I was afraid I wouldn’t look objective on recommending Eric, so I kept this draft around while compiling a list of all the possible well-deserving Other candidates but here’s what I wrote:
POET LAUREATE FOR KINGSTON ONTARIO- My VOTE GOES TO ERIC FOLSOM (Who- let’s be clear- knows nothing about this site).
August 23rd, 2010 by Rose Why the unassuming, modest Folsom with all the big guns in town? First because we need a Laureate-MENTOR, someone with whom you can talk poetry without being brushed off, particularly not a prima donna! There’s tons of big deal poets with high-powered careers lurking about town, cloistered and often associated with the university. They don’t seem to have much interest in chatting with beginner poets or the general public.
Here’s his natural habitat, the central branch of our public library where he works.
Consider Folsom: He published and edited a poetry quarterly, ‘Next Exit,’ for seven years, starting the careers of young poets all over Canada. He’s served as the provincial rep for the League of Poets. On the writer size, he continues to be frequently anthologized, publishing both books and chapbooks (see below) for the past thirty-six years as well as teaching creative writing at St Lawrence College and the public school system and reviewing poetry books for the Whig & Quarry Press. He’s been a finalist in the CBC literary awards and was asked to do a live CBC reading when the Grand Theatre reopened in 2002
And here’s the evil robotic book drop that craftily only gives you receipts for SOME of your books, leaving you to explain, again and again, that yes, you DID return those others too but the robot chose not to acknowledge this. So whaddya do then? Climb in there and arm wrestle? It Has Happened to Me!
Back To Eric. I have handed him several visiting poets who needed billeting, feeding and taking to the train after and I know there have been dozens. I saw this beginning more than thirty years ago at the first writer’s group I ever attended. Eric is identified with our town. When you mention Kingston poets online, someone usually starts, “Well, there’s Eric Folsom.’
Eric’s been a workhorse for poetry behind the scenes, on overload during every National Poetry Week. He’s present at every reading I’ve ever been to, giving workshops, arranging readings, reading himself when required, lately while working full time at the library.
If we’re looking for inspiration and knowledge, enduring writing; if we want to reward poetic service in the trenches, nobody touches the guy. For me, Laureate is spelled F-0-L-S-O-M. Just read his stuff!
Publications (List being updated – send YOUR info)
Brewed For Ontario (1981)
Icon Driven (Wolsak & Wynn) 1990
Poems for Little Cataraqui (Broken Jaw Press, 1994)
What Kind of Love Did You Have in Mind? (Wolsak & Wynn, 1997)
Northeastern Anti-Ghazals (2005)
More Garden Varieties Two (Mercury Press, 1994)
Written In Stone: A Kingston Readere (Quarry Press, 1993)
Vintage 95 (Quarry Press/League of Canadian Poets) 1996)
Arc 44: The 99 Century: Canada’s Poets At The Millenium (2000)
Crossing Lines; Poets Who Came To Canada in the Viet Nam War Era
On The Threshold: Writing Towards the Year 2000 (Porcepic/Foxglove)
Reloading the Can(0)on, U of T Press
Kingston Poet’s Gallery 2006
Out Of The Woodwork (Newfoundland, 2008
Ain’t No More in this World (Aboveground Press, 1996)
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