There is cause for celebration for this midwife! This month alone not one but two of my poems were published. They have yet to emerge into the world but the approval has happened and one will appear online and one will be in the winter edition of one of my favorite literary magazines, Freefall. A lot of writers have told me along the way have minimized what it is like to be published. Almost as if it is a mere blip in life’s excitement meter and then it’s back to the grindstone. I agree that there is still writing to be done after a poem has grown wings and made its way into the world, but there is also reason to celebrate. It is a milestone. It feels like I’ve been put on the map and for some reason it makes me want to write more and more.
Perhaps the recognition is situated in that egoic place we all have, but it still feels good. I, for one am going to enjoy it to the fullest. After all, it’s all temporary anyway. I was also asked by the founding member of the RE: act collective in Calgary, Dymphny Dronyk, to be a featured reader in this years Poetry Shuffle. I was honoured. The Poetry Shuffle is a unique event where we start in one part of the city and make our way for 5 km to another part of the city, stopping along the way and listening to various poets at various venues. The theme this year was poems about Calgary and the flood. We followed our beloved Bow river all the way down to Inglewood where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet. Most of the places we read at were affected by the flood and at the time of some of the poems the construction on the river played like an orchestra in the background. For me, it was a pilgrimage and with every step we took, I fell more and more in love with this city. As we followed the river I felt a lot of healing taking place on many levels. It wasn’t just a poetry event.
I had the pleasure of reading in the Central library that was flooded in June and opened it’s doors only a few short weeks ago. This particular venue had a microphone, which intimidated me a little, but it also had coffee and cookies so it all worked out in the end. I was so nervous the yoga teacher came out in me and I had to get the audience to take a couple deep breaths with me. They willingly obliged. As synchronicity would have it, I also had the pleasure of reading with my long-time mentor, Richard Harrison. I have been working with Richard for almost seven years now and he was my professor in many of my English classes in University. There were some moments that felt surreal for me.
Today, I am still riding the high from that event. I feel changed by the poetry community, by the river, by this beautiful city. I am so glad I am a part of it. Tonight let’s raise our glasses to milestones, to recovery, determination and community. Calgary, thank you for being my city.