When Politicians are Poeticians…

Here’s to a new tradition in London, Ontario: Poetry meets Politics!  Even more reason to be proud of our new Council!  Here’s to the YukYuks Eight!

YukYuksPoetician

On Saturday at YukYuk`s London, I had the honor of opening the afternoon festivities for“Poets and Politics”, Fun, funny and fund-raising for the Food Bank. Politicans/ poeticians*: we both love language:)… and they outdid themselves.  Thanks especially to John Hassan for seeing the event through from concept to actuality with a little help from his friends!  Holly Painter was our charming MC… no awkwardness there.  And we were treated to a moving poem by Glen Pearson and a song, “Four Strong Women”, with Gina Barber.  Electric all around! Yes, we are this city!

Here`s my rant.

Writer Ursula K Le Guin was honored for her life’s work this month at the American 2014 National Book Awards. In her resounding, prophetic speech, she announced: “Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality….
Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.”

Politicians, you are poeticians. You share a love of language with poets. I ask you to consider your words carefully, starting with ‘considere’: to be with the stars, to take the widest view. Consider the meaning of the word ‘integrity’: the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished; soundness. You are like poets in that you believe in words. I wish you fewer! But I wish your words to work true all the way through.

Our new Council is a visionary council, with all the power of new beginnings and a future four years anticipated. As visionaries, you see this world at the same time as you see another. What kind of city can The Forest City be? The movement of potential transformation is from envisioning (as the consultations with Londoners have shown) through expression in words that can then be translated into action, with the people of London behind you. Our new Council, I believe, is keen to negotiate, to include and to persuade. May your ideals translate into direct and effective action. May our plans for this beautiful city be realized. May the best manifest.

Penn

PennPoeticianYukYuks

Photo of me by Nick Steinburg
Photo of Holly and me by Paul Seale

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