Laurie Anne Fuhr is a multimodal poet of page, screen, and stage, and a singer-songwriter based in Calgary. Her work merges Modernist-influenced free verse lyric narrative and postmodern experiment; her influences include Stuart Ross, rob mclennan, and Karen Solie. Laurie has lived in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Cold Lake, and Germany as a military brat. In Summer 2021 she co-released Uncommon Grounds: poems by the Espresso Poetry Collective. Her first book, night flying, released in Fall 2018 from Frontenac House (Calgary), is available here: https://www.frontenachouse.com/night-flying/; her EP, love in the digital age, is available at https://birdheat.com/music, and she plays upright bass in a nostalgic duo called Bluebird Telegraph, and electric bass with swamp rockers Shona Rae & the Bona Fides. Laurie's poetry has been published in magazines such as THIS Magazine, Freefall, and Go! (San Francisco); in anthologies like Leonard Cohen: You’re Our Man (Foundation for Public Poetry); and her manuscript for night flying was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry in 2016. A member of the League of Canadian Poets, Writers Guild of Alberta, and the Stroll of Poets, she instructs poetry at www.alexandrawriters.org, publishes micropress ephemera as blue moon, and is volunteer Festival Director at The People's Poetry Festival in Calgary. Connect with her via @Multimodal_poet on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
When I was a teenager, the only hippie in my high school went to my homeroom. To my chagrin, he tried to befriend me, and the cool girls disdained us.
Soon I figured out that he was real, and they were fake. Armour was a poet. Once he introduced me to poetry, we became best friends, and wrote together regularly to old records in a PMQ basement.
There's a magic to writing something that you know a fellow poet will read soon. This informs my work as a writing instructor at Alexandra Writers Centre in Calgary; I want to share the magic with others who need some in their life as much as I did back then — and still do.
After I began writing, we started taking bus rides to downtown Ottawa so we could have experiences worth writing about. We stumbled into a poetry open mic in progress at Cafe Wim, run by Steve Zytveld. All the poets in the room that night became friends and mentors as years went by. rob mclennan, a prolific published poet and micropress publisher who has inspired many, handed me poem pamphlets and information about more readings. It was a welcoming community for all ages and all styles of poetry, with open mics that included featured readers to inspire everyone. That's exactly the community feel I want to encourage with the work I do as an organizer, host, and promoter of poetry events.
Leonard Cohen said poetry is a verdict. If that's true, I guess we are lawyers... or judges? of the truth.
In that case, we have the most underpaid role of the legal profession!
More seriously, there are many jobs that poets do — and I'm not talking about the day and evening jobs that many of us who might not be career students, or married to a supportive partner, have to do. (I myself am also an administrative assistant and security guard, and have worn more hats than a preschool tickle trunk could hold).
Speaking for myself, the job of a poet is to inspire readers to use their imagination, slow down, and enjoy the page. The job of a poet who has been writing for some time, who has a book, who likes to teach, is to be a good mentor, and a good person as well. There are many unworthy mentors out there breaking hearts. I intend to be one of the good ones, whenever I have the good fortune to teach, help edit a manuscript, give a reading, give a pep talk to a discouraged writer, or wherever poetry takes me. And of course, I especially love sharing poetry with young people; learning to use your imagination by exercising it in the writing of a poem can help you creatively problem-solve, creatively love, and creatively bring happiness to yourself and others for the rest of your life.
Stuart Ross has been a big inspiration to me, ever since he launched The Inspiration Cha-Cha, his first trade press book, in Ottawa when I was a teen.
So the first thing I did when I came to Poetry In Voice was look for his poem.
“I Have Something to Tell You” is classic Stu. His point of view is that of someone absurdly simple, who speaks calmly and plainly, without contractions, about surreal experiences like — in this case — their shoulders turning into cameras. To be able to deliver a surrealist poem from such a calm, neutral observer character adds to the surprise and humour when body parts start becoming incredible objects. I just got a copy of his latest book at the time of writing this, Motel of the Opposable Thumbs, and it's my favourite birthday present (thanks Mom!).