David Brydges

by Festival Nomad Correspondent & Festival Artistic Director, David C. Brydges

The sixth annual Spring Pulse Poetry Festival has ended with a great success. In Cobalt the lilacs bloomed alongside poetry’s fragrant poetic perfumes. Springs literary season of fresh new creations as ablaze with originality. The festival hosted 17 poets and musicians from Southern Ontario who came on the Poetbus Express. They were highly impressed with the great reception received by all. Some mentioned that Southern hospitality is warm but the North’s is the best. Some of Toronto's most outstanding poets read, launched books, played music and generally mentored and inspired us. A big thanks to Helen Lovekin from the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation for her efforts in fully funding a mini-coach to bring the group from Toronto for the weekend.

The festival began in Temiskaming Shores with readings at the Northdale Manor, Extendicare, and the Temiskaming Lodge.   A music and poetry reading concert at the hospital was hosted by Linda -Bea Chambers’s events co-ordinator.  The league of Canadian Poets funded a poet in the school programme for Marsha Barber to workshop with students at TDSS, New Liskeard Public, and Haileybury Public in New Liskeard, and finally St. Pat's in Cobalt.

At the Classic Theatre Mezzanine Gallery the Temiskaming Palette and Brush Club hosted and co-ordinated by Tina Silver the Poetic Visions VI Painted Poems reception/award ceremony. First place was Diane Green, Second Iris Shields, and third Diane Green. Honourable Mentions went to Iris Shields, Gayle Scott, and Laura Landers.

On Thursday night at Temiskaming Shores city hall Fun in the Foyer event everyone had fun socializing, reading poetry, and greeting our literary guests.  Much great poetry was read at the Haileybury Library on Friday by Toronto poets Mick Burrs, Julie McNeill, Nancy Bullis, and Giovanna Riccio. The song writing workshop was led by Kent Bowman with Josh Bowman, Mick Burrs, and Heather Borean. A wilderness/history tour hosted by Norm Hawirko with help from Dan Lacroque was informative and deepened our visitor’s appreciation of the mining history literally beneath our feet.

Friday night at the Cobalt Public Library saw the re-appointment of Ann Margetosn as our Poet Laureate. Special recognition was given to two of the festivals most vital volunteers Calvin Knight and Emma Laughlin. True pillars of dedication and community service.

Then the Drummond Hour commenced with various poets reading excerpts of Dr. Drummond's poetry and also original pieces by local poets in honour of his life. Drummond researcher David C.Brydges provided a historical overview of his accomplishments and influence. The Dr. William Henry Drummond national poetry contest had their award ceremony hosted by judge Allan Briesmaster. Two hundred and nine poems from all across Canada were entered. Deborah Cox from St. Catherine's was the overall winner and came to receiver her award and read her winning poem "That Corner of My Garden".

Toronto's Allan Briesmaster, and Sonia Di Placido, along with Stoney Creek poet Fran Figge launched their new books at Studio Luxe Hair Salon in the historic former Bank of Ottawa building from 1911.

Saturday morning poets gathered at the Cobalt train station for the Ontario Poetry Society Temiskaming Branch annual meeting and open Mic hosted by the founder Bunny Iskov from Toronto. Cobalt Public Library board organized a free luncheon followed by the induction into the poetry hall of fame by Jim Sargent. Jane and Mark Sargent were in attendance along with many of his friends but Jim (singing Sarge) was not well enough to attend. In spite of heavy rain that almost cancelled our annual poetry parade to the Dr. Pollard Poetry Park. We were musically lead by the Haileybury Legion Pipe Band. Each year we honour and remember the Silver Shadow Cobalt Dog, and 12 white balloons symbolizing each year of his life were released. A major historical event followed with the Cobalt Public School Bell Repatriation ceremony. Many former students were in attendance to welcome back the bell to its original home and more prominent place of recognition. Marilyn Chevrier first Nations elder and her friend Betty gave us a welcome and blessing through song and drum. Mayor Tina Sartoretto cut the golden ribbon and was accompanied by Federal NDP member Charlie Angus Timmins-James Bay, Provincial NDP member John Vanthof Temiskaming-Cochrane, and Cobalt councillor Gino Chitaroni. A reception and music concert followed at the Ann Margetson Gazebo. St. James Anglican Church organized a lovely spaghetti dinner. The final event of the day was a concert at the Miners Tavern Cobalt with Whicked Bridge from Sudbury with Whitney Nielsen and Kevin Morgan. The main act was Guitared and Feathered with Neil Doran and Shane Rose.

Special thanks to our local sponsors and volunteers who generously collectively gave their time, talent, and resources to make the festival a true expression of community togetherness.

David C. Brydges artistic director spring pulse poetry festival.