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

Important Notice - Venue Change!

September 20, 2014

Government House

Important notice to everyone planning to attend our Alberta Arts Days events at Government House. (original post is here)

Due to an unexpected governmental request from the Lieutenant General, we’ve had to CHANGE VENUES for our Saturday September 27, 2014 events, which were originally scheduled to happen at Government House on the grounds of the Royal Alberta Museum. Check the original post for the revised venues. If you were planning to attend, check it out!

Where We Come From: A Weekend of Poetry and Storytelling

September 14, 2014

Government House

Important Notice September 20, 2014: Due to a governmental request, the venue for the Saturday events below has been CHANGED. Please read carefully!

Please join us as we celebrate the heritage and harvest of Alberta for Culture Days, with four two special performances at Government House on September 27th and 28th ONLY, 2014. Government House is located at 12845 – 102 Avenue, on the grounds of the Royal Alberta Museum. See below for updated venues for Saturday September 27. The Edmonton Poetry Festival and the Government House Foundation are pleased to present inspiring afternoons in the beautiful Alberta Room, which is rarely open to the public. Tours of the historic house with its fine art collection are also provided.

All events are free of charge.

Saturday, September 27, 11:00am

New Venue, Saturday morning session ONLY: Star Gallery on the second floor of the Royal Alberta Museum.

Storyteller – Wendy Edey
Wendy reaches into our hearts with stories that turn the most mundane human experiences into a cause for laughter and personal reflection.

Poet – Marilyn Dumont
Marilyn has been the Writer-in-Residence at the Edmonton Public Library, the Universities of Alberta, Brandon, Grant MacEwan, Toronto-Massey College, and Windsor. She has been faculty at the Banff Centre in programs such as Writing with Style and Wired Writing and she has advised and mentored in the Aboriginal Emerging Writers’ Program. Her newest collection, The Pemmican Eaters, will be published in the spring 2015 by ECW Press.

Saturday, September 27, 3:00pm

New Venue, Saturday afternoon session ONLY: Audrey’s Books, 10702 Jasper Avenue.

Marco Melfi – Chapbook Launch
presented in partnership with The Writers Guild of Alberta
Marco Melfi’s chapbook In Between Trains is winner of the Sharon Drummond Chapbook Award. Marco was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario and has lived in Edmonton since 2008. He is a member of the Stroll of Poets and has had poems published in The Stroll of Poets Anthology, The Prairie Journal and the Rat Creek Press. He has read his work at the Edmonton Poetry Festival and other events in the city over the last six years.

In Between Trains is a set of poems collected from transit trips and bus stops. The poems capture small scenes that occur while waiting or riding between places. The activities, interactions and conversations lend themselves to anecdotes, memories, and passing the time playing with words.

Sunday, September 28, 11:00am

Sunday venue remains Government House.

Storytellers – Marie Anne McLean and Kathy Jessup
Marie Anne McLean has been honoured as one of Canada’s storytelling elders.
Kathy Jessup tells original stories and folktales at schools, libraries, concerts and festivals across Canada. She also performs internationally.

Poets – Four inspiring poets share an afternoon to showcase poetry from the local harvest. Their winning poems for the September flight of the Poetry Route remind us all to smell the flowers, grow our orchards and share our abundance.

Ann Sutherland

Ann Sutherland is freelance writer who also writes fiction and creative non-fiction. Once in a while she tries her hand at poetry.

Kim Mannix

Kim Mannix is a freelance journalist and aspiring poet, who spends most of her time rearing her two beautiful daughters. She is originally from Saskatoon, and after trying out 6 different Canadian cities, she and her family have now planted roots in Sherwood Park. She blogs sometimes at

Stephen T Berg

Stephen T. Berg’s prose and poetry have seen life in publications such as Orion, Geez, Prairie Messenger and Earthshine, as well as in live theatre. A frequent contributor to the Edmonton Journal’s Religion page, he writes features and articles on issues of faith, social justice and peace. He blogs at

Shirley Serviss

Shirley A. Serviss is an Edmonton poet and non-fiction writer and the staff literary Artist on the Wards for the Friends of University Hospitals.

Sunday, September 28, 3:00pm

Sunday venue remains Government House.

