Dr. Norman Allan;
Doctor of Alternative Medicine; Poetic Renaissance man.
 

Dr. Norman Bethune Allan graduated as a Doctor of Chiropractic from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1986 and since then has been involved in practicing, teaching and studying various aspects of alternative medicine. He has also steadfastly pursued his best loves; poetry and drawing.

After graduating Norman was involved in designing a study of Gaston Naessen's work with Dark Field Microscopy and at one point was involved with developing a clinical trial to study the management of osteoarthritis through nutrition but before all of this, Norman Allan was a scientist. He obtained his PhD. in Neuroscience, in Sussex, England in 1970. His thesis was the study of central control of motor behaviour.

"I finished my PhD., then came to Canada in '71. For complex, personal reasons I spent the 70's trying to learn how to write, I did 'tune in' and 'turn on' but I certainly didn't 'drop out', well, maybe periodically! I needed a trade and I started to work on my day job, which is alternative medicine. I wouldn't call my self a healer, I am a resource but I don't spend much time on the business end of things. I spend all my time on my avocations!"

Allan's wholistic training lasted for several years, as he was engaged in research at U of T. He studied an array of topics relating to Complementary Medicines including Acupuncture, Bioelectricity, Wound Healing, Food Sensitivity and of course he spent focused amounts of time developing his creative writing and drawing.

In England, as a teen in the 1950's, Norman had great inspiration in the form of his father's companion, Lucille Little. "She painted abstract and semi-representational works. "She had an enormous influence on me! She was particularly moved by the Impressionists and introduced me to them. She appreciated their usage of bold and primary colour and painting into the background. If I have any tutoring, it is from her."

Norman Allan's adult creative life was brought into realisation through a profound personal experience, because of which, he delved deeply into self-examination. "As Freud says, 'We owe ourselves some discretion, I will say that In 1992 there was an energetic explosion in my life, I went though a personal experience which became very important to me. There was incredible energy around this experience and I began drawing. As my life settled down eventually, the drawing did too" Allan keeps sketch books filled with hundreds of studies, many are discarded. "Only  the good ones are kept."

"A few years ago, in the New York Times, I saw a reproduction of {anti-classical, expressionist} Egon Shiele's work and thought to myself, 'Someone paints like me!' A well known curator in town said "Your work is very early 20th century, not avant garde enough to give you a show!" Despite this pronouncement, Allan has found his niche and is now in the Laurier Gallery stable, in the west end and will be exhibiting paintings and drawings there next November, which he is thrilled about.

"I do lots of different things, the writing workshop I belong to is called the Renaissance Conspiracy. It's at The Renaissance Cafe on Danforth, near Woodbine. They are a very talented group of people. If you want to workshop a piece you bring 15 copies...if you want to present your work, there's an open mic. Renaissance Conspiracy used to be the Toronto Chapter of The Canadian Poet's Association. The Conspiracy exists to '... promote the reading, writing, publishing and preservation of poetry in Canada through the individual efforts of members.'  We've just released our second Anthology and its full of wonderful pieces by poets such as; Niri Maharaj, James Dewar and Joan Latchford, among others. As well, I think some of my own poetry is stunning and I like it!"

Allan also conveyed to me most enthusiastically, his love of cultural creative movements as expressed historically, " Music is so important to 'my generation'. There have been a few Renaissances, in the Middle Ages with Fra Angelico, there was a Renaissance in the cinemas when I was growing up '54 - '62; Fellini, Bergman, Kurosawa, Truffaut, the most exciting Renaissance of course happened in the 60's, The Beatles, Dylan, Jim Morrison, Alan Watts et al. These were cultural icons for us. The culture was very broad... it was, I feel about life against death."
 

This blending of Norman's creative interests; music, writing, art and the poetic experience, is being celebrated at Norman's chapbook launch at TRANE Studio on April 18th. Named after the great saxophonist, John Coltrane, the Trane Studio features the work of musical and visual artists in the jazz mileau."I'll be in performance with Waleed Abdulhamid, Jeff Kearns and other friends, reading form "Incarnations" my new chapbook. Listening to these musicians is like being on Olympus!"
 

"Little delights me more than a poem" Allan says "Sometimes things need expressing, a thought or a feeling or an event or an idea, which has energy behind it. Poetry is a way to put energy into expression. I've been around the block a few times; I've written a few poems. I write non-fiction really, I write to explain an idea... I have no idea what 'the voice' sounds like in terms of art... my prose is reportage."

Norman's biography, poetry, written and visual works are accessible at  www.normanallan.com. "Incarnations" Chapbook Launch is Wednesday the 18th of April 8:30 PM~ TRANE Studio; 964 Bathurst;  http://www.tranestudio.com/ , Renaissance Conspiracy ~http://www.renaissancecafe.ca/events.htm~ Norman's Offices are at 2 College Street.Suite 305 Toronto.Dr. Allan holds an open house in his offices every Thursday afternoon from 4-6.
 
 

Reincarnation

In my last incarnation
I was a bleating sheep
I followed the sunshine gladly

I remember the journey to slaughter
stock car stock yard
electric prod and stun gun
all your humanity

Ba ba black
ain't coming back
waiting your curse
your knife
my life

Now I'm lamb chops