This city is beauty
unbreakable and amorous as eyelids,
in the streets, pressed with fierce departures,
I am innocent as thresholds
and smashed night birds, lovesick,
as empty elevators
– Dionne Brand/thirsty
Those words are now 15 years old, having first appeared in poet Dionne Brand’s 2002 book of poems thirsty that shared a unique narrative and lyrical experience of Toronto. (Brand was Toronto’s Poet Laureate from September 2009 to November 2012.)
They’re also just one of thousands of beautiful stanzas that have been written about this city of ours.
So it should come as no surprise that the City of Toronto declared April as National Poetry Month, kicking it off with a reading from Toronto’s current Poet Laureate (the City’s fifth), Anne Michaels, at City Council today.
Michaels’ reading also signaled Toronto’s participation in the national Poetry City challenge, “an annual celebration of National Poetry Month that encourages Mayors and City Councils across Canada to invite a local poet to do a reading at a council meeting.”
“Toronto is pleased to be part of National Poetry Month and encourages other Canadian locations to participate in the annual Poetry City challenge,” said Mayor John Tory. “It is vital this month, and every month, that we support the literacy of our residents and the literature of our artists.”
Toronto was the first Canadian municipality to appoint its own Poet Laureate back in 2001.
On April 3 starting at 7 pm, Michaels will host an evening of poetry with fellow poets Roo Borson and Phoebe Wang at the Toronto Reference Library’s Beeton Hall, 789 Yonge Street.
It turns out April isn’t the cruelest month after all.