On April 3, we hosted PoetryNOW: 11th Annual Battle of the Bards, featuring 20 talented poets, each reading four minutes of their work. All poets maximized their limited time and gave us a showing of funny, compelling and beautiful performances. It was a fantastic way to begin National Poetry Month.
All the participants delivered remarkable work, however, it was Doyali Islam who stood out on this day to earn the 2019 title of top bard. We caught up with her to discuss the people she has to thank for her journey so far, the moment she fell in love with poetry and the poet we should all be looking out for.
Screenshot from Don’t Be Nice, a film by Max Powers
In 1999, UNESCO adopted March 21 as World Poetry Day to “honour poets, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry, foster the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and raise the visibility of poetry in the media” around the world. Today marks its 19th year.
In Canada, we’re fortunate to also be celebrating the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month. This profoundly takes place during a time when social media dialogue and the issues of today are reviving an interest in poetry with a new generation. Poetry’s popularity is evidenced by the rise of Rupi Kaur’s milk and honey and The Sun and Her Flowers, among other poets, on Canadian and international bestseller lists. Also, responding to the demand for poetry, the League of Canadian Poets has released longlists for its Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, Pat Lowther Memorial Award, and Raymond Souster Award, for the first time ever.
We’ve established our top three ways to celebrate National Poetry Month, and invite you to join us.