London, Ontario, Canada

Organizer: Penn Kemp


Our afternoon reading was part of “100,000 Poets for Change”, an international event which took place in many cities, in many villages and in the countryside all over the world, at the same time and date. The main website for “100,000 Poets for Change” is

The first order of change is for poets to get together to perform, educate and entertain, simultaneously with others around the world, changing how we see our own community and the global community.

Such an event ties in nicely with our local/national Culture Days: see . Twenty-five poets are signed up. Musicians Jennifer White and Robert McMaster as well as Dennis Siren and JJ Fiasco (Jake Levesque)!

Our blog is on photos on . Good will? Immeasurable!

Host: Penn Kemp for Carolyn Doyle, Landon Library contact and Andreas Gripp, Volunteer Organizer. Join our event on See Sean Meyer’s eloquent article:

“A wonderful afternoon­ such an array of topics and talents! Your Jack Layton poem was great fun to do but a serious celebration all the same.” Elizabeth Waterston

“I had a great afternoon. There was so much feist, fire and humor.” Zahra McDoom

“I loved the whole afternoon! It was so inspiring to hear all that wonderful poetry & music & ideas for change!” Gay Allison

“What a pleasure and privilege to be part of the 100,000 Poets…and Musicians!…for Change. Such a truly special afternoon! Thank you, as always, for all you do for us.” Patricia Black

“Thanks Penn for your continued support of LAC and the arts in London!” Andrea Halwa

Cheers and Congrats!!!!!!!!!!

This photo by Sean Meyer/London Community News: Monday, October, 01, 2012

Former London poet laureate Penn Kemp (right) organized the 100,000 Poets for Change event being held as part of the Culture Days festivities across the Forest City on Saturday (Sept. 29). Joining Kemp, 25 other local poets, and harpist Jennifer White, in a poetry reading at the Landon library were (from left) Carolyn Doly, supervisor Landon library; Andreas Gripp, volunteer co-ordinator; and R.L. Raymond, one of the event’s readers.

London Culture Days opens up to 100,000 Poets for Change

By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22

English romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley once said poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

These words rang true this past weekend during 100,000 Poets for Change, an initiative, according to its website, “to have poets create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world.”

Those words certainly rang true to Penn Kemp, London’s Poet Laureate Emeritus and organizer of London’s own 100,000 event, which took place at the Landon library during Culture Days on Saturday (Sept. 29).

In fact, Kemp quoted that Shelley phrase when speaking about the importance of 100,000 Poets for Change.

“Ours is one of 850 plus events over the weekend in 115 countries,” Kemp said. “It says to me that 100,000 poets are ready for change, ready to make a change in the world. Barak Obama may have a book written about him called I Am The Change, but poets, well we are what Shelley’s quote is all about.”

The Landon event involved 25 poets, mostly local, reading and discussing poetry. The oldest participant was Elizabeth Waterston, born in 1922, who has written more than 20 books on criticism and poetry. Kemp said the great thing about the London event was the variety in ages that it attracted.

“I think it is an exciting congruence of 100,000 Poets for Change in Culture Days. I hope people go away elated with the possibility of art and change,” Kemp said. “Activism is so necessary now so we move from the word to political and cultural action.”

Kemp was invited to create a London event for 100,000 Poets for Change after corresponding with U.S. organizer Michael Rothenberg. Kemp didn’t need much convincing to take the initiative on.

“I love the idea, anything for change, anything for poetry. I am a real social activist and if we can use poetry for change, I am up for it,” Kemp said. “Words matter. The pen is mightier than a sword so says the cliché. One heart at a time, we can change minds.”

Kemp said another positive of the event was how it brought together poets from a variety of genres. Poets, Kemp said, whether they are academics, young slam poets or performance artists don’t often take part in each other’s events. But for the Landon event, she said the support was nearly universal.

And having the event take place during Culture Days was something Kemp said she simply couldn’t ignore.

“It is absolutely fabulous to have it during Culture Days. It just happened that way, but I am good at making connections. It was a no-brainer to do,” Kemp said. “The whole metaphor of Culture Days is so important for poetry. I wish I was able to reach out to other languages, other cultures. That is something I would like to strive for.”

Kemp praised the London Arts Council for putting together a Culture Days program that she hopes will lead to change in the community. “There are more Culture Days events here than any city in Canada. That says a lot about London. I think the London Arts Council put forward a great push to make these things happen and hopefully people took the opportunity to enjoy them.”

These photos were taken by Gloria Mulcahy 

We will play the readings on two upcoming radio shows on Gathering Voices, my Lit-on-Air radio show.

Upcoming Schedule, Gathering Voices, CHRW 94.9 FM.

Tuesday, January 1, 6:30 – 7:00 pm. Gathering Voices features 100,000 Poets for Change: this show documents a poetry reading celebrating the theme of change for held at Landon Library, London ON on September 29, 2012. This exhilarating afternoon celebrated Culture Days across Canada as well. See . Gathering Voices, CHRW FM 94.9 FM. (R. January 8, 6:30-7:00 am). Listen live on and throughout these two weeks

Tuesday, January 15, 6:30 – 7:00 pm. Gathering Voices features 100,000 Poets for Change: this show documents a poetry reading celebrating the theme of change for held at Landon Library, London ON on September 29, 2012. This exhilarating afternoon celebrated Culture Days across Canada as well. See . Gathering Voices, CHRW FM 94.9 FM. (R. January 21, 6:30-7:00 am). Listen live and throughout these two weeks on .

The shows will then be archived on

Already archived on is our September 11, 2012 show. Gathering Voices featured 100,000 Poets for Change, with US organizer Michael Rothenberg as well as London organizers Penn Kemp and Andreas Gripp with Rob Raymond. Appropriate for this 11th anniversary of September 11, this show is a poetry reading celebrating the theme of change. This show celebrates Culture Days across Canada as well. See

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