The Canadian literary culture has always been considered – well – too Canadian. On September 9, 2009, Barbara Kay wrote an opinion piece on the state of Canadian lit today which had Canadian writers in an uproar. Which begs the question is Canadian poetry in its own world, or do we compare Canadian poetry to that of American poetry, or on an international level? Do the two regions of poetry even know each other exist, or are they in an epic battle for supremacy?
If Canadian poetry and American poetry had a battle royale it could look something like: Margaret Atwood to joust with LongPen against Mary Oliver, or Billy Collins to take on Leonard Cohen in a bridge game. Maybe that’s too ridiculous, but one poet, Rachel Rose, is attempting to bridge the gap by bringing poets and writers from both sides of the border together. Being a dual citizen and poet she created the Cross-Border Pollination Reading series.
When asked why she started the readings, she stated, “The “Cross-Border Reading series was born in 2005, out of my great desire to connect writers, especially poets, who did not know about each other’s work. Having lived in both the U.S. and Canada, I was stunned by how little each country knew about the other’s writers and poets (especially the Americans about the Canadians, but never mind). Even if we lived only an hour apart, there was a great wall between us. I wanted to create cross-cultural connections and forge links, making our local community more international. It has been a great gift to be able to do so.”
The next reading is scheduled for October 9th, 2009 in Vancouver, BC. Poets and writers scheduled for reading are Peter Pereira, Brenda Miller, Shannon Stewart and Nancy Mauro. See the event page for details.