Poetry NOW…and in the flesh

I like poetry, but I’m not familiar with as much contemporary work as I’d like to be. So I was glad to come across the event listing for Poetry NOW: 4th Annual Battle of the Bards, a competition featuring 20 Canadian poets.

The event was held at Harbourfront Centre last week. Each poet read for about five minutes, all hoping to win a spot at the 33rd annual International Festival of Authors and to have his or her book advertised in NOW magazine.

But it wasn’t just the exposure to some new writers that interested me. I was equally looking forward to hearing poetry out loud. Sometimes it’s nice to read poems in solitude, but other times it seems the words are meant to be listened to. And it’s certainly a treat to hear how the poet reads his or her own work.

I enjoyed the majority of the readings, but a few of the poets really made an impression on me: Linda Besner, Mark Callanan and Daniel Scott Tysdal. (Sandra Ridley ended up winning.) For your viewing (and listening) pleasure, here’s Tysdal reading “An Experiment in Form,” which is the same poem he read that night.


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