My library is always illuminating…

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I have a happy reciprocal relationship with my local library. And I’ve loved many libraries since I was a little girl. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of Saturday afternoons driving to the North York Public Library with my Dad, “Saturday Afternoon at the Opera” on the car radio. Talk about an mind expanding journey each week. I would max out my allowed books, and then voraciously read them before next visit. Book worm indeed. Thanks, Dad. YES, I adore libraries and books. They are illuminating, informational, inspirational and have shelves full of free destination vacations!

In November I was invited to read at the Okanagan Regional Library, Mission Branch.  Welcoming library staff brought in coffee and snacks and promoted the event with posters and lots of positive talk. It was a fun evening of reading, interacting, and creating with a kind and courageous audience. I’ve been invited back in the New Year.

So I was excited today to gift my library with an “Illumination Installation”. A simple installation of luminaires, poetry and tea light takeaways for staff and passersby. (If you haven’t been to your library lately, pop on over and take out a book to read over the holidays. I’m certain there are lots of very nice staff who will help you find a perfect read.)

And if you are in the Mission area of Kelowna, drop by the Mission Branch and pick up a poem and a tea light. There are lots to go around.

Here are some photos;

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Wherein pop-up-poetry meets people

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National Poetry Month continues, and PUP is still getting out there. Poetry is placed out and about in Kelowna every couple of days, and people read it (I’ve seen them) Some make contact online or mention it to me in person when they ‘find’ a poem. I get a giddy feeling every time I head out with new poems (in plastic sleeves because it won’t stop raining). I wonder where I will place them, who will find them, who will read them, what might the outcome be? I wonder, is this what it feels like to be eccentric? Nah, can’t be.

I’m reminded of a book I read a few years back, “Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast,” by Wendy Morton. About Wendy’s innate ability to share poetry without apology, and for money, which she did as West Jet’s Poet of the Skies, and Chrysler’s Poet of the Road. Wendy brought poetry to regular folks on a regular basis. Wendy began what has become a national week long celebration of literacy in Canada, “Random Acts of Poetry.”  Wendy and her ideas inspire me.

And as all ‘new things’ have come in some shape or form previously, perhaps PUP is the result of this concept messing about in my mind over the years since I read her book. That and the pop-up-stores I saw in Vancouver. That and the desire of all poets to speak out what we write down, at some point.

Here are some PUP installations for this week;

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Hello world!

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Poetry
Poetry (Photo credit: Kimli)

So, here’s my new blog “pop-up-poetry” that will follow my adventures in reading my poetry out loud on the streets of Kelowna British Columbia (and maybe other locations). Each time I read a poem in public, I will post the poem here. I might share a story about a poetry reading encounter too.

I believe art is for all of us, first for the artist, then for humanity. Art for our need to create beauty, express the gift… and beauty for the sake of saving the world, exposing our gift to others to touch their lives in a positive way.

Yeah, a bit of a lofty idea perhaps, but I do believe it is true.

I’ve been writing for years, and now I’m going to lay it out there for you. I hope it grabs you. I hope it echoes. We’ll see what happens.

The idea of me popping up and reading poetry in a spontaneous way to complete strangers, was planted in my mind when I took a trip to Vancouver, B.C. and learned about Pop Up retail. I heard of a movie company that had set up shop in a vacant storefront for a couple of weeks to sell off props, then once they were done, they closed… vanished. Same thing happens with clothing, art, and other retail establishments that literally pop up overnight and are gone within a very short time frame. I thought HOW COOL IS THAT! I looked into it a little more, and discovered that there are poets out there doing this… or similar things to this. Check out this YouTube video of a New York experience of pop-up poetry. Like the Flashmob phenom., there’s this idea of taking what we have to offer artistically and giving it freely to others. The artist as cultural philanthropist kind of thing.

Anyway…I’ve been blogging for years, writing poetry longer. Reading to myself/family/friends/acquaintances is fun, but reading to strangers is… risky, exciting, and I believe, necessary for me to grow as a poet/artist. I need to up the ante. So, here goes…

I’ve popped up to read poetry spontaneously a couple of times. Once last April, I walked around a plaza and read a poem by someone else… for National Poetry Month. This time, I went out one sunny September afternoon and read poems to a dozen or more people… my poems. I had some unique responses, some very interesting conversations. It was good.

And I do all this knowing that in some circles, the idea of freely sharing your work isn’t done. The purse strings are tight, the rules restrict. I’m doing it anyway. Until I’m convinced otherwise. Here’s something I wrote on the topic.

If you are interested, you can check out my other blogs Buddy Breathing, Sometimes Suicidal Mama, and My Gracenotes, by clicking on their names.

I’m excited to meet you, I really am. As with all of my blogs, I consider this to be community… a dialogue… not a monologue. So, let me know what you think. (Talk back!)

Click here to read what I read first time out… it’s my next post!

Stepping out,

Lesley-Anne