So bright and full, it will incite lunatic talk,/bring the daredevil out in us and cause minor injury,/never again to be this big, within life’s tick-tock. – Tom Gannon Hamilton*
Every April, poets across Canada celebrate National Poetry Month (#NPM). Some travel to read and/or visit out-of-town events while others stay close to home to organize or attend festivities in their own regions. It’s an opportunity to meet new people, to share common interests, to hear other people’s work, and to grow as a poet.
Call this year’s #NPM19 a literary celebration as big as an orange moon and expect rhythm, rhyme, similes, and metaphors to soar across the skies like UFOs. To the general public, poetry may sound like the language of aliens but for audiences willing to listen, a new and deeper understanding of the world may be discovered.
In Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, over a dozen poets including a publisher, an editor, and several published writers have volunteered to participate in an afternoon marathon of poetic words to be held Saturday, April 6 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Hawg Bar, 117 Christina Street North. Pull up a chair. Expect to be entertained during this free community event.
Headlining Sarnia’s 2019 National Poetry Month celebration will be Tom Gannon Hamilton, a Toronto poet/musician who is known for captivating an audience with his intrinsic rhythm and impromptu style of playing the violin without sheet music. Last year, he was the winner of Big Pond Rumours Press Chapbook Contest with his manuscript El Marillo, which “chronicles the poet’s experiences in war-torn El Salvador during the 1980s.”
He also launched his first trade book Panoptic (Aeolus House, an imprint of Quattro Books Inc. 2018) which features 53 poems including such poetic forms as a villanelle, a terza rima sonnet, a tanka, and free verse with topics and titles ranging from quicksand to orange moon to black fox to picking rock to bee feeders and more.
“Tom’s poetry speaks directly to readers,” said Sharon Berg, publisher of Big Pond Rumours Press and the organizer behind Sarnia’s #NPM19 event, “and he loves southwestern Ontario. As the curator, founder, and host of the Urban Folk Art Salon in partnership with the Toronto Public Library, he is always looking to present and discover the authentic voices of poets residing in and outside of the Toronto area.”
“People will likely be surprised by the number of outstanding poets living in the Lambton-Kent counties let alone outstanding prose writers,” said Berg. “We need to celebrate our homegrown artists and Tom is the perfect complement to this mix.”
The afternoon marathon includes twelve 10-minute spots: Poet Kara Ghobhainn Smith, author of The Artists of Crow County (Black Moss Press, 2017), will drive in from Chatham while Sarnia and Lambton County poets Sharon Berg, Bob Boulton, editor James Deahl, Jale Fancey, Mary Frost, Debbie Okun Hill, Norma West Linder, Rhonda Melanson, David D Plain, Najah Shuqair, and Lynn Tait will share new and previously published favourites.
Admission is free although donations are welcome to help offset travel costs for the featured poet.
“People will likely be surprised by the number of outstanding poets living in the Lambton-Kent counties.”
In addition to Sarnia’s #NPP2019 celebration, local poets Sharon Berg, James Deahl, Debbie Okun Hill, Norma West Linder, Rhonda Melanson, and Lynn Tait will also be travelling to Hamilton, Toronto, and/or Welland as part of the Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century anthology tour. Additional details about these and other National Poetry Month and Ontario literary events are posted on the event page of this website.
What are you doing to celebrate National Poetry Month in your area? Still not sure?
Here’s a sample verse** from Tom Gannon Hamilton’s poem “Little Vendor – (San Salvador, February 2014)”: Guardsmen chuckled, extra napkins/were brought, a woman hobbled out/on the road to hail a cab; the vendor, cool/as wind chimes in custody.