Dear friends of Poets Corner, is it just us or do you feel a little, um, spring in your step?
Though named after Mars, the roman god of war, March certainly leaped over February with ample potential for months of brilliance. Check this poem out -
Spring has arrived with joy
Welcomed by the birds with happy songs,
And the brooks, amidst gentle breezes,
Murmur sweetly as they flow.
Spring (Concerto No. 1 in E Major)
Even the above mediocre stanza written by Vivaldi to inspire his remarkable concerto, The Four Seasons, couldn’t thwart that genius red-headed priest from inhaling some fresh seasonal late-afternoon Venetian petrichor to help him unearth the exquisite movements within Spring (originally played by the remarkable orphan girls Vivaldi taught violin to at the Ospedale della Pietà).
Great music combined with terrible poetry. Yes, spring at its essence is a struggle of life and death.
Just imagine the farmers tipping their hats up to observe the ladybugs erupting from hibernation to wreak havoc on the aphids hungry for their crops.
Or picture various cats and dogs salivating like the beasts of Pavlov while they follow red-breasted robins hopping with truncated worms in their beaks.
Or visualise us, family and friends of Poets Corner - sensible, keen, sensitive, poetry-loving observers noticing the crocuses, daffodils, and snow drops spearing their stems out of the spring-softened earth to bloom multi-coloured wounds on manicured lawns..
Come what may, we hope you have a fine first month of spring. We raise a cold glass of green beer to everyone on Saint Patrick’s Day. And, most importantly, we wish our Poets Corner family the very best for International Women’s Day.
Note we are back to 7:30 start time!
Wed, March 17, 2021 @ 7:30pm PDT**
We hope that. you can join us this upcoming Wednesday, 17 March for our third monthly virtual poetry reading of 2021. This month our featured readers are Medrie Purdham reading from her first collection, Little Housewolf (Véhicule Press, 2021) and Stuart Ross, long-time writer, editor, writing teacher, and publisher. We will also have our usual open mic — all are welcome. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be included on the open mic list.
Medrie Purdham lives in Regina, Saskatchewan in Treaty 4, where she teaches English at the University of Regina while raising two young sons. Her first book, Little Housewolf, is forthcoming from Véhicule Press this spring. Her poetry has been anthologized several times in Best Canadian Poetry (Tightrope Press), and has been a finalist in the Arc Poem of the Year competition (in which it was the 2019 runner-up), The Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize (The Fiddlehead), the Far Horizons Award for Poetry (The Malahat Review) and the Short Grain Competition (Grain Magazine). She is a member of the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, and held the City of Regina Writing Award in 2015.
Stuart Ross is a writer, editor, writing teacher, publisher, and small press activist. He published his first poetry chapbook on the photocopier in his dad’s office in 1979 and never looked back. Stuart was the recipient of the 2019 Harbourfront Festival Prize for his contributions to Canadian literature, as well as the 2010 ReLit Prize for Short Fiction, the 2012 Mona Elaine Adilman Award for Jewish Fiction, the 2016 Kitty Lewis Hazel Millar Dennis Tourbin Poetry Prize, and the 2017 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry.
His 20 books of fiction, poetry, and essays include Motel of the Opposable Thumbs; A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent; Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew; Buying Cigarettes for the Dog; and Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer. His latest book is 70 Kippers, a collection of poems written in collaboration with Ottawa poet Michael Dennis. In spring 2022, ECW Press will be publishing his first book-length essay.
Stuart has taught writing workshops across the country. He was the 2010 writer in residence at Queen’s University and is the winter 2021 writer in residence at the University of Ottawa.
His poetry has been translated into French, Nynorsk, Slovene, Russian, Spanish, and Estonian. Stuart, who lives in Cobourg, Ontario, is currently working on ten different book manuscripts.
Register for the event by clicking here or copy and paste the following link into your browser.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join the meeting. If you have any questions contact us in advance at: email@example.com.
Our February Reading
It was no surprise that we had another excellent turnout for our February reading. As one of our audience members commented in the chat, “there is something very intimate about Zoom readings”. Our open mic featured poets from as far afield as New Hampshire, Florida, Detroit and Calgary, as well as many homegrown poets from BC. Each month we are awed by the variety and quality of the open mic readings and we encourage all poets to sign up to share up to 3 minutes of their work with our enthusiastic and receptive audience.
Our first featured reader was Adrienne Drobnies. In addition to working tirelessly to keep our Poets Corner reading series on track, Adrienne is both a poet and a scientist. Her writing exemplifies how well these two disciplines complement each other, as she offers images that challenge our intellectual curiosity while at the same time awakening a deep emotional response. Adrienne read several poems from Salt and Ashes, in which she has written about facing the inevitable loss of her husband to cancer. In the suite of poems entitled Randonnées, she experiences impending grief through the process of walking in the neighbourhood and mountains surrounding their home in Grenoble, France. Her writing reveals how life often throws us off-course and yet simple rituals, like going for a walk or following a treasured family recipe for pancakes, allow us to anchor ourselves through memory and love. Several of her poems delve into the meaning of dreams and nightmares, and demonstrate her talent in observing small details which ultimately lead us to underlying truths. “There is a dark side to a rainbow, as well as to the moon.”
Our second featured reader was Evelyn Lau, whom many consider to be the best poet writing today in Canada. Evelyn read a selection of poems from her latest book, Pineapple Express, which deals with her personal struggles with depression. As a Vancouver native, she knows the difficulty of surviving the grey days of winter when “the bridge whispers to you” and “survival depends on finding caches of colour”. Other poems dealt with learning to accept the creeping invisibility of being a middle-aged female, no longer considered capable of causing Disturbances. Her poem Family Day provided an antidote to conventional sentiment, while still acknowledging the power of family ties, even dysfunctional ones. After her reading, we had an excellent Q&A session, in which Evelyn talked about how she feels there is not enough respect given to poets or recognition of how difficult it is to pare words down to “the fewest possible words that are the right words.” And she concluded by confessing to finding reprieve from the rigours of reading and writing poetry by escaping to read thrillers in bed, wrapped in a big duvet and fortified with cups of tea and snacks.
We have some amazing readings coming up in the next few months. On
Wednesday, April 21, we have three spoken word poets, Jillian Christmas, Sheri-D Wilson and Tawahum Bige. On Wednesday May 19, we have ecopoetry featuring Adam Dickinson and Poets Corner's own Kim Trainor. Mark your calendars -- you won't want to miss these!
Our One Minute Poem Series