ArtsCobaltLiteraturePoetryTemiskaming Shores

Northern Ontario poets celebrate 11 years of Spring Pulse Poetry Festival

by Frank Giorno

Poets from Northern Ontario and some even venturing from Toronto, Ottawa and other locations in Ontario will gather in Temiskaming Shores and Cobalt for the 11th annual Spring Pulse Poetry Festival Friday June 1 and Saturday June 2, 2018.

“Spring Pulse 2018 will honour current Northern Ontario poets and pay tribute to the long heritage of poetry and literature from the region,” said David Brydges, the artistic director of the Spring Pulse Poetry Festival. “

“The festival is an important gathering place for Northern Ontario poets and poets from all across Ontario,” said Brydges. ” But it is also a celebration of the communities of Temiskaming Shores, formerly New Liskeard and Haileybury, Cobalt, Dymond Township as it helps to foster community spirit in this widely distributed area.”

David Brydges, the artistic director of Spring Pulse Poetry and Arts Festival 2018 joins in the open mic reading at the Classic Theatre in Cobalt. Cobalt poet laureate, Anne Margetson is seated on the left. Frank Giorno for TheONE.

2018 Spring Pulse Poetry Festival June 1 and 2

This year the Festival will feature the launch of Ottawa poet Susan McMaster’s book “Haunted”at the Lumber Baron’s House, at 1 pm at  604 Brewster Street Haileybury that will be followed by a writing workshop.

Later on Friday at  7:00 pm at the Paul Penna Cobalt Public Library, Cobalt Poet Laureate Ann Margetson will be re-appointed and a Volunteer of the Year award will be presented to Emma Laughlin. At that time the winner of the William Drummond Poetry Prize 2018 will be announced.

On Saturday morning an open mic poetry reading will be held at the Classic Theatre in Cobalt, followed by a lunch at the Paul Penna Cobalt Library and the annual Poet’s Parade to Dr.Pollard Poet’s Park led by a Scottish Pipe Band.

At the Poet’s Park a tribute will be held in memory of Silver Shadow, the much beloved feral dog of Cobalt  who died in 2010.

Here is the line-up for Spring Pulse 2018:

Pre-Festival Public Events

  • Tuesday May 29: Linda-Bea Chambers hosts a poetry/music concert at the Temiskaming Hospital (7:00 pm)
  • Wednesday May 30: Cobalt St. Pat’s School local poets visit (1:00 – 2:00 pm)

Thursday May 31

  • Bilingual Twist event at the Presidents’ Suites Lumber Baron’s House is cancelled due to the Temiskaming & Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinner/awards. Long time festival volunteer Vivian Hylands Hostetler, who passed away last year, is receiving a posthumous CJTT lifetime achievement award. Many of her friends, fellow volunteers, and her daughter Valerie will be in attendance.
  • League of Canadian Poets Poet in Schools program with Honey Novick doing workshops at Temiskaming District Secondary School. A Francophone poet (to be announced) will visit secondary school ESCSM and E.C. St-Michel.

Friday June 1

  • Honey Novick continues workshops with New Liskeard Public School and St. Patrick School, Cobalt.
  • A Francophone poet (to be announced) will visit Navigateurs and E.C. Ste-Croix.
  • 1:00 pm — Ottawa poet Susan McMaster launching her book Haunted at Lumber Baron’s House, 604 Brewster Street Haileybury that will be followed by a writing workshop.
  • 7:00 pm — Paul Penna Cobalt Public Library. Poet Laureate re-induction of Ann Margetson. Volunteer of the Year award Emma Laughlin.
  • Drummond Hour with selected readings of his poetry followed by Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Awards Ceremony.
Its been known to haunt the Spring Pulse Poetry Festival – the Ghost of William Drummond has been sighted in previous festivals. Frank Giorno for TheONE.

