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Sunday, May 07, 2006

About Town

Well said, Jessica Ruano. Ms. Ruano’s letter to the editor (Ottawa is hardly a ‘dead city’ for culture) appeared in the April 29 edition of the Citizen where she boosted Ottawa’s vibrant artistic scene with a suggestion: to those who think there’s nothing to do on a weekend except pop in a rented movie and sit in front of the boob tube, get out there and try something new. I, too, wish more people would embrace Ms. Ruano’s encouraging attitude towards Ottawa’s artistic community.

According to Ottawa’s official website,, our city is the fourth largest in Canada, with a total population of 865,500. (And just as a reminder, the 2006 Census is coming up this May 16th.) I’ve always thought it would be neat to see just a small fraction of this population to suddenly arrive at the door step for slam poetry reading, for example. Yikes! Wouldn’t that be exciting? Well, now’s your chance to do so on May 11th for the Capital Slam semi-finals at the Velvet Room, 62 York Street in the Byward Market. Details can be found on Proceeds from playoff slams go to sending the 2006 Capital Slam Team to the 2006 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Toronto.

In doing my bit, with renewed sprit from Ms. Ruano’s letter to attract attention, at least to Ottawa’s literary community, here is an exciting selection of what’s coming up this week:

There is a three-day long Canadian literature symposium in honor of the poet Al Purdy which wraps up today. In this symposium, 26 scholar-critics, writers and educators will come together appraise Al Purdy's contribution to Canada's and the world's English literature. Considering the fee for the three day event is $120 for general admittance and $60 for students, this is only for the die-hard academic and lover of Purdy’s poetry. More information can be found here:

Monday presents an interesing mix of art, music and literature presented by Wilde About Sappho. “Featured are readings by international author Felice Picano and Ottawa mystery writer Alex Brett, as well as music themed on Picano’s work by composer/pianist Peter Schaffter and singer Tom Wilkinson. Add in the erotic pop art of Juan Carlos Noria and the evening is sure to be a multi-sensory spectacle of sights and sounds.” The event takes place La Petite Mort Gallery, 306 Cumberland Street and doors open at 6pm. More information

Tueday is truly jam-packed and I only wish I could clone myself. Recently, I have been taken off the Tuesday literary circuit of late as my wife and I have been attending our month long pre-natal classes offered by the City of Ottawa. However, you may want to attend the following events that I can’t make: Feel free to support the literacy programs at St. Mary's Home in Ottawa by joining authors Joan Barfoot, Karen Connelly, Charlotte Gray, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, and Kim Ondaatje this Tuesday evening. The event starts at 6:30pm at the Library & Archives Canada. World Literacy of Canada is a non-profit voluntary organization that promotes international development and social justice. More info at

Local Ottawa poet, Terry Ann Carter is scheduled to make an appearance, also at the Library & Archives in Room 156 at 7:30pm, to launch her new book Transplanted.

If you want to check out another poet and you’ll be in the east side of town, Lisa Pasold will be launching her new book of poetry, A Bad Year for Journalists. She appears as part of the Tree Reading Series. Royal Oak II, 161 Laurier Ave. East. Start time at 7:30pm.

Wednesday, you might be tempted to take in some crime. Well, not really, but you have and opportunity to sit in on Dr. Joanna Pozzulo’s crime-filled lecture. She is a professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Program, Carleton University. “Whether your sleuths are professionals or amateurs, they all rely to some extent on information gleaned from what other people say they saw or heard. Come to May's meeting to learn about the latest research in the increasingly tricky realm of eyewitness testimony”. The Capital Crime Writers meet on the second Wednesday of every month at the Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street. More information about this event can be found on

This Wednesday also has a 'coffee' and 'tea' theme: You have the option to go to Tea Party Open Mic Poetry Night at The Tea Party, 119 York Street in the Market. Or if you prefer coffee, so to speak, you might want to amble on over to see Cristian S. Aluas’ Coffeehouse Showcase And Open Stage. This event take place every 1st Wednesday at 8:00pm at the Brixton's British Pub, 210 Sparks Street. For more information go to

The Archibald Lampman Poetry Award Reading is also on this Wednesday 7:30 pm at the Beechwood Cemetary, Reception Area, 280 Beechwood Avenue. Featured poets include Ronnie R. Brown, Tony Cosier, Laura Farina, William Hawkins, Bing He, Tom MacGregor, Nadine McInnis, Seymour Mayne, E. Russell Smith and Andrew Steinmetz.

Thursday’s best bets, other than the Capital Slam semi-finals, are two featured poets of Ottawa Public Library’s ongoing “The Poetry Experience”. Sharon Hawkins and Stephen Brockwell will be at the Sunnyside branch 1049 Bank starting at 7:00pm. If you want to listen to stories, take in “When The Veil Grows Thin. Stories Of The Supernatural” as part of the monthly Ottawa Storytellers group’s performance at the NAC Fourth Stage. More information can be found at


Blogger Amanda Earl said...

And more info about literary events can always be found at

[hope this doesn't qualify as spamming your comments box]

Monday, May 08, 2006 8:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing variety of events. Sometimes I think Ottawa's literary people outnumber the politicians.

Monday, May 08, 2006 4:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello John!
This is Jessica Ruano. I just wanted to say thank you so much for this supportive posting. It is truly inspiring to see someone so involved in the literary community. I'm a theatre buff, myself, but I'm going to try to check out some more poetry and storytelling events this summer.
I noticed you mentioned the Capital Poetry Collective. I'm their publicist, actually. If you attended the semi-finals, you may have seen me: the sacrificial poet.
Hope to see you at more arts events!

Monday, May 22, 2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger John MacDonald said...


Monday, May 22, 2006 12:39:00 PM  

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