Yes! It’s 2008 and the Edmonton Poetry Festival (or, “Po Fest in the ‘Ton”, as we might like to call it) is proud to announce that we’re back in business this year. September 11, 12, and 13, 2008 – Thursday to Saturday. This is our third year! Happy birthday to us, and hey, buy us a drink if you can spare it. We’ve got a nice lineup for you this year, and we have to confess that it’s on a slightly smaller, more manageable scale. In 2007 this Festival was a huge, beautiful beast that nearly wiped out the org team. Thing is, we don’t want that to happen this year. We’ve got a small, dedicated crew of organizers who are committed to keeping the Po Fest momentum going. We’re aiming to be a small, well-run machine powered by little more than high-test lattes, dog-eared copies of Al Purdy’s Beyond Remembering, and some down-and-dirty, old-fashioned volunteerism. With big energy and a vanishingly slim bank account, we’re hoping to create a festival that will propagate through the ages and be talked about 50 years from now. That’s the plan, anyways.

Here’s a little teaser of what we’ve got cookin’ (you can check the schedule page for complete details). On Thursday, September 11, 2008 we’re presenting a little event called “Revenge of the Killer Blinks”. This event will start at 7:00pm and feature 50 poets reading 30-second poems in rapid succession. It’s a novel concept and a great event.

On Friday, September 12, 2008 we’re staging a sound poetry blowout that will feature some of the craziest and most talented sound poets in the country. This event will start at 7:00pm. If you’re not familiar with sound poetry, it’s like carving air with your windpipe. Repeated actions and phrasing produce some truly incredible sounds and feelings.

Saturday, September 13, 2008 will be a whole day of poetic brinkmanship starting with a series of cafe readings between 2:00pm and 4:00pm. 80 poets will each read for five minutes in several downtown cafes.

The notorious Poetry Sweatshop returns this year and runs from 4:30 to 6:00pm on Saturday, September 13, 2008. The police have been notified, and the Fire Department is on standby. Not for the fey or gentle, this reading will see poets drinking beer and writing on command.

The Festival closes with E-Town’s own Raving Poets Band. Saturday, September 13 – 8:00pm until the sun comes up. The world-famous Raving Poets Band backs up a half-dozen readers and some very special guests to close the festival in fine style.

Sounds fun, huh? More details on how to participate will follow. Won’t you join us?