As co-organizers, Dowds and Heslop will each specialize in specific aspects of organizing, and will share others.
Mary Dowds will be responsible for most of the internet work and for keeping everything chugging forward as it should, making sure every aspect of the series takes place at it’s designated time. She has already carved out a very new job for herself as well, using her accurate reporting skills to write detailed summaries of the Q&As by the featured readers. Watch for her first one in her summary of Jason Dickson’s feature, to be posted shortly.
Kevin Heslop will put most of his energy into the community, into all the ways London Open Mic can promote poetry outside of its traditional venue. Of course, he will also continue to do what he is most known for, interviewing the featured poets.
Mary Dowds recently moved to London from Victoria, where she was involved in the local poetry scene. Luckily, she responded to our ad for help in carrying London Open Mic forward when current organizer/founder Stan Burfield retires this season. (June 7th at Mykonos Restaurant is his last event, at which he will also be the featured poet.)
From Mary’s bio: “Mary Dowds was previously a Court Reporter. Having written millions of other people's words, she now enjoys writing many of her own. Mary was also a live TV broadcast captioner "and always some kid's mom."
Kevin Heslop has been a member of London Open Mic’s organizing committee since near the beginning and has specialized in interviewing featured poets, researching them massively before posing his famously-appropriate questions. Within the organization, Kevin is known and highly valued for his ability to solve complex problems with finesse and subtlety. He also knows the community, not only the poetry community but also the institutions of the city and the proper ways of approaching them when trying to accomplish things. Kevin has been known to the public for his sometimes-astonishing poetry, but lately has been taking a break while he gets his acting career off the ground. He has just finished his third role on the stage, a starring role in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew at The Grand. See our review.
Kevin’s (earlier) bio: “Kevin Heslop is a twenty year old writer-in-the-making, currently attending Western University as an English major. He is heavily influenced by the poetry and prose of Charles Bukowski and Ernest Hemingway, the philosophical works of Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Neitzsche, the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso and the music of J.S. Bach and Miles Davis. When not reading or writing, Kevin is either playing the drums, drawing with an 8B pencil and/or feeling distressed about not writing.”
----Stan Burfield, fulfilling one of my last duties.