Happy New Year from the Sawdust Reading Series!

What a whirlwind year it’s been!

Our Second Anniversary Show in September of 2016 saw the return of some of our fantastic features and contest winners, including (now Secretary/Treasurer) Mia Morgan, Robin McLachlan, Rusty Priske, am kozak, Susan J. Atkinson, Sarah MacDonell, and Jason Christie! We were wowed and enchanted by Steven Ross Smith’s reading. (To say nothing of his kindness and grace in discussing his work in sound poetry with us once away from the mic!) We even had a special treat when Steven was joined at the mic by jw curry!

In October, we were joined by the insightful Roland Prevost and Mary Lee Bragg. Mary Lee, enjoying recent publication in Bywords, was both funny and captivating inducing spontaneous applause several times. Roland was, as expected, mesmerising and he could have read to us all night. The warmth was overwhelming. This was a night of terrific energy!

November’s reading saw Gary Barwin join us, fresh off his Giller and Governor General’s nominations, along with Ian Martin! Gary brought us touching laughter, insight, movement and thoughtfulness! Ian’s brand of intelligent, self-deprecating humour never descends into the morose but remains always relatable and soothing. Special farewells were made to the great Leonard Cohen by many of our open mic performers, including a moving song by Director Jennifer Pederson and a breathtakingly beautiful family story generously shared with us by Michelle Debarats.

At our final reading of the year, a fine community spirit held us, indeed! Poem-Off winner David Collins kept us in elegant stitches before gently turning us over to the sublime phrases of the first stirring feature, Marilyn Irwin, who stilled us. (But not before entreating us to curse 2016, with its tragedies, away heartily!) With the honour of being our final feature of the year, Chris Johnson, with his excellent good humour, brought us poetry backdropped by memes, busted translations and a phone call to friend and fellow author, Sanita Fejzic to make sure she didn’t miss a thing (well, not much!)

As we head into 2017, we are so proud to continue to work to merge up and coming voices with well established authors for our literary community. We wish to thank everyone who has made Sawdust feel like a family, from our features, winners, and open mic-readers (many of whom have been our features as well), to our attentive and involved audience, to our stalwart bartender Rhys Desson, and to the friends and families of all of the readers and organizers who have shown their overwhelming support.

In particular, we would like to thank the following authors, community builders, and friends:

Stephen Brockwell
Amanda Earl
Frances Boyle
Pearl Pirie
rob mclennan
Laraine Pederson
Rod Pederson
David Blaikie
Mike Way
Anthony Marko

Sawdust would also like to thank the League of Canadian Poets and the Canada Council for the Arts for their valuable assistance in bringing some of our featured readers to the stage this year!

We have some more exciting readers whom we can’t wait to announce to you for 2017, including Guernica Editions’ own Michael Mirolla, who will be joining us on January 18!

Until then, a very happy 2017 to you all, and we’ll see you at the mic!

Jennifer, Liam, Natalie, and Mia.

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