Poetry comes to life

Eric Folsom, creator of the Night of the Living Poets event, aims to bring the work of dead poets back to life

Night of the Living Poets, an event to be held at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library’s central branch on Tuesday, will involve a variety of local writers reading the work of dead poets
Night of the Living Poets, an event to be held at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library’s central branch on Tuesday, will involve a variety of local writers reading the work of dead poets
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Poetry, according to Bruce Kauffman, is a song that communicates passion to people.

That’s why he’s excited to read William Stafford’s poetry at the upcoming “Night of the Living Poets Reading Dead Poets” event on Tuesday at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library’s central branch at Johnson and Bagot streets.

The event, in its second year, will feature Kauffman, along with a multitude of other local poets, reading the poetry of dead writers.

“I think there is a phenomenal amount of poetic talent in Kingston with the monthly reading series,” he said, “and the poetry slams that take place.”

Kauffman, who is currently a host for CFRC 101.9 FM, believes that the Night of the Living Poets is a great way for Kingston’s poets to share their love for the written word and to communicate with their audience.

Eric Folsom, Kingston’s first and current poet laureate and founder of the event, is moderating the evening. He said that such an event inspires people to hear poetry from lesser-known writers, who he said were nevertheless magnificent in their own right.

“Canada has a bad habit of forgetting people who are dead, so this is one way where we can change that and shed light on some amazing poetry and great artistic talent,” he said.

Folsom has always thought about poetry as a musical performance with an enthralled audience. That’s how he came up with this unique idea for the event.

“If you are a rock band, you are likely going to perform some music at times which is not your own, but is perhaps music that has inspired you,” Folsom said. “I thought, ‘why shouldn’t Kingston poets be allowed to read out poetry that has inspired and influenced them?’”

Jason Heroux, ArtSci ’95, is another Kingston poet enthusiastically waiting to read the works of one of his favourite poets, Alfred Starr Hamilton.

“[He] has inspired much of my own work due to its surrealism, and my poetry has often been described as surreal,” Heroux said. “There is a whimsical beauty in the words he uses and I really want to read his work because of his influence in mine.”

Heroux, who is originally from Montreal but came to Kingston in the 90s, said his university experience at Queen’s solidified his interest in poetry, allowing him to pursue and hone this talent.

The event, Heroux said, can inspire and motivate other poets as they become exposed to new poetic influences.

“I found my poetic voice when I came to Kingston. I feel that because it is a small town, you can focus on your passions with more determination,” Heroux said. “The Kingston art scene also allowed me to get support from a number of artistic people.”

The event is free and will be held on Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library - Central Branch.

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