Poets Start Young
Three poets - three things in common; they all started writing poetry in their early teen years. Bridget Campion ("I was writing novels and poetry as a teenager."), Patrick Gray ("I dabbled in writing poetry in high-school.") and Steve McOrmond ("I started scribbling appallingly bad poems at age 13 - my unrequited love for the girl in front of me in math class was a recurring theme.") will all be reading their latest work at the Cobourg Poetry Workshop's monthly public readings to be held on Thursday March 19 at Meet At 66 King Street East in Cobourg, starting at 7.00pm.
"At that age," says Mr. McOrmond, this month's guest poet, "you're experiencing all the important stuff for the first time. One tends to fall in love, grandparents tend to die. Love and death, the big subjects, the only subjects, really." Born and raised in Prince Edward Island and now living in Toronto, Mr. McOrmond's first book of poetry was short listed for the 2005 Gerald Lampert Award, his second collection, Primer on the Hereafter, was awarded to 2007 Atlantic Poetry Prize.
A career in health care ethics and time to raise a family interrupted Ms. Campion's writing - 2 co-authored plays produced by the Northumberland Players Youth Theatre and a just-completed novel notwithstanding - but an evening at the Cobourg Poetry Workshop's public readings reignited the poetry flame. "I was invited to a Workshop meeting, which meant I had to write something." she says.
Living in Port Hope, one of Patrick Gray's earliest memories is hearing his parents' voices reciting Beatrix Potter and Robert Louis Stevenson. "I remember, too, ancient 78rpm recordings of A.A. Milne poems set to music and the sound of Dylan Thomas's magical Welsh voice reading his poems." he says, "And I knew, if I ever wanted to write poetry, I'd want it to touch people in something like this way."
"Why poems?" asks Mr. McOrmond. "The rhythm of the language took hold of me in an altogether different way than prose."
"I found the process of writing quite magical and very satisfying." adds Ms. Campion. "I rediscovered poetry and part of myself that had been neglected for a long time."
Mr. Gray had only 'dabbled' in the writing of poetry until upheavals in his life in the early 1990s "... somehow stimulated an urge to write which has, so far, refused to leave me in peace. My poems are in some sense out of step with modern trends, harking back to such poets as Herbert and Hopkins in their unashamed use of rich, poetic language."
Mr. McOrmond will be reading from his new book, Primer on the Hereafter and a new work, The Good News About Armageddon and Mr. Gray from a new volume to be published soon as well as new poetry from the past year. Ms. Campion, whose poetry explores the human condition, often touching nerves of recognition in the listener, will also be reading new work. "My poetry is evolving, using imagery to convey ideas. Mostly, I hope, it is very accessible."