Saturday June 2: Mezzanine Gallery Classic Theatre Cobalt 30 Silver Street

  • 10:00 am — Ontario Poetry Society (TOPS) Cobalt Branch Annual Meeting, open mic/music event. All are welcome to bring a favourite poem, read one of your own, or sing/play music. Refreshments will be available.
  • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm — Luncheon compliments of the library board Paul Penna Cobalt Public Library.
  • 1:00 pm — YOUTH POETS SPRING YOUR WORDS!! Jim Sargent Poetry Awards 2018
  • Poetry Hall of Fame induction of Marvyn Morrison
  • 2:00 pm — Haileybury Legion Pipe Band will lead us on a poetry parade to the Dr. Pollard Poetry Park, 18 Grandview Avenue.
  • Marilyn Chevrier-Wills, Timiskaming First Nation elder/teacher with her husband John Wills plus drummers Carole and Karen will perform a welcoming song/opening prayer ceremony.
  • White Dog of Cobalt yellow ribbon remembrance event against animal abuse or cruelty. Followed by an Open Mic poetry/music/storytelling by the gazebo.
  • 5:30 pm — St. James Anglican Church of Cobalt Spaghetti Dinner corner of Nickel/Prospect Ave. $15. See Emma Laughlin for tickets at 705–679–8636
  • 9 p.m. Spring Pulse After Party Cafe Meteor Bistro featuring the music of Vienna D’Amato Hall, 485 Ferguson Avenue, Haileybury, Ontario. also performing David Patterson. Tickets available by emailing David Brydges or at the Cafe. 
Singer Vienna D’Amato Hall will feature at the Spring Pulse after party at the Cafe Meteor Bistro at 9pm June 2. Also appearing will be Dave Patterson. Photo courtesy of Spring Pulse.

Each year the Spring Pulse Festival awards the William Drummond Poetry Prize named after the doctor-poet whose family operated a silver mine in Cobalt at the turn of the 20th century.

The Dr. William Henry Drummond National Poetry Contest was founded in Cobalt in 1970. It is the oldest non-governmental national poetry contest in Canada. The Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Contest award ceremony is held annually at the Paul Penna Cobalt Public Library to honour the memory and legacy of one of the most popular poets in the English speaking world.

William Henry Dummond became an early pioneer in the frontier days of the mining camp. He served for a year as the town’s first doctor, was vice-president of the Drummond Silver Mine, and wrote poetry about life in the north.  Drummond returned to Cobalt to fight a smallpox outbreak and died of a cerebral hemorrhage on the morning of Saturday, April 6, 1907.

But Drummond is only one of several noted literary figures from what has been referred to as the Tri-Town area. Leslie McFarlane who grew up in Haileybury, Ontario now part of Temiskamaing Shores, wrote the Hardy Boys mysteries under the pen name Franklin W. Dixon.

Leslie McFarlane author of the Hardy Boys mystery series

“Poetry is so important in and of itself,” said David Brydges. “But it is also a vital stepping stone for future novelists – Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje both started as poets.”

The festivities conclude on Saturday night with an after party at Cafe Meteor Bistro featuring the music of Vienna D’Amato Hall, 485 Ferguson Avenue, Haileybury, Ontario. also performing Dave Patterson.



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Frank Giorno

Frank Giorno Frank Giorno lives in Timmins, Ontario. He is a graduate of York University (Honors B.A Political Science) and Ryerson School of Journalism (B.A. Journalism). Frank has worked as a city hall reporter for the Brandon Sun; freelanced for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. He is the past editor of and the newsletter of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers. Frank has also worked as Research Director for the Canadian Environmental Law Association; Senior Communications Advisor on Water Quality Issues for the Ministry of the Environment; Public Affairs Associate for Region of Peel Public Works; and Media Relations Officer for Toronto Public Health. In Timmins, he served as the Communications Manager for Mushkegowuk Environmental Research Centre/Five Nations Energy Project on Energy Conservation. He freelanced for Frank is a published author of essays on the internment of Italian-Canadians during World War 2, “Internee 328: Camp Petawawa” co-written with James McCreath appears in “Beyond Barbed Wire” (Guernica Editions 2012). He has published four books of poetry, My Nation is a Train...Wreck (2017, Northern Voices Publications), MoPoPoMo (2016, Northern Voices Publications), “Elvis in America,” and “Arrivederci! Plastic Covered Couch ( 2006, 2008 Lyricalmyrical Press)”.

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