Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

Poetry with Patrick Lane

“F&#!” says Patrick Lane during his master class, and then tells the audience that he once informed  his old students that there are no bad words, only dirty minds. Lane, whose collected works came out  just a few years ago, follows up with this, his latest masterpiece, Washita. The verses are compelling.  The words in his poetry are irresistible for the avid reader to put down. At this, his master class, Lane entrances poet novices, writers, students and professional poets alike with his intellect and craftily weaved works of poetry and insight on the written word.


Host Stephen Brockwell, asked some very insightful questions of Lane, who said that writing poetry offered him the possibility of how to express his life.


Lane emphasised that great readers make great writers, and that this is true of poets he has known. What Lane wants the audience to know is that from his experience, he feels that great poets asked of him to learn how to read their works. It made him ask of himself, "How could the written word evoke emotions?"


“I can write a Patrick Lane poem better than anyone,” says Lane, who has hardly touched his water through his class. We all laugh, but his message of the importance of our uniqueness as poets, as writers to have our own voice and be comfortable with it, sits with me. I soak his words in like a sponge, I sit at the edge of my seat waiting to hear what Mr.Lane has to say next.


Patrick Lane discussed in detail the importance of language in our writing. He covered the fundamentals of writing poetry, the importance of images and symbolism, he spoke of using fragments of syntax, and writing with dramatic presentation. “We all speak poetry, nobody speaks prose,” says Lane. 


Patrick Lane’s class was an educational, entertaining event,that I won’t soon forget.