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Migratory Words flocks to artsPeak

The Migratory Words writers’ collective will have a full slate of activities for the upcoming Canmore artsPeak Festival. Beginning June 14, the first event will be a writers’ circle.

The Migratory Words writers’ collective will have a full slate of activities for the upcoming Canmore artsPeak Festival.

Beginning June 14, the first event will be a writers’ circle. June 17-18 there will be the Canmore Cabaret and June 19 the finale will be a Literary Saloon, with events being held nightly at the Canmore Miners’ Union Hall.

There will also be three artists-in-residence for the course of the festival – Robert Kroetsch, Laurier Fuhr and Chris Masson – and special guest Sid Marty.

The events have been organized by David Eso.

“I do this to expose our local audience here to national-calibre performers and to give those performers, who are usually so wrapped up with touring, some down time and writing time,” said Eso. “There’s a few great events in Canmore, but not compared to the big cities.”

Eso, who writes and publishes poetry and organizes various events, has been an active member of the Bow Valley arts community for much of the 10 years he has been here.

“Beginning in 2009, I started a writers’ circle as an opportunity for people to come share their work with other writers,” said Eso. “The emphasis is not on performance, but it’s not a workshop either, we’re somewhere in between.”

After three years, Migratory Words has expanded to include workshops, hosting artist residencies and the production of an annual anthology.

“We try to have a real egalitarian, democratic kind of thing, where we get people who have never shared their work with anybody, and people who have won awards, reading at the same table,” he said, talking about the writers’ circle.

For the cabarets, each night will feature the work of two writers, an up-and-coming local writer and one of the veteran residency writers. Friday’s pairing will be Masson and Toni Owen and Saturday’s will be Fuhr and Tim Murphy.

“Chris Masson’s coming from a theatrical background, doing performance poetry and bringing a lot of the entertainment factor and some real intelligence and artistry to it,” said Eso. “And Laurie Fuhr, who is the managing editor of a Calgary journal of experimental writing, plays in bands in Calgary and performs and publishes as well.”

For Sunday’s Literary Saloon, Migratory brings out it’s star power with Marty and Kroetsch.

“We’ve got the Union Hall and we’re hoping to fill it – this was the one night we could get Sid Marty,” said Eso. “There’s going to be a mix of poems and song and also just a lot of time for the audience to mix and mingle.

“It’s going to be set up cabaret-style at tables. We hope people just come out and enjoy themselves for the evening.”

Marty is a internationally recognized writer of natural history and western life and culture. He has five published books of non-fiction and three of poetry, and has been awarded various literary prizes for his work.

“Sid Marty I saw read in Calgary and it was just good timing to ask him to make it out,” said Eso. “He’s a magician with audiences, he has such a rich history here and has a following.

“For me, Robert Kroetsch would be a top billing in terms of international recognition, but here in the Bow Valley, Sid is such a legend.”

Kroetsch is an officer of the Order of Canada and winner of a Governor General’s award for fiction.

“Robert was a real experimental writer of novels and poetry and has been a really generous mentor to young writers, both in the classroom and in the scene,” said Eso.

“And we’ve also got two young up-and-coming writers, Chris Mason and Laurie Fuhr at the beginning of their careers. Robert’s here to provide some mentorship as well and hopefully they can take some mentorship from his experience.”

Migratory Words will also host, during the day, a haiku workshop lead by Eso on Saturday and the artFair table featuring Calgary’s Filling Station and book signings by various authors on Saturday and Sunday.


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