Word Magic

“When I realized that poetry could do more, it blew me away.” Dane Swan, poet.

Blog Photo - FOTA Artist Dane Swan

“New technologies have provided expanded possibilities for all the arts, including poetry.  Why not here in Northumberland County?” Wally Keeler, poet.

Blog Photo - FOTA Wally


Since Gutenberg, poetry has largely appeared on paper, sometimes illustrated. Poetry readings were a human voice supplemented sometimes with a lyre or other musical instrument. That held for several centuries, until the early twentieth, when dada disrupted the arts. 

Words on a Wire is an afternoon of language magic.

Poet Kim Aubrey

It comes to us from the past, the present and thoughts of the future, and it’s all performed by a diverse collection of poets.

Blog Photo - FOTA Antoni di Nardo and book

But before we get to the future, Words on a Wire will begin with the appearance of Susanna Moodie, introduced by the Honourable James Cockburn.  Susanna Moodie will be channeled by Cobourg Town Crier, Mandy Robinson.

Blog Photo - FOTA Town Crier Mandy Robinson
Photo of Mandy Robinson by Dominik Wisniewski / Northumberland News

Rob Franklin, the Manager of Planning Services for the Town of Cobourg, has often appeared as a local Father of Confederation and Canada’s first Speaker of the House.

Words on a Wire is itself inspired by poetry and electricity, referencing both electrical wiring and Leonard Cohen’s lyrical ballad “Like a Bird on a Wire”.

Image may contain: text

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/festival-of-the-arts-2019-tickets-66677208325

This is the first Spirit of the Hills (SOTH) event to offer poets a large screen to illustrate their poetry reading with video images and some poets have taken on the challenge to do so.

Blog Photo - FOTA SOTH Poets Practice Unsafe Text

SOTH has a wide assortment of talented poets.

Blog Photo - FOTA Felicity Sidnell Smiling Portrait
Felicity Sidnell Reid
Blog photo - FOTA Allan Briesmaster
Allan Briesmaster
Blog Photo - FOTA Dane Swan
Dane Swan
Blog Photo - FOTA Ted Amsden Portrait
Ted Amsden
Blog Photo - FOTA Jessica Outram2
Jessica Outram

They will soothe, tickle and assault your sensibilities with their various voices.


Writers include K.D. Miller who just had her first poetry chapbook published by Aeolus Press.

Another of our  guest poets  from outside the Northumberland area is Dane Swan. (https://daneswan-writer.blogspot.com/p/media.html) This is how he expressed his entry into poetry:

“When I was 5 or 6, I remember reading Robert Frost and thinking, ‘You can do that with words?’ Before that, my experience with poetry was The Cat in the Hat, Sesame Street, and fairy tales. It was fun, but it was all goofy, childish rhymes. When I realized that poetry could do more, it blew me away. Robert Frost was the first poet who opened my eyes.”

Wait until you see what Dane can do with performed words!

And wait until you see what I can do with words on video.

I will be presenting Textual Assault Placards, Vol 1., a video that was selected from more than 300 submitted  worldwide. It was one of 30 chosen for show at the Visible Verse Festival in Vancouver. Another video will act as a segue  to Critical Mass, an arts collective in Port Hope that has produced amazing art experiences in the public domain.

The most recent event was Critical Massive Adventure in Memorial Park,  that included Ed Greenwood as the Wizard. Greenwood is the Canadian creator of Dungeons and Dragons. Check out their video on this web page: https://criticalmassart.wixsite.com/massiveadventure. Debbie Beattie, the shaker/mover of Critical Mass, will be on hand to digress.

The poetry marathon concludes with an original incantation, from a choir of poets. It’s a piece that celebrates the poetic manifestations of individuals brought together within a structure of unity and sharing.

 Come, watch Words on a Wire take flight into the imagination of language.


Written by Wally Keeler, the well-known Northumberland poet and advocate of poetry. He has been playing with technology, especially computers, since the early 1970s. He has authored several collections of poetry, including Cobourg Is My Poem Town, available at: Let’s Talk Books, King St E. Cobourg.



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