The annual reading from Seymour Mayne’s U of Ottawa creative writing class anthology (ENG 3264) took place in the basement of the Royal Oak II this afternoon. Charles and I attend every year since my own class’s reading back at Tree in 2000/2001 (ENG 3264) and Sasquatch in 2001/2002 (ENG 4398).
I’m not going to comment too much about the poetry this time; readers included Kelly Clarke, Wojtek Copija, Marley Davidson, Andrew Falkner, Lindsay Foran, Joe Hickey and Janice Thurston from Making Tracks, Lesley Strutt and Betty Warington-Kearsley from ENG 4398. See my comments on Making Tracks in http://www.ottawapoetry.blogspot.com/. I’ve had two pints of Guiness...enough said.
What I will say is that it is always heartening to hear these students. There are usually two readings: one during the term and then another when the anthology is launched, which can range from a few months to even a full year after the course is over.
In the interim between the two readings, some groups grow closer together, such as my own class where a number of us went on to restart Bywords or get involved in other literary (ad)ventures. In this case the energy of the most recent group has created the Ottawa Arts Review and from what I’ve heard will be involved in other literary activities in the near future.
One of the most important aspects of Mayne’s workshops is that the group bonds together and inspires each other to continue writing or to become more active in the literary world outside of the classroom. There have been many from Mayne’s classes who have done so, particularly in the last few years.
I seldom go to the Sasquatch Reading Series since Juan O’Neill’s death a year ago. Mayne said it best today when he said that he feels a kind of doubling, both Juan’s absence and presence. I think Juan would have been pleased to hear the talented young writers today. There was a particularly strong creative energy coming off these writers.
I want to see these young dynamos go on to write, to run publishing companies, to teach and to encourage other writers in the community. I challenge them all to come out to upcoming readings, to send their writing out for publication, to stir things up.