Photos: Word Vancouver delivers poetry on a TransLink bus
The Word Vancouver festival hoped to showcase poets in a tent at the corner of West Georgia and Homer Street.
But when some nasty weather intruded, TransLink came to the rescue with a bus delivered near the corner of Robson and Hamilton streets.
And thus began a day of poetry, featuring some of the city's finest wordsmiths speaking from a microphone in the area normally reserved for seniors and passengers with disabilities.
I was fortunate to moderate the first four poets: Mark Cochrane, Christine Leclerc, Jen Currin, and Amber Dawn.
Cochrane, a lawyer and Kwantlen Polytechnic University instructor, read from Cat.—which focused on words that begin with c-a-t, rather than just dealing with felines.
The astonishing juxtaposition of words captivated those onboard.
Once the Word Vancouver people put better signage up on the bus, more people started arriving.
Christine Leclerc read from Oilywood, riffing on pipelines, pristine beaches, and corporate deal-making.
By the time writing teacher Jen Currin began reading The Ends, there was barely a seat on the bus.
Her spare use of language, simple yet so evocative, left some passengers spellbound.
The final poet in the session I moderated, Amber Dawn, read from her new book How Poetry Saved My Life.
This memoir reveals how she survived as a sex worker on the streets of Vancouver in an era when Robert Pickton was selecting his victims.
She ended her presentation with a rousing audience-participation chant repeating: "My head, my heart, my guts."
Amber Dawn concluded by saying that if anyone uses their head, their heart, and their guts, they are ready to write poetry.