Happy bustling April, readers.
The release date of this month's issue marks the beginning of the spring Ottawa International Writers Festival, eight days of luxurious literary splendour. If you are at all interested or involved in writing/reading, you simply must attend. Ottawans are well represented as usual, whether they are featured readers, presenters, organizers or volunteers, including Bywords published poets such as rob mclennan, Nicholas Lea, Stephen Brockwell, Kathryn Hunt and even me.
I'm particularly excited about the poetry cabarets featuring George Bowering, Erin Mouré, Sandra Alland, bill bissett to name a few, and the documentary "Heard of Poets" put together by locals Josh Massey and Ben Walker.
See the calendar of events for this and other activities, including right after the festival, the start of Quebec Scene. If we can't have buds in April at least, we can still be refreshed by the reign of writers on our city.
April, as you likely know, is National Poetry Month. I encourage you to attend Tree, Capital Slam, Sasquatch, the Factory Reading Series and the various open mics scattered around town in bars, tea shops and on university campuses, to buy Ottawa poetry collections at supportive bookstores like Mother Tongue and Collected Works, or on the Bywords online store, support local publishers like Chaudière Books and BuschekBooks, subscribe to the Bywords Quarterly Journal, the Ottawa Arts Review, Arc, the Dusty Owl Quarterly, pick up free copies of In/Words at stores like Mags and Fags and spend time consorting with living poets.
After all that I should talk about our current issue. In Local Scene, Catharine Carroll offers her quarterly report on Bywords' most recent reading, this one a celebration of the fifth year of the Bywords Quarterly Journal with readings by contributors to the issue and Ottawa-based Bywords editors. I enjoyed hearing the different styles of our group. I think for many who came to the reading, it gave them insight into the diversity of poems selected for publication.
Speaking of poems, we have six in this month's issue. I'm always heartened to see the return of previously published poets such as Stephen Brockwell and Anne LeDressay, new discoveries (for me) like Bruce Hamilton and Martin Cooney, Ottawa ex-pats like Kate Marshall Flaherty and Maxianne Berger.
I'm very pleased with the amount and quality of submissions we've been receiving lately. A special thanks to those who maintain listserves and send out our calls for submissions to their readers: rob mclennan, Patrick Meikle through Writers Deadline, Artlist through Artengine and the Smallpressers Yahoo Group.
When you send in your submission, I'd love to know where you found out about us. Remember to pass on our calls to those current and former Ottawa residents, students and workers in your life. For submissions information, go to Guidelines.
Thanks to this month's selection committee, who had 150 poems to comb through:
Kelly Clarke, Marcus McCann, Megan McGrath, Kemisha Newman, Melissa Upfold, Victoria Vernell, and Betty Warrington-Kearsley.
If you have comments, compliments, maple syrup or bouquets of tulips to offer, send them my way: firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by and say hi at the Writers Festival.