Paul Durcan & Carmine Starnino
Poets Reading at 66 King East - Tuesday Oct. 13, 2009

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."

Carmine Starnino wrote his first poem in a fit of poetical pique. "I was in Grade 12 and our English teacher lent me an anthology of student poetry. I thought, 'I can do better than that.' A couple of hours later I had a Very Serious Poem which ended by calling the soul - and these lines are all that I can remember - "a point of singularity/surrounded by the infinite." I was only 17 and a virgin poet." Starnino won the 2001Canadian Authors Prize for his book, Credo. Also known for the provocative nature of his criticism, his most recent book is This Way Out. What triggers his writing process? "Anything and everything. In This Way Out there's an ode to squash racquets, inspired by a thrashing at the hands of a friend. I'm a marginally better poet than squash player."

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."