Arts

Poetry launch celebrates the work of 10 local artists

City Series #5 - Halifax will be launched tonight, featuring the work of local poets

For some, writing is a solitary activity, but tonight, writers and poetry lovers are gathering to celebrate the art together.

“It’s comforting to know that there are other emerging poets like myself still honing their craft, still working,” says Justin Kawaja, one of the ten poets whose work will be celebrated at tonight’s launch of City Series #5 – Halifax, a chapbook of local poetry.

Kawaja, 29, is originally from Newfoundland but calls Halifax home, and is proud to be included in the collection.

“I actually know most of the poets being published and it’s exciting to share an anthology with my fellow Haligonians,” he says.

One of the other poets is Alex Hanam, who has been in love with writing since the age of seven. City Series is her first time being published in this format and even though she is away for grad school and won’t make it to the launch, she says she is “honoured” to be featured.

“It’s a sort of peer validation, which is huge for writers,” says Hanam.

The 29-year-old artist, whose poetry often involves “accidental humour” says this peer validation is important for poets, like her, who go through a lot of “self-doubt and impostor’s syndrome” as they write.

The four previous editions of City Series featured writers from Vancouver, Fredericton, Toronto and Edmonton. The Halifax edition will give Canada what Kawaja calls a “taste of what Nova Scotia has to offer.” The event, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will be held at The Centre on Windsor Street in Halifax.

The Centre owner Grant Hatcher, who calls poetry a “potent mode of expression,” says he is happy to be a part of this celebration of creativity.

Hanam and Kawaja both say they owe a lot to editor Chantelle Rideout, who has worked hard to bring City Series #5 – Halifax to life.

“Her steadfast vision is pivotal,” says Hanam of Rideout.

Rideout will be attending tonight’s event and says the support and interest in attending these events “builds community connections and provides encouragement to writers and artists.”

Kawaja, who will also be at the launch, says it is great to see “such an array of voices brought together to represent the feeling of this city.”

He believes projects like City Series are important to create an open dialogue about Canadian poetry, which can often be overlooked in favour of other mediums.

“Styles of poetry seem to differ based on what you write about,” Kawaja says. “I see the City Series as a way of bringing poets together, to give a taste of what poetry is like all around the country.”

This is the first time each of these poets will be published in chapbook form.   Jillian Ellsworth