Canada: Redpath Sugar asked Toronto’s poet laureate to write a poem for its anniversary, but he refused to sugar-coat it - PressFrom - Canada

CanadaRedpath Sugar asked Toronto’s poet laureate to write a poem for its anniversary, but he refused to sugar-coat it

15:20  24 may  2019
15:20  24 may  2019 Source:

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A poet laureate (plural: poets laureate ) is a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring institution, typically expected to compose poems for special events and occasions.

People who never read poetry don’t write poems that are worth reading. It seems odd to me that anyone who hates reading poetry should want to write it at all. If a poem is to work, the voice in it has to sound like the real voice of a real person. It is something I want to do for its own sake. So is writing poetry .

Redpath Sugar asked Toronto’s poet laureate to write a poem for its anniversary, but he refused to sugar-coat it© Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited Toronto's poet laureate Albert (A.F.) Moritz was commissioned to write a poem for Redpath Sugar's 150th anniversary and he was supposed to read it at the factory's Open Doors event on Saturday, but the company said it was "not celebratory enough."

Doesn’t that which we call a poem, whether or not it befits its commissioned aim, sound just as sweet?

No, at least not according to Redpath Sugar.

To mark the occasion of its 60th anniversary on Toronto’s waterfront, the 150-year-old sugar company commissioned Toronto’s poet laureate, Albert (A.F.) Moritz, to write a poem, which he was scheduled to read at Saturday’s Doors Open event at Redpath’s historic factory.

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Redpath Sugar has been a staple in kitchens all across Canada since 1854, supporting cooks and bakers nation-wide for more than 160 years. Crafting Sugar since 1854. Learn more about our products.

Don’t be afraid to write a bad poem . You can write a better one later. Find unusual subject matter — a teapot, a shelf, a wall. But there are those of us who thrive on language and who still appreciate a poem and its power to move us emotionally. It ’ s our job to keep great poetry writing alive.

But on Thursday morning Moritz received word that his poem was dropped from the schedule.

The poem, which addresses the less savoury parts of the sugar industry’s history, was “not celebratory enough,” Moritz was told.

He said he isn’t sure what exactly about his poem the company didn’t like, but he figures it was probably the stuff about slavery and exploitation.

“The poem is about the totality of the industrial system, including the sugar production system from plantation to candy bar,” he said. “So the creation of the plantation system with the consequent destruction of the previous Indigenous ways of life and so forth. It’s not tremendously dark. It’s not a thumping social protest poem against slavery or anything like that, but it distinctly has those elements in it. So my guess is that’s what they didn’t like.”

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Sometimes, a poet uses punctuation in a poem and sometimes he or she does not. To examine the possibilities, I've brought together four poems without punctuation written by respected poets . In this first vividly realized poem by Lucille Clifton

The Redpath Sugar Building is a sugar storage, refining and museum building in Toronto , Ontario, Canada. The building is located just east of downtown at the foot of Jarvis Street at Queens Quay. The building, opened in 1958, houses the storage and refining plant for Toronto -based Redpath Sugar .

A spokeswoman for Redpath Sugar confirmed Moritz’s poem was dropped from Saturday’s event. “It is a beautiful poem that reflects upon the history of sugar and we hope to showcase it in the context of our museum where we highlight the deep roots and traditions of the sugar industry,” Nancy Gavin wrote in an email to the Star. “However, the event this weekend is focused on celebrating Redpath’s history on Toronto’s waterfront and our contributions to the City of Toronto, which the City will recognize with a presentation.”

Gavin said Moritz was still welcome to attend Saturday’s event.

Sally Han, who manages cultural partnerships for the City of Toronto, said the city asked Moritz to write the poem on Redpath’s behalf.

“Our understanding is that the organizers of the celebration event decided that they found the tone and some of the content of the poem too dark and not in keeping with their celebrations,” Han said in a statement, describing Moritz’s poem as “an exceptionally beautiful and thoughtful work.”

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For media inquiries related to Redpath Sugar . Contact Us. Human Resources. Interested in Redpath Sugar opportunities? Redpath sugar is part of asr group. ShareThis Copy and Paste. Please enter a valid recipient email address..

