My initial, fairly naive, idea of how to select featured poets was simply to find all the Londoners who had books or chapbooks published.
The first problem with that is that only twenty-odd Londoners have had poetry books published. At eleven features per season, that means we would have virtually nobody left to feature during Season Three and later.
Well, we’re now entering our second year, and wising up.
For starters, anyone can pay to have a chapbook made. It says nothing about the quality of the poems inside. I may even have that done for some of mine one day. (On the other hand, self-publication doesn’t mean the poetry is poor either, especially these days when there are more and more poets applying to fewer presses for acceptance. Many of the best poets in the city have told me they have long ago given up.)
It’s also obvious that some of the best poets in the city have no books at all published, many for the same reasons as stated above. So we are beginning to add some of these poets to our feature list. Thankfully we are a group. Decisions like this aren’t up to me alone. And the open mic is the perfect arena for these poets to show off
As well, we’re going to begin taking poets from areas a bit further afield. This season we will have Julie Berry from St. Thomas, but next season we will be asking the cream of the crop from as far away as Sarnia, Stratford and Woodstock.
Also, we are going to add one or two surprise poets-of-stature from even farther away, as we will demonstrate this season. But they will have to be worth it.
And also, we will eventually ask earlier featured poets to give a second appearance.
Done this way, we should be able to carry on being a showcase for mainly local talent indefinitely.
What I’m saying is that any local poets whom I contacted at the beginning of Season One and who have still not been featured should not fret. This is part of the grand plan. We are trying to scramble the seasons, mixing well-known poets with less-well-known, Londoners with out-of-towners, those with books with those without.
At the September 4th event, I will list and describe briefly most of the featured poets of this season. As well, I will tell you about some of our new ideas for the year. Hope to see you there.