There, in the capital city of Victoria, poetry is blooming as ardently as are deeply hued pansies and violets.
It was serendipitous that on the ferry crossing from the mainland to Vancouver Island I picked up a copy of the Monday Magazine, a comprehensive review of upcoming events of the week in Victoria. The ferry was due to land on the island just before 5 p.m. and there was to be a poetry reading at City Hall at 7 p.m. featuring Canadian poets laureate Agnes Walsh from Newfoundland, Lorri Neilsen Glenn from Nova Scotia and Carla Funk from the city of Victoria.
Needless to say, the choice of how to spend the evening was clear. And, what a grand poetical evening it was — each poet’s voice complex and singular.
Following the reading the large audience engaged in discussion with the poets and then continued interacting as sumptuous desserts, tea and coffee were served. The whole affair was beyond civilized.
What’s more, people greeted me afterwards as though I were a member of their literary community and invited me to attend another half dozen poetry events scheduled in the two weeks to follow. Fortunately, time allowed me the pleasure of attending another three.
When a country, its cities and municipalities put their money where their mouths are, poetry and other arts flourish. In Canada that is precisely what’s happening.
The poets laureate are provided small stipends and traveling allowances to advance poetry and the work of poets throughout the country. The ways in which they do this are varied and imaginative.
Take, for example, the Poet Tree program sponsored by the city of Victoria: Seven poets were paid to spend a day every week for six weeks to enliven the streetscape for workers, shoppers and tourists. They hung poems from trees (one of the poets brought this idea back from her trip to Jerusalem). They stopped people in the streets to ask if they’d like to hear a poem or two and receive copies.
They read to people lined up at hot dog stands or outdoor diners. Kabuki cab drivers transporting tourists would sometimes stop for a reading. One poet reported reading to a bored husband seated on a bench, “…waiting for the wife.” It seems, upon being read to, this man experienced a “rebirth of wonder” (a la Ferlinghetti).
Another evolving poetry initiative in Victoria mobilizes street people in the creative process.
Speaking with poets involved, I get the impression that they see real potential of life transformation for the disenfranchised.
Returning to River Falls, I spotted an article in the Valentine’s Day edition of the River Falls Journal entitled River Falls Reads.
How fortunate we are to have a vital literary core and so many fine poets and artists. However, I suspect we have only begun to tap the potential for poetry to add color to our lives and invigorate our community.
Perhaps Canada and Victoria, in particular, have some guiding principles to offer us in supporting the arts for the betterment of all.
Here are some events and opportunities in our region: Ongoing through Thursday, March 6: “The Aegean Sea,” an installation of digital prints on translucent silk by Mary Schina; UW-River Falls Gallery 101, Kleinpell Fine Arts Building, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 2-4 p.m. Sunday.Ongoing through Saturday, March 8: The River Falls Public Library’s annual Quilt Show; dozens of fantastic fabric creations adorn the walls, both upstairs and downOngoing through Sunday, March 9: Paintings and Collage by Anne Kerfoot; Great River Road Learning Center, 200 Monroe St., Prescott; more information at 715-262-0104.7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 - Stuart Page Plays Country at The River Falls Public Library. Local guitarist and crooner Stuart Page entertains with selections old and new. Free admission and refreshments.7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21: Radd Jazz Series presents “S’Wonderful: The Music of George Gershwin;” with vocalist Prudence Johnson and pianist Dan Chouinard; UW-RF Abbott Concert Hall, KFA; adults $5, seniors $3, students with ID $2.6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22 and 23: One act plays and desserts presented by the River Falls Community Theatre at the River Falls Golf Club; live music at precedes the plays with Thea Ennen on Friday and Dave Peterson on Saturday; tickets $13 in advance available at Lighthouse coffeeshop or at the door for $15.5-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24: The Hammond Arts Alliance presents “Local Locos” at the Hammond Hotel in downtown Hammond. The Kremer Loft Gallery will have the work of Greta Hammelman, felted sculpture, and James Pauc, blown glass. Music will be downstairs in the bar Saturday evening with Jenny Dahmen, 7-8 p.m.; The Havalinas, 8-9 p.m.; and Ron Albert and The Pop Cycles, 9-10 p.m. For more information contact Paulette at firstname.lastname@example.org p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24: UW-RF Faculty Chamber Music Series presents Schubertiade featuring the music of Franz Schubert. Faculty performers include: Giselle Hillyer, violin; Carol Bjorlie, cello; Michael Watson, bass; Roger McVey, piano; Carolyn Britton, piano; Pat OKeefe, clarinet; Joy Scheib, mezzo soprano; and special guest performers: Yoona Hwang, soprano; Susan Janda, viola; ACH; KFA; reception to follow; admission: adults $5, seniors $3, students with ID $2.7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27: - Honky Tonk Café; hosted by Fizz Kiser with guests Molly Dean and Phil Heywood at the River Falls Golf Club; tickets $10 at the Whole Earth Grocery or e-mail email@example.com p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27: Wyman Series; The Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir; UW-RF North Hall Auditorium; tickets at the door; General public $5, under 18 $3, UW-RF students with ID free.7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 28, 29 and March 1; 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 9: Inspired by ancient Chinese folk tales, Tony Kushner’s adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s play, “The Good Person of Setzuan” is a comedic blend of song, dance and theater; UW-RF Davis Theatre, KFA; students $4, adults $7. 