Every month, we profile a different Scarborough Arts member. If you’re a member and would like to be profiled, send an email to news AT scarborougharts DOT com for more information.
Patrick Connors’ chapbook, Scarborough Songs, was released by Lyrical Myrical Press last year. He was also recently published in Belgium, India, and Timmins. He was the literary juror of Big Art Book 2013, a digital project of Scarborough Arts. He also recently performed at the Austin International Poetry Festival, our very own Bridging Arts Festival, Blue Coffee Reading Series, and, for the third time, at The Art Bar Poetry Series. He is a manager for the Toronto chapter of 100,000 Poets for Change.
How long have you been a member of Scarborough Arts?
I have been around Scarborough Arts and related organizations, such as Scarborough Writers Group, for about 19 years. I have had the honour and joy of performing at numerous events and functions over that period, and I have written articles for Surface and Symbol (a former Scarborough Arts newsletter), as well as articles about Scarborough Arts for newz4u.net.
I received Honourable Mention for the Scarborough Writers Month award, which was facilitated by Elana Wolff, in 2010. I also have been involved with Big Art Book since that project began; twice as a contributor (and Juror’s Choice), once as the literary juror and co-host of the launch event.
However, I only became a full on member in 2012. This surprised many people, who assumed I had been a member for some time, given my passion for this organization.
I look forward to being involved with Scarborough Arts for years to come, and to go wherever this wonderful road will take me!
What kind of art do you practice, and how long have you been practising it?
Although I also write short stories and e-journalism, my primary medium is poetry. I have been writing ever since I was a little boy. For many years, I was largely an “occasional” poet, writing when the spirit moved me over events such as weddings and funerals.
Norman Cristofoli recently said, “We are all writers of poems. At some point, we go from being writers of poems to becoming poets.” This happened for me in 2005 after many years wasted, hopelessly spent, creating a caricature of myself to satisfy what I thought other people wanted me to be, instead of creating poetry.
However, this did not lead to overnight success. I had to make a commitment to writing more, and especially to edit more, and even give up on poems that were not working, no matter how much I wanted them to. I had to learn how to handle rejection, and the frustration of banging my head on a perceived glass ceiling as I paid my dues, becoming a more well-known and better poet. Over the last four-and-a-half years, it has started to pay off.
But I’m still learning and enjoying the ride!
Tell us about the piece we’re featuring today.
While I had some success as a writer of poetry, and certainly as a presenter of my poetry, I didn’t really start to grow until I got more involved with Scarborough Arts, with newz4u.net, and with organizations such as 100,000 Poets for Change, all promoting other people’s work. Suddenly, I had a lot of wonderful people doing things to help me, as well!
I wrote “When My Worlds Collide” after the first time I went to see the Wind in the Leaves Collective. Kevin Ormsby, co-founder and principal dancer of the collective, said I would be so inspired that I would write something which would bring me success. Although I was very tired, “When My Worlds Collide” came to me on the subway, and I stayed up for a couple more hours after arriving home to get it on a Word document.
In April of 2013, it was posted on the blog of the League of Canadian Poets, in honour of National Poetry Month. In May of 2013, I performed it as part of my set during a Wind in the Leaves Collective performance. My editor, Mick Burrs, wants it to be an important piece in my first full manuscript.
Where is your favourite place in Scarborough to go for inspiration?
Scarborough has so many wonderful spots where nature meets civilization, such as Rouge River Valley and Thomson Memorial Park. My absolute favourite place for inspiration in Scarborough, maybe in the world, is anywhere along the Scarborough Bluffs. Bluffers Park is a wonderful place to go, whether alone or with a group. Even just walking to the back of Harrison Estate Park, which houses the Bluffs Gallery and the offices of Scarborough Arts, to look over the edge and see the lake is enough to put me in that sacred state of blessing and creativity and thankfulness.
What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve ever gotten?
Charles Roach was the greatest man I have ever known. Many people know him as a lawyer and social activist, but he also was passionately involved with the arts throughout his noteworthy life.
One time, he took me aside and complimented my work. However, he said if I wanted to write poetry that appeals to people, that I had to write on themes that were appealing and relatable, to not worry primarily about writing for publication but rather for creation, and to always let my listening audience know when the piece was done.
Knowing Charles Roach enriched my poetry, and has made me a better man.
When My Worlds Collide
My world was always meant to come together.
To have flow, unity, and coherence.
Even as a little boy, I lived in many worlds.
Problems always would arise when they would collide.
Especially when I forced them to.
Now, I live in that flow, embrace my reality,
the uniqueness of who I am.
I accept the differences of all the worlds in which I walk.
I love each one of them individually, as well as part of
a collective blessing.
Now, when my worlds collide, there is no confusion,
no fear, no resentment.
And I am free to be myself, not the guy I am
within any crowd.
Now, I can try to help make the world
the kind of place I have always wanted to live in.
Now that my life has begun.
“When My Worlds Collide” originally published on the League of Canadian Poets blog, April 6-7, 2013.