Reading and Q&A with Poet Madhur Anand
January 19, 4:30 p.m.
Dr. Madhur Anand is an ecology professor as well as a poet.
Reading and Q&A with Poet Laura Clarke
March 9, 4:30 p.m.
Toronto-based writer and poet Laura Clarke comes to campus.
Since 2001, thanks mainly to an annual grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, and in collaboration with the Hamilton Poetry Centre, we have had the honour at Redeemer University College of hosting a number of Canadian poets, both well-established and rising stars, from all across Canada. The poets have typically come to campus on a Thursday afternoon, giving a reading of their poetry, signing books, and interacting in question-and-answer sessions with students, professors, and others from the community, before moving on to read for the Hamilton Poetry Centre that evening in downtown Hamilton.
In the very first year of the program, 2001-2, we were privileged to host a reading by Robert Kroetsch, “Mr Postmodern” himself. He was charming and winsome, and endeared himself to an audience that had expected to find him as formidable in presentation as he can be in print. We are grateful that Kroetsch managed to fit Redeemer into his schedule. He died in 2011 at the age of 83, one of Canada’s “greats.” In that same first year of the series, Don McKay read for us: he is arguably Canada’s most gifted and influential living poet, a household name in the literary community right across Canada, and it was a great honour to have him here, sharing through his witty poetry in particular his love of birding and of geology. In the second year, we had a visit from George Elliott Clarke, now Toronto’s poet laureate and a professor at U. of Toronto, but then a taste of black Baptist Nova Scotia with a jazz sensibility and a jazz performer’s style of presentation. It is a fine experience for students to see plastered across the news media the names of writers they’ve met at Redeemer.
And so it’s gone on, over the years: poets from everywhere in Canada, from B.C. to Newfoundland; poets just starting out, poets well-established and well-fêted; poets who have won the Governor General’s Award or the Griffin Prize or other prestigious awards; poets respectable and poets outlandish; poets from WASP backgrounds and poets from places that have escaped from WASPish clutches. Some poets have been soft-spoken and kind to their audience; some (like Christian Bök) have been demanding and loud. Some (like John Terpstra and Pier Giorgio di Cicco) have been people of Christian faith; some have been stridently otherwise. Some have been very intellectually demanding (like Tim Lilburn and David Solway); some have been aiming at a more popular audience (Lorna Crozier and Molly Peacock, for instance). Some are serious, some funny; some political, some personal, some both at once. Some use only contemporary free-verse forms; some (like Amanda Jernigan and James Langer) are particularly interested in traditional forms and structures. Some (memorably Carmine Starnino) have even been strident critics of each other’s work.
But for students to meet these poets “in the flesh” and find out from their own lips about their working styles, their philosophies, their influences, their hopes, and their struggles has always been exciting and encouraging, and often eye-opening. Poetry is alive and well in Canada, and has lots to say! Not surprisingly, there has been particular benefit for students in our Creative Writing courses: some of the visiting poets have generously offered our students help and advice—links to publishers, graduate programs, and other reading series, and critique on an individual basis to these budding poets at Redeemer. We’re told, too, that the poets love coming to Redeemer – that they have really appreciated the warmth of their reception here, the attentive audiences, the intelligent questions, and that they have spread the word in the literary community across Canada that Redeemer is a good gig to get. And so we eagerly anticipate the continuation of this series as a fruitful partnership with HPC and the Canada Council for the Arts for many years to come.
Complete listing of readers
From 2001-2016, the series has hosted:
John Terpstra (independently sponsored: book launch)
John B. Lee
Terry Ann Carter
Lorri Neilsen Glenn
Jacob Scheier (independently sponsored)
Di Brandt (independently sponsored)
Suzanne Buffam (independently sponsored)
D.S. Martin (independently sponsored)
Susan McCaslin (independently sponsored)
Tim Bowling and Jan Zwicky
Hilary Clark and Mary Dalton
D.S. Martin (independently sponsored)
Bruce Meyer (independently sponsored)
& Peter Sanger
Carmine Starnino (independently sponsored)
Pier Giorgio di Cicco
John Terpstra (sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets)
Marlene NourbeSe Phillip (independently sponsored)
Steven Heighton (sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets)
Katherine Lawrence (independently sponsored)
George Elliott Clarke