Welcome to CollingWord, the place to learn about poetry and the spoken word in Collingwood. As a literary form for people of all ages and backgrounds, poetry can be a source of inspiration and help us express what matters most to us as individuals and as a community. We look forward to adding information and creative output to these pages as our community’s connection to the written and spoken word grows here in CollingWord.

Introducing Collingwood's first Poet Laureate, Day Merrill

Day Merrill picture with Tanya Mazza in front of some "Blue Suede Shoes" at Town Hall

Day will serve a two-year term as Poet Laureate from May 2018 to April 2020 during which she will be a champion for poetry and the spoken word in Collingwood. Day studied literature an poetry in university and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Education and a Master of Arts.  “I see my role as 'poetry advocate'," said Day. "I’m looking forward to championing projects that have the potential to help all residents experience the power of poetry as creators, not only consumers.” 

Contact Day:

>Day (on left), with Arts & Culture Coordinator, Tanya Mazza beside a couple of "Blue Suede Shoes" during the recent Collingwood Elvis Festival. Each footstep featured a quote by Elvis.









Recent Pop-up projects

A woman smiles from inside the wooden poetry booth at Sidelaunch Days harbour festival this August

 The Poetry Booth

The Poetry Booth is a poetic exchange that exists in both real time and on-line.The booth is outfitted with a vintage typewriter-style keyboard called a Qwerkywriter connected via Bluetooth to a tablet, enabling every keystroke to be collected, stored and after vetting, posted online.

While each contribution to The Poetry Booth installation can be its own distinct poem, we’re hoping that participants will also be influenced by what was written before. You never know what impressions, thoughts, feelings and inspirations about Collingwood might show up! 
Check out what the first participants in The Poetry Booth at Sidelaunch Days Harbour Festival had to say here >>
Write the Waves 
August 11 & 12, Sidelaunch Days Collingwood Harbour Festival
A community word-art installation at the waterfront promenade invited festival-goers to “Write the waves” with a word, phrase or quote that expressed their view of Collingwood. Thanks to FRAM for use of the wall. Click here to see the results>>
Painted waves on the construction wall at the waterfront  Two participants write in Cambodian on the waves
Writing for the King™
The Songwriters who made Elvis Presley a Legend
During the Collingwood Elvis Festival, July 27-29, Writing for the King™ posters were displayed in the windows and storefronts of downtown businesses. Each one featured a songwriter whose music and lyrics helped make Elvis the King™ of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Blue Mountain Music window with a Writing for the King poster that highlights songwriter Jerry Reid

Poetry & Spoken Word Events 2018

In this section, you’ll find a running list of literary events that may be of intertest. If you are planning such an event and would like it posted here, please let us know. We’re always happy to spread the “word.”

November 2-4: Words Aloud 15
October 27: We Love Words

Poet Laureate News

Check this section to keep up-to-date with what’s happening related to poetry and the spoken word in the news‒local, Canadian and around the world. And if you are aware of any articles that might be of interest, send a note and we’ll post them if possible.

Resources for Readers and Writers

For anyone who would like to read more poetry and maybe even start writing it, the resources in this section can help. Drop us a line if you have any resources that you’d recommend so we can share them on this page. Go to the resources page >>

