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Despite the growing art scene in Hamilton, poetry has remained the one artistic medium that does not have as much exposure or contributors as the rest.

With music at the helm and painting hanging on its flank, there doesn’t seem to be any established room for poetry in the Hamilton art scene. As someone who appreciates reading and writing poetry, I have found it incredibly difficult to find a space to share and collaborate with other writers here in Hamilton.

It’s disappointing to not have a dedicated space to poetry. Toronto used to have one called Quattro Books that would host readings throughout the summer. It was a great space, but even while it was running it was difficult for me to make the time to go all the way to Toronto from Hamilton. It wasn’t necessarily “inaccessible,” but it was definitely an ordeal to get to. That’s the issue, though: there should be a downtown space like that accessible to Hamiltonians.

There was only one event during Supercrawl this past weekend that had a timeslot for poetry reading, and that was a quiet event that called itself “Liminal Spaces.” There were minimalist signs posted around town, but even those didn’t draw a crowd to the house just off of James Street North. It was, however, exciting for me to see poetry poking its head up somewhere downtown. It made me even hungrier for a dedicated space.

I have done my own looking around downtown, and I have come up virtually empty-handed. Granted, I found a reading group that I attended once. I stumbled upon it at random, and I was rather disappointed. Barring the summer months, Homegrown Hamilton hosts an event known as “Lit Live,” where weathered writers gather to read old material that lacks a liveliness and relevancy needed to draw the younger crowd. I found myself experiencing this lackluster performance amongst a group of people who were all familiar with each other and, of course, the pieces being read from bookmarked books that were read over and over again for years at these nichey types of places.

For a young writer like myself, these tired events are exactly what I want to avoid. I want to remain active in my writing and surround myself with daily inspirations. I do not want to find myself in the same bars reading the same poems to the same people for years on end. I can only hope to keep my eyes peeled for new venues and new groups of my peers to enthusiastically read and write alongside me in Hamilton. I mean, with it being such a fantastic city for artists to flourish, where is the space for the writers? I hope to find an answer to that soon—not just for myself, but for the other writers who are looking for these spaces, too.

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