“Not all men die
Some walk into history
To dwell there everlasting,”
This an excerpt of a poem written by an 18-year-old Nigerian man named Membis Godwin, one of the many writers featured in Leaves of the Poet Tree, a poetry anthology being put together by Niagara Falls resident Andrew Aitken, founder of writtenrock.ca.
The book is aimed to bring published and non-published authors from around Niagara and the globe together, with the hopes of inspiring more people to take up pen and prose, said Aitken.
He said he’s been dedicated to putting the collection together, with the hopes of mixing amateur writers with some of the world’s best songwriters, poets, lyricists, motivational speakers, philosophers and creative minds.
So far, the book has garnered submissions from more than 30 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Trinidad, Bangladesh, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Poland, Italy, Japan, India and Iraq, said Aitken.
Some notable names including Robbie G, Les Trent, Adam Bomb, Ina Matrex, Tila Tequila, Jeremy Mac and Allen R. Hamilton.
This book will be the second volume of the Leaves of the Poet Tree series, both inspired by the talent Aitken has seen across Niagara.
“We have a lot of talent in our communities and I found it fascinating to place it together. Now we want to take that talent and publish it alongside the best writers in the world and hopefully that will inspire even more people to take part in every new addition,” said Aitken.
“There are people (to be in the book) who have never had their work published before, so when they see their poems published alongside some of the best writers in the world it's going to give them a massive boost of confidence in their writing capability.”
“That's why I do what I do because I have the chance to help people's dreams come true and that's a dream of mine that is coming true itself.”
He said Written Rock started accepting submissions for the book in September, originally with the hope of getting submissions from across Canada. He says he’s been “overwhelmed” with worldwide contributions, including Godwin’s.
Godwin, who has never been published in Canada, said he is “happy and honoured” to be a part of Leaves of the Poet Tree.
Some of Niagara’s contributors include Cory Cruise, the Kac Himself, Ryan Lunn, Carina Frammartino, Rich Aucoin, Bill Biggins, Adam Middleton and Nick Nagel.
Aitken is still currently working on how he will be releasing the book, but said it will be available as an e-book on the Written Rock website.
He is still accepting poetry submissions until Nov. 30, which can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or through a contact form on writtenrock.ca.
The first Leaves of the Poet Tree can be downloaded for free at, writtenrock.ca/the-bookshelf.html. The first volume contains more than 20 Niagara authors, including Justin Preston, Dakota Bennett, Peggy Cudmore, Adam Middleton and Alicia Martin.
Aitken said the first volume recently passed 10,000 downloads.
“(The first book) was actually the inspiration for Written Rock,” said Aitken.
“Seeing the passion and excitement of the authors involved really inspired me to want to do that with my life and since then I've dedicated my all to helping people realize their creativity.”
Aitken founded Written Rock in 2013 and has since taken to the road to do a variety of different events to promote reading and literacy.
He’s travelled with Written Rock volunteers from Niagara to Toronto for three literacy tours and is in the midst of planning a fourth for 2018.
During the literacy tours, Aitken stops at events and does his best to create “one-of-a-kind” books written by the people attending, whereby participants add one sentence to a story, and the next person continues — sort of like Whose Line is it Anyways?
He said Written Rock is looking to break the Guinness world record for the most people to write a story in 24 hours.
“Currently, the record is only 1178 people,” said Aitken.
He said he’s developed a strategy to beat the record, having practiced at events like Niagara Falls Comic-Con, Fort Erie Friendship Festival, Canal Days, Ridgefest, Heaters Heroes, and Niagara Falls Buskerfest.
“We've developed a strategy where we can efficiently process over 500 people in three hours, so now we just need the right event to break it,” said Aitken.
Currently he’s looking for investors to help him bring down a Guinness adjudicator, which costs upwards of $10,000.
He says on top of that, Written Rock is in the process of developing its own paper and ink, ink which he said will be “infused with crystals to actually resonate and amplify the creative energy we all possess.”
“When we expand into printing next year, our books will be handmade which will add a little bit of personal craftsmanship in every book,” said Aitken.
He said the second Leaves of the Poet Tree will be available in December.
Here are two poems from the book,
Fragile and Frail, by By Christopher Justin Elkins (Niagara Falls)
As a young child I was fragile and frail.
I once remembered the bright blue sky.
All around me I had to rely on things I've learned on my own.
To this day I'm still fragile and frail but as time goes on. .. I will never forget.
Friends and family will always be more important than words.
Things all around me are just things.
Yet with the knowledge I have I still gaze up at the sky.
The bright blue sky.
As time passes by… I am just me.
All alone in Canada.
Not all men die, by Membis Godwin (Nigeria)
Science says a man dies
And his flesh decays
To enrich the hungry soil
It is all lies
Not all men die
Some walk into history
To dwell there everlasting
Not all men are buried
Some are in constant memory
To rest till eternity
Believe them not!
Not all men die
There are immortal humans
So, they lie!
A good man never dies
A hero never dies
A moralist has a diamond soul
A poet is ever immortal
His words are as green as the grass
From age to ages it passes
Growing like tribes and kingdoms
A poet is never dead
Though he could live like a ghost
Seen as a joke
Mocked in every street
But in history
He is a lord
Celebrated by mankind
A poet is a sea
His existence benefits the universe.