Tag Archives: James Pickersgill

Cobourg, Ontario: Small Town, Big Poetry

          On Tuesday I read at one of the poetry reading series in Cobourg, Ontario. One? That’s right, the town of Cobourg, population under 20,000, has two poetry reading series and an active and dedicated poetry community who work together in the CPW (Cobourg Poetry Workshop) to sponsor readings and workshops.
          I read for the Doug Stewart Reading Series at the Palisade Gardens Retirement Residence. I thought it was a great idea to have the reading at this facility. It was open to the public and attracted several residents of Palisade Gardens.
          My original trepidation about how my poetry (which can be pretty edgy) would be received dissolved once I started reading—the audience was warm and appreciative, and somewhat to my surprise I sold more books there than at any other reading I’ve ever given!
          I shared the microphone with Sharon Knap and Rick Webster—it was a pleasure to meet them and hear some of their work. Bridget Campion was one of the best emcees I’ve ever met. Thanks to the members of the CPW who not only organized this reading but also drove and showed me around Cobourg and arranged a pre-reading dinner and post-reading beer.
          Some pictures, most taken by James Pickersgill (I think):

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Camille Martin

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On Cross-Pollination: An interview with Camille Martin by James Pickersgill

My “world premiere” of Looms will be in Cobourg, Ontario, about an hour’s train ride east of Toronto.

Poet James Pickersgill put together some thought-provoking interview questions in advance of the reading. Below is a sample, and the complete interview can be found here.

Q – Camille, it is not at all true that poetry is your single creative outlet. You are known as a collage artist, too. You are an editor yourself … and a translator. Your own work has been translated into other languages as well. You have been a university teacher. You’ve organized poetry reading series. You’ve had radio shows and you blog actively on the internet. When listed like that, these activities might sound like an array of separate pigeon-holes but I suspect that there is a lot of cross-pollination, so to speak. What is the nature of this creativity as you experience it: one spark that finds many openings to jump into flame, or, can it be distinct and separate creative impetuses?

Camille Martin – I love the idea of cross-pollination. In fact, I think my primary creative impulse is to bring together: to merge or to juxtapose. It’s the basic impetus for the metaphor: to bring unlike things into dialogue. And for me, that goes for disciplines as well. I was reading and seeking out poetry on my own from an early age, though I didn’t begin writing it in earnest until my late 30s. But my first creative expression was musical – I was trained as a classical pianist since I was six years old, and I went on to get a graduate degree in piano performance. I was also intensely interested in visual art. I’ve always felt a desire to bring the arts together. So now, in the autumn of my life, I have the pleasure of doing all three: making collages, writing poetry, and setting my poetry to music. I think these disciplines are sparking conversations among each another.


Camille Martin