I was raised on a small farm in central Alberta. My first ambition, a very serious one, was to live alone in a log cabin as a trapper. That changed to farmer, then biologist, then journalist, then florist.
In Calgary, I studied biology, then journalism. Amongst numerous more-nondescript jobs, I was for two years a reporter.
Then, over a four-year period, I went on some extremely long, arduous adventures by foot, canoe and bicycle, hoping they would break me out of my life-long shyness and anxiety. No such luck. So, having read that poetry was a possible route into the subconscious, which I assumed was the home of my anxiety, I took a poetry anthology out into a closed provincial park near St. John’s, Newfoundland. For a month and a half, I read, wrote and memorized poetry until it floated across the sky in my dreams. But it did nothing for my anxiety.
In 1987, I married Linda, a flower designer, and we opened and ran a flower shop in Vancouver for nineteen years.
When we sold the shop and semi-retired, we moved to London, Ontario in 2008 to be near our children and grandchildren.
With more time on my hands, I revved up my poetry writing, and, as a form of shyness therapy, began attending Ron Stewart's excellent poetry workshop. When I got used to that, the next logical step in the direction of my fear was to find a place to read to an audience. Since there was no open mic for regular “page poets” in London then, I decided I would have to organize one. In doing so, the constant social contacts that were necessary turned out to be just the therapy I needed. The stress nearly killed me but I eventually got used to it, and by the fifth season had lost most of my shyness. After 62 years, I felt like I was stepping through a door into a completely new life.
In the process, my ability to write decent poetry has dramatically improved. And I have a place to read it!
• The 2014 Ted Plantos Memorial Award from The Ontario Poetry Society.
• 2nd Prize in the 2014 Poetry London Poetry Contest.
Concerning our Glorious Future
As I lift the spoon
from this morning’s coffee
I feel the same long pull of time
that my father did
that their parents did and theirs
a chain rattling down
into the well so far
I cannot imagine.
And up, out of that darkness
into this present,
all of it--
the slow ages of our reptilian forebears,
our fearful hominid ancestors,
the entire charging ascent of Man--
comes to a juddering halt
at this drop of coffee
We are stranded here
at the endpoint
of time, banging
on the ceiling.
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: June 7th, 2017. Poetry begins at 7 pm. Come anytime before that and place your order.
THE FEATURED POET: Stan Burfield 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.