88. Brouhaha

Poets, especially Canadian poets, can be a fractious lot.

There have been recent public battles between various prominent Canadian poets, mostly notably between Jan Zwicky and Michael Lista on the relevance of criticism. Heated words like “illiterate” and “incompetent” and “stupid” were deployed in a war waged on the pages of the National Post. Veteran Ontario poet Stuart Ross and Calgary surrealist poet Sheri-D. Wilson – the “Mama of Dada” – went at it over the value of spoken word, i.e. “performance poetry.” She likes it, he doesn’t. It got ugly at Edmonton’s Stroll of Poets Society around the turn of the Century when a group of spoken word poets seized control of the board, angering the traditional poets who started the event.

And now there’s controversy at the Edmonton Poetry Festival, which runs April 21-28 at venues around town.

The latest poetic brouhaha is over the selection of musician Kris Demeanor as Calgary’s inaugural Poet Laureate. / Wayne Arthurson, gigcity

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