Andy Verboom will feature March 1st
Andy Verboom is from subrural Nova Scotia and currently lives in London, ON, where he organizes Couplets, a collaborative poetry reading series, and edits Word Hoard, a journal of creative and academic dialogues. His poetry has won the Descant/Winston Collins Prize for Best Canadian Poem, has been shortlisted for Arc’s Poem of the Year, and has recently appeared in Vallum, The Puritan, Arc Poetry Magazine, Contemporary Verse 2, and BafterC. He is the author of Tower (Anstruther Press, 2016) and co-author (with David Huebert) of Full Mondegreens, a winner of the Frog Hollow Press Chapbook Contest (2016).
WHERE: Mykonos Restaurant at 572 Adelaide St. North, London, Ontario. The restaurant has a large, covered terrace just behind the main restaurant, which comfortably holds 60 poetry lovers. Mediterranean food and drinks are available. Overflow parking is available across the side street and in the large lot one block north, in front of Trad’s Furniture.
WHEN: March 1st, 2017. Poetry begins at 7 pm. Come anytime before that and place your order.
THE FEATURED POET: Andy Verboom opens the event at 7:00, followed by a Q&A.
OPEN MIC: Following the featured poet, 15 open mic poets will read until 9:30 at the latest, with an intermission at about 8:00. Each poet has five minutes (which is about two good pages of poetry, but it should be timed at home). Sign up on the reader`s list, which is on the book table at the back. It's first come, first served.
COVER: Pay What You Can (in jar on back table, or use Donate Button on website Donate Page). Donations are our only source of income to cover expenses.
RAFFLE PRIZES: Anyone who donates at the event receives a ticket for a raffle prize, three of which will be picked after the intermission. The prizes consist of poetry books donated by The Ontario Poetry Society.
Feature Ron Stewart's admirers filled Mykonos
Long-time workshop facilitator Ron Stewart was honoured at the Feb. 1st, 2017 London Open Mic. A packed house of fifty-eight listened to his featured reading from his new book, “A Boy Growing Up in London and Other Poems”.
The reading was notable for the smiles and laughter it elicited as Ron recalled poetic incidents from his career as a pilot, his childhood in London and his life in general. Ron is a very local poet; few in the audience knew he was raised only one block away from that room in Mykonos Restaurant--in his grandparent’s house at 490 Adelaide Street (the title of one of the poems).
Several executive members of Poetry London, including director Karen Schindler and London Poet Laureate Tom Cull, were in the audience to honour Ron for the workshop he founded and had facilitated continuously for five years until his recent retirement. His workshop was a response to the monthly Poetry London version that only workshopped two local poets each month.
Many of the poets who regularly attended the workshop, and who appreciated his remarkable facilitating ability, were on hand to add their applause to the boisterous warmth of the evening. As co-host Joan Clayton said, “What I love about Ron is the truly infectious joy of poetry that he exudes and shares with us all.”
Debbie Okun Hill, who regularly drove to London from Sarnia to attend Ron’s workshops, put it this way: “Supportive and kind! As a workshop leader, Ron Stewart made newcomers and guests feel welcome and part of a greater poetry community. He listened attentively and always found the right words to encourage an emerging poet.”
For me (London Open Mic Poetry organizer Stan Burfield), attending Ron’s workshop was a life-changing adventure. When my wife and I retired, I decided to finally deal with my shyness by venturing out into society, which I did by attending Ron’s workshops. His natural friendliness and sense of equality alone would have worked wonders, but his facilitation techniques were also meant to make people feel unjudged, comfortable and open. It was an amazing and powerful treatment for my shyness, to such a degree that I soon began looking for the next most difficult way of confronting my fears. This turned out to be the founding of London Open Mic Poetry. After five seasons of organizing it, I am no longer shy and London has a new poetry institution. So, if not for Ron Stewart and his sensitive facilitation, both I and London would be worse off.
At his reading, Ron’s poems were so enjoyed that he sold a record number of books, fifteen in all, far more than any other featured poet has sold in our five-year history. He donated $5.00 from each sale to help pay the costs of a nine-year-old London girl named Keanna who has kidney disease and is on dialysis while waiting for a kidney transplant.
In appreciation, Ron says: “Thank you to everyone who attended Open Mic on Wed Feb 1st. I felt humbled and honoured by the numbers attending and the applause, smiles and giggles I received from you, my Open Mic Friends. And thank you for buying my book. As a result of the book sales $175 will be going to “A Kidney for Keanna”. I know this will be very much appreciated by Keanna and her family.”
