Valentine’s Day has just passed and the weather has co-operated by being warm and loving since February started. This month’s published poems combine our season of in-betweens. Our writers juxtapose the two seasons with freeze-dried moments, wintering birds and delinquent suns. We're all yearning for a little warmth at this time of year. Wiarton Willie didn't see his shadow, so he calmly forecasted the end of winter. Let’s hope he knows more than Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil. Sadly both these groundhogs write cliché, rhyming poetry. I won't give you the links. Google if you dare.
The excitement of Ground Hog Day paled in comparison to recent scintillating literary activities, including Bywords’ own reading, Bywords Warms The Night 2. Readers, audience members and volunteers gave generously to the Cornerstone Women’s Shelter. Please read Catharine Caroll’s article in local scene to hear more about the well-attended and fun reading with the mellifluous vocals and skilled guitar playing of Bywords’ volunteer Jesse Ferguson and the provocative and enchanting words of our poets.
Another not to be missed event was the launch of www.ottawater.com held at the Mercury Lounge earlier this month. There were chairs, a former rarity at the Mercury. Conversations were long; readings were short: a model for all of us to follow. If you haven't had a chance to check out this anthology chock full of art, reviews, poetry and provocative ideas, you should take a read through. If you write, this collection may inspire you to push your words in new ways. If you're a reader, you'll be brought up to date on some of Ottawa’s talented writers.
Coming up at the end of the month is Wilde About Sappho, Canada's national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender literary festival. With excellent writers such as Warren Dunford and Helen Humphreys as featured readers, it’s bound to be a wonderful evening.
The Factory Reading Series starts up again this month with writers Shane Rhodes, Erin Bidlake and Rob Winger. Erin just won the Canadian Author Association’s Young Coffeehouse contest. She faced some serious competition, including Bywords own team members, Sarah and Jesse, and well-published poet and editor of www.poetics.ca, Anita Dolman, but Erin received the most points from 34 audience members for her fine work.
Bywords is busily preparing for our next publication and launch in March, “This Is Not A Family Venue.” The Dusty Owl will host us and we'll celebrate their one-year anniversary with provocative poetry and music. Stay tuned for the hoopla. It'll be a saucy night to remember. More to be revealed in the next issue.
Thanks to all of you who submitted poems for our February edition of Bywords.ca. We appreciate your continued interest in Bywords. And thanks to the selection committee this month:
Jesse Ferguson, Joe Goski, Stéphanie Lafleur, Nicholas Lea, Sarah Ruffolo , Betty Warrington-Kearsley, Genevieve Wesley and Christine Zadorozny.
I encourage those of you with an Ottawa connection to send us your poetry: firstname.lastname@example.org. (under 250 words, under 45 lines).
If you have any comments or questions, my e-mail is always on: email@example.com. Please feel free to zap me.