We had such a fabulous repertoire of voices at our last Poets Corner reading in July. Kerry Gilbert, Clea Roberts and Renée Saklikar proved how disparate yet compelling poetic voices can be.
Thank you to all three fine poets, and a special thank you to Clea and Kerry who had travelled from Whitehorse and Vernon respectively to be with us.
Our Next Poetry Reading
Don’t forget, we traditionally take the month of August off so there won’t be a reading this month. However, next month is a blockbuster. Arguably two of Victoria’s top poets will be reading for us in September and one of them is the most recent prizewinner of the Griffin Poetry Prize, Canada’s most highly regarded poetry award.
Marilyn Bowering is a poet and novelist who lives in Victoria, BC. Her most recent works are Threshold (poetry): an encounter with the 17th c. Hebridean bard Mary MacLeod; What It Takes To Be Human (novel); and the libretto for Marilyn Forever (Gavin Bryars, composer.) She has been short-listed for the world-wide Orange Prize, long-listed for the Dublin Impac Award, twice short-listed for the Governor-General’s Prize for poetry, and received the Dorothy Livesay, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Ethel Wilson and Pat Lowther Prizes as well as several National Magazine awards. Her new book is What is Long Past Occurs in Full Light (MotherTongue). www.marilynbowering.com
Eve Joseph’s first two books of poetry The Startled Heart (Oolichan, 2004) and The Secret Signature of Things (Brick, 2010) were both nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Award. Her nonfiction book In the Slender Margin was published by HarperCollins in 2014 and won the Hubert Evans award for nonfiction. Her most recent book of poetry Quarrels (Anvil, 2018) was nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Award and won the 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize.
See you on Wed September 18 at 7pm at Massy Books. And remember there is no reading in August.
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An older voice coupled with a younger one. Yet both equally talented. At June’s reading, Mallory Tater and d.n. simmers enthralled the audience with insightful and oftentimes emotionally staggering poems.
We feel so blessed to have the genre of poetry so well represented and promoted here at Poets Corner. Thank you Mallory and thank you Neil.
Our Next Poetry Reading
In July, we are fortunate to have not one, not two, but three featured poets. Two out-of-towners and one local will be stepping up to the microphone. And what do they have in common? A natural gift for writing poetry, yet you are going to hear some of the most diverse poetic styles you’ll have in one evening.
Kerry Gilbert is flying in from Vernon. Clea Roberts is coming all the way from Whitehorse. And Renée Saklikar, Surrey’s Poet Laureate Emirata, will round out this talented trio. Here is a little more about each of July’s featured poets…
Kerry Gilbert lives in Vernon, where she teaches Creative Writing at Okanagan College. Her first book, (kerplnk): a verse novel of development, was published in 2005 with Kalamalka Press. Her second book of poetry, Tight Wire, was published in 2016 with Mother Tongue Publishing. Little Red, is a new verse collection, also with Mother Tongue, just released March 2019. Gilbert has won the Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Award for Best Suite by an Emerging Writer and has been shortlisted for ReLit, for the Ralph Gustafson Prize for the Best Poem, for the Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize and for the Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry for Best Suite by an Established Writer.
Clea Roberts lives in Whitehorse, Yukon with her husband and two children. Her debut collection of poems, Here Is Where We Disembark (Freehand Books 2010) was a finalist for the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry in Canada and was published in German and Japanese. In reviewing her second collection of poetry, Auguries (Brick Books 2017), the journal Canadian Literature hailed Roberts as “mistress of the line break”. It is rumoured that Clea has printed this enviable title on the back of all her t-shirts. Clea is currently completing a MFA degree at UBC, teaching poetry and grief workshops through Hospice Yukon and learning to ride a motorcycle.
