Summer pop-up poetry project concluding with open mic

A poem is displayed along Prince Albert’s riverbank as part of a pop-up poetry project inspired by hope. – Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald

A summer-long poetry project is wrapping up with an open mic this weekend.

Lynda Monahan, with support from the City of Prince Albert, put out a call for poetry submissions inspired by the word hope.

She narrowed down over 70 submissions to 30 – 10 of which were displayed in sign posts along the riverbank, and the rest displayed in shop windows and throughout the mall downtown.

Monahan has invited 10 of those poets to read their work aloud in memorial square on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 11 a.m. Afterwards, other writers can step up to the mic and read their poems about hope.

“I think this project has been a very positive thing for downtown PA in many ways. We’ve certainly had lots of really good feedback about the work and people have enjoyed reading the poems,” said Monahan.

“It’s a celebration of poetry, but also a celebration of hope.”

According to a description of the event, the poems ranged in topics from the poets’ personal lives, to meditation, to descriptions of scenery around the city.

The prompt came from Vern Hodgins. At the beginning of the pandemic, Hodgins began writing ‘hope’ in random places for people to find, whether it was in the snow or dirt or painted on rocks.

“People were really responding to that,” said Monahan, so she wanted to expand on it.

“It has touched people’s lives in so many ways and he’s still spreading that message of hope all over the place.”

Monahan said that concluding with an open mic expands the opportunity to other writers who would like to share their work.

“Of course, we just couldn’t accept all of the submissions, even though there was some really wonderful work. Here’s an opportunity for some of those poems to get a little bit of notice,” she said.

Monahan said the writers of the accepted poems received an honorarium through a grant. The project was supported by the city’s Municipal Cultural Action Plan.

Monahan said the sign posts used to display the poems along the riverbank will be used for the upcoming Culture Days for poems about culture.

Culture Days runs from Sept. 22 to Oct. 15.