These are photographs by Windsor photographer EMILY BUTA. This nicely captures this amazing event at Willistead Manor Sept. 25 when I hosted five other poets laureate from all over the country to come and read to a Windsor audience. The event drew nearly 200 people. Alistair Macleod, the famous short story writer, was on hand to celebrate this event. The Great Hall of Willistead was jammed, and people stood or sat on the massive staircase and leaned over the railings on the landing above. Emily’s photographs tell the story.

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This is from the Windsor Star, a great article written by Chris Thompson. He came out to this packed house. We actually had upwards of 200 people there. A great poetry event that brought poets laureate from all over the country. A first!

Here is what the Windsor Star wrote, and the photos were by Jason Kryk:

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They packed them in for poetry at Willistead Manor Tuesday night, with more than 150 attending the inaugural Poetry at the Manor.

“This is great,” said Windsor’s poet laureate Marty Gervais, who brought together five poets laureate from four Ontario cities and Prince Edward Island, in addition to himself.

“What a great turnout. It’s the perfect place for a reading.”

Poetry fans filled the arranged seating in the main hall of the venerable old mansion, and the overflow crowd filled doorways and several sat and stood on the grand staircase.

The event, Gervais’ brainchild, was the first of its kind to bring poets laureate together from a number of Canadian cities to read their work.

“The thing about this event is it’s a first, not just for Windsor but for the country,” said Gervais.

“There have been poets laureate galore across the country and they’ve all read their work in their own cities or towns, but this is the first time we’ve had poets laureate come together in this kind of number, and we’ve got six of them. That was my idea when I was offered the job to bring other poets laureate from across the country to Windsor and to share their story about their cities with Windsor. And so it’s happening tonight.”

After Gervais organized Tuesday’s poetry-palooza, Edmonton followed suit with one planned for next spring and Ottawa is planning another in the fall.

Poets laureate Bruce Meyer from Barrie, John B. Lee from Brantford, Elizabeth Zetlin from Owen Sound, Roger Nash from Sudbury and Hugh MacDonald from Prince Edward Island took turns explaining the stories behind their work and reciting poems from their catalogues.

“I’ve gained 20 pounds since I arrived in Windsor,” joked Meyer.

“They really treat poets well in this city.”

Meyer  went on to read A Poem for Daisy about his dog, which was the subject of an entire book of poems. Meyer has also appeared frequently on CBC radio with Michael Enright.

In the crowd were famed author Alistair MacLeod and city councillors Percy Hatfield and Jo-Anne Gignac.

Gervais said that poetry is far from past its heyday, and is enjoying a rebirth in the digital age.

“I think it fits in perfectly,” said Gervais.

“Who wants to read a novel anymore? I mean our DNA today is to get something quick, we’re delivering news like that. Poetry fits in nicely with that because it’s small, it’s packaged, it gives you the message very quickly and it can be a funny message, a sad message, and it can be serious. So it’s the perfect genre for this age. It’s the perfect literary genre for the digital age. That’s the way I look at it, anyway.”

The poets will visit the University of Windsor and Walkerville high school today to speak with aspiring writers and will do the same at Catholic Central on Thursday.

Gervais, who was appointed to a two-year term as the city’s first poet laureate in November, hopes to make Poetry at the Manor an annual event.


ALSO check out photos by an amazing local photographer Emily Buta http://atriptothezoo.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/1031/