June 5, 2009

Pt 1: Poetry in Canada - We started this segment with a a clip of Rollie Pemberton, better known as Cadence Weapon. He was named the poet laureate for the City of Edmonton last week. And given that virtually every other poet laureate in Canada comes from the print tradition, his selection seems like a bit of a shakeup -- or a shot in the arm -- for Canadian poetry. At least that's how Edmonton's Mayor Stephen Mandel sees it.

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Pt 2: Lebanon Election - On Sunday, Lebanon will head to the polls in a national election with huge implications for one of the most volatile regions on earth. It is a tight race, where an odd alliance between a one-time Christian militia and the Islamic militants of Hezbollah are challenging the son of a murdered former Prime Minister.

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Pt 3: Upper Canada Village - Talk Tape - Along the highway between Toronto and Montreal -- right near Cornwall, Ontario -- there is a sprawling, 60-acre tourist site called Upper Canada Village. Many of you will have heard of it. But judging by its attendance numbers, many of you haven't been there in a while.

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Today's guest host was Evan Solomon.

It's Friday, June 5th.

At least 50 members of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's own party are trying to force him to resign.

Currently, If he is ousted, Prime Minister Brown says he'll join the Conservative Party of Canada ... where no one ever has to resign for anything.

This is The Current.

Part One: Poetry in Canada

We started this segment with a a clip of Rollie Pemberton, better known as Cadence Weapon. He was named the poet laureate for the City of Edmonton last week. And given that virtually every other poet laureate in Canada comes from the print tradition, his selection seems like a bit of a shakeup -- or a shot in the arm -- for Canadian poetry. At least that's how Edmonton's Mayor Stephen Mandel sees it.

And as for Rollie Pemberton, he says his career as a rapper has always been about connecting with his fellow Edmontonians through verse. And there is a precedent of sorts for his appointment.

In April, Halifax named performance poet Shauntay Grant as its poet laureate. We heard what Lori Neilsen Glenn -- her predecessor in that post -- had to say about the appointments.

So changes do seem to be afoot in Canadian poetry. And for their thoughts on what that tells us about the state of Canadian poetry as well as where it's headed, we were joined by Odario Williams. He's the leader of the Winnipeg hip-hop group Grand Analog and he was in Toronto. And Darren Wershler is the former Senior Editor at Coachhouse Books and the author of ten books, including The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting. He's now a professor of Communications at Wilfrid Laurier University and he was in Toronto as well.

Lebanon Election

On Sunday, Lebanon will head to the polls in a national election with huge implications for one of the most volatile regions on earth. It is a tight race, where an odd alliance between a one-time Christian militia and the Islamic militants of Hezbollah are challenging the son of a murdered former Prime Minister.

The campaign is being watched closely by Iran, Syria, Israel and the United States ... all of whom have a sizable stake in the results. Two weeks ago, Saad Hariri -- the leading candidate for Prime Minister and the son of the murdered former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri -- gave an interview to Al Jazeera. We aired a clip with some of what he had to say.

And so the stage is set for one of the most important elections in Lebanon's history. For his thoughts on what's at stake, we're joined by Rami Khouri. He is the Editor-At-Large with the Beirut-based newspaper The Daily Star and the Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. Rami Khouri was in Beirut.

Lebanon Election -

For a generation, Lebanon's politics have been defined by the legacy of the country's brutal civil war. That's still the case. But there's also another spectre that haunts these elections.

On Valentine's Day, 2005 in Beirut was the day former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated. The shockwaves from that blast continue to echo through Lebanese politics.

Last week, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that it had found evidence that Hezbollah was responsible for Hariri's assassination ... something Hizbollah denies.

Nicholas Blanford knows as much about the Hariri case as pretty much anyone else in the world. He's the Beirut Correspondent for the Times of London and the Christian Science Monitor. He is also the author of Killing Mr. Lebanon: The Assassination of Rafik Hariri and Its Impact on The Middle East. Nicholas Blanford was in Beirut.

Upper Canada Village - Talk Tape

Along the highway between Toronto and Montreal -- right near Cornwall, Ontario -- there is a sprawling, 60-acre tourist site called Upper Canada Village. Many of you will have heard of it. But judging by its attendance numbers, many of you haven't been there in a while.

Over the past few years, the number of people visiting the pioneer village has dwindled steadily. So the provincial government has developed a new strategy to try to bring people back. But it has churned up a lot of emotion in the area. And it has set off a debate about how we discover our own history.

Jen Beard has been looking into the story. She's CBC Radio's Network Producer in Ottawa.

Upper Canada Village - Balance

Historic sites such as Upper Canada Village have a tough balance to strike between maintaining the historical integrity of what they're preserving and acknowledging the pressure to entertain while they educate.

Teaching history in an engaging but responsible way is a challenge Deborah Morrison can empathize with. She's the President of Canada's National History Society, the organization that publishes the Beaver and Kayak magazines, both of which are about Canadian history. Deborah Morrison was in our Toronto studio.

Last Word - Grand Analogue & Cadence Weapon

We began the program this morning talking about the state of Canadian poetry in light of the city of Edmonton's decision to make rapper Rollie Pemberton -- better known as Cadence Weapon -- the city's poet laureate. One of the people we spoke to was Odario Williams, the leader of the Winnipeg hip-hop group Grand Analogue. And we ended the program this morning with a collaboration between the two of them. The song is called Light So Bright and it's from Grand Analogue's new album, Metropolis is Burning.

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