A Call for Participants

Some of you will be seeing this post in your blog tracker after having just had to face a similar announcement on your Facebook or Twitter. For this I apologize. What we at Vox Pop, and the Torontoist Book Page, lack in getting things done early, we more than make up for in overdoing them at the last second.

In search of a fun and engaging project for National Poetry Month, the folks at The Torontoist asked me to think about what I might want to do as part of my occasional poetry coverage, what with April fast approaching. After some long walks in the proverbial snow, I decided on a theme: optimism. Optimism as a naive joy, as a specific choice, and as a stubbornly revolutionary force in the face of some bad times for Canadian poets (arts cuts, magazine cuts, a certain growing apathy, institutional indifference, etc). Optimism is the thing I’d most like to see people talking about. And who better to talk about it than the preternaturally optimistic, the most devoutly optimistic social grouping, the young people.

So, on that note, what The Torontoist would like to do is…

The Torontoist’s Book Page and Vox Populism Present:
THE OPTIMISMS PROJECT: A National Poetry Month Thing

-we’d like to cobble together 30 or so poets, all under the age of 30, and give them some space (100-150 words) to express, in whatever way they choose, what makes them feel optimistic about the future of poetry in Canada. The word Optimism is pluralized in the project title for a reason; we hope to have diverse, surprising, and even contradictory hopes expressed in the same space. Submissions could be prose, poetry, general, specific, practical, fantastical, whatever. Again: diversity, and surprise, are our hopes. We’re “optimistic” that we’ll get some of both.

-each day in April we will feature the optimism of a separate poet, published on The Torontoist’s Book Page with a photo, a short (25 word max) bio, and any internet linkups they may desire.

-in terms of eligibility, it’s wide open (published, unpublished, “novice”, etc), and will run under something approximating a first-come, first-serve basis. If we have to double up, we may. I’m thinking a birth year of 1980, or later. But we’re flexible. University Teachers: I’m relying on you for leads. High School Teachers: You too. Young, established (or establishing poets): Submit yourselves. Everyone else: I have a hunch you might know someone who’d be a great fit.

-If you could please forward this Call for Submissions as widely as possible, I’d be grateful. April approacheth quickly. Submissions should be e-mailed, as soon as humanly possible, to optimismsproject@gmail.com. Though it’s the “Torontoist” book page, we hope to have submissions from all over the country.


Anyway, if you’ve survived your multiplatform spamming, and still feel somewhat affectionate towards me, please consider who in your life might be a good fit for this project (Note: It might be you…) and forward accordingly. Time is something of the essence.

Jacob McArthur Mooney,
Vox Populism.

Explore posts in the same categories: Canadian Literature, Collaborations, Fellow Bloggers, Poems in the Wider World, Top Ten of the 2000s

5 Comments on “A Call for Participants”

  1. Fran Says:


    Not fair to limit the age to me
    I am optimistic at nearly fifty
    I opt to say
    its not fair this way
    and requst a review of the age decree!!

  2. voxpopulism Says:


    Alas, my optimism searches
    have lead to different perches
    than those for your birth year.

    But if you think it’s so unfair,
    then I’d invite you to share
    your wisdom with us here.

    For while they say that it’s easy
    for the young to feel breezy,
    someone forgot to tell my peers.

    So this project will skew young
    but there might be another one,
    where your own fine words may appear.

  3. Fran Says:


    I shall do that my friend
    So this rhyming battle may end
    and thank you for your open invitation

    I suspect you will find
    a deep regret in your mind
    when my words bring an emotion & elation

    I am rhyming quickly on here
    but now will disappear
    and ponder on this optimistic infatuation

    For not only my age do I defend
    but all other poets who depend
    On my ward of the 50+ reputation!

  4. Fran Says:


    She has it now, it was stolen from her a while
    But now optimism is back and she can smile
    Wonderful optimism; the belief that the best will be
    It has now returned, after the departure of “he”

    Her optimistic outlook was dissolved by him
    In a cocktail of negativity and criticism
    She drank this cocktail and let it digest
    Over twenty four years,unfortunate regret

    Her world without optimism was pure pretence
    She chose the road of sacrifice and took his nonsense
    He cloaked her in a pessimistic shroud
    They seemed “so happy” to the unknowing crowd

    She claimed her freedom through separation and divorce
    Optimism is something she no longer has to outsource
    Young people, under 30 vow, “That will never be me”
    Optimism agrees and proclaims “the best will be”!

  5. […] response to to the call for submissions on optimism (see Jacob MacArthur Mooney’s blog) it seems a bit obvious to write about publishing, but I’m going to do it anyway. First, full […]

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