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REF NO.: 115

SUBJECT: Memorial University professor and poet to participate in World Poetry Day
DATE: March 19, 2003

Mary Dalton, well-known local poet and professor of English literature and language at Memorial University, will be participating in World Poetry Day, an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

March 21, 2003, now marks not only the first day of spring, but also a unique celebration of student poetry across Canada. Established poets will visit their local schools on the morning of March 21 to lead writing workshops.

Prof. Dalton will give a workshop to the Advanced Writing students at Booth Memorial High School in St. John's. "It's exciting to be part of the creation of new work," said Prof. Dalton, who is the author of three books of poetry, with another forthcoming from Vehicule Press of Montreal in the summer of 2003.

The best three poems from each school will appear later the same day on a special Department of Canadian Heritage website: www.canadianheritage.gc.ca/artsdays, and the authors will each receive a Certificate of Participation signed by Minister of Canadian Heritage Sheila Copps.

This event is part of UNESCO's 4th annual World Poetry Day, an initiative aimed at reminding people around the world of the lasting power of poetry. Canadian Heritage is marking World Poetry Day, in part, by encouraging young people to discover poetry through the school visits. Additional activities are noted on the Canadian Heritage Web site.

Toronto poet John Oughton, the author of four books and the editor of www.youngpoets.ca, conceived the event and is coordinating it. "It really brings poetry alive for students to have a working poet visit their school and show them the excitement of exploring poems from the inside out," Mr. Oughton said. "The World Poetry Day project will bring poets into schools from both isolated rural areas and major cities. Some of the schools will be hosting their first-ever visit by a poet." The workshops and poems in Quebec and New Brunswick will be in French.

Other poets participating in World Poetry Day across Canada include Alice Major of Edmonton, past president of the League of Canadian Poets; Saskatchewan's Paul Wilson and Manitoba's Sarah Klassen; performance poet Penn Kemp of London, Ontario; and multi-media (film, painting, poetry) artist Herménégilde Chiasson of New Brunswick.

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