Category Archives: poetry

2015 Summer Preview!

HEY! Here’s some writing and performing related stuff happening in my fair city of Toronto this – 2015 – summer and fall. I’ve also included events that have already passed (and that I was too dumb to get ahead of) so you (and I) can plan for next year. If you say you’re bored, it means you’re boring, or you just need to read a book or something. Go see some damn art damnit!

Stratford Festival: Stratford, Ontario is home to this 61 year-old theatre festival featuring the work of The Bard performed by some of the world’s best talent from APRIL to OCTOBER.

Shaw Festival: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario hosts performances of plays written by or written during the lifetime of George Bernard Shaw from APRIL to OCTOBER.

inspiraTO: The 10th year for this theatre festival held at the Alumnae Theatre from MAY 28th to JUNE 6th, that features blocks of 10 minute plays all revolving around a particular theme or concept.

Pedestrian Sundays: Literally walk in the streets of Toronto’s coolest neighbourhood every Sunday from MAY 31st to the end of warm weather.

Breakthroughs Film Festival: Short Film festival featuring emerging female filmmakers at the Innis Town Hall on the weekend of JUNE 5 & JUNE 6th.

EXEE: Great beers and live bands every night at The Only Cafe during the week of JUNE 13th to JUNE 20th.

Female Eye Film Festival: “Always Honest, Not Always Pretty”, goes the tagline for this film fest featuring female filmmakers and it runs from JUNE 16th to JUNE 21st at The Royal Cinema.

Open Roof Festival: Music and films for $15 ever Wednesday at 99 Sudbury from JUNE 17th to AUGUST 19th sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

NXNE: A music and arts fest that takes over the city in a good way from JUNE 17th to JUNE 21st.

Pride Toronto: The annual extravaganza of LGBTQIA culture revs Toronto up for the summer and features fantastically flamboyant marches, parades, performances, and other great “p” words at various venues from JUNE 19th to JUNE 28th.

Luminato Festival: Everything art and all in Toronto at a variety of venues and times all around the clock from JUNE 19th to JUNE 28th.

Toronto Fringe Festival: Awesome indie theatre killing it with reckless abandon, and an outstanding beer tent at venues and times that only awesome indie theatre can rock from JULY 1st to JULY 12th.

Shakespeare in High Park: Once again High Park is home to a double-bill of Shakespeare wherein the same cast performs a comedy (“The Comedy of Errors”) and a tragedy (“Julius Caesar”) on alternating nights at their outdoor amphitheatre from JULY 2nd to SEPTEMBER 6th.

ReelheART International Film & Screenplay Festival: Festival that features film screenings and script readings at various venues including The Carlton Cinema and the AGO from JULY 6th to JULY 11th.

Christie Pits Film Fest: Free/pwyc outdoor movie screenings at Christie Pits park every Sunday during JULY & AUGUST.

SummerWorks Performance Festival: SummerWorks has performers acting, singing, and dancing sometimes all at once at venues across the city from AUGUST 6th to 16th.

Toronto International Queer West Film Festival: Queer West features films from local and international LGBTQ filmmakers and promotes the beauty of diversity and creativity at The Revue Cinema from AUGUST 7th to AUGUST 9th.

Buskerfest: If you want to see someone ride a unicycle while juggling live chainsaws and holding a torch aflame in their mouth then check out Toronto’s Buskerfest along Yonge Street between College Street and Queen Street and this is now going to be a run-on sentence because I promised myself only to write one sentence per event to keep things simple and so I can’t confirm the fire-mouthed chainsaw juggler but there will be music, juggling of some sort, acrobats, food and clowns and depending on whether you like clowns or are terrified by them the clowns might be nice or sinister and the clowns and others can be found on Yonge from AUGUST 27th to AUGUST 30th.

TOindie Film Festival: Fantastic event featuring indie films from Toronto and across the world held at the local gem known as The Carlton Cinema from SEPTEMBER 3rd to SEPTEMBER 12th.

Toronto International Film Festival: A world renowned film fest featuring talent, both renowned and waiting to be rewound, from across the globe and at venues across the city from SEPTEMBER 10th to SEPTEMBER 20th.

