Fun at the IFOA 2012

Thanks to the kind folks at Open Book Toronto I won a poetry prize pack, which included tickets to two poetry events at the IFOA, as well as several poetry books: Killdeer, Rain; road; an open boat, and Omens in the Year of the Ox.

The first was a reading and round table with Roo Borson, Sadiqa de Meijer, Phil Hall and Don McKay, moderated by Garvia Bailey.

Ostensibly it was supposed to be a “poet summit” about “How the Poem Changes Us,” but it got off track right from the start. Before Bailey could begin, Borson opened with charming ramble about her interpretation of the topic, and it went on like that for the rest of the hour. The poets declined to answer questions put to them, instead answering questions raised in conversation or posed by others, and the questions they did answer bore little resemblance to the topic at hand. It was pretty awesome.

I was still recovering from a desperate cough I tried to keep under wraps by only coughing during the applause, but it was challenging. My apologies if you were in the audience and were disturbed by my death rattle.

Healthy by the following week, I sat comfortably through the reading and round table moderated by Tim Conley, which went a little smoother, but only a little. The theme was “Captured – The Poem as a Matter of Record,” and featured Roo Borson again, as well as Lise Downe, John B. Lee and Steven Price.

Hearing about the people behind the work, the poets as well as their subjects, obligations and intentions was fascinating, and even more fascinating were the detours the poets opened up in their discussion.

Both events were a lot of fun, and after the second event, I was able to play fangirl and get books signed by both Roo Borson and Steven Price.

Following that, a friend and I went out for a glass of wine and late lunch over which we discussed what we’d heard, poetry, books and literature in general. It was a really nice time.

As a bonus, that night I wrote a piece of flash fiction tangentially inspired by what happened there. We’ll see if anything comes of that.