2013 Artwork and Poster Design by Ian Turner
More than a few heads turned when L.L. Barkat first gassed up her pink, fully loaded limo to start a revolution in poetry publishing. But just look where it it's taken her! She's never left it idling, not once; nor has she ever complained about the high cost of fuel, and, believe me, it takes a lot of fuel to keep up with L.L. Still, she's been known on occasion to turn over the keys to some of her writing colleagues who, by a stroke of alchemy, have learned how to prospire for the cause.
Now, in what may be an inspired variation on, if less comfortable, means of transport, a group of Canadian poets — Linda Besner, Leigh Kotsilidis, David Seymour, Gillian Savigny, and Stewart Cole, along with guest musician Grey Kingdom — is set to launch the Fish Quill Poetry Boat. The poets' plan is not just to paddle to musical accompaniment for 10 days along the Grand River in southwestern Ontario, Canada, but also to give poetry readings at cafes, art centers, and historic landmarks whenever they pull their canoes to the shore's edge (Itinerary). They might also find themselves asking for salve for their sunburns and Deet and nets to ward off the summer mosquitoes, not to mention a good night's sleep in a room with the AC cranked high.
The reading tour is set to begin June 13 and conclude June 23. But like that pink limo of L.L.'s, these boats come with some operating costs, the labor of human oars notwithstanding. Getting the words out means you sometimes have to go fishing. To meet their expenses, the poets are crowd-funding via indiegogo and hoping to haul in a lot of little and maybe some really big fish. They've put on piles of ice a fresh selection of perch, bass, trout, salmon, and pike, not to mention dolphin, shark, and whales, and made sure nobody has to go home hungry or empty-handed. Their rewards range from a tote bag and poster (see image above), to a copy of the Fish Quill anthology of poems and song lyrics, to a custom poem, a private reading on the water, and a personal manuscript workshop.
If you've got a hankering for one of those fish, watch the video below and then visit the Fish Quill Poetry Boat campaign to choose your catch of the day. The campaign ends July 11. While the canoeing will be over by then, the period of convalescence and recuperation will be lengthier, if too few fish get tangled in the lines, so help send these poets home by the high road, if not in L.L.'s pink limo. It'll do the Poetry Industry good.
Besner and Kotsilidis founded Fish Quill Poetry Boat in 2010. For their whole fishy story, see the About section of their Website.
Fish Quill Poetry Boat Blog