North of Invention, a festival of Canadian poetry, kicks off today in Philadelphia and will move to NYC this weekend:

North of Invention presents 10 Canadian poets working at the cutting edge of contemporary poetic practice, bringing them first to the Kelly Writers House, then to Poets House in New York City for two days of readings, presentations and discussion in each location. Celebrating the breadth and complexity of poetic experimentation in Canada, North of Invention features emerging and established poets working across multiple traditions, and represents nearly fifty years of experimental writing. North of Invention aims to initiate a new dialogue in North American poetics, addressing the hotly debated areas of "innovation" and "conceptual writing," the history of sound poetry and contemporary performance, multilingualism and translation, and connections to activism.

Visiting Canadians include a. rawlings, Fred Wah, Christian Bök, M. Nourbese Philip, Stephen Collis, Nicole Brossard, Jeff Derksen, Jordan Scott, Adeena Karasick, and Lisa Robertson. Phew! The Philadelphia portion of the conference will be available as a live video stream from the Kelly Writer’s House website, beginning around 10am this morning, and continuing through tomorrow. View a schedule here, and tune in whenever you like.

Also, Lemon Hound has just posted an interview with poet and conference organizer Sarah Dowling, in which she discusses the scope of such exchanges:

I think it would be really exciting to see more international exchanges among poets and writers, it is also important to make space for emergent practices, especially local practices, and to create opportunities for geographically proximate communities to begin new conversations. Having international conferences is great, but the difficulty involved in funding and organizing such conferences can also be viewed as an opportunity to focus attention on what’s happening locally, to think about what can be done for free, and to create communities and conversations around that work.

Originally Published: January 20th, 2011