Posted on behalf of Evelyn Schofield.
On January 20th, 38 individuals took time to detach from the everyday world to seek solace and inspiration at Poets Corner’s first reading of the new year. The evening began with an extended open mic session in which 15 poets answered the invitation to share their work. Some who read were regular contributors and others were new to us, or even reading for their very first time ever. Our online audience was treated to a wonderful outpouring of creativity which clearly demonstrated that poetry is thriving. The readings started with a tribute to Jack Kerouac that left us breathless, delved into themes of mortality and death, paused to ponder our relationships with each other and with nature, and then lifted us up to witness the enduring gift of music or the simple joy of a baby’s smile. It is impossible in a short summary to do justice to the poets and their amazing artistry.
The evening then continued with our feature presentation of the anthology Voicing Suicide, recently published by Ekstasis Editions. This part of the evening was ably hosted by Daniel Scott, who both edited the collection and contributed to it, and is no doubt familiar to many as the former Artistic Director of the Planet Earth Poetry reading series in Victoria. Daniel provided short introductions to the contributing poets who read, but allowed their work to speak for itself, which it did most eloquently. We heard poems read by Angela Rebrec, Rhonda Ganz, Lzz Johnk, Brian Brett, Barbara Herringer, Franci Louann, Leonard Neufeldt, and Daniel Scott himself, each poet sensitively exploring feelings about a topic that is painful to examine, but so deserving of the unique voice that poetry offers. Most of us have been or will be affected at some time by suicide, so this is an important book and it is worth noting that the anthology also includes a guide to relevant resources. We are hopeful that this poetry collection will stimulate discussion about a subject which needs to be brought out of the darkness, and we appreciate having the opportunity to hear some of the poems read by their creators at Poets Corner.