Margaret Hornby will be reading at City Council next week.

… a poem as lovely as a tree

With input from the Cultural Development Commission, Nelson City Council has taken up the gauntlet

April is a month of crocuses and new grass, birds and bees and butterflies. At least, we hope so. So it makes sense that April should be National Poetry Month, because spring just makes you want to wax lyrical, doesn’t it?

These days, everyone and his politician seems to be waxing lyrical thanks to a challenge issued by the Mayor of Regina. In a special proclamation, Mayor Pat Fiacco challenged municipalities across the country to celebrate National Poetry Month by inviting a local poet to read at a regular council meeting.

With input from the Cultural Development Commission, Nelson City Council has taken up the gauntlet and invited two poets to read at the April 2 meeting, which is open to the public. Margaret Hornby — a writer with a long record of poetic lyricism and two published books — is joined by relative newcomer Elena Banfield, who has been wowing audiences at poetry slams. The two are great choices.

Of course, a poem a piece barely scratches the surface, and so the library will follow up with a reading and book launch on Thursday, April 5 at 7:30 pm, where Hornby launches her newest collection, Love in Exotic Places, and Banfield struts her poetic stuff. It’s going to be fun.

I love the idea of politicians embracing poetry. I truly believe there is a place for slam poetry in question period. They’re already half-way there. And in our more civilized council meetings? I hope it becomes an annual event, and not just a response to a challenge from Away.

We come by our poetry appreciation honestly in this neck of the woods. Canada’s Poet Laureate Fred Wah cut his teeth on Baker Street (ouch!) and we have a plethora of notable poets living and writing in our midst. Some names on our shelves you might recognize include Susan Andrews Grace, Arthur Joyce, and Tom Wayman (whose new book is called Dirty Snow, a title reflective of the current  view from my window) to name just a few.

We try to keep up in our poetry section, a tradition that began with former Chief Librarian Deb Thomas, who knew that poetry was more than Robert Frost, intrepid path-less-travelled poet through he was. Recent acquisitions include new books by BC poets Lorna Crozier, Susan Musgave, Patrick Friesen, and Sharon Thesen, whose book Oyama Pink Shale is shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Other nominees whose books are on order include Patrick Lane and John Pass.

There are no poets in the One Book, One Kootenay shortlist, although poet Tom Wayman’s short story collection Boundary Country is one of the three books up for the title, and Rita Moir’s The Third Crop: A personal and historical journey into the photo albums and shoeboxes of the Slocan Valley 1800s to early 1940s includes poetry by Valley poets Jordan Mounteer and Natasha Jmieff.

Jennifer Craig’s Yes Sister, No Sister may be a memoir, but it has its poetic moments there in the wee hours on that hospital ward in Leeds. All three authors will not be reading poetry at the One Book, One Kootenay launch on Friday, April 13 at 7:30 pm in the library. But we’ll forgive them for that, even though it’s National Poetry Month.

So if you think that you shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree (with a nod to poet Alfred Joyce Kilmer), think again. Poetry touches our lives in myriad ways, as most of us know — including our politicians. Let’s hope the movement grows — as large and lovely as a tree.

 

Anne DeGrace’s column is featured on the community page every second week

 

Just Posted

Nelson, Salmo councils decline to contribute to preservation of Cottonwood forest

The decisions have effectively stalled negotiations between the RDCK and the landowner, Kootenay Land Corporation

KBRH on watch for bed bugs after two recent cases

Spokesperson Mandy Lowery says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Dec. 8

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

Coffee card donations return at Wait’s News

The program supplied over 200 cards last year

Trafalgar students build home for sanctuary horse

Grade 8 students collaborated on a project with a local farm sanctuary

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Final phase of Kelowna hospital cardiac centre completed

Finishing new recovery rooms marks completion of $381 million project

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read