[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.
On September 28 and 29 The Edmonton Poetry Festival presents DiVerse Alberta as a part of Alberta Culture Days.
The following events take place at Government House, 12845 – 102 Avenue Edmonton (on the grounds of the Royal Alberta Museum) on September 28 and 29, 2013.
September 28th – 1:00 pm
Youth Showcase with the Edmonton Youth Slam Team.
The 2013 Edmonton Youth Poetry Slam team is the inaugural youth team in Edmonton. Team members Dylan, Mimi, Skye, Faven, and Harleen represent the diversity of youth poetry slam voices from across the city. The youth team is excited to perform at events throughout the year and has already appeared at The Works Festival.The youth slam is sponsored by the City of Edmonton’s Rising Youth program and the Breath in Poetry Collective.
September 28th – 3:00 pm
Page meets Stage – Mary Pinkoski, Edmonton’s current Poet Laureate and award winning Poet Nora Gould.
Nora Gould writes from east central Alberta where she ranches with her family and volunteers in wildlife rehabilitation with the Medicine River Wildlife Centre. I see my love more clearly from a distance is her award-winning poetry collection. Poet Laureate for the City of Edmonton, Mary Pinkoski is an award-winning spoken word poet and currently ranked the top female slam poet in the country.
September 29th – 1:00 pm
Showcase of Edmonton’s Adult Slam Team
The 2013 Edmonton Poetry Slam team brings together a group of diverse poets. With differing backgrounds in poetry, theatre, and hiphop, Gisele Lemire, Kaz Mega, Jan Poliakevitch, Rhianna Estelle, and Arlo Maverick bring a unique blend of performance experience and poetry to the stage. As Edmonton’s fourth poetry slam team, they look forward to competing at the 2013 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Montreal.
September 29th – 3:00 pm
Di Verse Voices
Join us for a showcase of four talented local poets including Jalal Barzanji, Norma Dunning, Peter Midgley and Roman Mariam. Poet and Journalist, Jalal Barzanji is originally from Iraqi Kurdistan. He has published seven books of poetry, and hundreds of columns about democracy, peace and freedom of expression in Iraq. Norma Dunning is currently a second-year MA student in the inaugral class with the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. She has been awarded The James Patrick Follinsbee Prize for Creative Writing (2011) and the Stephen Kapalka Memorial Prize for Creative Writing (2012) through the U of A. Peter Midgley’s poetry has appeared in South African journals, and his bilingual volume of poems, perhaps i should / miskien moet ek came out with Kalamalka Press in 2010. Peter’ book-length creative non-fiction project, Counting Teeth: A Namibian Story, is set to appear with Wolsak & Wynn in 2014. Roman Gebre Mariam (R.S.W) was born and raised in Ethiopia. She fell in love with the world of literature at an early age. Now residing in Edmonton and working as a program manager at the Africa Centre, Roman recently took a part in APAAD, presenting two poems in Amharic, “Call of the Century” and “Learning to be human”
Ok, we here at PoFest central know that your summer is in full swing. You’re busy with patio jumping, pool basking, iced-beverage consuming, and general warm weather lackadaisicalism. We understand that gleaning every last millisecond of goodness from the summer is priority #1. Buy hey, the art and toil of Edmonton’s poets stops for nothing short of planetary collapse. In any case, it’s time to wade through the disturbing number of empties at your feet, pick up a writing device and Write Something, Edmonton!
Submissions for the September run of The Poetry Route (a program that places poetry on Edmonton City Buses) are now open, and you should check out the submission guidelines right now. The theme of this run is “Voices of Home”, and we’re looking for love poems to places in Edmonton.
The submission deadline is August 16, 2013. Don’t miss it! You’ll be sad if you do, and there is nothing we can do console you, except maybe spot you a lemonade from one of the many stands that have beautifully sprouted on our fair city streetsides (because, really, you don’t need another margarita).
Well, it’s been a while since the last update. So it goes with blogging in the big city. Anyway, here are a few announcements:
New Board Members
Please join us in welcoming our new Board Members!
Peter Midgley · Senior Editor Aquistions, University of Alberta Press
Anna Marie Sewell · Writer Facilitator and Edmonton’s Poet Laureate Emerita
Jenna Butler · English Faculty Grant MacEwan University & University of Alberta
Don Perkins · Educator with University of Alberta
We are incredibly excited to have these 4 talented community leaders join our team!
We also say goodbye to four key members of our Board this year. I can not emphasize how much they will be missed. They are brilliant friends and we wish them the best of everything, always.
Our thanks go out to:
The Makar and the Laureates
In April of this year twelve Poets Laureate from across the country, and The Makar of Scotland, joined us for The Edmonton Poetry Festival. They brought with them vast experience, knowledge and breathtaking poetry.
CBC joined us at many events this year and recorded our Laureates for their Ideas program. Now you can tune in and hear these incredible voices again in a piece titled:
“The Makar and The Laureates”. Originally aired on June 17th on CBC Radio One, there will be a second airing on CBC Ideas in the Afternoon, June 24th. Or check out the podcast here.
Summer Reading Series
This year the poetry festival introduced our Cafe Reading Series. Our series has been widely embraced by the community and we thank you for coming out and participating in the events!
We are taking the Summer off for planning and will kick off again in August with a new venue and more fantastic poets. This coming year we will be bringing in not only local poets, but some out of town “Big Guns” as well. So stay tuned!