Kristen McKenzie performs a work at last year’s Poetry Prowl.

Poetry accessible on the Prowl

Her grandmother’s 1950s joyride across the Rockies in a 1927 jalopy inspired Emily Ursuliak to write some poetry about this “epic adventure.” Ursuliak’s poems, along with those of 13 other poets from Central Alberta and as far as Edmonton and Calgary, can be heard at live poetry readings on Saturday, April 14, at various downtown Red Deer locations.

Her grandmother’s 1950s joyride across the Rockies in a 1927 jalopy inspired Emily Ursuliak to write some poetry about this “epic adventure.”

Ursuliak’s poems, along with those of 13 other poets from Central Alberta and as far as Edmonton and Calgary, can be heard at live poetry readings on Saturday, April 14, at various downtown Red Deer locations.

Ursuliak hopes this second, bigger year of the Poetry Prowl will help broaden the public’s perception of poetry.

“A lot of people have this impression that poetry is intimidating, or they just don’t get it,” said Ursuliak.

But when they actually hear verse about nature, social issues or feelings being read aloud, she believes people tend to have a more positive response. “They enjoy it and are quite surprised.”

Unlike last year’s Poetry Prowl, which was only open to Red Deer College Poetry Society members, this year’s free event, co-sponsored by the Red Deer Arts Council, has attracted poets from as far as Calgary and Rocky Mountain House.

The 14 participants include RDC students, alumni and such acclaimed published poets as RDC English instructor Joan Crate, Edmonton’s Alexis Kienlen, and prize-winning poet Patti Sinclair, also of Edmonton.

The poets will take turns, in 10-minute increments, reading original verse from 1 to 4 p.m. at these downtown locations:

• from 1 to 1:10 p.m. at Art from the Streets (4935-51st St.)

• 1:10 to 1:30 p.m. at Sunworks (4924 Ross St.)

• 1:40 to 2 p.m. at Alberta Art and Drafting (4711-49th Ave.)

• 2 to 2:20 p.m. at Muse Clothing (4909d-48th St.)

• 2:20 to 2:40 p.m. at Comforts the Sole (4812-50th Ave.)

• 2:40 to 3:20 at the Scott Block basement (4816-50th Ave.). A reception will follow until 4 p.m. with provided refreshments and books of poetry offered for sale.

As well as exposing more Central Albertans to this literary form, Ursuliak hopes the “roaming poetry festival” will draw attention to interesting downtown businesses.

“There are great stores downtown that have unique items that you can’t get in a mall. People who (just) go to big box store don’t discover the downtown,” said Ursuliak, a Bentley-area native who graduated from RDC and is furthering her education at the University of Calgary.

The Poetry Prowl will also provide a rare local forum for poets to read publicly from their works, she added. “This will get people out, sharing their work with others.”

As well, Ursuliak said the event will allow Alberta poets a chance to meet one another.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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