Letter By John B. Lee: Poetry Draws Large Crowds
The following letter by poet John B. Lee was sent to CBC Radio and all the cultural funding organizations in Ontario and in Canada.
Born in Highgate, John B. Lee joined Marty Gervais and others for a well attended (about 70 people) at the Mary Webb Centre. During that visit to his home town he also shared his work and thoughts with enthralled students at Ridgetown High School.
He and other poets agree that poetry readings in major centres such as Ottawa and Toronto are considered a rousing success if they attract an audience of 25 people.
John B. Lee will next be sharing his writing skills in Chatham-Kent at a memoir-writing workshop organised by the Ridgetown Rejuvenation Association on Saturday 21st April from 9.30am to 5.00pm at Smith & Wilson Estate Wines off Talbot Trail west of Blenheim. Marty Gervais, Bryan Prince and Tom Button will also be leading groups of writers, wannabe writers and readers in the art and craft of capturing memories.
BLACK MOSS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR
Black Moss Press on April 2 at the Caboto Club launched Mary Ann Mulhern’s Brides In Black and Terry Ann Carter’s Day Moon Rising. This was part of a program offered by way of a partnership with the University of Windsor’s English Department. The course, working with students, edits, designs and produces two books each year by Black Moss writers. The launch drew close to 400 people.
Black Moss Press has been a major champion of poetry in Canada for over forty years. Publisher Marty Gervais, an important poet in his own right was appointed Poet Laureate of the City of Windsor in 2012. His unflagging faith in poetry and its ability to attract an avid audience of poetry enthusiasts continues to bear fruit.
A few years ago, attending a poetry reading in Windsor, former president of the League of Canadian Poets Betsy Struthers, walked into a Windsor venue, took one look at the crowd gathered there, and turned around to leave the packed room with over 150 people in attendance saying, “Surely I must be in the wrong place. This can’t be a poetry reading. There are far too many people here.”
However, she wasn’t in the wrong place. Black Moss Press poetry events are always well attended. Windsor is fast becoming the unsung poetry capital of Canada.
Only last Monday, April 2 at Caboto Club in Windsor, well over 350 people turned up to listen to Black Moss Press authors Mary Ann Mulhern and Terry Ann Carter reading from their new work. Ottawa poet Terry Ann Carter for her part said, “In Ottawa a poetry reading attended by twenty five people would be considered a rousing success.”
Mulhern and Carter sold over one hundred and twenty five books at the launch.
Attracting audiences in excess of one hundred is not uncommon for a Black Moss Press poetry event.
We who love poetry continue to hear predictions on its imminent death. Poetry enthusiasts in Windsor confirm that the rumours of the demise of poetry are not only premature, but also entirely fallacious. It’s high time the rest of Canada took note of what is happening in the border city. Due to the commitment of Black Moss Press and the tireless efforts of literary publisher and Poet Laureate Marty Gervais, Windsor might indeed already be the unacknowledged poetry capital of Canada.
I respectfully draw your attention to the full-house attendance for the launch of these two fine poets. It is high time that poets and poetry lovers take notice of what is happening in Canada’s southernmost city. I for one, take pride in this opportunity to celebrate the significant success of Marty Gervais, Black Moss Press and to draw attention to this considerable achievement on behalf of all those who delight in poetry.
For further information and photos of this amazing event visit: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Moss-Press/118907923236
John B. Lee – Poet Laureate of the Norfolk County (2011-2014) and Poet Laureate of the City of Brantford in perpetuity.