The Poem-a-Day Series, Poem #37

Block 1912 - Southwest Edmonton - Edmonton, AB

Block 1912, Old Strathcona, Edmonton in the 1990s. It used to have a stage at the back and I can remember being involved in a number of readings here, including a special one with Spiritus in which we performed my poem for voices: “Nordicity”.

I used to spend a lot of time here, otherwise. I would come for lunch or a nosh with friends after a Princess Theatre show.  The coffee and food were good. There were large paintings on the wall. There was a section of international newspapers on a scroll rack which you could remove and read at your table. It was my favorite go-to place.

They even phoned me once to return me my wallet when I dropped it there once. Daya, the owner of this family business, was a nice personable guy. When he sold the place, I became friends with the optimistic new owner who had plans for the place to move it into the 21st century. I’ve been there once since it was darkened and totally remodelled, but the old sunny ambience is long gone.

Poetry readings. Anybody that goes to them will tell you that just about any subject gets covered and the poets often delve into the hearts and minds of people. There is that kind of intimacy about readings, often stirring memories and forgotten moments, desires, and unfinished personal life business. Virginia Woolf’s quote pretty much sums up what’s possible at readings. I’ve never failed to see people brought closer or palpably moved by poetry readings.

I will dedicate this publication to Daya and the many memories of my old poetry collaborator the late Dean McKenzie, who sadly/gloriously passed in 2013. He is the man with the beard, of course.

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