Sunday, August 7, 2016

Love Poetry Festival in Honour of Milton Acorn and Gwen MacEwen

Let us sing the praises of the wonderful Canadian poets Milton Acorn and Gwendolyn MacEwen ...

Poets Milton Acorn and Gwendolyn MacEwen
The Love Poetry Festival was the brainchild of the poet George Elliott Clarke, Canada's seventh national poet laureate. Co-organizers George and Michelle Alfano, Founder of the (Not So) Nice Italian Girls & Friends Reading Series, worked together to create the first annual Love Poetry Festival in honour of Milton Acorn and Gwen MacEwen to be held on Centre Island, where the couple lived for a few years in the 1960s, on August 6, 2016. 

The event was held at the historic St. Andrew by the Lake Anglican Church before a generous and appreciative crowd which filled the beautiful church.

Our venue, the beautiful
St. Andrew by the Lake
George Elliott ClarkeCanada's seventh national 
poet laureate, explains the origin of the Festival
The poet and essayist
Trevor Abes starts the first set ...
Karen Mulhallen, force majeure
and Canadian literary icon
Whitney French, writer, storyteller
and multi-disciplinary artist
Honey Novick, singer, songwriter & poet
A musical interlude with the
talented pianist Roger Sharp
Poet, singer/songwriter Robert Priest
leads the second set
Anna Yin, Mississauga's 
Inaugural Poet Laureate

George concludes the second set

Roger ends the reading with another beautiful set

An appreciative crowd

Rob Fujimoto, art director & Festival poster designer, and 
Michelle Alfano, Festival co-organizer & emcee,
sail into the sunset ... 

I Shout Love ~ Milton Acorn

I shout love in a blizzard's
scarf of curling cold,
for my heart's a furred sharp-toothed thing
that rushes out whimpering
when pain cries the sign writ on it.

I shout love into your pain
when skies crack and fall
like slivers of mirrors,
and rounded fingers, blued as a great rake,
pluck the balled yarn of your brain.

I shout love at petals peeled open
by stern nurse fusion-bomb sun,
terribly like an adhesive bandage,
for love and pain, love and pain
are companions in this age.


Poems In Braille ~ Gwen MacEwen

all your hands are verbs,
now you touch worlds and feel their names -
thru the thing to the name
not the other way thru (in winter
I am Midas, I name gold)

the chair and table and book
extend from your fingers;
all your movements
command these things back to their
places; a fight against familiarity
makes me resume my distance

they knew what it meant,
those egyptian scribes who drew
eyes right into their hieroglyphs,
you read them dispassionate until
the eye stumbles upon itself
blinking back from the papyrus

outside, the articulate wind
annotates this; I read carefully
lest I go blind in both eyes, reading with
that other eye the final hieroglyph

the shortest distance between 2 points
on a revolving circumference
is a curved line; O let me follow you,

with legs and arms I make alphabets
like in those children's books
where people bend into letters and signs,
yet I do not read the long cabbala of my bones
truthfully; I need only to move to alter the design

I name all things in my room
and they rehearse their names,
gather in groups, form tesseracts,
discussing their names among themselves

I will not say the cast is less than the print
I will not say the curve is longer than the line,
I should read all things like braille in this season
with my fingers I should read them
lest I go blind in both eyes reading with
that other eye the final hieroglyph

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