Welcome to the Edmonton Poetry Festival, 2013 edition. Check the schedule page for information on the wheres and whens of this year’s festival. The festival will feature the brief but deadly art known as “blink poetry”; some super cool workshops; and tons of other events sure to satisfy any stripe of poetic interest.

Some events are open for anyone to participate in and some are “featured events” wherein the readers are chosen for their top-shelf performance chops and your poetic enjoyment. Be sure to check the sked, and if you’re game for participating (and you should be game) check out the signup page for complete details on where and when this clambake goes down.

Festival History

The Edmonton Poetry Festival kicked off in 2006, with the help of Edmonton’s then-poet-laureate Alice Major and an organizing committee representing a wide range of poetry groups in the city. TELUS came on board as the founding sponsor. Victoria School for the Arts held its hugely successful poetry day, with dozens of local poets in classrooms and the Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Pauline Michel in the school theatre.

A passle of other poets laureate descended on the festival, including Dolores Bell of Washington, D.C., Louise Halfe of Saskatchewan and Lorri Neilen Glenn of Halifax. There was Concrete Poetry — poems chalked all over Sir Winston Churchill Square — and the Roar’s big pub crawl. And there was the first ever Blinks poetry event — sixty poets, 30 seconds each — organized by the Stroll of Poets Society.

The 2007 festival got even bigger, thanks to a funding boost from Edmonton’s Cultural Capital Program. TELUS continued its support. That allowed us to stage a symposium, bringing in people like U.S. slam poet, Jack McCarthy. The school program exapnded to seven schools, Poets Blinked, Roared and did Stand-up Poetry on street corners.