Symbol & Drum

Welcome to my blog, which I call Symbol & Drum to reflect my dual role as your Poet Laurate. As a poet, I’ll be using symbolism, metaphor and other literary devices to create poems in a wide range of forms on the topic of Collingwood– what it means, both as a place and as a community. In addition, as a poetry advocate, I’ll be “beating the drum” to promote the written and spoken word as an art form that has been underrepresented in our area compared to the visual arts, music, theatre and dance.  
I hope you enjoy reading it, and I look forward to hearing from you what you’d like me to be talking about. 
October Thanks-giving
When I moved to Canada from the US in 1995, I was surprised to learn that not only do Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving, they do so in early October. I grew up in New England, literally descended from those stalwart Pilgrims that landed on the bleak shores of Massachusetts in November of 1620. With faith in the providence of the Almighty and considerable help from the indigenous people they encountered, they made it through the first winter. 
A year later, they held a feast to celebrate their survival and to thank their hosts, without whose practical support they would surely have perished. In 1861, Abraham Lincoln declared an official day of Thanksgiving in late November and by the 1930’s, President Franklin Roosevelt established the third Thursday in November as the fixed date in the US.
Of course, feasts of thanksgiving are not uniquely American or even North American. By celebrating our gratitude, we are part of a long line of people worldwide. From ancient harvest festival rituals to thanks-giving celebrations referenced in the Judeo-Christian Bible, the Quran and many other holy works, most include prayers, songs– and food!  While the origins of the holiday vary considerably from the American tradition, many of the fundamentals are the same: a time to give thanks and celebrate with family. 
Those early Pilgrim ancestors of mine continued to live in peace and harmony with their indigenous neighbours until the colonialization of North America started in full forth, and we all know how the story goes after that. How exciting it is that nearly 400 years later, we have reached the point when we are reconnecting with the indigenous peoples whose presence preceded us by millennia.
Last month I had the privilege of attending the opening ceremony for the Awen' Gathering Circle in Harbourview Park. This stunning structure sits on the hill as if it has always been there. It is a tribute to the vision of the crafters of Collingwood’s Waterfront Master Plan in collaboration with a host of others including a team of indigenous architectural designers and volunteers from the visiting Steelworkers Union who pulled off a miracle and got the project finished just in time for the ceremony. 
And what a ceremony it was! Participants from local indigenous communities contributed song, dance, words and ritual, to which all present were invited to join in as part of a larger community.  Ancient, old and new Collingwood plus visitors, workers and people of all ages gathered in an inclusive circle. The event not only celebrated a wonderful new addition to our town but marked a tangible contribution to the unfolding truth and reconciliation process of that is knitting us together into a larger shared community. 
What’s I’ve always loved about the Thanksgiving holiday is that it is not tied to any particular religion, or to religion at all. So whether you are thanking God, Jaweh, Allah, The Great Spirit, Mother Nature or what poet Dylan Thomas called “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower,” this post is dedicated to all that we as Canadians have to be thankful for. Something I am personally thankful for every day and in every season is our beautiful lakeshore. Here’s poem about my impressions of what October looks like here in Collingwood. I hope you enjoy it; just as important, I hope you enjoy the month. I wish you a joyous Thanksgiving, a Happy Halloween and a splendid October from start to finish.
October Inc.
October is all business down at the lake. 
One day, it’s a navy blue suit paired with a freshly pressed sky, 
tied together with the blinding red and white striped lighthouse. 
When a board meeting is called, all is sober grey, 
a single burnt orange maple the only pop of colour. 
Night brings the corporate gala– 
A sea of little black dresses festooned with ruffles of foam 
dancing with a sky full of tuxes, starched shirtfront clouds offset by diamond stars. 
Casual Fridays call for a cerulean blue Polo above the khaki shoreline, 
and a line of leaf-bright tops that signal the weekend. 
But at the end of the month, all bets are off.
Time to cut loose as Halloween blows through the harbour, tipping dinghies
and winding lake-surf like toilet paper around the larger boats.  
The buoys ring like demonic bells into the night. 
At the head of the harbour, the jack-o-lantern glow of the LCBO 
promises treats to buffer the wind’s tricks. 
For a poem about gratitude for the simple things in life submitted by a local writer, check out our Poetry Corner and remember to mark your calendar for 25 Years, the BMFA sponsored event at the Simcoe Street Theatre on October 13th featuring poems written by Collingwood poet/graphic artist David Conning (who is also the co-owner of Clerkson’s). This unique theatre event will pair poems David wrote for his daughter over 25 years with music by the subject of those poems, Laura Conning and her partner in the band Honeymoon Phase. Something more to be thankful for.
Day's past blog entries:
2018-2020 Poet Laureate Terms of Reference.doc125 KB
Day Merrill - Poet Laureate Presentation 04-2018.pdf9.71 MB