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The image to the left is already in the public domain and may be used with credit to the photographer, Gavin Stairs, left intact on the image.


          Crossing the Lines; Poetry Without Borders took place at the Royal Canadian Legion here in Clinton on Saturday, April 12.

The event opened with a welcoming message by SkyWing Press publisher and Clinton poet Ronda Eller aka Wicks, promptly followed with an Introduction by the event’s Master of Ceremonies, Joe Wooden, a retired educator and former Central Huron Secondary School principal. A welcome was extended to all by Central Huron’s Reeve Mr. Bert Dykstra. Huron-Bruce M.P.P. Carol Mitchell was also in attendance to express her support.

          Without further ado, the featured poets gained the stage and began engaging the audience with poetry presented in a number of styles from singing and chanting to reading in English, French, Sosotho, Zulu, Italian, Hungarian, Ancient Egyptian, Latin and even ‘Pig Latin’ and ‘Elvish’ just for fun!

          Katerina Fretwell, of Parry Sound, first in the order of appearances, sang and read poetry from her new book Samsara; Canadian in Asia. Michael Mirolla of Toronto took to the stage next with readings from his upcoming book, Light and Time followed by Penn Kemp of London. Penn embraced the audience immediately with presentations from her most recent Sound Poetry publication SoundSpoke and was joined onstage by several of the poets for renditions of her “Poem for Peace” in various languages, which afterward included the audience’s own participation!

          Following an intermission, the event resumed with the introduction of a most distinguished guest, the Honourable Consul General of South Africa in Canada, Nogolide Nojozi, by poet Vusi Moloi. The Consul General graciously took to the stage and greeted the audience, spoke in support of the literary arts on a global scale and good-naturedly offered a short poem of her own in order to qualify herself as being one of the “poets”! She spoke of her support for Vusi’s writing ventures in Canada and some of the tribulations that this exiled poet has surpassed in his lifetime. Following the Consul General, Vusi presented a number of his poems from A Goodbye to My Little Troubles based on his life in South Africa and while in exile during Apartheid; offering commentary to each for the purpose of explanation.

          Clinton poet, Ronda Eller, took to the stage next, accompanied by Mr. Del Almeida, who joined her in rousing the audience with a love sestina presented in both French and English. Next, Penn Kemp joined her for a reading of “Inward Sky” and then Ronda presented a few additional poems from her new book, released this month, The Lion and the Golden Calf. Before leaving the stage, Ronda returned to her role as publisher and host in order to surprise the audience with an unannounced spot prize; two free tickets to the Blyth Festival. Congratulations went out to Michael Kleiza of Guelph, who just so happened to be sitting in the right spot at the right time! Daniel Kolos of Priceville wrapped up the featured poets’ presentation by captivating the audience with readings from his latest book Slipped Out and followed it up with presenting meditative pieces from his manuscript From One Child to Another; responses to Rumi.

          Eight readers took advantage of the opportunity to hone their own public speaking skills through sharing their own poetry; a few came from Wingham (where there is an active poetry group), one came from Vanastra, one from London and another from Guelph.

          In ending the event, Mr. Wooden made, what may have been the most pronounced comment of the day. He said that being there reminded him of a very important aspect to the enjoyment of poetry. That reading it in the relaxation of one’s own home is a great way to experience and understand the other viewpoints in this vast world we live in… but hearing the poems actually being read by the poets themselves is essential to feeling the words, knowing where emphasis is important, and it is in this setting that the theme of the piece is very apparent and most satisfying. In interviewing the audience following the event, many agreed that they did not realize poetry could be expressed in so many different forms.

          Crossing the Lines was brought to Clinton by SkyWing Press (Ronda Wicks aka Eller) with the support of the League of Canadian Poets and the Canada Council for the Arts.

                                                        Featured in the Clinton News-Record (reproduced here with permission), Wednesday, April 16, 2008


                                                                                                      Another article is on the Descant blog



Very few pictures were taken at this event and the dimmed pub/bar atmosphere didn't help. This reading was done at a pub in London, Ontario in June 2008, to raise relief funds that were sent to assist the people of Myanmar (Burma) after being devastated by Cyclone Nargis. The invited poets donated their time and travel expense to read poetry written specifically about the cyclone. Pub patrons made free will donations and the pub made its own contribution. These two photos remain in Ronda's files for that event: 

London poets Monika Lee and Andreas Gripp with Clinton poet Ronda Wicks Eller, 2008.

Ronda Wicks Eller reading three poems:

1) Don't Throw Food

2) Scaled

3) The Boy Monk

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