Storyteller – Bethany Ellis
Bethany Ellis has been telling stories for three decades in schools, libraries, festival and graveyards. Her stories have taken her to Africa, Asia, and the wilds of Alberta.

Poet – Doug Elves
Douglas Elves grew up in Edmonton and acquired his BA in Classics, English and Romance Languages and a teaching certificate at the University of Alberta. He has travelled extensively, and in the eighties was an activist in labour and politics; but in 1988 resigned from Politics to return to Poetics. He had earlier founded a small drama troupe called Caliban Theatre, and in 1991 founded, and was treasurer of, the Stroll of Poets Society. Find his poems online at

New Bus Poem Winners Announced

August 10, 2014

Poetry Route Winners Announced!

You’ve thumbed though that volume of Neruda but have never committed to more than a few pages. You have that one poem earmarked – the one about a lemon. Other poems have caught your eye, but none received a folded corner. Other books are scattered about the house. A few on the lower shelf of the nightstand; three on the dining room table; one on the shelf in the hall; two on the coffee table, in front of the television. You’ve wandered through those pages slowly, often forgetting your place and refusing to use bookmarks. It’s enough to own them, you sometimes think. It’s enough to let ambition have its way with your wallet and convince you of your greatness. Often, it’s enough to touch the covers. Some smooth and shiny, some ridged and indented. Most are unread and cherished. Most are over-designed, you think. You’ve been known to say, The cover is the first poem in the book. Whenever you set yourself to read – usually, and to your detriment, allowing too long a time – something taps you on the shoulder and shows you things that you must hold at bay. Tomorrow’s sprint to the office. A slip up from years ago, yet to be fully forgiven. Your spouse’s handwriting on the grocery list, intimately mixed with yours. When reading, all of those things go in the pocket at the back of your notebook. Close but away.

The winners of our June submission call for The Poetry Route have been determined! The theme for this round was “Local Harvest”. We received MILLIONS of entries! If you believe that one, I’d like to invite you to view the banana farm that I have in my back yard. The submission call response was stronger than your resolve at the bakery counter, stronger than a thresher’s low gear, stronger than a mint leaf in a pot of tea, stronger than…

Anyway, we had a blast going through the entries and everybody sent their finest work. We’d like to thank all the poets who really “planted” their “finest crops” on us. Only four were chosen, and the winners can be found here. Congratulations to the four: Stephen T Berg, Kim Mannix, Shirley Serviss, and Ann Sutherland.

Bus Poems Submission Call - June 2014

June 28, 2014

With the Edmonton Poetry Festival well behind us and summer starting to stretch its legs, it’s time once again to open submissions for the next round of The Poetry Route, a PoFest/ETS joint that brings E-Town verse from the page to the streets in the form of bus placards. It’s a lovely thing to think of poetry moving about the city on busses. Small spaces saved from the relentless reach of advertising; poems mingling with the workadays, office denizens, steel toes and Carhartts; poems flitting about in the diesel spew. How would your words perform in such demanding environs?

The theme of this submission call is “Local Harvest”. Just what does that mean? It means what you believe it to mean. It may mean that you enjoy spring’s crop of freshly-grilled hot dogs, served with glee from street corners and storefronts throughout the city. It might reflect your carefully-planned trip to the downtown farmer’s market, or your lazy, late-morning stumble to the Strathcona market, where you browse mostly, but always buy a coffee and a bag of popcorn. It may mean the tangible joy you feel on a Saturday morning wherein, after a work week spent in front of a glowing computer screen, you finally get to sink your hands into the earth. Take the joy you plant with your marigolds and put it on the page. Cut your zucchini before it grows beyond the fence boards and make a poem of it. Consider the shamefully large number of food photos you have posted to Instagram. We want poems about lettuce, steak, french fries, corn dogs, organic carrots, your heirloom eggplant, cherry tomatoes, and the tacos you had at Tres Carnales last week. You up for it?

Send us your food poems, fair city, and you may reap the reward of seeing your delicious syllables on our city’s busses. Don’t go half way – this is as serious as a slug infestation in your raised vegetable beds.

Here are the submission rules and guidelines. The theme is “Local Harvest”. Go to it.

Submission Deadline: July 21, 2014

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