Spring has finally shown herself in our little god-forsaken burg, and everyone seems to have a spring in their step and a lilt in their voice. All this springness brings about many things, but most important is the annual re-emergence of the Iambicated Poet.

The Iambicated Poet (IP for short) spends the winter months locked alone in a dwelling with little to do but fill in grant applications. This activity is a little like composing operating instructions for a hammer, but poets and their artist brethren take up the task and while away the hours. Most often in this time, the IP will decline all social invitations, preferring to spend time in their undergarments and t-shirts, existing on little more than paginated dreams and the futile hope for a winning Tim Horton’s coffee rim.

The Iambicated Poet can be found in Starbucks Coffee shops composing her dirges on a Macbook. Or, if she’s of the Advanced Variety (with assuaged plumage), an iPad. The odd Iambicated Poet still uses pen and paper, but these are a rare variety easily identified by their dependence upon various substances like caffeine, nicotine, and Pinot Noir. One in three IP’s are addicted to free verse, and one in six regularly indulge in cringe-worthy cliches that they hope everyone will forgive.

If found in the wild, The IP should be approached with caution. If it is Grant Season, the subject must be approached with caution. Don’t ask if they got it. Prodding too aggressively may result in physical violence or a verbal rebuke unsuitable for young ears. If found in its natural cafe habitat, the IP may be approached openly if one is bearing an offering of money, coffee, or an alcoholic beverage. The IP may very well decline your request to join them. This should be honoured, as the IP’s job is to watch humanity and report to you.

Many IP’s are introverts. This is not coincidence. The art of poetry takes a tremendous toll on its practitioners. Most IPs have difficulty in group situations. This explains why it is nigh-impossible to get them together for anything. And this explains the importance of The Edmonton Poetry Festival. It gives the Iambicated Poet a license to share those words so often bottled up. It allows a stage for those who normally shy from it. For one week per year in Edmonton, poets are given the keys to the culture of the city and told to drive it where they please. To where fair poets shall we drive?