100 thousand poets for change in North Bay, September 29, 2012


Please note: this post originally appeared as a guest post on John Rice’s Keeper of the Sword blog on October 3, 2012.

It was a grey autumn day when I set off for North Bay.  Then I picked up Kim Fahner, and the journey became a poetic road trip of epic proportions 🙂  Talked craft, poetry, fiction, blogging, social media, and Doctor Who!

Kim brought me back a gift from her recent trip to Ireland: Leanne O’Sullivan’s Cailleach: The Hag of Beara.  Lovely book.  Saving it for the weekend 🙂

The drive was blessedly uneventful and we arrived early enough to have lunch before the event started.

On the way back to the park for the reading, we were greeted by Father Forrest.  The White Water Gallery’s Youth Arts Initiative created puppets this summer.

Father Forrest was one of them and he stopped by the reading later on in the afternoon.

We walked on to the park where the poets and audience were already gathered.

Though the organizers, Kevin smith and Natalie Wilson had brought a PA system there wasn’t an outlet to power it.

Still, Kevin introduced the event and got underway promptly, explaining a little of the background of 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

100 Thousand Poets for Change was initially conceived by Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion in March, 2011, as a worldwide set of events to take place simultaneously on September 24, 2011. Literary event organizers volunteered to host associated events in their own cities or schools. ~Wikipedia

The first reader of the North Bay event was Laurie Kruk, professor at Nipissing University and author of Theories of the World, Loving the Alien, and the soon to be released, My Mother Never Told Stories.

She read several selections from her new book of poetry.

I was the next poet to read and only chose a couple of poems: “Manitou Sky” and Relatively Speaking.”

I started my set with a post on Jezebel regarding a Sikh woman and her response to what seemed a malicious picture posted as a critique on her appearance.  It was my way of commenting on how social media can be an avenue for positive change.

I finished my reading by offering some advice from Kristen Lamb in this season of political frenzy on how writers really change the world.

Following my set was Tim Robertson, poet and aphorist, that is, writer of aphorisms.

He started the session with a series of witticisms and then read a couple of his longer poems.

After Tim’s reading was a brief intermission where poets mingled and chatted.  I took a few moments to reacquaint myself with Natalie, with whom I’d contributed to NEOVerse, and Laurie, with whom I’d read on several occasions during my more active poet years.

The second half of the afternoon session began with Christine Charette, artist and poet.  Father Forrest visited at this point and remained around for her set.

Christine’s poetry has as its heart the issues of womanhood and motherhood and it did speak to the theme of change.

Denis Stokes read next.  He’s taught English in high school and at Nipissing University, and published poetry in print and online.  Denis’s poetry was definitely the poetry of Northern Ontario, evocative of its sights and sounds in the context of family and change.

Then Doyali Farah Islam took the stage, er, cobblestones 🙂  She published her first book of poetry, Yusuf and the Lotus Flower, in October of 2011.

Doyali is definitely influenced by Rumi, and her poetry brought a bit of the sacred to the assembly.

The last poet of the afternoon session was my friend, Kim Fahner, English teacher, and author of You must imagine the cold here and Braille on water.  Her new book of poetry, The Narcoleptic Madonna is due out this fall.

Kim is a great reader who interacts with her audience with humour and self-conscious grace.  Kim read from her new work.

Afterward, the poets mingled again.  Business cards and books were exchanged.  Though there was an evening session where Ken Stange, Kevin, and Natalie would be reading, Kim and I had to toddle off.  Nonetheless, I understand the evening reading at the Cornerstone Cafe was a great one, and the North Bay edition of the 100 thousand poets for change event a success.

And then, after a fortifying pumpkin spice chai latte at Twiggs, we were on the road again, chatting more about the day, poetry, creativity, and again, the fabulous Dr. who 🙂  David Tennant is one of Kim’s secret husbands, don’t you know.

The day ended with a lovely supper at Verdiccio’s where I had the chance to use the coupon I’d won on Facebook this summer.

All was ‘write’ with the world 🙂

For more information, please see the 100 Thousand Poets for Change North Bay Facebook page, or the Web page, graciously hosted by Ken Stange.

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