The Ladysmith Art Council has announced their inaugural Poet in Residence, John Edwards.
Edwards was born in 1946 in London, England. He holds six degrees, and is a Rhodes Scholar in classical languages at Oxford University. He is a poet, a painter, and an organic quince and hay farmer on 100 acres in Yellow Point. Edwards is a volunteer instructor at the VIU Elder College and teaches a variety of courses on English literature, classical poetry, and greek philosophy.
“The Arts Council of Ladysmith is excited to have John as part of our team and feel this an important step for the arts. John is a master at his craft and continues to share his knowledge at VIU and will be hosting classes at the gallery for those who want to learn,” Art Council president, Kathy Holmes said.
With his education in classical languages, Edwards does many translations of classical poems. He takes the original poem, works with a literal translation, and recasts the language into English poetics.
“It’s difficult to do that. When I write my own poetry, it’s me. But when I’m translating I’m trying to get into the mind of whoever this person was 2,000 years ago,” Edwards said.
Edwards has published numerous scholarly articles, poetry books, and translations. His publications include The Iconoclastic Satires of Persius; The Urbane Satires of Horatius; The Love Poems of Sappho and Anakreon; and an epic poem, The Straits of Anian, which describes life on Vancouver Island from 1588 until today. It is presently being illustrated before publication.
In his original poetry, Edwards enjoys celebrating nature. He gets his inspiration from the landscapes of Ladysmith, the Cowichan Valley, and his farm in Yellow Point.
The Ladysmith Art Council created the Poet in Residence program to create awareness of literature in the community, as well as support poets, students, and budding writers of all kinds in 2020.
Edwards’ first official duty will be to open the Waterfront Gallery’s Love exhibition on February 1 with an original poem. Edwards will also offer a workshop, To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme in April at the Waterfront Gallery. He will give other workshops in April. The workshops will not be as academic as his courses at the Elder College – Edwards aims to inspire writers to write in a way that’s accessible.
“I hope that more people will want to try the craft of writing,” Edwards said. “It’s somewhere for people to have a voice.”