Friday, April 16, 2010

Playing at Optimism and Succeeding

It's National Poetry Month, so every Friday in April I'm writing something about Canadian Poetry.

Not very many people are asked how optimistic they are about they jobs. Usually, we take those kinds of things for granted. We like them or we don't (or it depends on the day), but optimism and pessimism aren't usually things we feel toward ourselves as teachers or lawyers or administrative assistants or whatever. Poets, though are different.

The Optimisms Project (hosted by is asking young poets to be optimistic about poetry. And if they aren't optimistic, they're asked to fake it, just for one day. The project is being managed and run by Toronto poet Jacob McArthur Mooney, who says he isn't really optimistic either, but is willing to fake it for a whole month just to see how it goes.

Six days a week (every day but Sunday) for the whole month of April, The Optimisms Project presents the ramblings of a poet explaining why they're optimistic about poetry. It sounds like it might be silly, but it's actually really good. And every day you know you can go back and read about what makes people optimistic enough to do what they do (despite the general appearance of cynicism). To be honest, when reading some of the missives I actually wondered how many of these poets actually convinced themselves with their words - more than a few, I hope.

There are lots of things to be optimistic about as a reader of poetry in Canada. Is it harder to be optimistic when you're a poet? I guess that depends on what day of the week it is.

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