Renée Sarojini Saklikar recently completed her term as the first Poet Laureate for the City of Surrey, British Columbia. Her latest book is a B.C. bestseller: Listening to the Bees (Nightwood Editions, 2018). Renée’s first book, children of air india, (Nightwood Editions, 2013) won the 2014 Canadian Authors Association Award for poetry. Renée co-edited The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them (Anvil Press/SFU Public Square, 2015,) a City of Vancouver book award finalist. Renée’s chapbook, After the Battle of Kingsway, the bees, (above/ground press, 2016), was a finalist for the 2017 bpNichol award. Her poetry has been made into musical and visual installations, including the opera, air india [redacted]. Renée was called to the BC Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor, served as a director for youth employment programs in the BC public service, and now teaches law and ethics for Simon Fraser University in addition to teaching creative writing at both SFU and Vancouver Community College. She curates the popular poetry reading series, Lunch Poems at SFU and serves on the boards of Event magazine and The Capilano Review and is a director for the board of the Surrey International Writers Conference. Renée belongs to the League of Canadian Poets (LCP) and The Writer’s Union of Canada (TWUC) and is active on the TWUC Equity Committee. She is currently working on an epic-length sci-fi poem, THOT-J-BAP, that appears in journals, anthologies and chapbooks.
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May’s reading was special. And memorable. E.D. Blodgett — Ted to those who knew him — would have been thrilled with the attention heaped on his posthumous volume of poetry, Apostrophes VIII ~ Nothing Is But You and I (University of Alberta Press, 2019).
Nine readers, all great admirers of his poetry, read their favourite poems from this exceptional volume. It was a very special evening.
Our Next Poetry Reading
Come June, we return to our traditional format of two featured poets preceded by our Open Mic segment. Our lineup features an older and a younger voice, but who both carry the poetic gene inside them. Mallory Tater will read from her debut volume and d.n. simmers from his many publications over the years. Here’s more about them, here…
Mallory Tater is a writer from Ottawa living in Vancouver. Her debut book of poetry, This Will Be Good was released in the spring of 2018 by Book. Her debut novel, The Birth Yard, is forthcoming in 2020 with HarperCollins Canada. About her debut poetry collection, CBC Books said that this collection is among 12 Canadian poetic works to discover in the first half of 2018. She too is the recipient of CV2’s Young Buck Poetry Prize.
d. n. simmers is an online special editor with Fine Lines. He has been published in The Capilano Review, The Common Ground Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poet’s Touchstone, The Naaswack Review, Haught Ashbury, and Voice Israel. His last poetry book, Food Truck Elements of Shadowed Lights (Silver Bow, 2018) has been read in London, England and Paris. His new book, The Red School Bus, will have just been released at the time of this reading. He has also been published in numerous online journals and is an active member of the Downtown East Side Writers Collective) and will appear in their upcoming chapbook.
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The summer weather has arrived but what happened to spring?! In any event, we’re grateful, given what’s still happening with the flooding in Eastern Canada.
Last month’s reading was another huge success. Chelsea Comeau and Daniel G. Scott shared the stage and both delivered exceptionally poignant readings.
Our Next Poetry Reading
What a special reading this is going to be! E.D. Blodgett passed away late last year. He never did see a copy of Apostrophes VIII ~ Nothing Is But You and I (University of Alberta Press, 2019) in published form. So we’re going to do the next best thing.
Nine readers will be sharing their favourite poems from this exceptional volume. Among them will be poets and fans who knew Ted or who are great admirers of his work. We will be hearing from Daniela Elza, James Felton, Heidi Greco, Lee Johnson, Ted Lederer, Christopher Levenson, Susan McCaslin, David Pimm, and Onjana Yawnghwe. And you are going to hear poems that will absolutely knock your poetic socks off.
This is going to be one of our most unusual, most memorable readings, so do everything you can to be there. Because of this departure from our usual format, we will not have our regular Open Mic segment on Wednesday. Open Mic returns with our reading in June. But for May’s reading, please be on time as we’ll get under way at 7pm sharp on Wednesday May 15.
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One is Irish. The other has strong Irish connections. And that’s where the similarities end. Stylistically P.W. Bridgman and George McWhirter are oceans apart but both tap into a rich vein of poetic creativity.
Good friends who are also great poets made for an enjoyable evening at the March reading at Poets Corner.
