Durcan & Carmine Starnino
For those needing a post-Thanksgiving respite, the Cobourg Poetry Workshop is presenting, on Tuesday evening October 13, an opportunity to hear two guest poets; Paul Durcan, considered by many to be Ireland's finest living poet, and Montreal poet, critic and essayist, Carmine Starnino. With Cobourg rapidly becoming a sought-after venue for out-of-town-poets, this double-bill is an occasion to die for. Durcan, winner of Britains's prestigious Whitbread Prize for poetry, is in Canada to read twice at this month's International Festival of Authors at Toronto's Harbourfront, but has been lured to read in Cobourg first. Starnino is making a return visit to Cobourg following his appearance at this year's inaugural POW! Festival.
"People familiar with the Canadian poetry scene will know that having Carmine Starnino coming from Montreal to read here is a very big deal." says Workshop member and founder of the POW! Festival, James Pickersgill. "For people interested in poetry anywhere on the planet, hearing that Paul Durcan is coming from Dublin to read in Cobourg is like a rock fan hearing that U2 will be doing a concert at the Jack Heenan Arena. It's huge."
Durcan started writing stories
when he was 12 years old. By age 14 he was writing poetry and hasn't
stopped. Despite his success, there are critics who dismiss him as "essentially
popular". Critic Erik Martiny, commenting on Durcan's book, The
Art of Life, says "... he has become the closest one can get
to the almost extinct notion of a bestselling poet. Perhaps it is this
perceived 'populism' that has caused academic criticism to largely disregard
him." In riposte, Durcan can point to over 20 published books as
well as the just-published Life Is A Dream, a collection of 40
years of poems, from which Durcan will be reading in Cobourg. "Some
critics can be venmous." says Durcan. "They must lead a barren
existence. But, you know, one shouldn't write to gain the attention
of academia. One writes poems to be read as widely as possible. The
ideal situation is reading to an audience such as you have in Cobourg."
This event, to be held at Meet at 66 King Street East, starting at 7.00pm, replaces the regular 3rd Thursday Poetry Readings for just this month. "People from Guelph to Kingston look to what we are able to do in Cobourg." says Pickersgill. "An event like this is extraordinary. Someone asked, 'Only in Cobourg?' You bet."