Get Creative at the Library

Get Creative at the Library

Join me at the Central Library for some creative discovery. We’ll be drawing with Augmented Reality, and editing photos and videos with mobile apps to harness the creative power of that smartphone in your pocket.

Thursday, Sept 19, 4:30 to 6:30 Central Branch

Creating with technology calls for a poke and play mindset. 

There are no wrong answers.

Let your curiosity, your courage and creativity awaken your sense of play.

We will be using apps that are listed on the Community Resources page. Bring your curiosity! This is “discovery learning” — when you jump into mobile photo and video editing and drawing in AR. Technology, apps, are all changing so quickly nowadays that it isn’t really possible to learn “how to do” — now you need to learn “how to learn” through what I like to call, the poke and play method.

It’s creative thinking that is good for you and your brain. What happens when I do this…? and this? And what happens when I combine these two actions together? Ask questions, be curious, test and find out. A perfect mindset for science literacy week!

Drawing in Augmented Reality is a full-body, 3D experience. Come out and try it out! Let’s get creative together!

Poster for Library Drawing with AR
This program is offered in partnership with the London Public Library

There are many programs being offered at the London Public library branches for Science Literacy Week. Check them out here. We are so fortunate to have such rich programming and amazing facilities here in London through our library system. Visit your neighbourhood branch and join in!

If you are on the West coast, join poet Natasha Boskic and me for some creative play with Words and Media for Culture Days Vancouver! And to experience an interactive Augmented Reality, participatory installation — find us at one of these Word Vancouver, Bowen Island, or Victoria Library events with Still/ed Here. On Newcomer Day, Still/ed Here will be coming to London!

International Travel for River Revery

International Travel for River Revery

Wishing Well and Silicon Valley have been selected for the Newlyn Film Festival occurring this weekend in Penzance, UK. Both of these films were shown at the wonderful Reel Poetry festival in Houston, Texas. And on April 11 Wishing Well will be shown here at the London public library for Gathering Voices, and across the ocean at #OER19 in Galway, Ireland, land of the poets! Penn Kemp’s beautiful text travels out into the world to be heard by audiences across the water!

I was very lucky to be able to accompany Wishing Well and Silicon Valley to Houston for Reel Poetry festival where I was warm welcomed by the wonderful people I met. I experienced a wide variety of poetry and explored the roots of the poetry film genre through the events and workshops they had organized. I participated on an international panel discussion of creating poetry films. I’m glad to say that both poetry films were very well received by both the Houston audiences and the other international poetry filmmakers! I’m looking forward to connecting further with the poetry filmmakers I met through Reel Poetry and will introduce you to them in further posts when I am finished my wandering travels, spreading the word about poetry films and River Revery!

And in other news, in preparation for upcoming workshops, a new Community Resources page has been added to the Story Wall section of the website. Stay tuned for downloadable images, video, nature sounds and music clips to jumpstart or remix your own project!

announcing international Travel for River Rivery with yellow forsythia blossoms up close in London Ontario
magic blooms….

You are invited to Gathering Voices

Join in the Gathering Voices reading to celebrate April, National poetry month! Celebrate poetry, and our natural Canadian beauty at London Public Library!

Thursday, April 11, 2019. 7-8:30 pm. Gathering VoicesKaterina Fretwell, Penn Kemp, Susan McCaslin and Susan McMaster are reading for National Poetry Month on the theme of Nature: We’ll be showing Mary McDonald’s 4-minute film interpreting Penn’s poem, “Wishing Well”, from
Stevenson & Hunt Room, Central Library, 251 Dundas Street, London, Ontario N6A 6H9. Sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets. 

sun coming in to light up berries in London, Ontario

Across the ocean, on the same day, April 11, Wishing Well will also be shown at the Open Educational Resources Conference in Galway, Ireland as an example of how connecting artists and community together can create a resource which can be used for many levels of education.

Become part of the River Revery story and join the Gathering Voices on April 11 in London! This is where the magic happens — community, poetry, nature, sound and visual delights….join in!

Exploring the text of River Revery

Harold Rhenish is the author of a beautiful blog series, Okanagan Okanagan — Reclaiming the Art of Living on the Earth.,  featuring gorgeous photographs and a detailed investigation into the language of poetry.

He has explored text from “River Revery” in intricate detail on two of his extraordinary blogs: Towards a New Cartography Part 3  and Reading Penn Kemp and the World: The Role of Poetry in Civic Planning. 

Reading his work will allow you to look through his eyes and see and hear the beauty within the world as he does — an incredible gift, a beautiful read for a Sunday afternoon on the cusp of spring.

People are talking about River Revery!

