Monday, December 28, 2009
31 POETS TO COMMIT ‘RANDOM ACTS OF POETRY’ ACROSS CANADA
Random Acts of Poetry, a celebration of poetry and literacy, begins its sixth year during the week of October 5 to 11, 2009. Random Acts of Poetry is a project of the Victoria READ Society, a non-profit literacy organization, established in 1976. Random Acts of Poetry is funded by The Canada Council for the Arts.
“It’s a great joy to touch people’s lives in this unique way,” says Claire Rettie, READ’s executive director. “Poetry is an invitation to nourish our literacy, and hearing a poem aloud is a rare treat.” During the week, 31 acclaimed poets across Canada, from Victoria to Newfoundland, will commit Random Acts of Poetry in their cities and adjacent small towns. On buses and subways, in donut shops and cafes, police stations, grocery stores, shelters, curling rinks, on city streets and country lanes, poets will read poems to strangers and give them their books. Poets will also read their poems in ESL and Adult Literacy classes.
Patrick Lane, one of Canada’s premier poets, says of Random Acts of Poetry, “There are no accidents. Nothing is random. A poem sits in a poet’s pocket and jumps out when you least expect it. It can nestle in a mechanic’s ear, a politician’s hand, a waitress’s bright eye, somewhere, anywhere. You look up from work and there’s a poem. It reads itself to you. It asks you to take a break. It says: Right here. Right now.”
“Poetry,” says Wendy Morton, founder of Random Acts of Poetry, “is the shortest distance between two hearts. I have read poems to hundreds of people, many of whom hadn’t heard a poem in thirty years, and watched their eyes fill up with tears. Some burst into laughter or laid a hand on my shoulder, hugged me, took my hand. Poetry can connect us with each other as humans as no other art form I know. Poetry is a gift that we can create from whatever life has in store for us.”
Random Acts of Poetry contributes toward READ's Education Access program to help children and youth from low-income households improve their reading, writing, mathematics and study skills. Households contribute what they can and READ pays the rest by fund raising with the community.
Across Canada poets will commit random acts in: Victoria, Shawnigan Lake, Sooke, Nanaimo, Nanoose Bay, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Desboro, Stratford, Toronto, Port Perry , Trenton, Ottawa, Port McNicoll, Montreal, Laval, Fredericton, Charlottetown, Montague, Wolfville, Halifax, and St. John’s.