November 16, 2014 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
My Very Small Canadian Poetry tour was amazing. I was in Toronto for exactly a week, and performed at the Art Bar Poetry Series and WordSpell Spoken Word (established poet spot), as well as competing in the Toronto Poetry Slam. I gave a small seminar on the Provocative Nature of Spoken Word, thanks to the invitation of Professor George Elliott Clarke, and participated in a writing workshop on how to create persona poems, led by Missie Peters.
The audiences for the first two were smaller than the organisers had hoped for, alas, but I work on the premise that you appreciate everyone who turns up, rather than grumping about who isn’t there. Especially when they say nice things to you afterwards, and buy your book. (I only sold one copy, but still, that is one copy sold!)
Nice mix of locations, too. My UT workshop was in University College, which is all gray stone and staircases and makes you feel like someone should be shooting a period drama. Art Bar was upstairs at a bar where they also do music gigs, which led to some interesting thumpings through the floorboards, and WordSpell is in the back room of the Free Times Cafe, which meant I could indulge in cheese blintzes before the show. Then the TPS was at the Drake Hotel and while the stage and seating are great for such a packed-out event, wow, sticker shock on the prices of drinks. That’s probably in part because I don’t drink, so although I’m aware of the price of a glass of OJ, the rest passes me by. But! It’s all part of being on tour.
The rest of the time, I was wandering around exploring the city, or else hanging out at Indigo, trying not to buy all the books and magazines and Moleskine notebooks, but since I kept being paid for my performances (because Canada is awesome to its writers) I did have to buy SOME. (And macaroni and cheese in the shape of goldfish crackers, because, what?) Toronto also has a lot of secondhand bookshops, so I browsed and bought things there, too. And further afield, even in the drizzly off-season, Black Creek Pioneer Village is worth a visit. At the Banff Centre, earlier this year, I was watching winter move into spring, and this trip I was firmly in autumn, so I feel I got a good share of non-extreme weather conditions.
I had two fantastic hosts – one I’d met at Banff, the other from our mutual time studying in England many years ago – and, since life can be funny sometimes, it turns out that the two people I randomly know in a city of 2.5 million live three minutes apart.
I therefore give my Very Small Canadian Poetry Tour two thumbs up and would love to go back.
Next up: the launch of my second poetry pamphlet! Thursday 27 November, Scottish Poetry Library, 6 for 630pm. Free but it would help the SPL if you had a ticket. More on that later this week.
And I changed my site design, getting bored of the one I’d had since 2007. What do you think?