What a delight it was to have the birthday girl read for us! Bernice Lever turned 81 the day of her poetry reading at Poetic Justice. She shared some of the entries from her most recent poetry collection, Small Acts. And she was joined by the much-revered Russell Thornton who delivered some scintillating poems from his upcoming manuscript, The Terrible Appearances, as well as a requested favourite, “Lemon Groves”.
We also discovered that at age 19, Russell Thornton sent one of his first-ever poems to the founder and editor of Waves magazine, none other than Bernice Lever!
Our Next Poetry Reading
April’s poetry reading is on Easter Sunday and it’s going to be a blast. Maybe the Easter Bunny will be there as well. Here’s why. Both our featured poets are from out of town but neither is a stranger to the Vancouver writing scene. Penn Kemp is London, Ontario’s first Poet Laureate and Sharon Thesen lives in the Okanagan. And here’s more about both of them.
Penn Kemp, M.Ed., is delighted to return to Poetic Justice! Activist poet, performer and playwright, Penn is a League of Canadian Poets Life Member and winner of their 2015 Spoken Word Artist of the Year award. She is the inaugural Poet Laureate for London, Ontario. As Writer-in-Residence for Western University, her project was the DVD, Luminous Entrance. Her new plays are available on the Playwrights Guild of Canada website.
Other recent works are Barbaric Cultural Practice (Quattro, 2016) and two anthologies, Women and Multimedia and Performing Women as well as Dream Sequins, Lyrical Myrical Press, and Jack Layton: Art in Action, which she edited for Quattro Books, Toronto. Her first poetry collection, Bearing Down (Coach House Press), appeared in 1972. She also edited the first collection of women’s poetry in Canada when she guest-edited Issue No. 14 of Is magazine in 1973. Since then, Penn has published thirty books and has had six of her plays produced.
Sharon Thesen lives in the Okanagan’s Lake Country, and is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at UBC’s Okanagan campus. She is a BC-based poet, editor, critic, and teacher who has published nine books of poetry, most recently The Good Bacteria (2009) and Oyama Pink Shale (2011) both with House of Anansi Press. She has also edited two editions of The New Long Poem Anthology and was an editor at The CapilanoReview and co-editor of Lake: A Journal of Arts and Environment.
A winner of the Pat Lowther Award, she has also been a three-time finalist for the Governor-General’s Award and a frequent finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Award. In 2002, she was a jury member of the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize. She currently writes journalistic essays for the online magazine Dispatches, and continues to teach poetry workshops and facilitate readings and events in Kelowna. Her current poetry manuscript is titled Eternal City of the West.
So join us and hear from two writers who have not been carving but excavating literary history in Canada. Their reputations have already made it to the top-most bookshelf. It’s likely this will be a poetry reading you’ll remember for a while.
So mark your calendars for Sunday April 16. Remember we get underway at 11:30am. Come early so you can register for open mic and place your food & beverage order. See you for brunch with items starting at $10!