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“Show me the money!”

I started my story B yesterday, 750 words, and should be writing more tonight, but.

It’s been an afternoon given to my volunteer commitments, on the Board of the League of Canadian Poets (LCP) and the Mennonite Literary Society (an MLS with nothing to do with real estate) as publisher of Rhubarb.

Lovely lunch at the Free Press Café with Per Brask who has agreed to edit the Rhubarb Mennonite Theatre Issue. What a coup! Now it’s my job to write the grant applications and sell the advertising to pay him, the folks producing the issue, contributors and the printer –  raising the money by April 1st to make sure the theatre issue hits the boards before Christmas next year.  To tempt you; think Ratzlaff, Friesen, Wiebe, Warkentin, Winnipeg Mennonite Theatre, Thiessen (Mr Menno Knight hisself ).  Make sure your subscription is up to date so you don’t miss this issue. Show me the money! www.rhubarbmag.com

The telephone meeting of the LCP National Council (is that what we’re called?) later in the day was informative, and a lot of fun. I’m slightly concerned I annoyed a few people by arguing that hosts of poetry readings should continue to pay up to $50 to the LCP for their costs, and if they were really having difficulties ponying up this amount –should charge admission.

There’s this argument for accessibility, which I understand – and I’m ok with pay what you can. Money may be a poor judge of value, but I think it’s humiliating to think that poetry presentations aren’t worth the price of a pack of smokes.

I also believe many poetry readers and potential listeners have been conditioned to think that if it’s free, it’s not worth anything. I hear “only 12 – 16 people max” come to this; I’d argue charge admission and the attendance would actually increase.  If it didn’t, it would still cover the admin fee of whoever cuts the cheque for the reading fee.

May I suggest a workshop for the June 7- 9 LCP AGM in Toronto next year about self-esteem for poets, and the separation of writing from ego (learned in my advanced Creative Writing Workshop with Robert Kroetsch [ God rest his soul], ….and 30 years of therapy) It could be called “How much are your words worth?”

 

 

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