Friday, October 21, 2011

The 8th Annual Poetry Weekend

I am living in absolute exhilaration and exhaustion from our most recent poetry weekend. Our presiding spirits were this year two creatures who have been at every poetry weekend: Sharon McCartney and Jack the Dog. They conjured magic.

We opened the weekend with a Friday night reading from this year’s UNB writer-in-residence Sue Sinclair. Wonderful beginning.

It was really exciting to see so many first and second books representing many of our finest new poets. I’m making my way through them now with true delight!

I’m grateful for the poets who came from such a distance, so thank you, from Colorado, Leigh Kotsilidis; London, Karen Schindler; Hamilton, Jeffery Donaldson and Amanda Jernigan; Toronto, Daniel Renton, Heather Hessup, and Linda Besner; Ottawa, Rhonda Douglas; Montreal, Asa Boxer; Boston, Daniel Hudon; Grand Manan, Wayne Clifford; Halifax, Warren Heiti and John Barger; and from Newfoundland, James Langer, Mark Callanan, Shoshanna Wingate, Danielle Devereaux, and Carson Butts, and Corey Lavender from somewhere in Ontario, and undoubtedly someone I’ve forgotten.

On Sunday, Ian LeTourneau took our group photo:
From left to right standing: Sharon McCartney, Corey Lavender, Jeffery Donaldson, Mark Callanan, Karen Schindler, Carson Butts, Rhonda Douglas, James Langer, John Barger, Triny Finlay, Aaron Daigle, Ross Leckie, Kathy Mac, Danielle Devereaux, Travis Lane, Wayne Clifford, Nick Thran, Shoshanna Wingate, Matthew Gwathmey, Phillip Crymble, Matt Cornfield, and Zach Alapi.
Seated: Jack the Dog, Ian LeTourneau, Anita Lahey, Amanda Jernigan, Sue Sinclair, Kayla Geitzler, Lynette Adams, Claire Kelly, and Chasity St. Louis.
And here are some more photos:
Anita Lahey showing how big her baby will be,
with Tom looking on skeptically.

Danielle Deveraux and Leigh Kotsilidis:
“That Renton sure can spin the BS.”
James Langer: "Well, we all really know . . ."
Linda Besner: “Isn’t life cool!”
Sharon McCartney and Triny Finlay:
“Ross, we didn’t know you could be funny.”
Shoshanna Wingate: “Why yes,
I was praying to the gods of poetry.”
It turns out Wayne Clifford is a wise old man.  At his feet: John Haney, Amanda Jernigan, Nick Thran, Sue Sinclair, and Warren Heiti.

And Jeffery Donaldson has summed up everyone’s thoughts again:

Sue Sinclair said that
at Ross Leckie’s poetry festival in Fredericton,
“The Gods muttered among themselves.”

Amanda Jernigan said that
at Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“We let our song become our work.”

And Matthew Gwathmey mentioned that
at Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“The song titles read like a lesson in grief.”

Warren Heiti confessed that
at Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“I dreamt I was in a grocery store.”

Zach Alapi commented that
at your poetry festival, Ross Leckie,
“It was the first piece of yourself that was made for me.”

Cory Lavender told us that
at Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“I didn’t say boo.  Not one word.”

Triny Finlay said about
Ross Leckie, at the poetry festival:
“My surprise in watching him emerge.”

Daniel Renton said that
at Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“If they fudge their lines, they ask for a second take.”

Ryan Marshall opined that
Ross Leckie’s poetry festival
“Is like lifting a mirror from a loosening mount.”

Michael Pacey speculated that
Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“Is a compost heap, the engine of circulation, a random deliberate gathering.”

And at Ross Leckie’s poetry festival:
“A leaky tent pitched behind the garage.”

And again at Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“Built not to hold, but to release.”

And furthermore at Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“As if words were just beads on a necklace, strung.”

Karen Schindler praised
Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“Because it makes a room feel larger, and when placed outside, expands a garden.”

Travis Lane said that
Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“We read it, in its context, as a song.”

Emily Skov-Nielson said of
Ross Leckie’s poetry festival:
“This is all you need to hear.”

Aaron Daigle said,
Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“Names glimpsed in passing.”

Gerard Beirne grieved that
Ross Leckie’s poetry festival
“Approaches the hallowed ground, yet never can enter.”

Chasity St. Louis observed that
At Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“They can do nothing but curl in upon themselves.”

Linda Besner said that
At Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“We swung past what we saw.”

Asa Boxer reminisced that
At Ross Leckie’s poetry festival,
“Down we tripped into the third most dreaded circle.”
Thank you to everyone!
Ross Leckie, Editor, The Fiddlehead