Published Tuesday October 5th, 2010
By STEPHEN LLEWELLYN
Fredericton poet Joe Blades is planning to commit 50 random acts of poetry this week.
But unlike past years he won't be emoting free verse or iambic pentameter to just anyone he meets in the street.
"In general, what I like about it is there is an element of surprise for a lot of people," he said.
"They really don't expect it.
"But this year it is a little different."
This year 30 poets across Canada will visit schools, alternative schools and youth centres until Friday for the seventh annual Random Acts of Poetry event.
Blades said that makes it a little harder to be completely random.
"Our focus is supposed to be somehow on (at risk) youth," he said.
"I'm trying to make contact with people I know like special resources teachers in schools and, if I am really lucky, say, the boys and girls club."
"It is a real challenge to find where I can actually do these readings."
Blades has participated in the Random Acts of Poetry for the past four years.
He's the author of seven books of poetry and is the president of the League of Canadian Poets.
Blades said in past years when he has randomly selected people walking on the sidewalk and asked them if he could read them some poetry, the reaction has been surprisingly good.
"Mostly (the reaction has been) quite positive, even from people who didn't really like poetry," he said.
"It has been really great over the years."
In past years the theme has been English as a second language and literacy and that also worked well, said Blades.
The way the event works is that poets across Canada read from their own works and then give away the poetry book from which they have been reading.
It is sponsored by the Canada Council for the arts and anonymous donors pay for the books.
In a news release Claire Rettie, executive director of Victoria, B.C.-based READ Society, said the theme this year is designed to put the focus on young people.
"We want to draw attention to youth literacy which is a crucial issue for Canada's future," she said.
Other cities participating in the event are: Calgary, Edmonton, Laval, Que., Montreal, Moose Jaw, Sask., Nanaimo, B.C., Ottawa, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, Verdun, Que., Victoria, Windsor, Ont., Winnipeg and Wolfville, N.S.
FONTE: Daily Gleaner