Culture

Surround yourself with inspiring people and good food

Summer-fresh strawberries from the Farmers' Market

Summer-fresh strawberries from the Farmers’ Market

I love food and I love spending time with people, especially if there’s food involved. And good conversation.

I’ve recently befriended George Elliott Clarke, Toronto’s Poet Laureate. I met him at the Art Gallery of Ontario at an exhibition called Portraits of Poets. It was in April for National Poetry Month. If anyone who knows me well will tell you: I have a passion for poetry. I would say “passion” is an understatement. Perhaps, “obsession” would be more fitting.

Fresh Wednesdays with George Elliott Clarke on a windy and sunny August afternoon

Fresh Wednesdays with George Elliott Clarke on a windy and sunny August afternoon

But back to Mr. Clarke. So I met him in April and I was blown away by his exuberance and his unparalleled love for the English language. He told me about an upcoming event hosted by the city of Toronto called Fresh Wednesdays at Nathan Phillips Square, which would be happening in August.

Of course, I went. Not only was I drawn to the poetry readings and spoken word performances, but Fresh Wednesdays is known for its Farmers’ Market fare, brimming with delicious foods and fresh produce. This was my idea of a dream afternoon! Food and Art: the best marriage if I ever heard of one.

So this is happiness, I thought, as I sat front and centre for the Beat Café, which showcased the brilliance of four other poets, songwriters, and spoken word artists. It was a windy and sunny day. I was grateful for the wind because my legs were baking in the heat of the afternoon sun. Also, my insides were already warmed from the performances happening on stage. Afterwards, I asked Mr. Clarke to sign my copy of his book of poetry Execution Poems. He also has a new book of poetry out called Traverse.

“We’re working on a future project together, aren’t we?” he asked me.

“I don’t think so, but I did ask you to have a look at my book of poetry. It’s my first book and it’s coming out next month,” I said to him.

“Congratulations,” he said. “It would be my pleasure.”

Or something along those lines. I was too busy being a fangirl to remember everything verbatim. What I should’ve said was, Yes, I hope we have many many future projects to come.

Here’s to dreaming.

Note: Both of these events (Portraits of Poets and the Beat Café) were free. It’s amazing how the best things don’t cost a dime. I’ll definitely be there on August 27 when they have the Farmer’s Market Free Sampling Tour. Once again, the operative word here is “free.” I am a poet and writer, if you’ll recall.

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