About the Stroll

As an art form, poetry is deeply rooted in oral performance, and there’s nothing like performing a poem to find out what works and what doesn’t. The Stroll exists to provide poets with an opportunity to connect with an audience, both through the Poet’s Haven Reading Series and our annual printed anthology.

We provide a range of opportunities for poets to learn and improve their craft through workshops.  Finally, as a warm and friendly grassroots organization, we create a supportive community of artists that welcomes members of all ages and all levels of experience.

To learn more about the history of our community see below, The Stroll of Poets Then,’ and ‘A Glance Back.’

What We Do

The Stroll of Poets offers a weekly reading series called The Poets’ Haven Reading Series, running from September through March. It is held most Mondays from 7-9 pm and some Sundays from 2-4 pm. For more Haven details visit Haven Reading Series.

The Stroll publishes an anthology which launches at our AGM in late March. It showcases the work of members who have read at a Haven event. All members receive a free copy as part of their annual fee, with extra copies available for purchase. For more details visit The Stroll Anthology.

We host a special event in April called The Blinks that regularly kicks off The Edmonton Poetry Festival. This evening of rapid-fire, 30-second poetry is always a popular attraction.

Additionally, The Stroll of Poets sponsors other special events and offers a series of workshops, all designed to enhance the poetry experience for our community. To follow our events please consider subscribing to our newsletter by visiting the Contact Us page. We can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

How We Operate

The Stroll of Poets operates with an active volunteer board, elected at the Annual General Meeting held in late March. Directors are elected for a one-year term and provide:

  • artistic direction for programming
  • volunteer recruitment (see Volunteer With The Stroll.)
  • fiscal management and grant applications
  • coordination for the Haven Reading Series
  • organization of workshops and special events

For more information on board positions and responsibilities see the Bylaws, and scroll down to Duties of Board Officers.

The Stroll of Poets also employs a part-time administrative staff member, Ellen Kartz, through an agreement with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. Ellen may be contacted at 780-422-8216 or via her contact form.

The Stroll of Poets is a non-profit organization, duly registered under the Society’s Act and governed by a regularly reviewed set of bylaws. View the Bylaws.

THE STROLL OF POETS THEN

During its first 15 years, The Stroll of Poets festival was held on the first Sunday of  October. Any Stroll member who signed up by the end of July could perform at the festival. There were generally between one and two hundred poets taking part, in groups of four or five poets, in one of a dozen or so venues in Old Strathcona over the Sunday afternoon — five-minute performances.

Before the readings began, however, there was an annual brunch with a special guest reader to inspire and prime the poets prior to Stroll.  This would bring out about a hundred people.

Each scheduled performer at the October festival could submit a poem on the day of the festival for publication in the Stroll of Poets Anthology, and could also enter that submission in a blind contest.  The submissions were then judged by a jury of high-profile community members from different walks of life. The judges selected 44 of their favorite poems, and the authors of these poems were then asked to take part in the 12 Days of Poetry, the second annual festival.

Initially a holiday-season series, The 12 Days of Poetry evolved to take place in the middle weeks of January. Four poets performed at each of the first eleven Days of Poetry — ten-minute performances. The audience at each of these shows would then cast ballots on whom they would like to see move on to the next step and perform at the 12th Day of the festival, the grand finale. The eleven poets chosen by audience demand from the first eleven Days give five-minute performances on the 12th Day. The 12th Day was a ticketed event, and it often included such features as Robbie Burns Day celebrations and a wrap-up dance.

A Glance Back at the Birth of the Stroll

by Doug Elves