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Windsor Book fest and the Canadian poets of the future

When I attended Windsor's BookFest 2010 organized by its incomparable director Lenore Langs ( Celebrating Sebastian) and her battalion of board members as well as volunteers last month, I received so many reports and reviews, it became almost impossible to choose from the feast. *Almost.* Additionally, since I participated in one of said events, it seemed, well, self-serving to report on any of them; annnnnnnnd, since I don't Twit nor FaceBlech . . . Welp . . . Let us be kind and leave it at that 'cause, after all, 'tis the season, deck the howls, merry x-mess and yadda-yadda-yay . . . (I don't always have all the answers, y'know? This represents the exception proving that ol' K-I-A* rule, eh? K.)

Still, my unconditional esteem, undeniable gratitude and unqualified support for Stan Bevington (Coach House Press), Rhonda Welsh ( Red Clay Legacy), John Timpane ( Burning Bush), David Langs (Artistic Designer, SoundMan, WebMaestro), Cathy Marie Buchanan ( The Day the Falls Stood Still), Marty Gervais (Black Moss Press), Karl Jirgens (Rampike Magazine), Ann "The Original" Beers, Frank Davey (Open Letter), Christopher Shulgan ( Superdad: A Memoir of Rebellion, Drugs and Fatherhood), Steve Daigle (Ace Photographer), Mary Ann Mulhern ( Sleeping with Satan), Alistair MacLeod ( No Great Mischief), Terry Ann Carter ( A Crazy Man Thinks He's Ernest in Paris), Richard Scarsbrook ( Cheeseburger Subversive), Thomas Dilworth ( The Shape of Meaning in the Poetry of David Jones), Shawn Micallef ( Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto) and Alex MacLeod ( Light Lifting) notwithstanding, the most affecting and heartrendingly poignant report on the swervacious proceedings came from St. Clair College's Irene Moore Davis, BookFest Windsor's Student Poetry Contest Chair / Co-Moderator (with Lisa Mastellotto) for the gala's "All the Best Lines" event:

"For the last two years, blind judging has had a very interesting effect on our contest: The judges receive all of the poems that have been submitted by Essex County students but do not receive the cover sheets that identify their authors. It is remarkable how the work of some talented young poets rises to the top multiple times within the same category (or even in more than one language). This is how, for example, tiny Cassia Lavoie walked away with three different prizes this year. I have a feeling that we haven't seen nor heard the last of her!"

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No kidding, Irene. I R already quaking in my po-snowboots :). Thank you so much for allowing yours truly to share these utterly stunning tours des fiercely patriotic outpourings with the world at this most holy time of year, particularly since I read the news today (O, Boy); and, yet another of our courageous Canadian troops, Corporal Steve Martin, made the ultimate sacrifice for universal freedom and democracy, the 154th such casualty since that terrible war began, that war that cannot end soon enough, IMO.

Thus, sans façon, it gives me great pleasure to offset the unfathomable sorrows endured by each and every friend and family member whose precious children elected to selflessly serve our country by dedicating this humble bloggadociotica to our fallen (but never forgotten) heroes, with a versifying boost from a talented group of youngsters displaying their smartuitive sensitivity and inspiriting insights in the following sampling of prize-winning entries:

MESSAGE IN THE RAIN



A poor man Had to live in an attic Each day he had to go fishing for food One day he was in the rain A man gave him a paper, all wet It said You have to go to the war And the poor man said, "Oh no! I'm not going to the war!" And another man said, "Yes. You have to." The poor men have to go. He had to go. And he got his gun and he went to the war. He tried to shoot someone, but he could not. He waited and thought and Instead of shooting a man who was just like him Another man shot him. And he died. In the war. In the rain.

- Cassia Lavoie, École St Jean Baptiste (First Place, English, Ages 6 to 9)



ANGELS OF THE BATTLEFIELD

A lieutenant lies wounded on the battle-scarred field Unable to call for help. Not dead but dying Wounds tolling the death knell. No hope for him now Save for the angels of the battlefield.

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A soldier lies, tangled in barbed wire like a fish in a net. He saved his friends, but now can't go on.



Men run past him, looking down sadly Somehow knowing That he would be left there to die Save for the angels of the battlefield.



A father lies wounded Alive, but barely Struggles up again to face the booming cannons Until his wounds prevent him from standing. No strength left, he is sure he will never see his child again Save for the angels of the battlefield.



The angels of the battlefield, the medics, Bravely facing danger, they risk their lives To tend the wounded. Screaming bullets rain down around them, Many men would die But for them, the angels of the battlefield.



Not just on Remembrance Day, but every day, We remember those who fought for our freedom. But we must also remember That many more would have died of wounds And many more would never have come home Saved by the angels of the battlefield.

- Megan McEwen, Maranatha Christian Academy (First Place, English, Ages 10 to 13)

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UNE FLEUR CHANCEUSE

Il y avait une fleur Qui poussait dans un joli jardin Rempli de legumes, et d'autres fleurs. Elle l'adorait ce jardin et Chaque journée elle s'y nourrissait. Il n'y avait jamais de guerre Elle n'entendait jamais de bruits effrayants, Comme Piiuuu, Piiuuu, Piiuuu, Boum! Au lieu, elle mettait chaque jour du maquillage Qu'elle avait dans une trousse Dans sans joli jardin.

- Cassia Lavoie, École St Jean Baptiste (Première Place, Française, Age de 6 à 9)



LEGOS



Grabbing plastic boxes Spilling contents, sounds of crackling plastic bricks Ideas cloud the mind Deep thoughts, ideas of war Tanks, planes and ships Forts, bunkers, walls Where to start Plastic bricks everywhere Perfect parts for construction, crackling noises As fingers sway through the contents Assembling creations of thought Crudely built vehicles Must be symmetrical Assembling squads of men Walls and forts built War begins Sounds of warfare echo in the mind Walls crumble, forts destroyed, vehicles smashed Men falling, legs and heads torn apart Nothing stands, wreckage and destruction viewed Plastic bricks Imagination fades, only lifeless plastic bricks remain Plastic box filled, stored away as with imagination, Remnants of war linger in the mind Plastic bricks

- Thomas Koltko, Catholic Central High School (First Place, English, Ages 14+)



(The winners and pair of co-moderators pictured above [L-R] Irene Moore Davis, Ashley Lamotte, Emily Kuipers, Hongyi Leo He, Julie Heng, Cassia Lavoie, Megan McEwen, Anthony Tannous, Cole Thompson, Thomas Koltko and Lisa Mastellotto.)



p.s. Goddess Irene P-Essed, "Please feel free to crop out [Goddess]Lisa and me [from the photograph © 2010 Ellie Csepregi] by the way. The focus should be on the kids" . . . Mais, bien sûr, I flashed back ipso-quicko: "Nix that noise!"



* Know-It-All :)

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