How to Write Poetry . Did you know that poems take root in the found objects and slammed doors of Try using any part of, or all of, the material in any way you want—a line from your dream might work well on its own or Think of the poem as a dream or a psalm you are inventing, and don't force it .

Han said it’s “entirely within the prerogative” of Redpath Sugar to decide what it wants in its celebrations. “Artists have a function and role in society to remember our collective histories, to speak truth, and to celebrate human accomplishment within the larger currents of history, time and place.”

Moritz, who has written several commissioned poems, said he has never been disinvited like this before but he doesn’t feel censored. He likened the situation to a couple not wanting something read at their wedding. “It’s their event,” he said. “You can’t object to that.”

Moritz’s poem, which is titled “The Current of the Sugar,” is written in the form of a glosa, which takes four lines from an admired poem and uses them as the last lines in a new four-stanza poem. The four lines Moritz uses are from a poem written in 1858 by John Redpath, Redpath Sugar’s founder.

Moritz, who wasn’t paid for writing the poem but saw it as part of his job as poet laureate, was excited about the assignment, in part, because industry and the industrial system have long been a focus of his work.

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Redpath Sugar Limited is a Canadian sugar refining company founded in 1854. Headquartered in Toronto , Ontario - with an additional packaging plant in Belleville, Ontario - Redpath Sugar is a subsidiary of the multinational American Sugar Refining.

The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—commonly referred to as the United States Poet Laureate —serves as the official poet of the United States. During their term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and

“I thought this poem request was right up my alley,” he said. “It would bring out themes and knowledge that have been important to me as a person and my work as a poet for years.”

Although he is disappointed by Redpath Sugar’s decision, he said he is still grateful for the assignment, calling it “a kind of gift.”

“I don’t regret writing the poem at all just because Redpath doesn’t want it,” he said. “What this assignment did is evoke something in me and give me a chance to say it. It wasn’t artificial in any way.”

The Current of the Sugar, by A.F. Moritz

The lord gave us a beauteous flower

To cherish for a day,

And in the morn his angel sent

To take our flower away.

—John Redpath

Down a shady lane through the sugar cane, the good

old song tells us, a burly bum came hiking,

singing of the land of honey. In the sun,

the canes were arrowing far above his head,

the white-shining flags, proud horsetails, each one made

of thousands of flowers, each flower with its single seed,

preparing the sugar of next year—our dower

we never earned. Given for no reason from the earth,

and beautiful. So that the cane could never be

only a grass for humans to see and devour,

wisely the lord gave us a beautiful flower.

Soon the cutters would have to come to the fields,

bent, with heavy knives felling the shade,

cutting stems into even lengths, bundling, stacking,

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Illinois appointed its first poet laureate , Howard Austin, in 1936. It was a lifetime appointment. Following Austin for the rest of their lifetimes Critics accused Baraka of racism and anti-Semitism.[34] Baraka refused to resign, and because the statute did not allow the governor to remove him from the

Explore our Poets Laureate map to find out more about Poets Laureate across Canada! If you have a correction or would like to add a Poet Laureate , please email [email protected] poets .ca.

discarding the flowers, then in the sweat of their brows

returning from the brutal beautiful sun

in the cooler evening, the greatening dark, their children

seeming to merge into night. And in this way,

the old life in forests and on shores almost gone,

the people lived, in mighty despair could laugh and pray,

and the earth still had them to cherish for a day.

I’ve seen the sugar in port before the lading

being washed to exorcise the impure, the molasses

that otherwise would settle to wormwood tar.

We’ve seen the great bulk carrier in glassy or heavy seas,

stolidly coming. In Youngstown once in the furnace

we saw iron for her hull still only liquid fire.

Our daughters were born and died, and in our mourning

we went back to the office or the line,

to the mill, now our whole world, our blessing, our warning.

The lord saw, and sent his angel in the morning.

One day by Sugar Beach the Solina docked—

home port Nassau, under flag of the Bahamas, the heaven

of the sugar cane. Was she the angel?—Solina,

sunlight in the eastern wind, floating castle of steel.

A towering loader stabbed its green beak down her hold,

swivelled...into the factory bays poured torrents

of raw grains. The whole current of the sugar lay

there in our seeing, from sunburst panicle to marzipan rosette,

the world-stream where all will drink health every day ….

Brendan Kennedy is a Toronto-based investigative reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @BKennedyStar

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