Random Acts of Poetry in Fredericton

Joe Blades commits random act of poetry in Doaktown, NB.
Joe Blades commits random act of poetry in Doaktown, NB.

Random Acts of Poetry, a celebration of poetry and literacy, begins its sixth year during the week of October 5 to 11, 2009. Random Acts of Poetry is a project of the Victoria READ Society, a non-profit literacy organization, established in 1976. Random Acts of Poetry is funded by The Canada Council for the Arts.

During the week, 31 acclaimed poets across Canada, from Victoria to St. John’s, will commit Random Acts of Poetry in their cities and adjacent small towns. On buses and subways, in doughnut shops and cafes, police stations, grocery stores, shelters, curling rinks, on city streets and country lanes, poets will read poems to strangers and give them their books. Poets will also read their poems in ESL and Adult Literacy classes.

In Fredericton, NB, Joe Blades will participate for the third year. On the editorial board of revue ellipse mag, he is Vice President–Membership Chair of the League of Canadian Poets, producer–host of the Ashes, Paper & Beans community radio program, founding publisher of 25-year-old Broken Jaw Press, and a grad student at the University of New Brunswick. The author of five published poetry books, including River Suite and from the book that doesn’t close, he has several books in the works, including Casemate Poems (Collected). Two of his books have been translated and published in Serbian editions.

Patrick Lane, one of Canada’s premier poets, says of Random Acts of Poetry, “There are no accidents. Nothing is random. A poem sits in a poet’s pocket and jumps out when you least expect it. It can nestle in a mechanic’s ear, a politician’s hand, a waitress’s bright eye, somewhere, anywhere. You look up from work and there’s a poem. It reads itself to you. It asks you to take a break. It says: Right here. Right now.”

“Poetry,” says Wendy Morton, founder of Random Acts of Poetry, “is the shortest distance between two hearts. I have read poems to hundreds of people, many of whom hadn’t heard a poem in thirty years, and watched their eyes fill up with tears.  Some burst into laughter or laid a hand on my shoulder, hugged me, took my hand. Poetry can connect us with each other as humans as no other art form I know. Poetry is a gift that we can create from whatever life has in store for us.”

Across Canada poets will commit random acts in: Victoria, Nanaimo, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Desboro, Toronto, Port Perry, Trenton, Ottawa, Port McNicoll, Windsor, Montreal, Laval, Fredericton, Charlottetown, Wolfville, Halifax, and St. John’s.