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League of Canadian Poets honours 17th annual National Poetry Month with food theme

April is National Poetry Month, and the League of Canadian Poets is celebrating with a series of readings, awards announcements, and events.

This year’s theme – food and poetry – was prompted by a speech by Vancouver poet laureate Rachel Rose in which she calls on Canadians to be inspired by food, saying, “everyone has something to say about food… [it] is personal, political, sensual, and powerful. It concerns every one of us.”

National Poetry Month publicity and media manager, LCP member, and BookThug managing editor Hazel Millar says, “Food nourishes, grounds and connects us, much like poetry. Without food as without poetry, we go hungry. There is so much that can be spoken of and written about food and one’s experience with it. I think what makes this theme so important is how accessible it is. Everyone loves food and enjoys its pleasures. While not everyone may be as familiar with poetry, pairing it together with something as universal as food will hopefully encourage people to explore it more readily this month.”

In honour of both NPM and UNESCO’s World Poetry Day (March 21), 66 municipal councils in 11 provinces and territories will host local poets to read at this month’s council meetings for the Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge, initiated this year by Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.

Readings by poets such as George Elliott Clarke, Rachel Rose, Pearl Pirie, and more will also be taking place throughout the month at venues across the country. And, the LCP will be frequently updating its blog with award-shortlisted poet interviews, event updates, performance poetry, stories, and more.

“From activism-themed potlucks to chocolate-laced chapbook launches, the month is edible,” Millar says. “Expect odes to favourite dishes, anthems about the nourishment of poetry, and conspiracies involving bacon.”