Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

A Parting Thought from Our March Writer-In-Residence: Toronto Is a Vibrant Literary City. Become a Part of It!

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A Parting Thought from Our March Writer-In-Residence: Toronto Is a Vibrant Literary City. Become a Part of It!

Dear Toronto Book Lovers,

It's been a pleasure blogging for you all here at Open Book Toronto. Thanks to OBT, I've had the chance to be political, nostalgic, optimistic and perhaps even (time will tell) prophetic. But whatever I have written here, I have written it because for one reason or another it seemed important to me to share it with you, and before I turn over the residency to April's writer-in-residence Edward Carson, there is one more thing I would like to address.

In part, it has to do with something that is happening tomorrow night. I would like to remind everyone that on March 31st, the NOW Poetry Open Stage will take place at Harbourfront Centre. And I'm not reminding you just because I'm one of the twenty poets who will be reading, but because I believe it fits with Open Book Toronto's aim to be "your connection to Toronto's vibrant literary scene." It isn't often one has the chance to see so many authors together at one event, and this year's Poetry Open Stage will bring together a bounty of interesting voices, some familiar favourites like Sky Gilbert, M.T. Kelly and Priscila Uppal, and other poets like Michael Lista, Damian Rogers, and Alexis Kienlan who will be reading from their first books.

My main reason for mentioning the Poetry Open Stage is that I had such a great time at last year's event, and I discovered some wonderful new writers I wasn't previously familiar with. A year later, I still remember being moved and astounded by Johanna Skibsrud's beautiful poem "I Do Not Think That I Could Love A Human Being." It's one of those poems that once you hear it, it becomes a part of you. This season, that poem becomes the eponymous entry in her second collection of poems. Words Worth Books, a fantastic bookstore in Waterloo, Ontario, has an excerpt from Skibsrud's poem posted on its blog. Perhaps this poem will move you as it did me and convince you to attend this year's Open Stage in search of a new surprise, or perhaps you will be moved to seek out and read more of Skibsrud's poetry, or perhaps more poetry in general. And this, I think, is what Open Book Toronto is all about. It's about spreading the word, sharing ideas and information, and bringing people and books together.

If you can't make it to tomorrow's event at Harbourfront, there are hundreds of wonderful literary events you can attend all over this city year round. There are excellent on-going reading series like Pivot at the Press Club and Free Speech. There are events at libraries and street festivals and pubs. There are book launches and book clubs and book fairs. No matter what your literary taste, there is bound to be something just for you. If you're a book lover, I urge you to check back with Open Book Toronto's events page regularly to see just what's on offer. And if you want information about literary events in Toronto emailed to you on a weekly basis, then you can sign up for the Patchy Squirrel Literary List-serv. Toronto is a vibrant literary city. I'm urging you to get out there and become a part of it!

Sincerely yours,
Paul Vermeersch

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Paul Vermeersch

Paul Vermeersch is the author of The Reinvention of the Human Hand (McClelland & Stewart, 2010) and three other collections of poetry. He is also the editor of The I.V. Lounge Reader and The Al Purdy A-frame Anthology.

Go to Paul Vermeersch’s Author Page