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PoeTrain to stop in Jasper

11138595_855140554531539_6130162953233520612_nNearly 20 Canadian poets—and a poetry writing robot—are headed to Jasper on the Great Canadian PoeTrain.

The tour, in celebration of National Poetry Month, will stop at the Jasper Heritage Train Station Friday, April 24. If the train is on schedule, it’s expected to arrive around 1 p.m., giving the poets an opportunity to perform in the station before heading off to Vancouver, B.C.

“We just have to cross our fingers that the train is on time,” said David Brydges, artist director of PoeTrain 2015.

If it is, the poets will have an hour to share songs and poems. But, whatever the case, if there is an opportunity to get off the train in Jasper, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, Brydges said there will be some type of performance.

The train left Ottawa on April 15 and has stopped in Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton, where the poets have performed along with kulturBOT 3.0—a robotic artwork created by David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller.

KulturBOT 3.0 is a self-publishing robot that produces found poetry derived from the writings of geographer and fur trader, David Thompson.

“It doesn’t talk,” said Brydges. “It needs the social interaction of the poet to give it a voice. It’s quite neat.”

The robot is built from parts of a vacuum cleaner, a lemon juicer and a pasta strainer and prints out its nonsensical verse for poets to read aloud.

Brydges said it’s been interesting to watch how people react to kulturBOT, some with trepidation and others with excitement.

“One woman even put her beret on top of it, to give it that bohemian look,” he said with a laugh.

To learn more about the Great Canadian PoeTrain, visit

Nicole Veerman

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