Our next reading is Wed, Oct 20 at 7:30 PM PST
Join us Wednesday for Rita Wong and Fred Wah!
Rita Wong is a poet-scholar who has written several books of poetry. She understands Indigenous lands protecting complex ecosystems as natural assets and critical infrastructure that must be cared for in order to survive climate crisis. Wong supports #LandBack, spends her time supporting the tree sitters blocking the clearcut of large trees in Burnaby for the TransMountain pipeline expansion (https://stoptmx.ca), visits the Peace Valley when she can (under attack from the Site C dam with the West Moberly First Nations going to court to protect the valley), and actively supports Indigenous-led land protectors at Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek whenever she can. http://downstream.ecuad.ca/.
Fred Wah lives in Vancouver and the West Kootenays. He was Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate 2011-2013 and made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2013. His award-winning poetry, fiction, and non-fiction include Sentenced to Light (his collaborations with visual artists), is a door (a series of poems about hybridity) and Scree: The Collected Earlier Poems, 1962-1991. He collaborated with Rita Wong on beholden: a poem as long as the river (2018). High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese, An Interactive Poem is available online (http://highmuckamuck.ca/). Music at the Heart of Thinking: Improvisations was published in the fall of 2020.
Our first featured poet of the evening was Jane Munro, who began by reading four new poems that celebrate life with compelling images of light and shade, round moons and pregnant bellies, water, milk and breastfeeding. She then read poems from her recently published collection Glass Float, exploring themes of personal boundaries and coming to terms with the past, and asking what counts as courage, now that we no longer fall for “that old lie” of patriotism. From the same collection, she also offered two of “Geeta’s Clues Against Depression”, based on yoga teachings she received during several trips to India, including the recommendation to focus on your tailbone as “your monkey mind letting you hang from a branch”. She finished with a poem from Blue Sonoma, in which she imbues mundane events with deeper, ritualized meaning as we witness them unfold “in the slow spin of stars”.
Ian Williams started his reading off without any preamble and plunged us into a panic as we scrambled for our Zoom controls and fretted that he was having technical difficulties, until we finally clued in – it’s a poem! How deftly he used the language of digital technology to show that our preoccupation with likes, and views, and pings, reveals that we still struggle with the eternal human need for identity and connection. “This is not my house, this is my background. People change it for me. If I’m not careful, I disappear into it.” He continued with poems such as “Cliché”, “On the Use of ‘You’” and “Mood Disorder”, demonstrating a playful fascination with the constructs of language and the intrusion of technology into our daily lives, and deftly incorporating scenes and dialogues from the courtroom and the therapy session into his poetry. He even threw in some snippets of songs by the Beatles and Gordon Lightfoot.
We had a great Q&A discussion after the readings, in which we learned that both Jane and Ian are currently working on novels and struggling to discover the true heart of the stories that they need to tell. Another topic touched on was colonialism, and Jane spoke of her grandfather who painted the murals in the legislature in Victoria which depict Englishmen founding the colony of British Columbia. Although she admires her grandfather, she acknowledges the burden of losses and racism that are aspects of our colonial history that we cannot fix, but can move beyond with new understanding. Ian spoke of the new face of colonialism which is “bold and unashamed but is not called ‘colonialism’”. He stated that this new face is represented by smiling billionaires, but replicates the historical pattern of greed, expansion and conquest.
Sign Up for the Open Mic
There will be an open mic, so sign up early to avoid disappointment. To sign up for the open mic for September, please REGISTER first and then contact us at email@example.com.
If you have any questions contact us in advance at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our One Minute Poem Series
There are lots of new one minute poems on our YouTube channel, including Di Brandt reading "My Father's Bride" and Cornelia Hoogland reading "Oh Lord, the Terror of Beginnings".
You can see the full catalogue of our One Minute Poets at https://poetscorner.ca/one-minute-poem/. Just click on the individual posters to navigate to their metaphor-filled 60 second readings.
We need volunteers who love poetry!
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Along with our Twitter feed, we’ll be posting here up-to-the-minute reminders of upcoming readings, and features of our guest poets.
Visit our website:
On our website, you'll find all of the information you’ll need to find out who we are and where to find our series. We’ve also created new pages for poetry-related news, our upcoming readings (events), an archive of older posts, and information about the series and team members. We hope to eventually upload a page featuring a list of the poets who have read with our series in the past, and our archive of past newsletters.
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Our YouTube channel is a permanent space to collect these videos. We hope to bring you more videos throughout the COVID-19 crisis. When we resume our series live in our new venue, we’ll be filming the readings, and posting them to the new channel.
Keep on Donating!
Thank you to our generous donors! Your donations are what allow us to pay our poets and bring you top shelf poetry readings every week. You can donate on our website at https://poetscorner.ca/. If you have donated regularly, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If you haven't donated yet, but you have a little cash burning a hole in your bank account because you haven't been able to go out anywhere to spend it, we will put it to good use!
Thank you to the Canada Council for the Arts, the League of Canadian Poets and the Writers' Union of Canada for their funding. We at Poets Corner, and especially our feature readers and one-minute poets, appreciate the support.