The second half of the event was, as usual, a series of open mic readings, with the poems as wildly varied as the poets themselves. Joan Clayton, who hosts the open mic readers, was having one of her best, most lively days. Her introductions to the poets and her perceptive and often humourous remarks after the readings were so apt and seemed to come to her so easily that at some point I remarked to fellow committee member Brittany Renaud that Joan seemed to be in a flow. Brittany, who obviously was in a flow herself, immediately said, “You’re the rock and Joan is the river.” As hard as it was for me to imagine myself as a rock, I finally did see that in one sense it’s true: The open mic was built around me, and Joan runs the river of life through it. Nice image.
When Joan introduced me for my own open mic reading, I decided it was time the audience knew a little about her: “For those of you who don’t know what Joan does during the day, she’s not referred to as Miss Clayton, or Ms Clayton, or even Mrs. Clayton. It’s Dr. Clayton, psychotherapist.” She has raised five children, is a very good poet in her own right, is also a playwright, and is currently working on her second novel. How she manages all that and the rest of her busy life as well is beyond me. But I have tremendous respect for her ability to do it and always keep her positive attitude at the same time
After many delays, A BASIC POETICS STUDY GROUP is about to take off:
First proposed in Sept. 2016, it was delayed due to health problems and time constraints, but is now about ready for the green light.
Those who were enthusiastic about goinging the group at the begainning and gave me their names, you will be contacted soon.
1. This group would be mainly for poets (and poetry lovers) with little formal education in poetry. As for example, yours truly.
2. Because poetry is like chess in that a person can become endlessly more proficient at it (because of its ancient lineage and because bright people have been studying it and writing and teaching about it for nearly that whole time), there is a God-awful lot to learn. Thus the world of poets can be divided into two groups: those with a formal university education specializing to some degree in poetry, and those without one.
3. The group's professors would be the group members themselves. Each would pick a topic from the world of poetics, research it, and present it, discuss it, show examples of it in poems, and generally get the group thinking about how, why, and when to apply it, and what happens if it's not applied, and so on. In other words, by the end of each session, everyone should have a new tool at their disposal to help them enrich their poetry. (And to help them read others' poetry.)
4. Topics would include especially the aspects of poetics most commonly employed in contemporary poetry, but not limited to them. Some examples: the major aspects of poetry, including lines, syntax, diction, trope, rhetoric, rhythm, meter, stanza and then some of the zillion sub-categories like enjambment, stress, scansion, allusion, imagism, metaphor, free verse, feeling, metonymy, allusion, abstraction, how to read a poem, etc etc.
Send me an email so I can put you on the invite list: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, Stan Burfield
Photos from the Feb. 1st London Open Mic
“THANK YOU, RON STEWART!”
London poet and workshop leader Ron Stewart is being honoured Feb. 1st for his longstanding support for poets and poetry in London, and for supplying the impetus for the creation of London Open Mic Poetry five seasons ago. Over the years, he has inspired many poets to write and keep writing by creating an inviting home in which poetry could be shared, learning take place, and creation flourish. The London poetry scene is in his debt.
See Ron’s bio, interview and three poems.
FRANK BELTRANO: “I really got to know Ron at the week long Bayfield Poetry retreats which he and his wife attended for several years. My wife made me promise that she wouldn't get stuck doing more than her fair share of dishes just because she wasn't writing poems on these retreats, so Ron and I did more than our fair share...but with Ron's wonderful repertoire of stories those were some of the most enjoyable times I have ever spent with hands in hot water. It is a miracle we didn't drop more slippery plates we were often laughing so much. Ron is the generous kind of guy who gladly does more than his fair share of the grunt work, and both Jan and Ron are a joy to live with in close quarters.” Frank Beltrano is a well-known and active member of the London poetry scene: https://www.facebook.com/frankbeltrano54
STAN BURFIELD: “When my wife and I retired and moved to London, I decided to try to deal with my shyness--by confronting my social fears. After months of working up the courage, I began attending Ron’s workshops to this end, which were a huge surprise to me. Shyness is essentially a fear of being judged negatively, and Ron ran his workshops in such a way that no one there ever feared that. His natural friendliness and sense of equality alone would have prevented it, but his facilitation techniques were also meant to make sure people felt unjudged, comfortable and open. Ron knew that it is difficult for poets who feel defensive and under attack to be receptive to suggestions on how their poems might be improved. Other attendees remarked to me positively about this aspect of the workshops, but for me it was an amazing and powerful treatment for my shyness, to such a degree that after a year or two I began to feel much more at ease with people in general. I even began looking for a more difficult way of confronting my fears, which turned out to be the founding of London Open Mic Poetry. The intensive social work necessary to make this happen and keep it going eventually reduced my fears to the point where, after five seasons, I am no longer shy. If not for Ron Stewart and his sensitive facilitation, this would never have happened and I would no doubt be hiding from people for the rest of my life.” Stan Burfield is a retired florist and journalist, an adventurer, poet, former farm boy, and now social organizer: https://www.facebook.com/stan.burfield, http://www.londonpoetryopenmic.com/stan-burfield-blog
JOAN CLAYTON: “What I love about Ron is the truly infectious joy of poetry that he exudes and shares with us all. I will always remember the first time I heard him recite The Cremation of Sam McGee. "There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold". It was spellbinding, and I quickly went home and memorized it myself. Ron has given so much to the Poetry Community in London with his workshops, opening his beautiful home for Poetry Under the Stars, and being part of the Bayfield Summer Writers Retreat where we challenged and entertained each other. His writing about being a boy, and the plane crash that changed his life, are heartfelt and eloquent, and I raise a glass to you Ron. Sic Itur Ad Astra.” Dr. Joan Clayton is a psychotherapist, novelist, poet, screenwriter and co-host of London Open Mic Poetry.
