Drift/Line series bringing poetry events to Kingston

Hotel Wolfe Island will be the next venue for the Drift/Line poetry series on Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2024. Image via Hotel Wolfe Island Facebook page.

On Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2024, Drift/Line will have its second event in its series-in-progress. Kingston poet Wanda Praamsma organized Drift/Line to create more opportunities for poets to read and perform in Kingston, with musicians performing as well.

“The idea is to bring people together in a shared space… often poets are reading in bookstores or in different venues. The idea behind this was… to make it a more diverse experience where different audiences are coming to listen to the poets and vice versa the literary community is also coming to hear these musicians,” Praamsma explains.

Drift/Line’s first event took place on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024 at Musiikki. The featured reader was Nasser Hussain, a poet with ties to Kingston, who expressed interest in doing a reading in Kingston, which sparked the creation of Drift/Line.

“My poet friend Naseer Hussain… wanted to do a reading here for his book… he said to me, would you be able to help organize an event for me, and can you get people to come out? And I said, sure, why not? I’ll try my best,” Praamsma explains.

“Then I got this idea of bringing in other poets from the community and bringing in musicians also… I really do want to create spaces for poets… we don’t always get to hear these diverse voices in Kingston… That’s the drive behind it.”.

Drift/Line’s second event will take place on Wolfe Island this Wednesday at Hotel Wolfe Island from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The featured poet, Johanna Skibsrud of Nova Scotia, is promoting and reading from her new poetry collection, Medium. Local poets Kirsteen MacLeod and Bruce Kauffman will also be reading, alongside performance from Wolfe Island musician Emilie Steele. The event is $5 or pay-what-you-can, and local book store Novel Idea will provide on-site book sales.

Poet Johanna Skibsrud will be reading at Drift/Line’s second event on Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2024. Image via Wanda Praamsma.

Praamsma first dove into the Kingston poetry scene in 2014 when her first book, a thin line between, was published. Throughout the years, she has seen the poetry community change, and wants to evolve it further.

“I could tell there was a great community here… I’ve had the experience of interviewing and writing about a lot of the poets and writers here… and I just think the pandemic… it was such a hard hit on all of the arts sectors in general, and I think we lost a lot of… the collaborative elements, getting together and making connections… I do think there’s something really special about being in person together, hearing poets live in person and talking to them… I’m hoping that this marks a transition, that we could be hosting more events in person and bringing together lots of different people,” Praamsma expresses.

In addition, Praamsma just finished a new manuscript of poetry with Kingston as inspiration.

“I didn’t even realize, actually, at the time that I was writing about Kingston… but I was really writing about the community that I live in, in Kingscourt, and different neighborhoods in Kingston,” says Praamsma.

“It was cool to have my own community coming into fruition in the poems.”

Drift/Line is still in the building process and Praamsma is open to suggestions about the evolution of the series. She says there will most likely be a break after the event this Wednesday, but is hoping that it will continue as a seasonal series, with a few events each season.

For more information on the upcoming Drift/Line event, visit hotel wolfe island website.

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