Thursday, September 16, 2010

On The Street

Sometimes I discover little things or happenings that please me deeply. One such happened at the most recent Art Crawl here in the city, that evening when all the galleries and related businesses on James Street North open wide and party. The street fills with people, in clusters and individuals, moving from one to another to sample the art and other attractions in the area. Some galleries provide incidental music or other performance. You can find buskers on the sidewalks: musicians, dancers, and more.

Often you'll find a display of books in front of a shop. There may also be a used book dealer displaying his wares. But this most recent Art Crawl offered something dear to my heart; a young lady had positioned herself in front of a gallery and was offering poetry for sale! She was sitting on a blanket on the sidewalk, copies of her first (self-) publication spread out on display. Without even reading one poem, I bought a copy. (She said I was the first person to purchase her work; I feel proud of that!) It didn't matter if the poetry was good or bad, what mattered was that the young lady was putting her words and her craft where it belongs - out on the street with all the other arts.

It reminded me of myself, hawking copies of my own poems in Yorkville in '67-'68. (Gestetner, remember those?) And a plan that never came to fruition, of chalking poems on the sidewalks of Barton Street a number of years ago. Then there was the International Village's initiative that displayed poems monthly in storefront windows. There is the current project of Simon Frank incorporating a poem in the sidewalks of Locke Street as public art, rather than the usual mural or sculpture.

Poetry on the street. Poetry in the markets. Poetry for people where the people are.

(By the way, that book "Poetry's Dead - on Love, Despair, Hobo-ism and produce" was worth the price. Nyki Hamilton, I'd love to be in touch with you!)

1 comment:

Nyki Hamilton said...

Here Birds Sing-

Hello, this is Nyki Hamilton. Your blog was mentioned to me, and I want to say thank you for the kind words!

here is my email,

Have a wonderful day, and thanks again. Very glad my first sale was to you!