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Creative Engagement and Critical Enquiry | Alternate Tuesdays, 5pm at Hooked on Books
POET LAUREATE OF THE OKANAGAN
» Tuesday 15 June 2010 | 5 pm
» Hooked on Books, 225 Main Street, Penticton
An informal afternoon hour showcasing ideas and people in the Okanagan creative economy. Join us as John Lent, the entertaining and erudite "Poet Laureate of the Okanagan" reads from his exciting verse collection Cantilevered Songs and explores the role of the writer in modern society.
» $2 at the door. Refreshments will be available.
» Seating is limited, please reserve yours HERE
Okanagan Poet Laureate Tilts the Scale in Favour of Verse
When William Makepeace Thackeray wrote, "The two most engaging powers of a good author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new," he could well have been thinking of John Lent. Lent celebrates the urban and natural landscapes of southern British Columbia in a series of jazz-inspired meditations presented in a laid-back, conversational style. He celebrates those crazy mysteries and backbeat moments when you catch a big and strange idea sideways before it disappears, leaving you feeling triumphant for no good reason at all.
Lent's newest publication in a long string of creative successes, Cantilevered Songs, stresses the typically unstressed - those throwaway moments during walks and hikes - and holds these recollections up to a light that is prismed by experience. Gazing from these various angles, Lent takes his own advice: "Play that song. Play it again. Now, improvise," and the poems become song.
On Tuesday, June 15th at 5 pm the alternate weekly Okanagan Institute Outlook series at Hooked on Books in Penticton presents John Lent: Poet Laureate of the Okanagan. Join us as the entertaining and erudite poet and professor reads from his exciting verse collection Cantilevered Songs and explores the role of the writer in modern society.
In December 2009, the Okanagan Institute declared a unique Citizen's Proclamation (shown left) bestowing the honour of "Poet Laureate of the Okanagan" on Lent, with the following statement: "Whereas John Lent has long been a key member of the creative community, has supported other artists, and fostered the arts, in many ways during his 20-plus years in the Okanagan as a dedicated educator, writer and musician; therefore to honour his contribution to the creative and cultural life of the Okanagan, Canada, Okanagan College, and his students - that, for the term of 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2011 John Lent be declared as Poet Laureate of the Okanagan, and we call upon all citizens of the Okanagan Valley and beyond to join with us in celebrating this appointment."
Whether familiar with John Lent's work or not, you will experience a reading event enjoyed elsewhere in Canada and presented now in the Okanagan - the location which has served as muse for much of his writing. Join us for this special event, a one man show by one of the Okanagan's key creative individuals, a celebration which will inspire you to see this region and the world just a little bit differently.
John Lent's professional achievements combined with his literary output may represent an unparalleled career in the Okanagan. More than thirty years teaching literature and creative writing at Okanagan College and current employment as the Regional Dean for the North Okanagan only hints at his extensive curriculum vitae. Founder of an institute and press for working writers merely suggests the influence he has had on many aspiring poets and creative writers. And his list of poetry, fiction, short stories and non-fiction publications as well as extensive work as an anthologist, editor, and writer in residence in Canada and internationally, are small indicators of his impact on our literary scene. Finally, John Lent is a polished public performer, comfortable both on stage and on radio, with a long history as a singer/songwriter and musical entertainer. He lives in Vernon with his wife, the artist Jude Clarke, and plays in The Lent/Fraser/Wall Trio, a jazz and roots group.
"It's a crazy game this writing life. You just go ahead doing what you're doing - in my case teaching and writing and singing - and you don't stop and wonder about the fame and glory end of it. There is no fame and glory, it's the writing itself. It keeps you young. But you wake up one morning and 30 years have flown by, and you discover you've written nine books, and you wonder, 'how did I ever do that?' and you just feel lucky."
Cantilevered Songs is a book of poems about living in the Okanagan. "I have always been mesmerized by two things," says Lent. "First, the thick texture of our day-to-day lives as they fly up around us; the people you meet on a morning walk; the colour of this place, its detail; and second, the way the head and the heart register those things, the rhythm and awareness of the body ticking away in all its random rushes." The poems try to mimic those rushes and that randomness, he adds.
"I composed these poems as if I were playing an instrument. They tumbled down the page like notes from a saxophone. They surfaced like jazz suites."
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER ONLINE CLICK HERE
John Lent: Poet Laureate of the Okanagan takes place at Hooked on Books, 225 Main Street, Penticton. This is the 4th event the Okanagan Institute has held there, and the 144th public presentation offered in the Okanagan since 2007.
Outlook is hosted by Robert MacDonald. The Institute has played host to many Okanagan luminaries, including former deputy secretary general of Amnesty International Derek Evans, artists Lee Claremont and Gary Pearson, BC Book Award nominee Don Gayton, CBC Literary prize winner poet Harold Rhenisch, distinguished editor and author Jim Taylor, poet laureate and professor John Lent, creative entrepreneur Nikos Theodosakis, animator and filmmaker Jim Cliffe, community activist Don Elzer, dancer David LaHay, architect Jim Meiklejohn, culinary artist and writer Heidi Noble, broadcaster Marion Barschel and many others from a wide range of creative fields.
Our mission is to ignite cultural transformation, catalyze collaborative action, build networks and foster sustainable creative enterprises. We invite the participation by all members of the creative community.