A new organization for diffusion, mediation and dissemination of poetry

Poetry can happen anywhere. This is the founding principle of La poésie partout (translated as Poetry Everywhere), a non-profit organization set up in Montreal in January 2017. La poésie partout aims to create, support, spread, and link poetic activity across Quebec and beyond: by promoting the diversity of poetical practices; by developing projects that bring people together; by creating discussion spaces and methods of mediation and dissemination that allow poetry to meet different audiences; and by placing poetry in different surroundings, from bookshops to teashops, public streets to letterboxes.

Across Quebec’s poetic landscape, La poésie partout aims to support the individuals and organizations already working with poetry: those organizing events and workshops; those publishing poetry in various mediums; those working as cultural mediators, and more. La poésie partout is eager to create links between people who make poetry and people who love poetry, and the different communities – regional, cultural and linguistic – of this vivid poetry world.

So how have we been working to try to achieve this, over the past 15 months?

Since its inception, La poésie partout has created and maintained an events calendar that lists the readings, slams, open mics, performances, shows, discussions, launches, and other poetry-related activities that take place across Quebec in both French and English, and across French-speaking Canada. The list of upcoming events is published weekly. In 2017, we featured more than 1,000 events (that’s nearly an average of 3 activities a day). On our website, you’ll find a directory of regular event series, poetry organizations and collectives, as well as more information about our team.

La poésie partout wants to foster exchange and reflection about poetry. Our Cercle de lecture – poésie et thé (Reading Circle – poetry & tea) series brought together groups of readers in Montreal, with in-depth discussions around selected books, such as Kaléidoscope by Michel Beaulieu and Tea in the Tundra by Josephine Bacon. The richness of these discussions live on: they can be heard online at Opuscules : littérature québécoise mobile. As part of the last World Book and Copyright Day (April 23, 2018) we organized a reading followed by a discussion about cultural diversity in Quebec poetry.

La poésie partout works extensively in partnership with other organizations, including Littérature québécoise mobile. We’ve collaborated on projects with Quebec City-based organizations Productions Rhizome and Inter / Le Lieu; with the Rue de la poésie in Hochelaga, Montreal; and on the participatory project #Atelier 1903 during the Journées de la culture in 2017. We also supported the start-up of Poésie postale, a beautifully crafted new project which sends a poem every month to their subscribers by mail. In August 2018, we will have the pleasure of being a partner of the Grande Nuit de la poésie in Saint-Venant-de-Paquette, an all-night madness of poetry performances, readings, and events in the Eastern Townships.

Our mediation component, Debout : actes de parole (Stand up: Speech Acts), has been very active since the start of La poésie partout, with three ambitious collaborations with Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. In the summer of 2017 and the spring of 2018, we hosted two workshop series at the Grande Bibliothèque: Poésie libre-service (Self-service Poetry) and the Ruche de poésie (Poetry Hive). With L’Itinéraire magazine as a partner, these workshops fostered social inclusion and contributed to the democratization of poetry. For Nuit blanche 2018, we created and co-ordinated Lab de poésie (Poetry Lab), a multimedia late-night poetic creation happening, with twenty poets and artists, text projections, sound poetry, poetry reading remixes, rewritten Twitter verse, public participation and open mics.

We’re also very proud of one of our major annual activities – la Journée du poème à porter 1. The second edition will be held on Thursday, April 26, 2018 – this week! In 2018 we’re celebrating the multilingualism of Quebec poetry, with contributions from French-, English- and Spanish-language poets based across the province in their original language and in new translations. This year, the event is also part of Blue Metropolis Festival program. Following the model established for Poem in Your Pocket Day by the Academy of American Poets, and the Canadian League of Poets, La poésie partout has produced a downloadable PDF of poems. People can choose a poem that particularly sings to them, and carry it with them during the day. Slip your favorite poem into your pocket, your wallet, your bag, your heart – and distribute some to others as you please!

The adventure of La poésie partout is just beginning. Our activities and collaborations will continue, and we look forward to creating new ones. There are many projects yet to be dreamed of, to promote poetry everywhere, for all. We believe in the immense potential of poetry. La poésie partout wants to highlight the dynamism of poetry, alive in so many different forms, spoken, written, and on screen, and to contribute to this vibrant abundance. We believe that poetry can be placed everywhere, in public space and in virtual space. Poetry is a territory for dialogue, encounter, discovery, and creation. We’ll see you there.

Jonathan Lamy is a multidisciplinary poet living in Montreal. He has published three collections of poetry at Editions du Noroit, including La vie sauve (prix Émile-Nelligan 2016). His practice combines sound poetry, intervention in public spaces, and videopoetry. He set up La poésie partout.


Translated by Rachel McCrum


1             This is the translation we decided on for Poem in Your Pocket Day. If we want to translate it back into English, it could be either “Carry a Poem Day” or “Wear a Poem Day”.