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 5: Wyman Series; Tim Sparks and Michael Young, acoustic guitar masters; UW-RF University Center’s Falcon’s Nest entertainment complex; general public $5, under 18 $3, UW-RF students with ID free.8 p.m. Friday, March 7: Lake Woebegon Brass Band; The Phipps Center for the Arts, 109 Locust St., Hudson; for reservations call 386-8409 or go to www.ThePhipps.org.2 p.m. Sunday, March 9: The Phipps Oratorio Society Chorus and Orchestra at Bethel Lutheran Church, 920 Third St., Hudson; for more information or reservations call 386-8409 or go to www.ThePhipps.org.7 p.m. Monday, March 10: UW-RF Art Department Professor Steve Derfler presents an archeological journey that traces the nature of Jerusalem and its spiritual importance to millions of people today. As part of the Community Classroom series, presentations by faculty are designed to help people understand and address the vital concerns of our contemporary world. Sponsored by Outreach and the College of Arts and Sciences and the River Falls Public Library. Location: RFPL; free6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 12: World War II In Film: Visual Documents and Modern Interpretations. Three UW-RF history professors, Kurt Leichtle, Kiril Petkov and Zhiguo Yang host a roundtable discussion of Ken Burns epic PBS film series about World War II at RFPL.7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 13: Radd Jazz Series presents Universal Language IV with guest drummer Phil Heys; UW-RF ACH, KFA; adults $5, seniors $3, students with ID $2.7 p.m. Saturday, March 15: Community Barn Dance with the Rush River Ramblers; co-sponsored by the Community Arts Base, Whole Earth Grocery and River Falls Parks and Recreation at the River Falls Academy gymnasium; adults $5, children 12 and under $2.50.2-4 p.m. Sunday, March 16: Opening reception for It’s For the Birds with fine art and photography on a bird theme, plus educational displays, bird collectibles, and mounted birds from Aves Taxidermy; exhibit runs through Sunday, April 20, at the RFPL.
Call for artists: “It’s for the Birds,” March 16-April 20, at the RFPL. You may submit up to five pieces of original artwork with a bird theme, in any medium, and any unusual bird-related items. Submissions due March 7-9. Call Katie Chaffee at 715-425-0905 for more information.7 p.m. Tuesday, March 25: Author John Koblas presents tales about Jesse James and his cohorts at the RFPL; books will be available for sale and signing; free.8 p.m. Tuesday, April 1: Wyman Series; Golden Dragon Acrobats; 25 acrobats, originally from Cangzhou, Hebei province, in the People’s Republic of China, are athletes, actors, and artists who have trained since childhood; they perform using their bodies and simple props including everyday objects like plates, jugs, bicycles, umbrellas and more; general public $5, under 18 $3, UW-RF students with ID free; At UW-RF ACH, KFA.6-10 p.m. Saturday, April 5: Fundraiser for Hammond Arts Alliance at the River Falls Golf Club; 6-7 p.m. Fizz Kizer and Jonathan Earl myspace.com/honkytonkcafe and 7-10 p.m. Gene Lafond and the Wild Unknown myspace.com/genelafond or www.genelafond.com; $10 cover charge; to reserve tickets or for more information firstname.lastname@example.org.Thursday, April 10 (rescheduled from Sunday Feb. 24): Poetry reading by Wanda Brown at the new Martell Town Hall; details in future column.
Mark your calendars for these upcoming events which will be detailed in future columns: Wednesday, April 23: Unity in the Community; a day long diversity celebration on the UW-RF campus and downtown River Falls6 p.m. Saturday, April 26: CAB Spring Gala at the River Falls Golf Club.There are many arts events and classes happening each month at The Space For Creativity at 156 High St., New Richmond. For more information call 715-246-3180 or go to www.TheSpaceForCreativity.com. Sue West is beginning to organize the first Martell Rainbow Trout Folk Festival, 2008, featuring live music by local artists. If you’d like to help please contact Sue at email@example.com.
For more information about the CAB events, memberships, corporate sponsorships and the Veterans Park Sculpture Project, write to RF CAB/439 W. Maple St./Suite 109/River Falls/WI/54022; call 425-7645, ext. 2109; or go to: www.riverfallscab.org.
For information about regional offerings listed by the member organizations of What We Need is Here, e-mail Anastasia Shartin at ashartin@ThePhipps.org.
For more comprehensive arts information go to www.whatsplaying.info or call 800-323-4984 to speak with someone on the editorial staff. The magazine “What’s Playing” is available at some establishments and newsstands in our area.
community, arts, minded, poetry, events
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