“The ghostly sway of the train remains/long after the journey completes.” –Kelsey Knight*
It’s Valentine’s Day 2016. Nine of the 23 PoeTrain anthology participants have stepped out of the unseasonal frigid temperatures into the warmth of the Orchard Bar, a dark and narrow meeting place in the heart of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
We are like family now! Not related by birth, but this poetic friendship reminds me of meeting distant cousins at a reunion and how strangers scattered across the country can easily bond like train cars resting on a track.
Before settling down and finding a seat in the crowded room, the PoeTrainers greet each other with a warm hug and the reunion chatter begins. We are immediately reminded of our 2015 National Poetry Month memories and our shared moments on the Great Canadian PoeTrain Tour. What an experience! All the photos I wanted to bring with me; all my thoughts from the trip remain un-blogged and at home. I promise to share these images when life is less busy.
Today, The Ontario Poetry Society hosts “The Love of Poetry Gathering” featuring members’ readings, an open mic and spotlight features including the launch of Songs of Exile by Bänoo Zan (a participant in the 2012 PoeTrain Express to Cobalt, Ontario) and The PoeTrain Anthology: A Selection of Train Poems by Canadian Poets edited and compiled by Fran Figge.
David Brydges, artistic director for the PoeTrain 2015, can’t sit still. His excitement and enthusiasm for train travel lights the room. A stack of anthologies rests on a table beside him.
In his introduction, he describes the 56-page book as a “crafted collective spirit” and that the contents are “the combined contrarian treasures of an historic poetry tour that documented and detailed a shared poetic journey.”
And what a journey it was, with poets and musicians travelling the train from Ottawa to Toronto then Winnipeg to Edmonton to Vancouver with readings on and off the Via Rail “Canadian”.
Anthology editor and President of The Ontario Poetry Society Fran Figge states, “All of the poems will impart to you a piece of our adventure; the romance, nostalgia and hopes of the first Great Canadian PoeTrain Tour.”
The 23 anthology contributors (in alphabetical order) are: Rosa Arlotto, Marsha Barber, Kent Bowman, David C. Brydges, Margaret Code, Patrick Connors, Ian Ferrier, Fran Figge, Kathy Figueroa, Kathy Fisher, Debbie Okun Hill, Kelsey Knight, Joanne Lilley, Blaine Marchand, Laura Byrne Paquet, DC Reid, Quincy Russell, Paul Sanderson, Carrie Saxifrage, Michael Stacey, David Streitt, Judy Tate Barlow, and Ella Zeltserman.
Brydges expresses his thanks to the PoeTrain organizing team (Canadian poets Kent Bowman, Marsha Barber, Patrick Connors and Kate Marshall Flaherty) for a job well done.
For those readers interested in obtaining a copy of The PoeTrain Anthology, please contact David Brydges for details at mybrydges (at) yahoo (dot) ca . Copies are limited so place your order early to avoid disappointment.
Brydges is also collecting pre-registration contact info for anyone interested in participating in the next PoeTrain adventure in September 2017.
“It’s called the Wild West Poetry Festival,” he announces, “and we will travel from Vancouver to Jasper, Prince George, and Prince Rupert by Via Rail train. Then we will take the BC ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island where we will travel by bus to Nanaimo for a final event.”
Brydges has also joined forces with The Ontario Poetry Society and Ink Bottle Press to produce Memory and Loss: A Canadian Poetry Anthology. To be edited and compiled by I.B. Iskov, the book will be dedicated to the victims of Alzheimer’s. Poems on the themes of dementia and Alzheimer’s will be accepted until June 15, 2016. The call is open to all poets living in Canada. More information can be found here.
Additional information about the 2015 Great Canadian PoeTrain Tour can be found here and here and on several other blog posts on this site.
As PoeTrain poet/musician Paul Sanderson shared in his musical tribute** “Train Song”… “Gonna ride this train./Ride on, ride on, ride on, ride on…”
P.S. — INFORMATION ADDED ON MARCH 1, 2016: Two videos of The PoeTrain Anthology launch in Toronto have now been posted on YouTube. Part I can be found here. Part II can be found here. Special thanks to global sync media productions – video by Marty Smith.
*quote from “Dancing Through Time” by Kelsey Knight, The PoeTrain Anthology: A Selection of Train Poems by Canadian Poets (poetrain projects, 2015) edited and compiled by Fran Figge. ISBN 978-0-9813599-3-9 Used with permission from the author ©Kelsey Knight. Her website appears here.
**quote from “Train Song” by Paul Sanderson, The PoeTrain Anthology: A Selection of Train Poems by Canadian Poets (poetrian projects, 2015) edited and compiled by Fran Figge. ISBN 978-0-9813599-3-9 Used with permission from the author ©Paul Sanderson. His website appears here.