On Sunday April 29th, I Rayanne Doucet, will be reading my poetry, outside of the classroom and in public for the first time…ever. This all takes place as part of the Edmonton Poetry Festival’s café reading series, where Edmonton poets, regardless of their level of expertise, are invited to read their poems at venues in the downtown core. What this means is that at each café the audience will have the chance to hear someone like Edmonton’s first poet laureate, Alice Major, read at the same event as someone like me. Newcomer to the playing field.

Rayanne's Notebook

Here’s the thing. I’m really excited. I want the opportunity to share my work. I’ve been writing poetry since I was very young and this is a wonderful way to take that next step. But, and it’s a big but. I’m nervous. Sure I’ve shared my poetry with friends and family. I’ve shared my writing and poetry in a classroom or workshop setting. And I share my writing all the time when I post to my blog or submit stories for news articles. But putting something out on my blog is very different than reading my poetry to a room of people. And equally nerve wracking… to a room with other poets, experienced poets, poets who are published many times over. No pressure right?

Here’s the other thing. I’ve performed in front of very large crowds. Shakespeare, monologues, black comedy, I’ve done it. I’m not afraid of it. But this? Speaking MY words in public? I hope my voice doesn’t crack.

I hope to engage people. I hope what I have created will resonate with them; for my words to strike a chord and mean something. This creative process has come to mean so much to me.

And Always

I want to be fearless and just do this. I want to walk this road with my words. All those poems I’ve written over the years? The ones I’ve hidden away because I simply wasn’t prepared to actually face public scrutiny for real? I think they deserve to be presented.

So if I’m going to be in the position I am in, and if I’m asking all of you to read, I think it’s time I did as well. I’ll see you on Sunday, reading.

Rayanne Doucet is the Executive Director of the Edmonton Poetry Festival.