Poets are people too

By Wanda Potrykus

Poetry in the Park

Every summer in Westmount Park for the greater part of the last decade or so there has been a wonderful event tucked at the tail end of the summer Sunday concert series, originally entitled Poetry in the Park and more recently known as Words and Music.

In the beginning, it was usually the last scheduled event in the park, but now the season has been slightly extended with the inclusion of the outdoor evening film screening for families on the last Friday in August, as well as the odd extra concert snuck in if there is some money left in the cultural events budget. For Westmount Sunday concert goers seem to have an insatiable appetite to extend the season before they are forced to bid farewell to the park and leave it to the dogs (who we are told never tire of frolicking in the park, no matter the time of year).

Mark your calendar!
Words And Music posterThis year, Words and Music is happening on Sunday, August 16th at the Gazebo from 2:00 to 4:00pm. A wide range of poetry will be presented, along with music from a duo of musicians from local Montreal band known as the Heart Marshalls. Kristina Lipari is an accomplished poet and performer but this summer she has chosen instead simply to entertain us with her songs and music accompanied by one of her band mates – Nico Tru. More musical options will be provided by Quebec City’s David Alain Kabeya, a talented poet, singer and guitarist from the Congo, who will perform in both French and Lingala (one of the 242 languages spoken in the Congo).

But isn’t poetry too highbrow?
This paragraph is an invitation to those who have previously distained to attend a poetry event convinced perhaps that poetry is just not for them, for whatever the reason, whether they think it’s too highbrow, too confusing, too whatever. This is a suggestion to drop by with your chair, or spread out your blanket on the grass under the majestic elm that shades the Westmount Park Gazebo as so many Sunday concert goers do, and to simply try it. You might find you actually like it, and if you don’t there is always the music, which I am sure you will enjoy.

You might even discover the secret so many of us have recognized that there is a little bit of the poet in all of us.

Prepare to laugh, to cry, to grimace or just enjoy the play of words, the tempo, the rhythm, and the music of a summer afternoon in the park. You might also realize somewhere along the way that poets are people just like you… especially our collection of poets. For they are fat, thin, young and older; they are nurses, and engineers, teachers, lawyers, editors, coffee shop employees, visual artists, church ministers, grand mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, municipal workers, business men and women, and students of all ages, studying, working and retired. They are ‘pur laine’ Quebeçois, and immigrants, both recent as well as those here for generations. They are black, brown and white… French, English, Creole and the aforementioned Lingala speaking. They offer you a selection of stories, thoughts, images, ideas, viewpoints and experiences to muse over, retain or discard… but mostly you might be just very surprised how much fun it all is.

You might even discover the secret so many of us have recognized that there is a little bit of the poet in all of us.

Go on challenge your comfort level and join us. You might find yourself jotting down a few words to entertain us all next year. The poet, Charles Petrie often does that while the other poets are performing their work. He never ceases to amaze us with his extemporaneous offerings. Westmount’s poetry in the park welcomes poets of all stripes, new, experienced, published and not; the camaraderie is what draws us out, the magic of words and song is what keep us coming back.

Words and Music
Sunday, August 16th
Gazebo, Westmount Park
from 2:00 to 4:00pm

Image: Words and Music 2014 — © 2015 Ralph Thompson, PhotoImagerie Inc


Wanda Potrykus is a writer, editor, translator and poet. She organizes and produces Westmount’s Poetry in the Park, the popular poetry fest that occurs annually in mid-August showcasing a wide variety of poetic and performance styles.

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