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. (Scroll down for bio.)
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: Feb. 1st, 2017. Poetry begins at 7 pm. Come anytime before that and place your order.
THE FEATURED POET: Ron Stewart 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.
BIO: Ron Stewart started writing poetry shortly after a crash in Northern Ontario took the lives of three friends (two pilots and a flight attendant, Ron’s co- workers). When asked why he turned to poetry, he replied that both careers are two syllable words that start with p and end with t, and, as a person with very little imagination, he thought it appropriate. Ron has been published in journals, anthologies and online. One of his poems “Sunset” was carved in stone on the tombstone of a dear departed friend. His “A Boy Growing up in London” poem was studied in an English class in Sweden. He has read in library basements, coffee shops, churches, museums, art galleries and bars. Both as a performer and judge, Ron has participated in slam poetry events, and has judged the Poetry in Voice high school competitions for the past five years. Ron created and ran a poetry workshop in Landon Library for five years before retiring to pursue other challenges. In 2006, he won the Great Blue Heron Poetry Award and in 2010, the poetry division of the Coffee Shop Authors competition.
But most of Ron’s life has existed in a very different sphere than that of poetry.
Ron Stewart graduated from Royal Military College with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in 1966 specializing in Aeronautical Engineering (aircraft engines). He underwent pilot training in Manitoba and received his RCAF wings in 1967. His first flying job in the Airforce was as an instructor on the DeHavilland Chipmunk. During that tour he alternated between flight and ground school instructor positions. It was here that he authored his first book (a flight training manual). Next was the C130 Hercules squadron based in Namao (Edmonton, Alberta). Here he flew worldwide transport and tactical missions in probably the best and most versatile aircraft ever built. On Herc missions, Ron got to see the world as very few others ever will. Some of the places his job took him to were Canadian Forces Base Alert, Thule and Sondresom Greenland, Reykjavik and Keflavik Iceland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Cypress, Hawaii, Wake Is, Guam, Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Japan, Alaska and the Yukon and Northwest Territories. He also accompanied The Queen, Prince Phillip and Prince Charles on three separate Royal tours.
At the end of his Hercules tour Ron retired from the Airforce and joined Aircraft Accident Division of Transport Canada. As part of his training to become an aircraft accident investigator Ron studied at USC in Los Angeles, the University of Arizona in Tempe, Az and the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
As an aircraft accident investigator, Ron participated in over 200 investigations, ranging from ultralight sport airplanes to large jet transport aircraft as well as many helicopter accidents. He didn’t stop flying here either, but kept up his pilot skills on the fleet of Transport Canada aircraft. He also learned to fly helicopters during this time. In the final two years of his Transport Canada career Ron became the Regional Aviation Safety Officer for Western Canada. In this capacity, Ron became responsible for flight safety promotion for the region – basically all of Alberta, the Yukon and the Western half of the North West Territories. This job entailed promoting flight safety through presentations, flight safety seminars, meetings, inspections and safety analyses. It was here he became comfortable in front of an audience. In 1979 Ron joined Great Lakes Airlines and flew for the many iterations of that airline until retiring in 2007 when the airline was known as Jazz.
Presently, Ron is enjoying life in Kilworth with his best friend, his wife for 50 years Janet, their dog Calliope and cat Penelope. He volunteers at Country Terrace nursing home and Hospice London with his dog as part of the St John Ambulance Therapy Dog program. He spent the last 2 years writing grant proposals and fundraising for an addition at his church. This half million dollar project was completed this past summer.