I was attending the launch of our spin-off reading series held at Chapters bookstore, which its organiser, Andy Verboom, calls "Couplets: Poets in Dialogue" (as it includes a more senior poet, Laurie D. Graham, and a less-published one, David Huebert, playing off of each other). Sitting there watching and listening was exhilarating to me, I kid you not, partly because it really was a wonderful event, something totally new, but also because this time I didn't have to do anything to make it happen, just hand it all to Andy! How easy is that? No stress, no anxiety. And Andy's a genius at this kind of thing. (Actually, at pretty much anything he turns his hand to, I think.) Well, everything I heard from people in attendance last night, as well as later, indicated the packed audience of 35 was definitely not disappointed either. (Stay tuned for summary, photos and a video of the whole thing.)
Anyway, one of our new members, Brittany Renaud, and I had been planning on coming back to Chapters later to see the events manager, Alex Corbitt, about starting a guerrilla poetry series there, which I had gotten him excited about earlier. (A bunch of us poets would read poetry on a busy day just to the browsers, our only audience, the idea being to take them unawares, to get them to listen to poetry, and appreciate it, possibly for the first time.) Well, last night I saw Alex watching the event, of course (since we had set it up through him), with evident satisfaction, so it occurred to me that we may as well meet with him right then, after the event. Which we did. As the audience was getting up and chatting, Brittany, I, Alex, and Koral Scott, another new member, one with tremendous energy and enthusiasm for every aspect of our organisation, moved into Alex's office to sort it out.
We were mulling over the practicalities, like whether we would need chairs set up, whether it would need promotion, that kind of thing. I told Alex how our initial version had worked out at the central library downtown, and then that the librarian had asked if we would like to do one at a children's event in the library as well. (They hold little ComiCons etc.) Then I remembered that Chapters has a children's section and said, "Why don't we have one here in the bookstore too, on a busy day". That got everyone thinking, Brittany especially, who will be organising the main guerrilla series in the store for us, but who also had earlier mentioned we should do guerrilla events for children, to try to get them excited about poetry while they're still in their formative years. Well, somebody said, "We could get the kids to bring in their own poems and read them", but of course mistakenly, because by definition for a guerrilla event you can't tell them about it in advance if you're going to catch them unawares. And then somebody else said, "We could get the kids to write their own poems right there". Okay, I could see people were getting away from the idea of guerrilla poetry entirely, so instead of getting frustrated I decided to switch directions myself and go with the tide. I said, "Okay, why don't we do a real poetry event for kids here. Advertise it on social media, get them to bring their own poems and so on." So then everyone became even more excited. Koral said, "Maybe we could have a workshop for them, to really get them into it". Brittany said, "We could show them what a poem without rhyme is, and how to write it". And then this whole new idea began to solidify as something wonderful. I said, "We could hold a series of events like this for kids at the library as well, not just guerrilla poetry".
Whooooohoo!! Another great idea takes off!! And I don't have to do a darn thing myself! Brittany is going to be the main organiser of all the children's events. I'm sure she's going to get a lot of enthusiastic help from the others. We may need more people as well. I'm sure we will. Every idea like this brings more people into our excited little group. If you want to help, email me and I'll pass your name to Brittany. I'm Stan. firstname.lastname@example.org