by Danelle Wettstein
Who knew Calgary had such a vibrant poetry community? The People’s Poetry Festival (PPF) combines poetry, spoken word and visual art to bring you three glorious days of celebrating street poetry in Calgary. And it’s FREE (but, like any non-profit operation, donations are always appreciated).
The People’s Poetry Festival kicks off on Friday at Pages in Kensington with a spotlight on the 2012 Poet of Honour, Jen Kunlire (pictured). Some of the other poets taking part this year are Sheri-D Wilson, Kirk Miles (2012 Golden Beret Winner), Dave Eso, Weyman Chan, Andre Prefontaine, Erin Dingle, Bob Stallworthy and Richard Harrison.
There’s a full schedule of activities throughout the weekend but highlights of PPF that take place both Saturday and Sunday include:
- DIY poetry stations - For those poet wannabes or anyone curious about the art of crafting words. These stations are scattered throughout Kensington at Joints and in Resolution Art Gallery and Market Collective gallery.
- Outdoor mic - In front of the Plaza Theatre, the outdoor mic features an array of poetry readings, spoken word and open mic performances from morning ’til night.
- Poetic graffiti art walk - Poetry submitted to the PPF each year is selected and given to a visual artist who creates a piece of work that embodies the poem literally, emotionally, suggestively and figuratively. Find these works near Killian, Joints and other side streets of Kensington.
For the families, there’s a kids “Make Yer Own Poetry” craft event at 1pm and youth open mic at 5pm on Saturday, as well as a kids reading of Shel Silverstein on Sunday at noon.
Looking for something a little racier? PPF offers Drunken Poets with Midnight Yoga for Alcoholics on Friday night after the kick-off, an Adults Only reading and Erotica Writing workshop on Saturday afternoon and a Poetry Cabaret later that evening at 9pm.
There are still opportunities to take part in the festival, including lending a hand at the DIY poetry stations or signing up to share your poetry prowess at the open mic sessions.
As a side note, The People’s Poetry Festival takes place near some amazing coffee and tea venues, so be sure to visit the likes of Higher Ground, The House Coffee Sanctuary or Oolong Tea House for an iced beverage while enjoying your sunny days at the festival.
The People’s Poetry Festival runs August 17 – 19 at various venues around Calgary’s Kensington area. For more information, visit PeoplesPoetryFestival.com, Facebook or @PplsPoetryFest.
Danelle Wettstein is a Calgary 2012 Cultural Ambassador, avid volunteer, social butterfly and native Calgarian. Catch her innermost thoughts at @DanelleW.