American poet Frank O’Hara’s book Lunch Poems inspired the idea behind the Lunch Poems @SFU series that takes place every third Wednesday of the month. The free readings, which started in December 2011, pairs established poets with emerging ones to share their words and work with a lunchtime crowd.
“It’s like a café but better,” says Renée Sarojini Saklikar, a poet and volunteer with the event.
Between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. sharp, a crowd gathers in the Teck Gallery on the main floor of the Harbour Centre, which just so happens to face the harbour, and is flooded with natural light in the afternoon. Attendees are encouraged to introduce themselves to one another, to create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. They’re also allowed to eat their lunch during the readings. Each poet is given about 15 minutes to read, and books are available for purchase.
Saklikar insists the atmosphere is laid-back and casual, mostly as a result of the time and location. Hosting a poetry reading at noon on a weekday is a bit rare since they generally take place in the evening. But its organizers prefer it that way since it lends itself to a special energy.
“It’s not like church, it’s not like taking medicine, it’s actually fun,” she says. “If you love words and are kind of curious, we get a wide range of people and it’s only an hour!”
Past contributing poets include Garry Thomas, Jamie Reid, Aislinn Hunter, Jen Currin and Dorothy Trujillo Lusk.
This month’s session will feature poets Daniel Zomparelli and Elizabeth Bachinsky.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
555 West Hastings Street #2000
Teck Gallery on the Main Floor
12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Admission is free