You kick a small piece of snow with your toe as you look at the bus floor. You’re trying hard to not stare at the man in the seat across from you. He’s well-dressed in a wool overcoat, deerskin gloves, cashmere scarf, and expensive shoes. He occasionally takes a sip from his white cup and looks up from his magazine, but he never looks directly at you or anyone else. He seems undisturbed by this weather, like he is comfortable with everything the world will throw at him. The other riders shimmy and shift in their parkas and snow boots, silently cursing the snow, the cold, and the tardy busses. The man sways with the bus, his shoulder sometimes brushing the ski jacket of the woman next to him. You like the sound of that exchange. Slips his empty cup in a coat pocket and dons his gloves. A block later he pulls the cord and rises. Thanks the driver as he steps off the platform, turns his collar up slightly. Snow falls onto his greying hair and you wonder where one might procure such a fine pair of shoes.
· · ·
The latest series of bus poems are now making the rounds on Edmonton Transit busses! This round consists of poems chosen for the 40 Below Anthology. Authors include Danielle Metcalf-Chenail, Jannie Edwards, Anna Mioduchowska, Diana S. Adams, Brad Kennedy, and John Leppard. You can read the poems here, if you’re so inclined. Read them! They’re awesome. And next time you’re on an Edmonton Transit vehicle, look up!
Thanks to all who contributed to the project. You’ve made winter in E-Town a bit more bearable.
On February 1, 2014 The Edmonton Poetry Festival presents an enlightening haiku workshop, facilitated by Mr Patrick Pilarski. In case you don’t know, Patrick is, along with his partner Nicole Pakan, behind the brilliant zen-like website, Daily Haiku.org. The site is an object lesson in restraint and beauty – they publish a single haiku each day by a rotating roster of international authors. It’s truly one of the best haiku websites out there, and it appears on the first page of results for a Google search for “haiku”. Awesome! We’re stoked to have Patrick leading this workshop!
Saturday February 1st, 2014
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Holy Trinity Anglican Church: 10037 – 84 Avenue
Cost is $20.00 for members; $35.00 for non-members
Maximum participants – 15 Please note – in situations of hardship we are happy to make fee exceptions.
If you’ve ever been curious about haiku, or if the peaceful, deceptively simple form has always called to you, sign up for the workshop now! I guarantee it’ll be a wonderful event.
Workshop approaches -
don’t dawdle you silly beast,
sign your ass up soon
January is appropriately tagged the “hangover month”. December’s flapping comes home for real, and one faces the inevitable: Everybody pays for everything. Those extra gifts you bought, in the last of a month-long string of weak moments? They heckle you from unopened, unwelcome envelopes. The indulgences you took and advances you made – wine on your breath, hands moving across fine wool – now seem like ice fog, floating across the tops of abandoned buildings you long to explore. And how to account for your idleness? The cracker crumbs in your pants pockets? The decoration found between the cushions – could it have been from last year, or – heavens to Betsy! – the year before? The weekend between Christmas and New Years Day spent revisiting sad films from your all-too-emotional twenties, when everything seemed to have the rosy/black hue of terrible optimism? You verbally railed against the commercialization of Christmas but still bought into the whole crapshow, didn’t you?
Then, whilst cradling a snifter of Hennessy, you cued up Miles Davis and slid into bliss as you watched January’s snow populate the birch across the street. You weren’t sure where the jazz ended and the dizzy white began.
Now that the New Year has removed its coat and decided to stay, it is now time to renew your membership commitment to the Edmonton Poetry Festival Society. Membership rates are now $15.00 per year, up from $10.00 last year. Sometimes, you gotta do these things. This means that you will now have to give up 15 Ikea breakfasts per year to cover your membership. Or three lattes. Or two pairs of underwear (depending on where you shop, that is). Or 60 handfuls of candy from those red vending machines in the doorway of Safeway. We urge to make a sensible sacrifice and renew your membership now.
More news to come soon. February holds much to admire.
[Ed’s note: If you’d rather not read MG’s rambling intro, as entertaining as it is, you can skip to the meat of this post.]
Maybe you came to words and poetry the hard way. Maybe you spent your younger days reciting lines like
Betwixt between the East and West
he calls on her wearing a leather vest
the earth squeals and shudders to a halt
And then on a Sunday morning in late October you mourned the passing of a mad, mercurial, poet of the heart. Maybe you earned your stripes by writing a thousand lines a hundred times each until they read like the scroll in your head. Maybe you buy books of verse and they sit on your coffee table for months or years before you finally crack them, read two poems, then decide to save the rest for next year, or the year after that. And maybe you just dig the human voice in the air, none of this paper guff, and you get a kick when someone steps to the microphone and delivers words they believe – an act you approach only on your strongest days.
However you came to love poetry and words, we hope you hold those maps dear. Whatever your relationship with these squiggles and throat-murmurs, we think you’re pretty alright for it. And whatever you do during your time of being temporarily unbroken, we hope you fill some of it with poetry. For those who live for the word, who live in the space between apology and grievance, who read books to feel better about the world, you have our noble regards.
Recently, we launched our re-branded Poets in the Schools program. It now runs year-round, and it’s now called The Verse Project. Here’s the lowdown from the project page:
The Verse Project is dedicated to working with students and teachers to help establish a lifelong interest in poetry and the literary arts. Our program helps students learn to love words and increases literacy. We help them explore their own unique voice and how it can be used in poetry.
It’s a beautiful endeavour, and we’re really proud of it. Bringing poetry to youth is one of our strongest, most important mandates. We’re out to change the perception of poetry taught in school. It’s not just reading Robert Service and reciting Shakespearian sonnets. It’s a living, breathing artform that can change lives (mine, yours, and everyone else’s). Would we go so far as to claim that poetry can change the world? Hyperbole aside, poetry can make a difference.
To make The Verse Project a success, and to bring it close to what we envision, we’re embarking on our first crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Click the logo below for information and to donate.
Look, we realize that almost everyone has their hand out these days and that money is tight. But if you care about poetry and its future, we hope you’ll consider dropping us a few shekels. You don’t have to give a lot – even a couple bucks will help. If you just won $1000 from a lottery scratch ticket, well, hit that button and let’s party!
As always, we at PoFest central appreciate your time and attention – the two most valuable things you have. We wish you well in this snowy November. May your flickers last longer than a minute.