The explanation is simple: The world of people insists on having its fluctuations, and I, not being much of a control freak, tend to roll with them.
St. Thomas poet Julie Berry was set to be our March 5th feature. But out of the blue someone offered her the use of a small cabin on Hornby Island, on the BC coast, for the first two weeks of March. How could she resist? Especially since she’s been working on a collection of poems for nearly four years, and now has the perfect opportunity to finish it in one go, and surrounded by paradise to boot! (I know how beautiful it is; I used to live on a neighbouring island.) Julie’s withdrawal from our event didn’t bother me because she was nice enough to find her own replacement, Governor General’s Award winner Jacob Scheier. Julie hade gotten to know him in his post as Writer-in-Residence at Algoma University in St. Thomas.
Our May 7th event was going to feature local legend Roy Macdonald, but then I got an email from Carolyn Doyle, the librarian at Landon Library, which hosts many of London’s poetry events. Carolyn said that a famous Canadian poet, Susan McCaslin, was coming to town on the same day, and on that day only, as part of a book launch tour, along with her former professor Lee Johnson. Carolyn had been asked to host McCaslin and Johnson at Landon, but she realized that two events on the same day would compete with each other for London’s relatively small poetry audience. So she wondered if I could resolve the problem by including them in our event.
This was a big problem for me. For one thing, we are a regional event, trying to serve our local poets, and McCaslin and Johnson are outsiders. And I already had a feature for that night. Maybe we could move Macdonald to a different month, but then we would have two featured poets, not just one. Having only McCaslin read would seem to me to be an insult to Johnson. In any case, Carolyn was right. The audience would be seriously split if I did nothing, and everyone would suffer. So I talked to Dawna Perry, our host, about it. We worked through multiple scenarios, finally arriving at one that looked fairly promising. So yes, we will feature both McCaslin and Johnson on May 7th, and we will have our open mic as well.
And Roy Macdonald will be moved to one of the early months of next season (#3). I say “will be” because it will happen when I bump into him on the street one day. He’s one of those old-timers who doesn’t have a cell phone. Actually, he doesn’t have a phone of any kind. But I’m hopeful I may see him tonight at the Socrates Cafe -- an event held at the Central Library (at 7:00, in case you’re interested).