On Thursday December 3, 2009 at 8pm at a little watering hole on Main Street, several poets from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside came together to launch their newest chapbook “Thursdays 3.0: These Words.” The room was filled with old couches, a pool table and brick arches surrounding a bar. There were holiday lights and a lopsided Christmas tree dangling over the bar with an army of liquor bottles. And mixing with the smell of drought and ale was poetry.
This isn’t the first time Geist.com has covered the Thurdays Poems and Prose launches, but, this will not be the last. The poetry has a basic honesty to it that is fundemental in great story telling. A fine example of a poet and a Thursdays Poems and Prose regular, Muriel Marjorie stepped up to the stand. She boomed over the microphone, “I am great. And it took my niece having a daughter to happen. I am a great Aunt.” Muriel’s comedy and wit comes through in her personality that transfers to her poetry. Following Muriel was another slew of passionate poetry, from the activist oriented, to the detailing of Jesus’ plight. The poets brought performance to each piece reminding the audience that word can be brought to life.
The night of beer on tap and poetry showed how poetry’s lack of popularity, has actually benefited the art by creating these small communities of poetry genres and styles. As the space for poetry has shrunk, the communities have solidified into small pockets across the country. From the Downtown Eastside, to Poetry Slams, to concrete poets, to the old-school poets of George Bowering and Daphne Marlatt, this squeeze has actually benefited poetry.
With poetry out of the mainstream, the styles are so different from community to community that it’s actually hard to find all of the poets in one’s community, let alone, the country. Each style has their own following, and they don’t often interact with each other (unless to argue). While many stick to their genre, and rarely step outside their community, there lies the opportunity to take a walk down the street and find a different style of poets and poems to enjoy.
In each province, in each city, these little pockets of poets reside. Need proof? Just step into a small bar on Main Street, Vancouver and you’ll find a group of poets, reciting and sipping on a cool brew.
For more information on Thursdays Poems and Prose and their newest chapbook "Thursdays 3.0: These Words" check out their website.