Bean Scene Coffee House. Featured that night alongside Wayman is the Lent/Fraser/Wall Trio. (Photo submitted)

Tom Wayman prepares for the launch of his poetry collection Helpless Angels Friday, May 26 at the Bean Scene Coffee House. Featured that night alongside Wayman is the Lent/Fraser/Wall Trio. (Photo submitted)

Binding music and poetry

The link between music and poetry will be celebrated at a combined concert and book launch

The longstanding link between music and poetry will be celebrated at a combined musical performance and book launch Friday, May 26 at Vernon’s Bean Scene Coffee House. Featured will be the Lent/Fraser/Wall Trio and author Tom Wayman.

“Poetry began as song lyrics, or recited to musical accompaniment,” said Wayman, who will be launching his newest collection, Helpless Angels, the poems of which all relate to music. “As literacy spread through society, poetry began to be written for the page, too. But the two art forms have remained linked, most recently illustrated by the awarding of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature to singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.”

Performing at the event will be the Vernon-based blues and roots ensemble, the Lent/Fraser/Wall Trio. The group features musician, author, and educator John Lent on vocals, and guitarist-composers Neil Fraser and Shelby Wall.

Lent’s own considerable talent as a singer-songwriter was acknowledged this year when one of his newest compositions was a semifinalist in Nashville’s International Songwriters Competition, out of 16,000 entries.

Lent, Fraser, and Wall have performed over the past 25 years at dozens of Okanagan and B.C. Interior venues, as well as on CBC, and have opened for touring acts that include Long John Baldry, Bill Henderson, and Roy Forbes. The group’s eclectic repertoire is evident on their 2005 release Shadow Moon.

Wayman, who lives in southeastern B.C.’s Slocan Valley, said his recent book of poems was conceived when he realized that his generation was the first in human history to be able to listen to any music they choose anywhere they go.

“Poems in Helpless Angels reflect on how this development has impacted us throughout our lives,” he said. “Other poems in the collection honour musicians who have been important to me, respond to the music found in nature, or consider the ways music enhances or alters our moods.”

One poem in Helpless Angels was named winner of Musicworks magazine’s sonic geography literary contest in February. Wayman’s 2012 poetry collection Dirty Snow won the Acorn-Plantos Award, and his 2015 collection of short stories about the Slocan Valley, The Shadows We Mistake for Love, won the Diamond Foundation Prize for Fiction (Western Canada Jewish Book Awards). Author of more than 20 poetry collections, as well as various books of fiction and non-fiction, Wayman was declared a Vancouver Literary Landmark with a plaque on the city’s Commercial Drive commemorating his contribution to Vancouver’s literary heritage in 2015.

Helpless Angels is published by Saskatoon’s Thistledown Press, who also published Lent’s 2009 poetry collection Cantilevered Songs and his 2012 novel, The Path to Ardroe.

Tom Wayman with his poetry release Helpless Angels and the Lent/Fraser/Wall Trio are performing at The Bean Scene, 2923 30th Ave., Friday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20, with tickets available at the door.