Yolk literary journal invites writers to “Véhicule Poetry Workshop”

Improve your poetry with celebrated Quebec poets this Saturday, Nov. 28

Courtesy Yolk.

Yolk is inviting writers to the world of creativity with poets Endre Farkas and Carmine Starnino. The Montreal-based literary journal has organized “Véhicule Poetry Workshop,” taking place on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Endre Farkas and Carmine Starnino, two famous Quebecois poets, will share their experience and knowledge with “anyone who wants to develop their abilities and learn about the craft of poetry,” said Yolk’s Editor-in-Chief, Josh Quirion.

Quirion described Yolk as “fringe and ear-splitting.” The journal wants to reach readers with a “less traditional method of delivery,” he explained. Therefore, Yolk proposes something more dynamic than a standard workshop to Saturday’s participants.

During the three-hour online event, the maximum 30 participants will be divided into two groups and benefit from two 75-minute workshops by Farkas and Starnino. “The two-for-one formula is a unique format,” said Quirion. 

He assured that there is no degree of achievement or level of proficiency required to participate. The workshop is open to everybody.

With Farkas, the aspiring poets will be challenged with exercises and critical analyses of other participants’ works to develop their own creativity. For this workshop, they are asked to submit two poems in advance.

Starnino’s workshop will focus on linguistic diversity. He will try to bring out the best of the participants’ rhetoric skills.

“They are fantastic writers, and both teachers, too. Not every writer can lead a workshop,” Quirion said.

“Workshops are phenomenal opportunities to learn about the way professionals approach the craft, meet other individuals who share similar interests, and create new work within parameters that are provided by the facilitators.” — Josh Quirion, Editor-in-Chief of Yolk.

Endre Farkas is a Hungarian-born poet who is based in Montreal. His parents, both Holocaust survivors, fled to Quebec when he was an eight-year-old boy, after the Hungarian Uprising in 1956.

He was a literature teacher at John Abbott College for over 30 years. He has published 11 books and is the two-time regional winner of the CBC Poetry “Face Off” Competition.

Farkas was a founding member of The Véhicule Poets, a collective of seven Montreal poets formed in 1970. “We very much look up to their work and philosophy,” enthused Quirion.

The collective established their own publishing house, Véhicule Press, on the premises of Véhicule Art Inc., one of Canada’s first artist-run galleries. Farkas used to be on the editorial board of the imprint.

Véhicule Press exists to this day. Carmine Starnino has been the editor of Signal Editions, the poetry imprint of Véhicule Press, since 2001. He was born in Montreal and has published six collections of poetry. Credo, his second collection, won the Canadian Authors’ Association Prize for poetry in 2001.

Yolk, who will be hosting the event, aims to start offering regular workshops and monthly reading series. “Workshops are phenomenal opportunities to learn about the way professionals approach the craft, meet other individuals who share similar interests, and create new work within parameters that are provided by the facilitators,” Quirion pointed out.

Yolk was founded at the beginning of this year and published its first print edition in September. Moreover, many works are published online on the journal’s website. The editors — consisting of undergraduate, graduate, and graduated writing students — are united by the desire “to create a physical space where literary folk and creatives can come together and experience art collectively,” explained Quirion.

And what is next for Yolk? “Our publication and activity calendar is constantly abuzz,” answered Quirion. “We are always planning something,” he added. Literary trivia nights, holiday book exchanges and new contests are but a few events in the works.

A second print issue is currently being planned; submissions are presently open. In the future, Yolk would like to open its own bookstore, and even establish its own publishing house.

“One of the primary aims of Yolk is gathering and community,” Quirion emphasized. Saturday’s workshop is the first step in this direction. Tickets are $29.90 CAD and can be purchased on Yolk’s website. Keep up with Yolk on Instagram @yolkliterary.