Sunday, November 01, 2020

Ottawa Poetry Festival Returns this November

Ottawa, ON – VERSeFest, Ottawa’s International Poetry Festival, returns Nov. 6 – 22nd with an entirely virtual program featuring 60 poets in English and French through a mix of live and pre-recorded readings, lectures, poetry slams, interviews, and panels. Though a departure from the festival’s customary gatherings, the virtual format will allow for some new and unique events, including poets inviting virtual audiences into their writing spaces and processes, as well as interactive poet-audience opportunities like the “Dial-a-Poet” segments.

Headliners include Karen Solie, a lyrical poet who subverts the expected; Brandon Wint, a national champion slam poet; Angye Goana, a Columbian poet and activist; Albert Dumont, also known as “South Wind,” a poet, storyteller, and Algonquin Traditional Teacher; Anne-Marie Desmeules, winner of the 2019 Governor General's Award for French-language poetry; and Éric Charlebois, a prolific poet inimitable in technique and bold imagery. Performance and poetry blur in several events, including the sound experimentations of Oana Avasilichioaei and Kaie Kellough. While the Translatlantic and American sessions will be bringing poets from Iceland, Ireland, and the United States.

Reflecting on this year’s virtual medium, Festival Director Monty Reid confirms: “It's been a strange year, but VERSeFest is back – thanks to everyone who helped make it happen! It's not quite as big as we had planned back in March, but a whole lot safer.  We'll be online throughout November and we’ll make sure you can find us.  Poetry never goes away.”

VERSeFest President Hubert Lussier adds: Whether you seek a balm to a hurt, an echo to a rage, or simply a moment of pure beauty, the poets brought together by VERSeFest in such a challenging year offer a program that collectively howls back. Our festival has adapted. This is a rendez-vous not to be missed.

All events are free for all audiences.

VERSeFest is organized by volunteers from Ottawa’s poetry community and is grateful for ongoing support from the City of Ottawa, the Ontario Council for the Arts, the Canada Council for the Arts, the ACFO, and many other individuals and organizations. Our Bilingual Ottawa grant from the ACFO this year allows us to offer our poets the opportunity to have poems translated for their reading.

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Vivian Vavassis, Communications Director:

Monty Reid, Festival Director:

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