I have returned from attending my first League of Canadia Poets AGM, held in Edmonton, Alberta. I met brilliant poets and had an opportunity to join in and share my work. During the AGM, there were a number of panels presented on writing. I was thrilled to be in a place with other writers, and an organization that supported writers such as Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and Al Purdy, to name a small few. I attended the Form Poetry and Technology and Poetic Collaboration panels. Form poetry is far from being a lost form, but it is having a revival. There was an insightful conversation about the use of the traditional sonnet and liberated sonnet, and the possibility of creating other sonnet forms. I have been working only in free verse for so long, I was partly intimidated to try form. As a result of the panel, I was inspired to write a sonnet today - the first of many.
The second panel addressed the use of today's technology for poets collaborating with other artists i.e. websites, blogs, poetry CDs, music lyrics, photography, video poems. There are so many possibilities at the click of a button.
The league organized a new members reading at a restaurant called The Kasbah in downtown Edmonton, and it was a wonderful evening with words and wine flowing. On the last evening, we were treated to a stirring lecture from Mark Abley, more wine and words flowing, and an awards presentation for the Pat Lowther and Gerald Lampert book awards at the Edmonton City Hall.
Our own wayword poet, Yvonne Blomer, was short-listed for the Gerald Lampert award for her first book of poetry, a broken leaf, fallen mirror. She gave a thoughtful reading and left a firm mark as an up-and-coming poet and new member of the league. Steven Price won the award for his first collection of poems about Harry Houdini, An Anatomy of Keys. Gary Hyland, a poet from Moosejaw, Sasksatchewan, was presented with a well-deserved Lifetime Honourary membership of the League.
The weekend was a great introduction to the League of Canadian Poets - to be present and involved - and brush shoulders with wonderful writers in all career stages. To spend a weekend away talking about the sound, placement and magic of words, what could be better?