Our Next Poetry Reading
Our reading in April will pair the Artistic Director of one of Canada’s most successful poetry series with a local talent whose star is rising faster than the CN Tower elevator. Daniel G. Scott and Chelsea Comeau are arriving on a Spring breeze and bringing with them some oh-so-powerful poetry. Here are the bio’s of April’s duo…
Daniel G. Scott is the current (5th) Artistic Director of the Planet Earth Poetry Reading Series. He has published gnarled love, terrains and now Random Excess, both with Ekstasis Editions. His black onion and two chapbooks: street signs and Interrupted were published with Goldfinch Press. He has individual poems in anthologies and chapbooks as well as numerous academic publications and, with Shannon McFerran, The Girls Diary Project (University of Victoria, 2013). He won a one-act playwriting competition in New Brunswick in 1984. He is an Associate Professor Emeritus, University of Victoria, School of Child and Youth Care, father and grandfather. wwww.danielgscott.com
Chelsea Comeau is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in Freefall, CV2, and Room magazine, and is forthcoming in Prairie Fire. In 2018, she received an Honourable Mention in both the CV2 Two-Day Poem Contest and the CV2 Young Buck Poetry Prize. She is currently the poetry editor at WordWorks magazine.
Our full Open Mic segment is back for this reading! Please arrive at least 15 minutes before we get underway to ensure you land a spot on the list. We will be starting at 7pm sharp on Wednesday, April 17. Looking forward to seeing you!
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And yes, another blockbuster reading! Last Wednesday, February 20 we had the pleasure of hearing not one, not two, but three(!) fabulous poets.
Susan Gillis and Randall Maggs swung in from the icy east and, joined by local poet Leslie Timmins, gave one of our most eclectic and electric readings.
Our Next Poetry Reading
The reading in March brings together an old hand with someone who has just launched his first volume of poetry. George McWhirter, Vancouver’s inaugural Poet Laureate, will be coupled with relative newcomer, P.W. Bridgman. Here are the bio’s of March’s duo:
George McWhirter is transatlantically anthologized in The Penguin Book of Canadia Verse and Irish Writing in the Twentieth Century (Cork University Press). Most recent books of poetry are The Incorrection (Oolichan Books) and The Anachronicles (Ronsdale Press). His story collection, The Gift of Women, appeared from Exile Editions in 2014. He served as Vancouver’s inaugural Poet Laureate and edited A Verse Map of Vancouver with photographs by Derek Von Essen for Anvil Press. Lately, his poem “On a Globe Maple” appeared in the League of Canadian Poets’ 2018 Anthology, Heartwood; the poem “Reef” appeared in CLI-FI, Canadian Tales of Climate Change, Exile Editions, 2017.
P.W. Bridgman’s first book of poems, entitled A Lamb, was published in September 2018 by Ekstasis Editions. A selection of short stories entitled Standing at an Angle to My Age, published by Libros Libertad, preceded it in 2013. Bridgman’s writing has appeared in, among other outlets, Grain Magazine,The Moth Magazine, The Antigonish Review, The Honest Ulsterman, The Galway Review and The Glasgow Review of Books. He was a participant in the writing summer school program offered by the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, Belfast in July 2018 and describes that as one of the most formative experiences of his writing life.
Our full Open Mic segment is back for this reading! Please arrive at least 15 minutes before we get underway to ensure you land a spot on the list. We will be starting at 7pm sharp on Wednesday, March 20. Looking forward to seeing you!
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We usually ask our featured poets to hang back after their readings to have a short FAQ exchange with the audience. At our last reading of Emerging Indigenous Poets, we asked all five poets to answer any queries people may have had. There wasn’t one question. Instead, there was an outpouring of accolades of just how much audience members enjoyed the work of each poet.
With the second standing-room-only event in a row, Tawahum Bige, Wil George, Jules Koostachin, Larry Nicholson and Gunargie O‘Sullivan wowed the crowd with a repertoire of poems that were at times humorous, poignant, politically charged and acutely perceptive.
