Open mic night marks World Poetry Day at BPL

A celebration of poetry at the Brandon Public Library is also pays homage to Brandon's growing immigrant community by including a variety of cultures and languages for its open mic night.

The Brandon Public Library is celebrating more than poetry at their open mic night next Thursday evening.

Since taking over World Poetry Day celebrations two years ago, the local library has marked the occasion by providing a venue for poetry, narrative and lyric enthusiasts to present their favorite pieces. However, the city’s growing population of new Canadians from a variety of backgrounds is adding a multi-lingual, multicultural twist to the event.

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“One mission is to support World Poetry Day and further the idea that poetry and language plays a large role in our culture. It’s not so much about the writing they (presenters) write, but most people present a piece of writing from another author, so it’s more a presentation of language and words,” said BPL’s acting chief librarian and outreach librarian Danielle Hubbard.

“Another objective is to celebrate the fact that Brandon is increasingly a multicultural city and recognize that so much of our culture is in English, but a growing part of our culture involves other languages.”

This is why work from around the world in any language is welcomed at the annual event, which is also sponsored by Brandon University, its John E. Robbins Library and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“Many people are interested in the writing aspect of it and others who have English as their second language are interested,” Hubbard said.

This year’s World Poetry Day celebration will be held at 7:30 p.m. on March 21 in the BPL. Admission is free and some refreshments will be provided. The event generally attracts between 20 and 30 people; some attending to read their own work or their favorite pieces, others coming just to listen. Hubbard said readings were held in 12 different languages in 2017, the first year the BPL hosted the event after former BU creative writing professor Di Brandt handed the reins over to the public library.

“A couple dozen people came and almost half of them presented,” said Hubbard. “That was kind of cool that so many people who came were brave enough to stand up and read something.”

For those wishing to participate in the 2019 World Poetry Day Open Mic, there is no set list of presenters, so one does not have to register to take part. Simply show up with your favorite piece of writing and step to the front of the group when you are ready.

Hubbard noted that the length of each reading is being held to five minutes to ensure as many people can present as possible.

“People just come up one at a time as they feel brave enough to do so,” she said.

For more information about the World Poetry Day Open Mic Night at the BPL, or other library programming, contact Hubbard at (204) 727-6648, or email her at Danielle@wmrl.ca.

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