Poetry Invites

Poetry Invites February

Inspired by Local History or a Childhood Memory

I’m always fascinated by the stories of a place and how a town has changed over time. We are lucky to have a rich history in Cobourg. In my own family history research, I have found connections to a Métis ancestor who travelled to Cobourg on the waterways as a guide for Anna Bronwell Jameson (documented in her book Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada). She writes about her interpreter old Solomon and her travels along the waterways, including a trip to Cobourg. I also read that Solomon attended school in Cobourg in the mid-1800s even though his family lived in Penetanguishene at the time. How does your family history connect with Cobourg?

In more recent history, my dad likes to tell me about the time his family went camping at the trailer park by the Cobourg Beach when he was a child. What would your parents tell you about what Cobourg was like when they were kids? Or when you were a child?

Given that it still isn’t easy to get out and about I wanted to gather some resources that I found interesting about Cobourg’s history for you to explore for some inspiration. What would life have felt like then? What challenges would the community have faced? What brought them joy? What was simpler or more complicated than now? Who’s stories are missing? What voices from that time are harder to hear? How can we find out what they would say too?

When I write a poem inspired by history, I begin by spending some time absorbing myself in learning more. Start with questions and collect as many as you can. Then take the questions that most intrigue you and begin to look for places you might find answers. Your poem can be inspired by a feeling, a reflection, a story, a relationship, a place, an issue, a theme, or a particular moment in time. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming when there is so much information and so many interesting questions to pursue. This is when you need to just make a choice (even randomly) and commit to following where it leads. You’ve got this!

Our Evolving eChapbook

Have a look at what we created last month!

More Resources

Links and Groups

If you know of other great places to look for inspiration about our local history, please add in the comments below.

Read more about the Poetry Invites Project and about how to submit a poem to our eChapbook.

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