Summertime Poets by Wally Keeler

Film Access Northumberland recently hosted the 2nd annual Eye2Eye International Film Festival in the grand Concert Hall in Victoria Hall in downtown Cobourg. A full roster of all genres of film was presented, all under the theme umbrella of “What Unites Us.”

NFOTA Sponsor – Film Access Northumberland

Summertime, directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada, is a film that is hectic frantic and mostly poetic, I repeat, mostly poetic. It very cleverly blends the lives and experiences of young Los Angeles poets.

Hot rhyme summer in the city, there were drive-by shoutings of angst and literary love of cheeseburgers, stop the traffic dancing, all in the contextual blandscape of urban display. The decongested, full-throated poets poured out their rap and role for this movie. (Trailer tease: It was rail and wail and turning tale into a splendid compendium of dunkslam poetry. Texthilerating!

It was this film that brought together a bunch of bardcore poets of the Spirit of the Hills Writer’s group to present their love of life poetry to augment this raw, breathtaking, immensely moving motion picture. It was a “What Unites Us” local moment.      

Jessica Outram

Cobourg Poet Laureate, Jessica Outram, read a poem about “The Story of the Sash,” a symbol uniting various Métis communities. She draped the sash over the dais and read her poem, uniting it all to the Métis meanings. The threads of poetry reached out to encompass all communities.

come back Métis and Anishinaabe mothers
braid your knowledge into these waterways 
stitch this land that cries out for healing

Katie Hoogendam

Northumberland poet, Katie Hoogendam, who has been producing some very visceral poetry, gave voice to a common experience and made it extraordinary. “There I Stood Thawing” describes an unsettling situation one night when she stepped outside to investigate.

Lawn ornament, left by the last tenant.
Through shadows I observed
these itinerant artists
disguised as inanimate
making music for no audience

my feet, naked and wet on the sleeping grass--
you’d think they’d be frozen, ice
but instead
there I stood,

Wally Keeler

Cobourg’s poemgrown poet, Wally Keeler, the founder and Poetician1 of the glorious Imagine Nation of the Peoples Republic of Poetry, delivered on his life longing love of freedom with a poem entitled. “Freedom, Freiheit, Svoboda, Liberté.”

Freedom is secured by FREE SPEECH,
a sustainable decongestant
against the S.O.R.E. virus
(Suppression. Oppression, Repression of Expression)

FREE SPEECH; Serving progress since the Enlightenment.

Ted Amsden

Cobourg’s Poet Laureate Emeritus, Ted Amsden, delivered an intense and powerful poem entitled, “Tap Dancing To Elusiveness.” It traverses a lot of poetic territory, delivered on a razzamatazz jazz journey of language.

your song their chant our challenge
that turns magma into angels and psalms
puts steel in the backbone of words
transforms wounded thought
into healthy sermons of non-compliance

I took potential and crafted possibility

The event was followed by a question and answer with the four poets— who inspired them, what inspired them and where will they be going into the future. It was a wonderful tossed salad of genre and language, and a commonality displayed between young and old, urban and town, film and live presence.

Film Access Northumberland (FAN) at NFOTA:

September 18, 2022, FAN is partnering with NFOTA to put on a film and ecology event for children and their parents at Presqu’ile Park.

FAN will screen Nick de Pencier’s award winning National Film Board film “Four Wings and a Prayer.”

Northumberland Festival of the Arts will take place across Northumberland County from September 16 – October 2, 2022.

Northumberland Festival of the Arts is a volunteer-run not-for-profit arts organization.

To volunteer for NFOTA, please contact

To help support our events, please send your donation by Interac to

6 Comments Add yours

  1. ronaldmackay says:

    Well said, bardcore poets of the Spirit of the Hills Writer’s group!

  2. Hey, Wally, thanks for that review. That was quite the serving of poetic dishes from some of Cobourg’s finest. Wish I had been there to savour that smorgasbord of broken lines. Cheers!

  3. Diane Taylor says:

    Loved these healthy injections of waxination for unthawing the mind, and lighting the night. The more the merrier.

  4. Lovely to see some familiar names and faces – and also the UNFAMILIAR face of Wally Keeler, whose poetry I have been following for years! Wish I could join you at the event!!

  5. kimaubrey says:

    Intriguing bits of poems! I wish I could have been there. The film sounds wonderful too!

  6. Mandy Robinson says:

    Oh to have been a part of this too 🤩🤩🤩 how beautiful to see stalwart poets being highlighted here 🙏🤩🙏🤩🙏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

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