Toronto Poetry Slam Founder sees the future in his new book of poems

0
Published by KQP an imprint of ChiZine Publications 2019. Cover design by Jared Shapiro



It was once said that a poet never lies and that was by a contemporary of the ‘immortal bard’ Sir Philip Sidney. And, if that be, then it might be wise to take to heart the futuristic verses of David Silverberg.
Published by KQP an imprint of ChiZine Publications 2019. Cover design by Jared Shapiro
In his newly released “As Close to The Edge Without Going Over” Silverberg pronounces a very coherent reality that is not that farfetched. It is as much rooted in the current time with contemporary references we know, as it reaches out with feelings toward the future that is unknown. 
 
With poems like “Download” Silverberg envisions clearly that with our current path of technological capacity… “I will give you my nightmare for your lucid dream;” will no doubt be tangible once the human brain is hooked up to the Internet and World Wide Web. 
 
This reporter had the opportunity to reach out to Silverberg. He is a man of many talents. In addition to founding Toronto Poetry Slam – one of Canada’s most popular literary events, he is the former editor of and cofounder of Digital Journal
 
Digital Journal is one of the first totally online journalist-driven publications; and now with that groundbreaking work behind him, Silverberg can focus on what he enjoys most, being a poet. He considers poetry universal and not just about “dead white people;” no offense to William Shakespeare or to Sir Philip for that matter. 
 
As someone who ventured into what had been a very speculative venture back in the 1990’s as the Internet was in infant stage, I asked him if he considers himself a pioneer.
 
“I don’t think my ego is sizable enough to characterize myself as a pioneer, he said. But I appreciate the compliment! I think what Digital Journal accomplished by harnessing the power of citizen journalism and creating an engaging news network was truly remarkable, and something I feel honoured to have been a part of soon after I graduated from journalism school.”
 
While it might be said that journalism provided him with a more ‘grounded’ set of skills, poetry has provided something more. For Silverberg the two compliment each other. He explained. “My experience in the spoken word scene has definitely rippled into many areas of my life, from journalism to leading workshops with students to writing this new poetry collection. Spoken word taught me about the rhythm of poetry, said Silverberg.  And, it also helped me in finding what the French call le mot juste – that perfect word.”
 
Even as his prose speak in a very contemporary manner, “I toiled many hours on some sentences in ‘As Close to The Edge’… trying to find the right phrase or word to express what was bubbling inside me.”
David Silverberg, poet, artist, journalist.
Photo by Richard Lett
He went on to say…”Writing spoken word taught me about that discipline, and so did journalism school and my career in journalism. Also, some more spoken-word-friendly poems appear in this new book. Those are pieces I wrote for the stage a couple years ago, such as my ode to the Bookmobile and my poem all about watching horror films.”
 
Praise for his work calls Silverberg’s book of more than 40 poems, “a time machine. With nostalgia and wit.”  The fact that some references in Silverberg’s poems are in a 20th Century context, I still consider this work futuristic; as much of it expands way, way forward.   
 
Interestingly, Sir Philip Sidney as a scholar and a poet, clarified there were three types of poetry. For him these were: religious poetry, philosophical poetry and verses of an ‘imaginative treatment’ of life and nature. 
 
It is apparent to me that Silverberg has used all of his skills in imagining life into the not too distant future. And, perhaps with Sidney’s clarifications in mind, it could be said that Silverberg’s work is prophetic – perhaps very much like that of authors Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. 
 
Published by KQP an imprint of ChiZine Publications, Peterborough, Canada, “As Close to The Edge Without Going Over” can be purchased online through retailers. To learn more about poet, artist and educator David Silverberg, visit his web site and pages on Twitter.