The news is spreading across Canada and people are talking about River Revery. Radio host Carmelo Militano recorded an interesting conversation with Penn on River Revery for his show at the University of Winnipeg.

Susan McCaslin commented: “Just listened to this very deep and engaging interview with Carmelo Militano, Penn. You two are a good team as interviewer and interviewee. I think his term “archeologist of the heart” is very fitting to describe you and your work, but I would add “sonic delver” to the mix. I appreciate your poetics of stepping into the unknown and moving into the transpersonal, inclusive, larger fields rather than getting stuck in the merely personal. At this stage of our lives and of history, we are lured, compelled, drawn by the call to expand, deepen, and serve the larger world, the earth, Gaia.”

Join in and become part of the story! And people, let’s talk about River Revery, let’s start talking about the beauty of our river, its natural environment, and our community of London, Ontario!

talking about River Revery, close up of seed head, wild native grass found along the banks of the Thames River, London, Ontario
Life Within by Mary McDonald

River Revery at Wordsfest!

River Revery is stepping out into the world!!

The first half of River Revery was exhibited at Wordsfest, held at Museum London, Nov 2 to 4. The Augmented Reality Art Exhibit was on display throughout the weekend in the brand new, gorgeous Centre at the Forks space.

Augmented Reality Art exhibit at Centre at the Forks -- 4 pieces of art on stands in front of the windows
Augmented Reality Art exhibit

Three of the short film animations were screened for Tom Cull‘s, Poet Laureate Presents series, River of Words. It was exciting to present both the Augmented Reality art exhibit, the animations on the big screen at Museum London, and to be part of London’s Wordsfest, joining with illustrious Canadian writers.  

Stay tuned for more River Revery events!

How River Revery began….

How River Revery began….

River Revery began with a tiny idea, and in the excitement that collaboration can inspire, the whole of River Revery was born. River Revery is a collaboration of poetry commingling with visual, moving art. Poetry becomes fluid through transmedia storytelling, through visualization, through animation.

Join us by becoming part of the story. Upload your images/thoughts/poetic words to Instagram to #riverreveryldn.

Your story about our river will become part of our story and will be featured here, on the Story Wall.


Image for River Revery began, a View of the River from Kilally Meadows inner bay, London, Ontario


Penn’s story…

River Revery expands print publication in employing innovative transmedia platforms to engage and inspire new audiences, youth in particular. River Revery reflects our ongoing concerns as artists deeply involved with our particular place and cultural community.

As a writer, I’m interested in exploring the natural world as it impinges on urban realities. Outside my window, jackhammers awaken the day, digging up a city road to reveal an underground stream. Medway Creek at the end of my street flows into the Thames, which swallows it whole and continues through the city and on, to debouche into Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie and the Atlantic Ocean.

The river Thames winds through the city of London, forking into two streams; thus it was named Askunessippi, “the antlered river,” by the original Algonquin inhabitants. For our Indigenous communities, it is“Deshkan Ziibiing” or “Antler River”. French explorers called the river “la tranche”, the ditch. Its current name derives from its colonial progenitor, a river goddess called “Tamesis”, the Celtic word for “Dark Flow”. The name is a palimpsest: in calling the river a familiar, comforting name from the Old Country, English settlers colonized the forbidding new territory. The name reflects life as a pale imitation of ‘home’, rather than embracing the vibrancy of this river as it is. The Thames waters my garden, real and imaginary, “with real toads in them”.

I was first inspired to write about the Thames when taking part in the Kuhlehorn project in 2008. A group of artists and environmentalists recreated painter Paul Peel’s 1877 journey with his mentor, William Lees Judson, down the Thames. Present day canoeists paddled from London’s pump house to the mouth of the Thames. Our art show, “The Thames Revisited,” was exhibited at 1st Hussars Museum in London ON.

In my writing on local hero and global explorer Teresa Harris, the river symbolized Teresa’s escape route from her home at Eldon House in colonial London. I envisioned her turning to the river as a child and returning on her death bed.

Penn Kemp

image for river revery began waves glyph

Mary’s story….

For me, River Revery began with images. I walk daily in London’s many natural areas around the river. As I walk, I notice small details — suspended moments that catch my attention with their beauty. These small moments of beauty remind me, as do Penn’s River Revery poems, of the impermanence and flux in which we live.

image for River Revery began, a clump of snow cradled in the curled lip of a dried leaf still clinging to the branch

Winter Cradled

Still images are translated into movement as the images are layered, superimposed upon other still images or video — transfigured. Using digital editing, montage and stop motion techniques these separate images flow together, creating my animated response to Penn’s poetic words. I hope that these poems and artistic interpretations call us to value and protect the glorious natural world that surrounds us every day, here in our home, along our beloved River, in London.

Mary McDonald