Windsor’s Poets Laureate Welcome Poets from across Canada for Poetry at the Manor Virtual Reading
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Windsor’s Poets Laureate Welcome Special Guest Poets from across Canada for Poetry at the Manor Virtual Reading

City of Windsor Poet Laureate Mary Ann Mulhern and Poet Laureate Emeritus Marty Gervais are hosting four poets laureate from across Canada for a special virtual edition of the popular annual Poetry at the Manor. The guest poets – Samantha Badaoa (Windsor), John Barton (Victoria), Jason Heroux (Kingston), and Julie Pellissier-Lush (Prince Edward Island) – will participate in the unique reading in an online video.

The virtual reading will be broadcast Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. on YouTube, and shared on Facebook pages for Mayor Drew Dilkens, the City of Windsor, Museum Windsor, and Black Moss Press.

In addition to the poets, special guests include Mayor Drew Dilkens with introductory and welcome remarks, Teajai Travis with a drum and storytelling welcome, Cathy Masterson on behalf of the City’s Culture office, and Nadine Deleury with a cello performance filmed at Willistead Park with Willistead Manor as the backdrop. The manor is the usual setting for this event, with the switch to virtual coming in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Links to booksellers for the poets’ works will be promoted during the broadcast.

Quotes

Mayor Drew Dilkens: “Like Many traditions, Poetry at the Manor will be a bit different this year. Since the onset of COVID-19 in our community, our laureates have been responding to the crisis through poetry. They have used their words to record and share stories, capturing the feelings and experiences of our community. I’m proud that we’re sharing Poetry at the Manor online, and grateful to the participating poets helping carry on this tradition in Windsor.”

Mary Ann Mulhern, Windsor’s Poet Laureate: “Once again, Windsor will host an evening filled with the light of poetry. A challenge for us, indeed... but a night of voices and poetry, with ‘virtual’ doors open to all.”

Marty Gervais, Windsor’s Poet Laureate Emeritus: “This is by far the most popular poetry event in Windsor, and has been for the past eight years. Windsor was the first to do this. Since its inception, other communities across Canada have jumped on the bandwagon and organized similar events. You don’t want to miss this virtual edition.”

Poetry at the Manor – Vol. 8 is presented by the City of Windsor, through the Cultural Affairs department, and in partnership with the League of Canadian Poets, Willistead Manor, Black Moss Press, and Biblioasis.

For more information and details, visit www.citywindsor.ca.

About the Poets

Marty Gervais is a best-selling author of non-fiction, poetry, and fiction. Gervais’ work and contributions to Canadian literature have garnered multiple awards including the Toronto Harborfront Prize, Milton Acorn People’s Poetry prize, and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. As Windsor's inaugural Poet Laureate (2011-2018), Marty raised the profile of both the written and spoken word. His most recent works are 2018’s Table Manners: Selected & New Poems with Black Moss Press, and 2020’s Nine Lives – A Reunion in Paris with Urban Farmhouse Press. In 2019, his term as Poet Laureate concluded, and Windsor City Council voted to name Marty Windsor’s Poet Laureate Emeritus in recognition of his tremendous work in the role.

Mary Ann Mulhern, Windsor's current Poet Laureate (2018-2022), holds a Masters of Education and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Windsor, a Teacher’s Diploma from London Teacher’s College, and an Associate of Music from the University of Western Ontario’s Conservancy of Music. She was a teacher with the Windsor Separate School Board (1970-1995). Mulhern began writing poetry in 2001 during a summer writing seminar at the University of Windsor. She won first prize in the 2001 Freedom Festival Poetry Contest, with her poem about Harriet Tubman, entitled ‘Freedom’s Rail’. Encouraged and mentored by Marty Gervais, publisher of Black Moss Press, Mulhern wrote The Red Dress, her first book of narrative poetry, focusing on her experiences living in a convent for eight years in the sixties. Published by Black Moss Press in 2003, The Red Dress received national attention through an interview on Tapestry, CBC Radio. Touch the Dead, in 2006, focused on her life experiences growing up in a ‘cemetery house’, located at the edge of a cemetery in St. Thomas, Ontario, where her father was a grave-digger and caretaker. Touch the Dead was shortlisted for the Acorn-Plantos Award in 2007. Follow up works include When Angels Weep, and Brides in Black (a sequel to The Red Dress). Her most recent poetry collection is 2019’s The Midnight Moon Sings of Murder, published by Black Moss Press. She has written countless poems, and published eight books to date.

Samantha Badaoa, Windsor’s first Youth Poet Laureate, is a staple in the spoken word poetry scene in Windsor, Ontario. She has edited several books for Black Moss Press, and has released her first collection of poetry, so am i in 2020 (Black Moss Press).

John Barton makes his home in Victoria, B.C., where he was appointed the fifth (and first male) poet laureate in January 2019. His twenty-eight books, chapbooks, and anthologies include Polari, Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay-Male Poets, We Are Not Avatars: Essays, Memoirs, Manifestos, and The Essential Douglas LePan, which won a 2020 eLit Award. His twelfth collection of poems, Lost Family: A Memoir, a book of sonnets, was published in September by Signal Editions.

Jason Heroux is the current Poet Laureate for the City of Kingston. He is the author of four books of poetry: Memoirs of an Alias (2004); Emergency Hallelujah (2008); Natural Capital (2012); and Hard Work Cheering Up Sad Machines (2016). His most recent book is the novel Amusement Park of Constant Sorrow (Mansfield Press, 2018).

Julie Pellissier-Lush is the current Poet Laureate for Prince Edward Island. She is an actress and bestselling author of My Mi’kmaq Mother, recipient of the Queens jubilee medal (2013), the Meritorious Service Medal (2017), and the Senators 150 Medal (2019). She grew up all over Eastern Canada and spent a number of years in Winnipeg, Manitoba before coming back home. Julie is a graduate from the University of Winnipeg with a double major in Psychology and Human Resource Management. She writes, acts, and does photography to preserve the history and culture of the Mi’kmaq for future generations. Julie wrote the poems for the play ‘Mi’kmaq Legends’ in 2010 and they have been performed on many different stages in the Atlantic region. It is her hope that this play will someday travel all over Canada and beyond so more people have the opportunity to learn about the rich Mi’kmaq history. Julie lives in PEI with her husband Rick, her five children, and her Granddaughter Miah.

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