MARLENE LAPLANTE: “I attended Ron and Jan's workshops from the beginning. I had just started writing poetry and regular attendance kept me writing. The workshops provided encouragement and inspired me. Poetry under the stars allowed all to get together as friends and grow our mutual love of poetry. Thanks to Ron and Jan - for everything.” Marlene Laplante has been writing poetry for a decade and has attended Ron’s workshop for half of that time. https://www.facebook.com/marlene.laplante.9?fref=ts
JANICE MCDONALD: “As a London outsider, coming by myself, it could seem very intimidating getting to know people and feel comfortable. Ron's workshops on the second Wednesday of the month made that possible. His gracious manner in ensuring each poem presented received positive feedback, before any advice or suggested changes, meant you were not leaving crushed and the small group atmosphere was the perfect way to get to know a few London poets personally. It's hard at first to put a poem out there for public comment but Ron and Jan eased the process. I still value those workshops to this day though Ron has now 'retired.' I believe I wouldn't be the poet I am today without the feedback I received in those workshops and I would be staying in Ingersoll--not coming to London events--without the relationships I made in those workshops.” For years, Ingersoll poet Janice McDonald drove to London religiously to attend Ron’s workshop.
OLA NOWOSAD: “I know few people who love poetry as much as Ron does! For many years, I have had the pleasure of seeing Ron at many, many poetry events. Poetry workshops (whether Poetry London’s or those he led at Landon Library), Poetry Under the Stars, week-long poetry-writing retreats at Bayfield and more! He is always insightful about poetry and encouraging to poets. Ron’s tastes run wide, from Robert Service to modern poets. His own writing often merges history and humor. When Ron & Jan attend, poetry is more fun and accessible! Thanks, Ron, for your joy, experience, knowledge and friendship!” Ola Nowosad is a co-facilitator of Poetry London’s workshops and a teacher at Thames Valley District School Board.
DEBBIE OKUN HILL: “Supportive and kind! As a workshop leader, Ron Stewart made newcomers and guests feel welcome and part of a greater poetry community. He listened attentively and always found the right words to encourage an emerging poet. His caring personality warmed whatever room he was in. As a liaison and poetry promoter, he worked diligently, sharing poetic news with a variety of groups in London and outside the city. Reliable, dependable, and a treasure to know!” Debbie Okun Hill is a prominent Sarnia-area poet and former executive member of The Ontario Poetry Society. https://www.facebook.com/deb.hill.9?fref=ts https://okunhill.wordpress.com/
KAREN SCHINDLER: “I'm pretty sure most of us writing tributes to Ron will be using the words "dedication" and "community," because it's kind of impossible not to. It's meant a lot to me to get to know Ron over the last dozen years. With his infectious passion for poetry and his generous dedication to the local poetry community (see?!) he's been a particularly important motivating presence and role model for me. It was especially wonderful to get to know Ron a little better at the Bayfield "poetry camp," summer 2015. Hearing his stories - learning more about how he came to poetry and how it continues to fuel his life - has deepened my understanding of what poetry can do, and I'm thankful to him for that. For all the things you've done and continue to do - your workshop guidance, your contest judging, your support of your friends' poetic endeavours (mine definitely included) - thank you, Ron!” Karen Schindler is managing director of the Poetry London Reading Series and publisher of Baseline Press.
Fifth Season (last season with Stan Burfield as organizer):
Mar. 1st, 2017: Andy Verboom
Apr. 5th, 2017: James Deahl & Norma Linder
May, 2017: Jason Dickson
June, 2017: Stan Burfield
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