Roy McDonald (poet)

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Roy McDonald (born June 4, 1937) is a poet and busker (street performer) in London, Ontario, Canada. He is well known for singing and reciting poetry in front of Joe Kool's Restaurant and Jim-Bob Ray's Bar on Richmond Street. For many years he stood at the northwest corner of Richmond and Dundas (the old center of downtown London) and discussed the literary world with passersby. His long, grey beard, plastic bags filled with books and journals, tweed jacket, and habit of striking up friendly conversations with nearly everyone, make him a very recognizable and well-known figure around the city.

McDonald has been growing his beard for decades. He claims his was the longest at the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair. His clothes often fall into disrepair, and he occasionally mends his pants with duct tape. He decorates his jacket with buttons. He is often referred to as the unofficial president of Richmond Row, a colorful segment of Richmond Street located in downtown London. Contrary to what some believe, McDonald does live in a house.

Roy spent most of his life in London, but some time in Montreal where he developed a problem with alcohol. He had the will to stop and has been completely sober for years. Pocketman (Dorset Publishing 1979) by Don Bell, is a book of comedy loosely based on Roy's time in Montreal. Also there is a song called Pocketman that was written in 1977, two years prior to the book, by Jeff Rogers-Wardle that describes the first encounter Jeff had with Roy.

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Publishing efforts[edit]

Ergo Productions published both of McDonald's books. Living: A London Journal is a detailed account of a week in McDonald's life, and The Answer Questioned is one long pun-poem. They can be found in the London Public Library and the UWO library, and are carried in some bookstores, including the one at UWO.

Publications[edit]

Discography[edit]

  • Souwesto Words: 25 poets in Southwestern Ontario Ergo Books 2002 Poets on the CD: Penn Kemp, John Tyndall, Molly Peacock, Emily Chung, Paul Langille, Sheila Martindale, Roy McDonald, Sadiqa Khan, Jan Figurski, Jody Trevail, Beryl Baigent, John B. Lee, Cornelia Hoogland, James Reaney, Colleen Thibaudeau, Michael Wilson, Aimee O'Beirn, Jason Dickson, Marianne Micros, Skot Deeming, Victor Elias, David J. Paul, April Bulmer, Julie Berry, Don Gutteridge.
  • An Evening With Roy & Wayne Pete Matthews productions
  • Roy & Wayne Live at Bean There Pete Matthews productions
  • . " Richmond Row Sound System "Featuring Roy McDonald" Available on Bandcamp http://richmondrow.bandcamp.com

Filmography[edit]

  • The Roy Chronicles, by Grant Cushman (for public access television)
  • Living On the Fringe, by Anna-Sophie Lunding
  • The Last of the Hippies, by Rico Medeina
  • BEARD: A few moments in the life of Roy McDonald. A Play by Jason Rip 2000
  • Portrait of an Artist, a student film by Ryan Furlong, University of Western Ontario 2003
  • Roy, a student film by Josh Kish, Fanshawe College 2007

See also[edit]

Cited sources[edit]