Skip to content

Wade into writing with poetry installation at Sidelaunch Days

The writing is on the wave during Sidelaunch Days with a semi-permanent poetry and art installation planned for Collingwood's waterfront.
Day Merrill, Collingwood's poet laureate, stands in front of the poetry booth and the mural wall that will be set up for Sidelaunch Days. The wall will be complete with waves and Sidelaunch attendees are encouraged to leave their mark on this semi-permanent installation. Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

While you’re attending Sidelaunch Days activities on the waterfront, you’ll be encouraged to colour on the wall.

One wall in particular - don’t get too crazy!

Collingwood’s poet laureate, Day Merrill, has worked with town staff to prepare a section of the plywood wall standing between the undeveloped build site and the waterfront with blue waves. Event goers will be encouraged to take a marker and add a line of poetry, a song lyric, a word or even their name to the wall for what will be a semi-permanent installation called Writing the Wave.

“This is a chance to say, ‘I was here,’” said Merrill. “They will have literally left their mark … People want to be known. Our greatest fear is that nobody will ever remember us.”

In addition to the mural, located at the north end of Pine Street, there will be a poetry booth nearby. The hut will have a large window opened to a view of the water and harbour and inside will be a table, a chair and a “quirky” keyboard that simulates a typewriter. Merrill hopes people will use the booth to reflect and write something that will later be shared on the website.

“We love words and we want people to have a vibrant, fun relationship with language,” said Merrill. “Writing taps into a different part of our brain that thinking and speaking do not.”

Sidelaunch Days takes place this weekend, Aug. 11 and 12, and includes various water and shoreline activities such as wakeboarding, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, flying kites and more.

“Sidelaunch Days is something that is a multi-sensory experience,” said Merrill, adding the poetry booth and Writing the Wave activities offer an opportunity for those having the multi-sensory experiences to take a moment, reflect and capture their thoughts during the high-energy event. “They can move from sensing to their thoughts about that and how they feel about it. That can sometimes lead to a moment of inspiration.”

The Sidelaunch installations are all about participation. Merrill hopes this and her other work through the year will help make poetry more accessible to more people.

“For a lot of people, it doesn’t occur to them that writing is something they can do for pleasure,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what people are going to produce.”

Merrill will be at the waterfront at the North end of Pine Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days and is happy to help get you started on an original creation.



Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter, photographer and community editor.
Read more