The Edmonton Poetry Festival

The Poetry Route Glides Into Winter

New winter-themed poetry can be found on Edmonton Transit buses! The latest round of bus poems features work from Edmonton-area students and will be displayed in ETS buses and LRT cars through mid-March. Details here →

Winter Scene

Festival News

Spring, and a New Event

April 08, 2015

Edmonton Poetry Festival 2015

Can we say that word yet? Can we write that word yet? The word we dare not loose for fear of reprisal from the weather gods? Maybe. In between all the things people ask of us we think of tank tops, flip flops, and patio beers. And when that certain word DOES finally write itself, what shall we do to mark the occasion?

April is National Poetry Month. That may mean something special in some circles, but what does it mean in daily life for the average person? It may mean noticing the way the sun falls between buildings at 7pm. It may mean listening to and appreciating the subtle beauty of the human voice in the air – not spoken poetry per se, but just words, how our familiars say things. Perhaps it means re-reading Dickinson or Eliot. It may dictate a trip to the poetry section of Audrey’s books. For some it means contemplating the Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist and wondering why their favourite poet isn’t on it. For most, we suspect, this month dedicated to poetry is about noticing words with a little more intensity than usual. If you want to get heady about it, you may come to believe that “Poetry is a characteristic of reality, echoing in every human tongue.” (Bringhurst) Poetry is out there without us…we just grab it by the hind leg from time to time.

More prosaically: We’ve added a new event since we first announced and posted or schedule. It’s called Build a Book, and it’s presented in partnership with the Edmonton Public Library and Eilizabeth Withey, the EPL’s current Writer in Residence. The event takes place in the EPL’s Maker Space at the downtown Milner Library. The event features the Espresso Book Machine, and selected participants will have their work published in a slim chapbook. Check the event page for complete details and submission guidelines.

Enjoy spring’s fickle gifts, #yeg. We’ll see you out on the streets.

Workshops for Poetry Moves

March 23, 2015

Edmonton Poetry Festival 2015

Of course, you should never trust Spring when it pokes its head out in March. Still too early your Mom used to mumble. Your red Stanfields one-piece union suit (c/w trap door) remains accessible. You won’t switch your closet over to spring mode (moving the sweaters and long sleeves to the rear, whilst moving / culling your too-old, too-worn spring rags, new just two years past) just yet. Last week you considered relocating the snow shovels to the side door – a not-subtle elbow to the North Wind that would have said, go home, yard wrecker. White rabbits still ply your neighbour’s lilac. The deck is slippery. Your aluminum shovel, proudly found late last season when you thought they’d be sold out, is called back into service. You let the sparrows work their songs. You shovel snow with Billy Collins, because he shoveled snow with The Buddha.


Guess what? The 2015 Edmonton Poetry Festival is offering no less than THREE workshops during festival week. You can check them out on our workshop page. You’ve got your choice of Haiku in the Japanese Garden, a wonderful chance to commune with the aforementioned Buddha in a workshop led by Patrick Pilarski (editor of Daily Haiku); Spend a day working with the amazing Sue Goyette, and get your poems moving; learn how to perform with skill and passion in a performance poetry workshop with Edmonton’s Poet Laureate Mary Pinkoski (she doesn’t do many workshops, so jump on it!).

You know we’re on Facebook, right? Well, we’ve posted many of our event details there for those that like to use Facebook to keep up with things (it can be handy for that!). Check out our page for all the event listings and details…“join” an event if you’re planning to attend!

And one last thing: Tickets for our events are moving. They’re going. If you haven’t jumped yet, do it. Here is the schedule page, in case you’re not sure where to go. Don’t come crying when these events sell out!

Less than a month to go, Edmonton! We’re ready to move…are you?

Event Signups are Open!

March 16, 2015

Edmonton Poetry Festival 2015

Before I get into the meat of this post, two PSAs for your consideration:

  1. Tickets for our larger events are selling fast. If you’re thinking of attending one of them, head on over to the schedule page and buy your tickets.
  2. We’re still looking for some volunteers. Here is our call for volunteers. Join us, and help make poetry move through #yeg this spring.

And now, The Weather.

Do you know that YOU have a chance to read at the Edmonton Poetry Festival? Do you know that the world needs your work? Have you considered there are those who may be waiting patiently to hear your art? One of the most beautiful things about this festival is its diversity. We feature authors from across Canada and the world on our stages, and we’re very proud of those events. Our local community makes this whole thing run, and we are always stoked to feature our local verse-hounds in two open sign-up events. We are accepting event signups NOW, and you should check the details below.

Gone with the Blinks happens on Monday April 20, and is our traditional Monday night event. The highlights here are SIXTY poets reading for no more than 30 seconds each. It’s fully-automatic poetry and the range of voices and energy is always inspiring. Sign up to read!

The Cafe Readings happen on Sunday April 26 and they are the festival’s traditional denouement: 70 poets in 3 venues across 3 hours. Each poet get a little more time to stretch out – readings are roughly 4-5 minutes long. Listening to poetry in the air is a great way to spend a spring Sunday, and a fine way to fold up a week of poetic greatness. Sign up here for the cafe readings →

Stop reading “OK!” magazine. Stop thinking about the dog mess that awaits you in the back yard thaw. Have a bias toward action. Stop playing small and let us hear your verses. More trying. Less crying. Your audience awaits.

Call for Volunteers

March 11, 2015

Edmonton Poetry Festival 2015

We know #YEG likes to support the Arts. We see it every year at all the gorgeous festivals Edmonton has to offer. We see it all year round at one-off events and casinos. We see it time and again when we put out a call to our community for volunteers. The people in this city are doers. You make things happen. We are asking you to help us make things happen again. The Edmonton Poetry Festival is set to launch on April 19th for 8 full days of Poetry that Moves You!

That’s over 32 events and we need your help! Can you give of your time to PoFest? We need help with event set up and take down, selling tickets, selling books, running our membership and information tables and driving poets to their events! We also need help to run Poetry Central on Churchill Square during festival week. Poetry Central includes our famous Short Order Poetry Booth. Maybe you want to write poems on the spot or play with chalk to write poems on the concrete. Try a hand at creating a poem with our word blocks. Help us introduce poetry to everyone in Churchill Square!

We’ve said it before. You know it. We know it. None of our plans happen without you. We’ll do our best to make your time with us as fun as possible. Perks include a swag bag, a special thank you gift from the festival and of course our Saturday night volunteer party.

And thank you. A thousand times over – thank you!

Rayanne Doucet
Executive Director
Edmonton Poetry Festival

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