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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spotlight on KARIMA HOISAN By Marriellanna Resident

It was both a sad and joyous occasion when Karima Hoisan agreed to come to perform for us at Irish Estates recently, her first time back in realms for several months.  The elation at seeing her again was tempered with the knowledge of why she had left sl in the first place - to make the long Journey from her rl Costa Rican home to visit a friend in the United States and more poignant still, it was a journey made with the sole purpose of being at the end for a  childhood friend dying from Cancer.

For me, it is a mark of what makes Karima such an outstanding performer is the clarity with which  she is able to lay bare her heart and soul, the nuance and expression articulated in each of her poems so eloquently expressed and on this occasion specifically in the two readings she dedicated to her friend which so touched the audience around her. One a poem she composed herself in tribute to her friend ‘Glide away’ the other one which had touched her and which she had found in a book at the hospice ‘Gone from my sight’ by Henry Van Dyke.

 As she read , in her voice there was the obvious distress, memories that are still raw for her, yet so evident too the love she had for her friend that not a single person in the room remained untouched by the experience. Afterwards, so many people spoke to me, thanked me for bringing her to the Estates, told me how much her words had moved them for many they could relate to the same feelings at the loss of somebody close in their own lives.

 When words can touch you, when they can make you shed a tear, when they can convey the spectrum of emotion that the writer feels within so that you feel them within yourself, then they have done their job. Few have the ability to create such words for they are words of power, words of beauty that move and stir the fibre at the core, the soul.  Karima is one of those fortunate enough to be able to achieve that effect in her audience.  On a personal level,  I myself,  felt the same chill the day Karima read a poem about her mother’s fur coat. As I listened, memories stirred within me and  It made me cry as I thought of my own mothers black fur coat ( Albeit it was Nylon and not real fur and circa 1978 so you can imagine  how it looked.) How she would cuddle me in it like a big black bear and for a moment I could smell it, smell her perfume, feel the warmth of it pressed against my cheek as I held her, lost in all that black crackling against the static it created.  I had forgotten all about it.  When words can rekindle memories then that is a precious gift indeed, one I thank Karima for, for restoring a memory I had not known was so long lost.

Karima looked beautiful, composed and serene as she sat in the lush tropical d├ęcor of the Irish Estates gardens, she did not look out of place amongst the wealth of blooms and flowers in a pink and purple dress that complimented their exquisite colours. Karima had chosen it especially and with obvious care the same way she does with the music and art that accompanies each recital.  Some of the music is composed by Karima herself, some well-known like Dire Straits or others more obscure and each accompanied by the artwork she chooses to illustrate the mood she creates, that sets the tone for each individual poem. Karimas best musical accompaniement is the sound of her voice,  it is almost hypnotic, lyrical, a touch of the exotic and so essential to conveying the deeper meaning of the pieces, it is as much her instrument as the pen.

This is very much performance art,  infusing the senses it lifts, provokes, makes you think deeply at times or feel equally as deeply at others. Some of her works bring a smile, for example ‘Shot in the head’ whilst others make you reflect on your own life, your own experiences. This week I particularly enjoyed ‘Whale Song’ and just to give you a flavour unfortunately without the words, I am including a picture here.

Lastly, or almost lastly, I wish to thank Irishgent, owner of Irish Estates for trusting me..when I told him ‘I want to book a Poetess’. Whilst others might have balked for it is impossible to describe Karimas performance adequately unless you have seen it first, he had the faith to believe  me that this was something worth putting on for our residents. We had 40 turn up, 39 in fact and every one of them stayed until the end. I’m glad to say, he became a Karima convert too.

I spoke to Karima recently, she wrote a book of poetry a couple of years ago and I suggested to her that it might be time to write a new one. I am delighted to say that she’s giving it some thought. In the meantime do please pester her to give you a copy of the previous book.  It makes great reading and it looks wonderful on my coffee table in my sl home. I leave it open and people have been flicking through and reading it!


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