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

Cafe Readings Schedule Posted

April 22, 2015

Edmonton Poetry Festival 2015

Hello all! We hope you’re enjoying the festival so far. So many great events, so many great poets. It makes one dizzy (or, maybe it’s the Whiskey).

Just a quick heads up: The schedule for the 2015 Cafe readings event, happening on Sunday April 26, has just been posted. Check it out, and download it HERE. Our downtown will be filled with poets and words during this event, the festival’s traditional closing movement. See you there!

Welcome to the 2015 Festival!

April 19, 2015

Edmonton Poetry Festival 2015 Spring brings bounty; new life. It brings yard-bound surprises and playful turns of phrase. Spring arrives with a rake in one hand and a Mary Oliver poem in the other. It brings light and soft weight. Buds, bulbs, blooms, buzzes. Senseless alliteration, and bold rhyme. It tells you to get moving. It says begin now.

Welcome to #pofest15, #yeg’s first big festival of the year, The Edmonton Poetry Festival! Our lovely early spring has made the arrival the Festival sweeter than usual. The community is jazzed and energized – maybe even a bit drunk on sunshine and warmth. Everyone is pumped to brush away winter’s sad leavings and bring on the beauty of the season. So let’s do this thing.

There are many great events at this year’s fest, and you should certainly check the schedule for the rundown. A few highlights:

Today, Sunday April 19: The day starts early with a Haiku Workshop at the Devonian Garden, then moves on to High Noon, a spotlight on some hot local talent. At 2pm, allow yourself the luxury of a Most Beautiful Deception down at La Cité Francophone. At 5 o’clock, you can catch some visual art and poetry at The First Metaphor, featuring poetry by Kelly Shepherd and woodcuts by BC artist Alison Kubbos. At at 7pm, take a trip to the inner city with Gary Garrison and friends at Gettin’ Gritty Inner City.

Monday April 20 holds two interesting events. Join Liz Withey, the Edmonton Public Library’s Writer in Residence, in an event called Build a Book as she and local poets publish their work using the EPL’s Espresso Book Machine. And Monday night brings our wildly popular Gone With The Blinks event, wherein 60 poets each crush out a 30-second poem. It’s an energetic way to spend a Monday evening!

We’ll have more as the week progresses – reviews, pics, previews, the lot. Keep ‘er locked here for your 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?

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