May 312013

By Debra Cash.

Fishing for the right word — on the Grand River in the Fish Quill Poetry Boat.

Cultural finger-waggers may often be heard to complain “hey, poets, why don’t you act a little more entrepreneurial and get out of your ivory tower?”

While I believe that merely publishing these days is an act of entrepreneurial legerdemain, I direct you to a pair of Canadian poets who have gone one step beyond. Embarking on the river of poetry is, for Leigh Kotsilidis and Linda Besner no metaphor. Their Fish Quill Poetry Boat tour consists of five poets and one musician traveling down the Grand River in southwestern Ontario for 10 days in canoes. Camping every night, the voyagers will give performances in “pre-arranged and pre-advertised” venues in mostly small and rural towns along the way. As Besner wrote, “your bloodthirsty poetry navy is ready to plunge with you into the rapids like so many ugly ducklings hungry for the soggy breadcrumbs of revenge.”

These poets are crowdfunding to support their efforts. The opportunities for duplication of the concept stateside are easy to envision. Could the Connecticut River or even the Westfield be next?


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