Let's thank Ottawa poet Michael Dennis for all he has done for poetry!
From March 2013 until March 2020, Michael wrote about 812 poetry books — for much of that time, he was posting three to four appreciations a week on his blog, Today's book of poetry. Michael wrote only about books he liked: he didn't set out to be a literary critic but to share his enthusiasm for his greatest literary love: damn good poems.
Michael wrote about some poets we knew or had heard of, but for most of us, each new blog was an introduction to a poet we might never have otherwise come across. Michael also took great pleasure in keying in two or three poems from each book. So we not only had Michael's entertaining, punchy, admiring words — we had full poems from each book he wrote about.
And Michael did all this for free. He never asked us for a cent. For seven years. And those appreciations are all online at http://michaeldennispoet.blogspot.com/ — it's an incredible blog worth exploring.
I speak to Michael a lot, and I know he treated this as perhaps the most enjoyable full-time job he could imagine. In a better world, he'd be paid for that devotion and his selfless labour.
Now, due to circumstances beyond his control, Michael has written his last blog entry. I think it would be a lovely time for us to show him our appreciation. If you're able, I encourage you to contribute any amount — $5, $10, $25, $50, or more: whatever might work for you. Michael doesn't have a traditional job — his job is poetry. And although he is only tolerating me creating this gofundme campaign, he says the funds would be greatly appreciated.
With a contribution to this campaign, you can thank Michael for his decades of service to poetry — and these last seven years of promoting the works of poets and publishers from North America and beyond. And if you happen to know Michael personally, you can also thank him for his generosity, his poetry, his compassion, his beautiful humanness.
All funds donated, less GoFundMe's small share, go directly to Michael. Although I've set an initial goal of $2,000, I encourage you to keep contributing if the goal is surpassed.
Thank you so much!
PS — I see that gofundme has added that I am running this campaign "on behalf of Kirsty Jackson." All this means is that it's Michael's wife, Kirsty, who is going to directly withdraw the funds on behalf of Michael (who's a bit of a Luddite).
- Jean Van Loon
- John Levy
Organizer and beneficiary
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