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 our Haven Reading Series and our annual printed anthology.

We are 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 our past see 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 to March on most Monday evenings and some Sunday afternoons. Check out the Haven Reading Series for more details.

The Stroll publishes an annual anthology that showcases the poems of members who have read at a Haven event. All members receive a free copy as part of their membership 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 or collaborations like the The Blinks — an evening of rapid-fire, 30-second poetry  to kick off the Edmonton Poetry Festival — all designed to enhance the poetry experience for our community.  Subscribe to our newsletter by visiting the Contact Us page or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

How We Operate

The Stroll operates with an active volunteer board, elected at the AGM held in March. Directors are elected for a one-year term to:

  • Welcome and support new and establish poets
  • Coordinate the weekly Haven Reading Series
  • Publish an annual anthology
  • Coordinate volunteers
  • Ensure fiscal management and securing grant applications
  • Promote the Stroll, poetry, and the writing and arts community

For more information on board positions and responsibilities see the Bylaws for the 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 is committed to creating a welcoming, respectful, and harassment-free environment for its board, members, and guests. The Stroll’s Discrimination & Harassment Policy is intended to prevent and deal with discrimination and harassment in a fair, effective, and efficient manner to maintain a climate of respect and inclusion.

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