For a first-time even, with minimal advertising, the first poetry evening at Thessalon Library was an enormous hit. I think we had more than twenty people there, and many of them got up to read.
The work they read was almost always their own – who knew we had so many poets in the area? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, after twenty years up here. Even when I first arrived I noticed that almost everyone practiced some kind of art. Some years ago when a magazine editor was asking how to find writers in the area, he was advised to chuck a rock, and whoever he hit would either be a writer, or know someone who was. Fifteen poets? Piece of cake.
The local autioneer, Vernon Bailey, recited all of Robert Service’s “The Ballad of the Black Fox Skin” from memory. I love Robert Service’s work. Some of the readers were fellow writers’ group members – Angie Gallop, Erin McLeod, Pauline Clark, Ray Stortini – and others were not. Victoria Shaw read her funny Open-Mike-winning poem about a mother’s day. Patricia Wynter read some of her own work and a couple of pieces written by her children.
All in all it was a delightful and fun evening, with lots of applause and laughter, and great home-baked snacks afterwards. Over and over I heard people say how much fun they’d had, and how they hoped this would happen again. The good news is that Sandra McKee is planning to run a poetry night every other month or so.
When Sandra first began planning this event, she and I thought hard to figure out names of poets in the area. There wasn’t a lot of promotion, and I know that some of the people who got up to read weren’t on our original list. I have a feeling that word of mouth will guarantee that the Thessalonians with poetry in their bottom drawers are going to surface. I’m sure we’ll have more people at the next event, and more original poetry coming out of the woodwork.