Rayanne Reading

It has been almost one year. One year since I first read my poetry in public. One year since I took that next step towards finding my voice as a poet. I was terrified. I stood in front of the small crowd of people that came out, trying desperately to hide my shaking hands, to steady my shaking voice and I READ OUT LOUD. And as this incredible poetry community does, the group that day supported me, cheered me on and thanked me for sharing my words with them. In that year, I’ve continued to read at open mics, have been asked to be a feature reader at a few local events, have created the concept for a panel on finding your voice and have become a published writer and poet. I asked you to hear me. To listen to what I had created. And, incredibly, you did.

In February of 2012 I became the executive director for The Edmonton Poetry Festival. I jumped wholeheartedly into a world of words and fell head over heels for it. On April 21st of this year The Edmonton Poetry Festival begins again. For 2013 we have invited the poets laureate from across Canada to join us in our city. And they are coming! I still can’t believe I’m a part of it all. It was a year of planning, organizing, and planning some more. It will be eight days of no sleep and 33 events of mouth-watering language.

To end the festival we once again invite every poet in Edmonton to join us at our open mic venues throughout the downtown core. There are all-ready 60+ folks signed up to read and I, again, am one of them.

On April 28th, I come back to where it started. After a year of writing and “reading out loud”, I’m getting ready to do it again. I’ve penned a new poem in honor of the occasion. Something I hope will do justice to the immense privilege I feel to be able to do this. It may not seem like much. Five minutes of my life standing in front of a group of maybe thirty people. It is so much more than just five minutes. You share a part of yourself with friends and strangers. You hope they’ll really hear you. That what you have pulled out of your gut, slams into theirs, and leaves them and you breathless.

I’m writing this almost 1 year to the day of when I wrote a blog post talking about that first reading. I’m still nervous. I still hope what I’ve written reaches people. And still…… I want to be fearless. I’ve asked you to come out and read; to share your words. I’m ready to share mine. I say we keep jumping in.

See you on the 28th,

Rayanne Doucet
Executive Director
The Edmonton Poetry Festival.