Founded in 2000 by five friends who wanted to provide a longer alternative to shorter, cafe readings, the Olive started off in Martini’s Bar and Grill (thus the name) in downtown Edmonton. The original format featured one poet reading for 30 minutes in two 15 minute sets. Readings were held once a month from September through April.
Acknowledging and embracing the fact that poetry is both a heard and a read experience, from the beginning the editors published and distributed free at the reading a short chapbook of the featured poet’s work. As one of the founding editors, I created the first chapbooks and came back to the Olive a few years ago to resume that role.
Martini’s closed ten years later but the Olive lived on in various other venues including the fabulous Almanac Gastropub on Whyte Avenue. Sadly, COVID forced the Olive to go on hiatus and then the Alamanac was sold and re-branded. We were also devastated in 2021 by the passing of long-time Olive editor, mentor and friend Douglas Barbour.
The Olive currently remains on hiatus, biding its time, waiting for the right moment.. But while we wait, why not enjoy looking at some of my favourite chapbook covers from the past few years.