For Poetry month the Ottawa Public Library is running the Canal Mug Poetry series at the Sunnyside branch (1049 Bank St.) in April. They run each Thursday from 7:00-8:30 pm and admission is free.
The first readers were Claudia Coutu Radmore and Ian Roy (pictured). There was space for about 15 in the audience and a few more chairs were brought out.
Claudia Coutu Radmore read from her completed manuscript a minute or two / without remembering. It tells stories in poems of the 1700s Canada. One of my favorites from what she read was about the fundraising of the Soeurs Grises. Thru masses they converted the wine and the host into lintels and beams of the hospital, and duck eggs were transfigured into roofs for the same. She also has poems of les habitants and soldiers under Montcalm and Levis who, when there was a famine year, tried to persuade the French to eat their horses. There was a passionate protest that one does not eat horses or friends. Levis did persuade the men under him to go against their instincts and eat horse meat to get strength for a battle. If he had been the top commander, would Canada today have been New France?
Ian Roy read from Red Bird, his poetic travels around Canada and down across the continent to California. His asides were an enriching background to the poems, such as the preface to the California poem where he and his fellow travellers came across a town with the same name as his grandmother. They tried to find a souvenir for her from there but had to press on unsuccessfully. His poem of shifting thru states, finding places where he'd like to linger, like Burlington Vermont and other places, not so much, such as in a snowstorm in the mountains in July in Colorado.
The next Canal Mug Series will be April 10 with another pair of poets: Susan McMaster reading from her mid-life memoir about a poet's life in Ottawa, The Gargoyle’s Left Ear, and Paul Tyler, a contributing editor for ARC Poetry Magazine.
On the 17th the readers will be Andrew Steinmetz & Betty Warrington-Kearsley. On April 24th the features will be Rob Winger & Rhonda Douglas.
For all the upcoming readers see the the pdfs of the posters with the details