Toronto poetry map shows creative side of the city

Published On April 9, 2015 | By ecwilliams | News

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Toronto Poetry Map. Click for more information (Toronto Public Library)

By Jordan Biordi

The Toronto Public Library unveiled an interactive map on Wednesday that shows hundreds of poems written about Toronto, by Torontonians.

The map highlights over 200 poems from all the major areas of the city ranging from Kensington Market, to the Toronto Islands, to many of Toronto’s subway stations, even Humber College.

The map’s project leader, Mary-Beth Arima told Humber News the project was started a couple of years ago, when Toronto’s Poet Laureate George Elliot Clark approached the Toronto Public Library with the intention of creating a map filled with poems from the city. She said the Toronto Public Library was already working on a similar project called Toronto in Literature, using that as a stepping stone for the Toronto Poetry Map.

“I guess part of it is to raise awareness to the amount of poems that are set in Toronto, to have the neighborhoods speak for themselves and to give people an idea of the richness of the experiences that have happened in the city,” Arima said.

Arima said the response to the site has been positive, with over 50 poems suggested since their announcement.

Clark said, “I think the value of this map and the value of these poems is that it asks us to look at the city spiritually, and beyond what is obvious, we come into the human side of the city. We get to really feel the heartfelt side of the city for those who are really engaged, pushed and moved to consider it poetically.”

“I think the value of this map and the value of these poems is that it asks us to look at the city spiritually” – Clark

Humber Professor of English, Suzanne Bowless, has poems featured on the map. “I thought the project was a good idea from the start when I heard about it. My poetry book was really based on the city, so I wanted to get involved.”

“As a writer I have read and enjoyed poems about Toronto, one of my favorite collections is Civil Elegies by Dennis Lee, and that really gave me insight into Toronto, and that’s one of the reasons I was interested in writing about the city and people immersion in it.”

The site’s official launch will be April 15, 2015.

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