Our Next Poetry Reading
February’s poetry reading will bring three exceptionally gifted poets to the microphone. Two out-of-towners will join a local talent to continue the Poets Corner tradition of bringing our audiences a variety of poetry that has one common denominator: poetry where we can always tick the superb box. Here is the lineup of talents for February’s reading:
Susan Gillis is a Montreal-based poet, teacher, and editor who has also lived on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada. A member of the collective, Yoko’s Dogs, she is the author of four poetry collections and several chapbooks, including Volta (2002), which won the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry, The Rapids (2012), Whisk (with Yoko’s Dogs, 2013) and most recently, Yellow Crane (2018). Susan divides her time between Montreal and rural Ontario, near Perth, where she does most of her writing.
Photo: Ed Huberty
Randall Maggs, a writer and a wood craftsman, was born in Vancouver, but has lived for nearly 40 years on the west coast of Newfoundland. After leaving the Canadian Air Force, he earned graduate degrees in English at Dalhousie and the University of New Brunswick, and in 1977 became a member of the faculty at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, focusing mainly on Canadian Literature and Creative Writing. He also played an active part in Newfoundland’s March Hare Literary Festival in its 25-year run, acting for ten years as its Artistic Director. As well, he has always been an outdoors enthusiast, skiing and backpacking in the high country of Western Newfoundland. His last book, a collection of poetry entitled Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems, was a Globe and Mail “Top 100 Book” in 2008 and won the Winterset Award, the Pratt Poetry Prize, and the Kobzar Literary Award. In 2018, Brick Books brought out an enhanced ten-year anniversary edition of Night Work in anticipation of the release of a feature length film based on that work. Produced by Blue Ice Pictures, the film is to be releasedinthe spring of 2019.
Leslie Timmins is the author of the chapbook The Limits of Windows (The Alfred Gustav Press, 2014) and Every Shameless Ray (Inanna Publications, 2018). Shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize, winning honours in magazines in Canada and the United States, and published in numerous magazines and anthologies, her poems are strongly influenced by the years she spent living in Europe and the Canadian Rockies, as well as by activism and a decades-long Vipassana (insight) meditation practice. She currently works as an editor, volunteers with the Women Refugees Advocacy Project, and is a member of the powerful powerX6 writing collective.
Because we have three featured poets for February’s reading, the Open Mic segment will be shorter than usual. We have a commitment to a few who couldn’t get on the list at the last reading, so if these individuals show up, they will get the first opportunity to present.
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Wow! What a reading we had in December! You’d think six days before Christmas would mean a lean turnout. Well, we had a standing-room-only crowd who were enthralled by one of our most captivating readings to date.
With three featured poets (and an abbreviated Open Mic segment squeezed in as well), the feedback has been one of the most enthusiastic we’ve received in recent memory. Gary Geddes, Harold Rhenisch, and John La Greca delivered a myriad of styles, subjects, and emotional one-two’s like we’ve never witnessed in quite a long time.
Our Next Poetry Reading
January’s event will be a themed reading. This special event has been a long time coming but it will be worth the wait. To kick off 2019, Poets Corner is going to host our very first Emerging Indigenous Poets reading. Younger rising starts in our First Nations community are coming to take over the microphone on January 16. So here is the lineup of talents for January’s reading:
Gunargie O’Sullivan is a Kwakwaka’wakw who was born in Alert Bay, BC. However her people originate from Turnour Island and are from the Tlowitsis Nation, a proud and powerful people. She has a long history as a radio broadcaster who has developed community programming that closes awareness gaps on everything from fish farms, to Missing and Murdered Women, to tiny house warriors, to Residential Schools, to Sixties Scoop, and to the poop on politics. She is also a multimedia artist who first explored acting at sixteen before joining the Spirit Song Native Theatre in the mid-80s. After discovering her writing skills several of her poems have been anthologized in the annual series, Gatherings, published by Theytus Publishing. She later began to explore journalism and film. She has produced several short films such as UNsettling, Power of Prayer, and most recently , Demolishing Grief. Ms. O’Sullivan is also the Founder and now Acting Executive Director of the Red Jam Slam Society, which exists to initiate celebrations, events and festivals that feature Aboriginal artists and performers.
