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Purdy Country Literary Festival #4  -  July 2010

Here's the flyer for CELEBRATE MARMORA, of which PurdyFest #4 is a major part. Hope everyone can make it & participate. Also the Friday POTLUCK SUPPER is again on Friday aft at ZenRiver Gardens - cook your hearts out & share the meal & poetic vibes.

Celebrate Marmora 2010

For more info on Purdy Country LitFest, please email Chris Faiers at

We'll have a SYMPOSIUM on Toronto Poet Ted Plantos, 'the Cabbagetown Kid', hosted by Julie McNeill and featuring a presentation on Ted's place in the pantheon of Canadian People's Poetry by academic Terry Barker. Kent Bowman, Peter Rowe, Mick Burrs, Carol Malyon and other friends and comrades of Ted will be holding an informal round table of anecdotes about Ted and his important literary contributions with the seminal PARLIAMENT STREET LIBRARY POETRY READINGS and WRITERS' QUARTERLY MAGAZINE.

Place: The William Shannon Room
The Marmora Public Library Building (traffic lights at the intersection of Highways #7 and 14.
12:30 to 2:30 pm Saturday, July 31st, 2010


ANOTHER DAM POETRY READING will be held at 4 pm on the small island in the middle of the Marmora Dam on the Crowe River. Musicians Morley Ellis and Kent Bowman will start the event. Allan Briesmaster will introduce new poetry collections by Kent Bowman and Quinte poet RD Roy. R.D. will then intro a new collection by Montreal poet Katherine Beeman. Anna Plesums will also launch a new collection.

After the music and the book launchings, a round robin group reading will give every poet attending a chance to read their work to a very knowledgeable and appreciative gathering.

Some limited rough camping is available in the Marmora area. All events are free & we encourage everyone's participation. There are two excellent B&B's in Marmora, and many small motels along Highway #7 for accomodation.


A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE AND WORK OF TORONTO POET TED PLANTOS will be held as part of Purdy Country LitFest #4 ("PurdyFest"). The event will be held in the library building in the village of Marmora on Saturday, July 31, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Julie McNeill will MC this retrospective, and author Terry Barker will present an overview of Ted's place in the pantheon of Toronto poets. Many of Ted's friends and fellow poets, including Kent Bowman and Carol Malyon, will recall anecdotes of his career. Everyone is invited to participate in this symposium, which will be followed at 4 pm by ANOTHER DAM POETRY READING on an islet in the Marmora Dam in the middle of the Crowe River.

by Terry Barker

Ted Plantos, who died in 2001, was the pivotal Toronto People's Poet of the last two decades of the twentieth century. In this respect, he was the successor of Raymond Souster, a much more famous name, and a poet who is still writing and pubishing to critical acclaim in his late eighties.

Ted's work, although still developing at the time of his relatively early demise, expressed a very wide range of human material and spiritual experience, drawing from his readings in military and political history, Romantic and Post-Romantic poetry, esoteric Ufology, and, of course, his predecessor and mentor People's Poets, particularly Milton Acorn and Al Purdy. A self-described "Christian mystic", Ted wrote of the rough Cabbagetown world of his youth, the bloody battlefields of the First World War, and the urban banalities of modern daily life in a way which revealed their hidden beauties, turning a crass working-class bar, or a dismal doughnut shop, into cathedrals of spiritual substantiality, without the slightest hint of sentimental slop, or literary self-consciousness.

Can People's Poetry be revived? Can it be revised? These questions were raised at the Second Controversy of Poets held in Toronto in 2005. Ted, the mystic, wasn't there to address them, so perhaps we can in the spirit of the Plantosic prosody.

June 30, 2010

Terry Barker teaches Canadian Studies at Humber College, Toronto. He is currently editing a collection of new essays on Milton Acorn for Mosaic Press.

For further information on Purdy Country LitFest #4 contact Chris Faiers at

Ted Plantos, Artbeat, 1998

Ted Plantos - Artbeat Festival, Parkdale 1998

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photo of Ted Plantos by Peter Rowe
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revised 20 July 2010