The Word on the Street: Books, magazines, and literary “stuff” can all be at Harbourfront Centre on SEPTEMBER 27th from 11am to 6pm.

International Festival of Authors: Writers are everywhere but during this fest they can mostly be found at Harbourfront Centre talking and signing and talking and probably writing from OCTOBER 22nd to NOVEMBER 1st.

NaNoWriMo: Join authors around the world and write a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of NOVEMBER.

In addition to all of this, there is the Toronto Festival of Beer, various street parties throughout Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods, and Yonge and Dundas Square always has something going on!

Stuff I’ve missed because I am an idiot but check it out to plan for next year:

Inside Out: LGBT Film Festival; Doors Open Toronto; Canadian Film Fest; Canadian Music Week (CMW); CONTACT Photography Festival; Hot Docs; TOindie Shorts Festival (affliated with the TOindie Film Festival)

 

SOURCES: NOW Magazine; The Toronto Star; the various festival websites listed above; my massive head and the memories contained therein.

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Word on the Street 2014

index 1 Toronto’s annual writing walk in the park, The Word on the Street, is back this Sunday. The Word on the Street is a literary festival that helps connect writers, readers and publishers of words with each other and the world. With a plethora of exhibits from all corners of the writing and publishing world, one can’t help but find something that he or she will enjoy be it in the form of an exhibitor’s tent, an author talk or interview, a workshop or a reading. The free event runs from 11am to 6pm on September 21st, in Queen’s Park.

Check out the website in the link above for all the details and follow the event on twitter @torontoWOTS.


“I Take My Anna Everywhere” by Irving Layton

So one day, let’s say 5 years ago – 5 because I can’t remember the actual year and if it was less than 5 years then I would remember – I was riding the subway in Toronto and I noticed this poem splashed up amongst the ads. It was part of the “subway poetry” series that the TTC has been running for a few years.

Anyway, the last two lines hit me hard and I wrote them down in one of my writing/scribble/idea books. I happened upon the quote as I was going through a stack of notes and decided it should be shared.

The link where I grabbed this from can be found here: http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Love-Poetry/1547326

The poem is titled, I Take My Anna Everywhere and it was written by Irving Layton. Enjoy!:

“I take my Anna everywhere.
She is so beautiful she can break
a man’s heart with a look,
the proud thrust of her shoulder.

She tells me she will die young.
I tell her all beautiful women have the same
premonition. Brevity is the stamp
of beauty, sealing it in the mouths of men.

I take my Anna everywhere.
She has the unpitying gaze of a goddess.
All the men who see her
want to live their wrecked lives forever.”

The bold sends bumps to the goose part of my skin.


Word On The Street

Today is Word On The Street in Toronto where publishers, agents and writers from all corners of the writing world go hang in Queen’s Park (on Avenue Rd. just south of Bloor St.) for the day and, well, hang.

I’m going…are you?


Writing is a living thing.

Something I’ve learned this past week, while looking through my old and ongoing projects, is that a piece of writing or an idea, whether published or not, is an ever changing, living thing. Just because something is in print, either in draft or book form, does not mean that it is 100% finito. Looking back on ideas I’ve had and writing I’ve done, even stuff I thought I would never look at again except maybe to polish for an agent or publisher, I can’t help but think of ways to improve it. This, I know, is both a blessing and a curse, but more than either of those two things, it is simply a fact of being a writer, published, produced or not. It is almost freeing to know that nothing is ever actually finished. All that makes it “complete” is a deadline. On a similar line of thought, the quality of a “completed” project is not necessarily “the best” but “the best that can be done at the time”, which brings a concrete human element to the chaos that can be the creative process, making that process all the more beautiful in its failure to attain the unattainable – perfection.


“The Road Not Taken” by: Robert Frost

Everyone pretty much knows this poem or has heard of it, but I figured I’d post it anyway just in case.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”


“The Journey” by Mary Oliver

“One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.”

Check out more about Mary Oliver at:

Mary Oliver at Poets.org

Mary Oliver at Wikipedia


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