‘A confluence of what’s happening in Ottawa poetry’: VERSeFest draws to a close

Ottawa's VERSeFest ran from Feb. 28 - March 4 (Photo credit: Pearl Pirie)

Pearl Pirie (blog/Twitter) is a local arts enthusiast who blogs about the city’s literary events in both word and image. Her most recent poetry collection came out last year. Thirsts (Snare, 2011) launches at Tree on Jan. 24. She will be one of the readers at VERSeFest in March.

Rachael Simpson at VERSeFest (Photo credit: Pearl Pirie)

Evan Thornton at Sneezers said: “Gain a sense of scale: In one fell swoop, you’ll get a feel for the astounding level of poetry activity in Ottawa. Not just a one-time festival, VERSeFest is actually a confluence of what’s happening in Ottawa poetry every month of every year, all the time.”

Ben Ladouceur said of Rachael Simpson’s reading: “Her work and her reading voice both brim with an unadorned kind of insightfulness. Never mind that her name is probably the least-known of the four.”

Suzanne Buffam at VERSeFest (Photo credit: Pearl Pirie)

Jenica Reid ‏tweeted: “Mike McGee, OpenSecret and Ursula Rucker just blew my mind. I don’t think I have it anymore.”

In Brenden McNally’s column, he quoted Suzanne Buffam, who came up from Chicago to read. She said she thought VerseFest is fantastic, adding, “It’s nice to see a festival that’s not about networking, it’s just about poetry.”

Outside, our ladies of posters directed pedestrian traffic to venues. (Photo credit: Pearl Pirie)

And it’s about enthusiasm.

Today is the finale, when VERSeFest welcomes Ursula Rucker to give a workshop at Mercury Lounge. (A slim chance of a spot if someone doesn’t show up to take their reserved tickets.)

At 4:30 pm, Vermont poet and novelist Paige Ackerson-Kiely and west coast Canadian poet, Barry McKinnon. At 8 pm at the NAC: Mexico poet Pura López-Colomé’s, former U.S. poet Laureate Philip Levine Governor General award-winning poet Phil Hall do the summit reading. (Tickets are still available.)

Last chance to check out VERSeFest tonight! Get out there, Ottawa!