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The Professor & the Poet: Why Now? Why Us?

The Professor & the Poet: Why Now? Why Us?

By B. Sankarsingh & N. Gonsalves

Edited by: Leandre Larouche

(March 24th, 2023: SG Productions)

The two of us met quite serendipitously in the spring of 2022. We were both looking for ways to give back and build community around a shared passion for writing. Individually, we found a nonprofit organization that presented a veneer of noble intent and progressive thought. Unfortunately, as is often the case, we soon discovered all that glittered there was anything but gold. This setback left us with a void and an unresolved yearning to contribute to the Canadian creative and literary landscape. Without an organization to belong to, we found value in each other’s company over breakfast meetings. We discussed book, blog and theatrical play ideas—and just about anything else our “Yes, and…” attitude would permit.

Before we knew it, napkin notes no longer sufficed. We required notepads and tablets to keep track of our wonderful conversations and the unfettered creativity that kept the restaurant from turning over our table in a timely fashion. From our early conversations, it became evident we shared a deep-rooted desire to highlight the value of diversity of thought and the importance of intellectual curiosity. And over the course of many breakfast meetings, we found common ground—common ground in our willingness to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of acceptable discourse. We believe that by doing so, we can better celebrate differences while appreciating our common humanity. Through our conversations, we sought a way to build upon the benefits of including varied perspectives. Our little community of two quickly became our creative outlet, a space where, despite our differences, a professor and a poet could engage in civil debate, find common ground and show mutual respect.

Our mediums undoubtedly differ, our thoughts diverge often, and yet we find convergence through our shared commitment to cooperation and understanding.

Somewhere along the way, we realized that we wanted to share this positive and healthy space with other like-minded individuals. We knew it takes a community to develop truly lasting, meaningful change, so we moved forward to make that vision a reality. We registered Sankarsingh-Gonsalves Productions as a small Ontario business, but we decided to stay clear of the pressure most startups face—to see a return on investment within the first eighteen months. We are both fortunate to have full-time day jobs in fields that satisfy us and, from a practical perspective, keep the lights on. Brian works in healthcare and Neil in post-secondary teaching. This endeavour, then, in its truest sense, is a labour of love, a community of hope and a place where creativity can be unleashed.

Perhaps someday we will leave the sole proprietorship structure behind. If we do, it will be to invest our time, energy and commitment to founding a nonprofit organization whose ethics and values reflect the sincerity of our commitment: to hone our craft and assist new and emerging word artists in sharing their voice widely and proudly. Until then, we are co-authoring a book aptly titled ‘The Professor & the Poet’, we are co-writing a play and building an archive of original content to share with other thirsty travellers following the route of social knowledge. Perhaps some of you will see a common cause and join us in this community-building endeavour. We want to create a community that celebrates the myriad of ways humans live, think and express themselves. We would love for you to be a part of this journey.

But this begs the question: why build this community? Why now? Why us? We set out to answer two different questions: if not now, then when? And if not this, then what? It turns out that a great deal of our fears lay in that ubiquitous, self-imposed barrier known as imposter syndrome. We both have spent so much time staring at the mirror of self-doubt, wondering why anyone would want to read our work and share our vision, that we have, for some time, lost sight of our “why.” But this is no more. Why now? Why us? Simply, we are two men tip toeing closer to retirement looking for ways to maintain the joy in our respective lives. Our “why” is simple: we love to think, we love to write and we love to share. It was about time to stop letting perfection be the enemy of the good. It was time to take down that mirror of self-doubt and try something new. It was time to respond, why not now? And why not us?

This project is us applying what we have, for decades, told our students and employees in classrooms and boardrooms. To dare greatly, to fail forward, to dream, to pursue, to live, and to learn. This project is us taking the first step in the journey of a thousand miles. If we fail, we will fail forward and learn something. If we only gain a few followers, we will look back at this project as time well spent because we will have written these words presently locked inside our minds. If this community does not grow as much as we would like, we will still have made a few new friends along the way. And if our pocket books do not grow, then at least our inner writer’s souls will have been enriched. Neither one of us is completely sure about how our respective wives will take the last line, but come along for the ride and, for better or worse, you might find out!


The Professor & the Poet

The Professor and the Poet

Side by side, each deep in thought

Lost in their worlds

The Professor pondered theories,

philosophy and facts

The Poet dreamed of rhymes and verse,

the beauty of words and acts

But as they began to talk

They found some common ground

The Professor loved the beauty of truth

And the Poet the truth of beauty

They spoke of the world and its ways

The many mysteries that lay within

They laughed and cried and shared

Of their lives, their thoughts and kin

And as their days came to a close

As the sun began to set

The Professor and the Poet realised

They were not so different yet

For though their paths in life did differ

Their hearts did beat together

The love of knowledge and beauty

United them forever

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