For the past two years, Edmonton’s Stroll of Poets Society, along with readers from other E-Town poetry clans, have kicked off the Edmonton Poetry Festival with an event called “The Killer Blinks”. That tradition continues in 2008 (check the schedule and slate of readers here). On Thursday September 11, 2008, 7:00pm at the Artery Art Space – 9535 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton – 45 poets will assemble to recite super-short “blink” poems. Just what is a “blink” poem, you ask? It’s a slab of verse lasting a mere 30 seconds. “It’s rapid fire poetry,” says Stroll President Gary Garrison. “Poets get on stage in groups and recite their poems to the beat of a live drummer. It’s quite something to hear that many poets in a short time frame.”

The event was conceived by the Stroll as a way of allowing a large-ish number of readers to have a voice in a unique and interesting way. It may sound easy to pen a poem that only lasts 30 seconds, but think about it. You have to convey a poetic thought in the amount of time it takes to write a few sentences. There’s a whole lot of editing and economizing that goes into the creation of “blink” poems. Haiku may seem like an easy way to rattle off a blink poem or two, but a good haiku – one that Basho himself would be proud of – can take weeks or months to hone. Brevity and economy aren’t easy things to master. What’s the best way to write a blink poem? “Start with a decent-sized block of verse,” says Garrison, “and chop away every syllable that doesn’t communicate. You’ll get there eventually.”

This years event will continue the tradition of offering a potluck-style array of snacks and food items. Participants are encouraged to bring quality food items (no bags of Doritos, please) to share. Alcohol and soft drinks will be served by the friendly and outgoing Artery staff. There’s plenty of well-lit free parking within 100 meters of the venue, but if you would like accompaniment from your vehicle to the venue door, just ask. Our friendly bouncer dude will be happy to provide cover from the flurry of rapid-fire verse that’s sure to be in the air.

Check out “Revenge of The Killer Blinks” at the Edmonton PoFest on Thursday September 11, 2008. The Artery Artspace, 9535 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton. Doors at 6:30, show at 7:00 (slate of readers).

Breaking News – This Just In

Signups for the PoFest have been closed for a week now, but it seems that we’ve made a scheduling whoops! We thought the Blinks event was at capacity, but it turns out WE WERE WRONG. We have TEN additional spots open as of 8/27/08. They’ll be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Contact us if you’d like to get in on the action..