Poetry in Cobourg

The good folks of Cobourg brought poetry to the sidewalks on the weekend. 500 poems were posted around town by poets sending in their own works to be displayed on store windows. Here’s a clip of how it looked. What a fun idea.

Watch Mandy Robinson reads a love poem, “like a light” by Pearl Pirie. Listening is seven-foot-two-inch-tall on-duty Cobourg Police Constable Jamie Baggaley … this was part of {piCs} “poets ♥ Downtown Cobourg” project … that was part of the DBIA “Feel the Love” event, Saturday, February 15, 2014.
And P.S. Gosh, again with another of my favourite love poems,

{PiC} said,

… a moment should be taken to explain the main method that was being used. A poet would approach someone with a simple question such as, “Can I read you a poem?” or “Would you like me to read you a love poem?” If the answer was, “Yes” (and very few people said “No”) a poem would be selected at random from the hundreds we had posted on store fronts and that would be given a “cold reading” … so, the poets performing, including our Poet Laureate did ask us to apologize if the fractured the pronunciation of any poet’s name and added that they are quite certain that had the poet herself or himself been there with us, a better reading would have been given for each poem. (Listening over their shoulders, we thought there was very little reason for apology. They did very well indeed.)
We have been asked, “In total, how many encounters were there last Saturday when a ‘wandering poet’ read poetry aloud to passers-by?” … and … “How many poems were given away?”
This pertains to {piCs} “poets Downtown Cobourg” project that was part of the DBIA “Feel the Love” event, Saturday, February 15, 2014
To understand any numbers we offer as an answer, you need to keep in mind a couple of key facts. If you were there to see how things went, some of this will seem obvious.
1.
If one of our “wandering poets” read a poem to someone but then the person declined the offer to take it away (to read again later, to share, to love), that poem stayed in that poet’s hands and was read again and given to the next person. Thus, the number of people who heard the poems read to them is greater than the number who took a poem away with them.
2.
Close to half the time, the poet would read a poem to more than a single person. Quite often, there was a couple listening. Fairly frequently, it would be a group of 3, 4 or 5 people. In those cases, the poem would be handed to only one of the people. Again, this means the number of passers-by who stopped to have a poem read to them is greater than the number who took a poem away.
3.
Combining the time given by all the 12 people in the role of “wandering poets,” a total of 18 hours was given to reading poetry to passers-by. We asked each poet to give us an hour of their time. A couple could only give a little less than an hour –usually due to -7 degree cold– but others (who were dressed more warmly) gave more than one hour. Some were actively reading for three-and-a-half hours.
4.
Each “wandering poet” seems, on average, to have success reading a poem to a passer-by a little more than 10 times per hour.
* ** *** ** *
… and given those 4 facts as a general context, we can answer the two questions from above:
“How many poems were given away?”
182
“In total, how many encounters were there last Saturday when a ‘wandering poet’ read poetry aloud to passers-by?”
250
… and a 3rd relevant question would be: How many people heard those 250 poetry readings to passers-by?
Approximately 400.
We consider this to be a huge success!

People were free to take the poems and there are other videos coming online of readings including James Pickersgill reads Sonnet by Anna Yin and Katriona Dean reads ‘Still In Love’ by Mark Clement

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.