A World of Poetry in Ottawa: VERSeFest 2013 So Far…

logoI was going to put up a post about the 2013 poetry festival taking place this week in Ottawa.  I really was. After all, there was our very own Tree Reading Series event, with Stuart Ross, Catherine Owen and Don McKay. That’s a great list by itself. But there was Mark Tredinnick, the winner of the first Montreal Poetry Prize (among other prizes he’s won) whose poetry collection, Fire Diary, I’ve been trying to lay my hands on for almost a year. (Got it this time!)  Yes, I was going to put up a post. But then I read these great blog posts by Pearl Pirie and Amanda Earl. So, instead, for now, I’ll share their blog posts with you. Perhaps at festival’s end I’ll manage a brilliant post of my own. Or maybe I’ll let them do the posting on VERSeFest, as they are so very very brilliant at it themselves. See the links below (photos from VERSeFest 2013 site here: http://www.versefest.ca/2013/schedule/tuesday/ 

DAY ONE, Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Mark Tredinnick


VERSeFest 2013 Day 1 Pearl Pirie (pesbo)  

Amanda Earl: a wee look at V-fest day one

DAY TWO, Wednesday, March 13th, 2013:

Day 2 pesbo  the 7 p.m. event

Luna Allison 

Day 2 pesbo the 9 p.m. event

Amanda Earl: A VERSeFest Close Up: Chris Jennings

DAY THREE, Thursday, March 14th, 2013: (pictured left: Don McKay)

Amanda Earl offers this: VERSeFest Day 3 Notes



DAY FOUR: Friday, March 15th, 2013:   Matthew Sweeney & Rita Ann Higgins (pictured below)

Amanda Earl’s VERSeFest Day 4 brief notes

On Saturday, there is a lot more poetry to come, from workshops in the afternoon to more excellent readings in the evening. Take a look here: Saturday events at VERSeFest 2013

On Sunday, the festival wraps up with readings by poets from the Netherlands.haiku poetry, readings by Anne Simpson, Ken Babstock and Christine McNair. And two poets are the first to be inducted into the Hall of Honour: Greg Frankson and William Hawkins.

Take a look, maybe see you there?

Need Poetry? VERSeFest 2013 is coming in March!


As you may know, I recently signed on as one of the Co-Directors of Tree Reading Series in Ottawa. Tree has been one of the champions of VERSe Ottawa and the Ottawa poetry festival that it organizes, VERSeFest.

I thought I would take this opportunity to talk a bit about VERSeFest and do a bit of promotion on its behalf.


In 2011, Ottawa experienced the first VERSeFest poetry festival. A collaborative effort by the various poetry groups in Ottawa, it was organized in only a few short months, but was quite successful. The second festival in 2012 was ambitious, bringing Spoken Word, workshops and such poets as the well known American poet,Rae Armantrout. Fred Wah, now Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate. The winner of Mexico’s most prestigious poetry prize, Pura Lopez-Colome.  Phil Hall, 2011 Governor General’s Award winner.

Phil Levine by David Shankbone, New York City

Phil Levine by David Shankbone, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The US poet Laureate Philip Levine.

So what is coming in 2013?  Well the schedule is still being finalized. But so far, we have the first winner of the Montreal International Poetry Prize, Mark Tredinnick, from Australia. We have Canadian poets, A.F. Moritz, Chris Jennings, Catherine Owen, Stuart Ross and Don McKay. The Women’s Slam Team. Rob Winger, Anita Lahey. Lady Katalyst. Luna Allison. Emilie Zoey Baker, Samuel Watson.

I’m sure I’ve missed some, and that there are more names to be announced. You can watch this space for info coming soon: http://www.versefest.ca/2013/

For a flavour of what’s to come, Rod Pederson, one of the VERSe Ottawa committee key members, has put together a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWZQ0mc7zTM&feature=youtu.be  

You can hear Rod here. You’re encouraged to watch. We hope you will feel as excited as we are to attend.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSrQ9fqsmNw  

And that you’ll donate if you can : http://www.indiegogo.com/versefest