National Poetry Month is Here!
Happy new Month of April! My excitement is off the roof because for me Christmas comes in April. Yes, it’s that time of the year again when spoken word artists and poets celebrate National Poetry Month.
Here’s a little history about the National Poetry Month celebrations in Canada (Source: culled from Poets.ca):
“Established in Canada in April 1998 by the League of Canadian Poets (LCP), National Poetry Month (NPM) brings together schools, publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, and poets from across the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in Canada’s culture. The year 2015 marks the 17th anniversary of National Poetry Month in Canada.
This year we are encouraging poets and hosts to explore and savour the theme of Food and Poetry. Inspired by Rachel Rose’s inaugural speech as Vancouver’s Poet Laureate (see below), we want to investigate the ways in which “food is personal, political, sensual and powerful”. Food nourishes, grounds and connects us, much like poetry. Without food, as without poetry, we go hungry. There is so much that can be spoken of and written about food and one’s experience with it.
How will you celebrate and reflect on Food and Poetry? Imagine your city alive with the energy of poetry shared over picnics, at food drives, in vegetable gardens or orchards. Does your interest lie in holistic nutrition and the poetics of how food can heal or the problematic politics of food security? Why not plan a reading over brunch with friends, a poetry slam at your local farmer’s market or a writing workshop exploring how food speaks to home? However your creative juices flow, marinate in this theme and let it nourish you and others with your delicious work. We are looking forward to your ideas, and to hearing your poetry in April!
The LCP asks poets and hosts to create events across the country, in their local communities, incorporating the Food and Poetry theme.”
As I browsed through various poetry websites to get a scoop on the various contests, communities and events for this year’s national poetry month, I got fascinated by another post on the Poets.ca regarding the Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge.
Brief Synopsis: “In 2013 Regina Mayor Michael Fougere challenged his fellow mayors in communities across Canada to have a local poet read a poem at the opening of their Council meetings in March or April. The challenge is a celebration of UNESCO’s World Poetry Day (March 21) and National Poetry Month in April. The purpose is to celebrate poetry, writing, small presses and the contribution of poets and all writers to the cultural life in our communities. It also celebrates libraries, and the work of so many mayors and municipalities to promote literacy and reading. This project is collaboration between the Saskatchewan Writers Guild and the League of Canadian Poets in cooperation with the City of Regina.”
You all know I love the art of dreaming and the excitement of taking steps to bring dreams to reality. Well, on this auspicious first day of National Poetry Month, I’m declaring my dreams for 2016 as follows:
1) To work with other poets and spoken word artists in the community and ensure that all cities in York Region have the following twin declarations: 2016 UNESCO World Poetry Day and National Poetry Month
2) To build a strong, vibrant and empowering Spoken Word/Poetry community in York Region and use art to create positive change in our society. And to also have a full evening of celebration at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.
3) To get all Mayors in York Region to participate in the canada-wide Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge.
There you have it! It’s an open invitation to all poets, singer-writers and spoken word artists, connect with us and send in your suggestions on how we can get this done.