Tawahum Bige, Lutselk’e Dene and Plains Cree, Two-Spirit and Nonbinary poet, resides on unceded Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish territory colonially-known-as Vancouver. Published in Red Rising, Prairie Fire, Event, and Poetry is Dead magazines, Tawahum’s poetry stokes the sacred fire of resurgence and decolonization on occupied Turtle Island. They’ve performed on stages including Talking Stick Festival and Verses Festival of Words. In their final year toward a BA in Creative Writing at KPU, Tawahum’s poetry collection, Political & Personal, will be published in June 2019 with Metatron Press. Join them on this journey that is both emotionally personal and deeply political.
Jules Koostachin, owner of VisJuelles Productions Inc. is Cree from Attawapiskat and a PhD candidate with the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at UBC. She carries extensive experience working in Indigenous community in varying capacities such as counseling, consulting, teaching and management. Jules, also known as a storyteller and digital media maker, works to honour cultural protocols and build relationships within Indigenous community through her media arts practice. Her artistic endeavours are informed by her experience living with her Cree grandparents in northern Ontario. Her educational presentations utilize her media work to educate on Indigenous realities
Larry Nicholson is Cree from Alberta but has lived in un-ceded Coast Salish territory since 1998 when he began classes at UBC towards his Fine Arts degree (in the Creative Writing Department). He wrote his first poem in 1982 (a LOVE poem), his first song in ’88, his first short story in ’94, his first play in ’96, his first radio drama in ’97, his first newspaper article in ’99, his first grant proposal for an employer in ’99, his first novella in 2000 (passionately thrown in a fireplace in 2001) and his first TV script in 2002. Larry is relieved to finally be emerging
Brandi Bird is a Two-Spirit Saulteaux and Cree poet from Winnipeg, Manitoba, currently living and learning on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territory. She has been published in Poetry Is Dead and Pearls, and will be published in Prism early this year. You can find her on Facebook as Brandi-Ann Oiseau.
These Aboriginal writers are going to blow you away with their poetic talents. Make sure you get a seat early for this reading on Wednesday, January 16 at 7:00pm.
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It’s happened. Poets Corner has just hosted our first ever Open Mic Contest. What an exciting evening it was and what a close final result. Thanks to the Canada Council, we were able to make our inaugural Open Mic contest a little more attractive with some cash prizes as well as bragging rights at stake.
Three Honourable Mentions went to Ted Lederer, Clayton Stephens, and Lilija Valis who each received $25. Second prize of $50 went to Jacquie Pearce, and first place honours went to Fran Bourassa who walked away with a cool $100 in cash. It was incredibly close in the voting and there were some stellar poems topped by even more stellar deliveries.
Our Next Poetry Reading
Yes, we are having a reading in December! We can’t think of a better way to de-stress from the Holiday Season than by listening to some fine, fine poets and poetry. We have three featured poets stepping up to the microphone on December 19! All three are out-of-towners, so let’s welcome them and show our appreciation for their efforts to get here during a busy time of the year. We have to poet stalwarts and we’re introducing someone relatively new to the reading scene. Take a look at who’s coming and read their bio’s, here.
December’s First Featured Poet
Gary Geddes has written and edited close to 50 books of poetry, fiction, drama, non-fiction, criticism, translation, and anthologies and won a dozen national and international literary awards, including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Americas Region), the Lt.-Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence, and the Gabriela Mistral Prize, awarded simultaneously to Octavio Paz, Vaclav Havel, Ernesto Cardenal, Rafael Alberti, and Mario Benedetti. His non-fiction books include Letters from Managua, Sailing Home, Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things,Drink the Bitter Root. and Medicine Unbundled: A Journey Through the Minefields of Indigenous Health Care. His most recent books of poetry are Falsework, Swimming Ginger, What Does A House Want? and The Resumption of Play. Geddes has a PhD from U of T and has taught at Concordia, Western Washington University, and University of Missouri-St. Louis and has been writer-in-residence at U. of Alberta, UBC’s Green College, Ottawa U. and the Vancouver Public Library. He lives on Thetis Island, BC with his wife, the novelist Ann Eriksson.
December’s Second Featured Poet
Harold Rhenisch is the author of the critique of book culture, “The Art of Haying: a Journey to Iceland,” the sufic ghazals in “Two Minds,” the spellcraft of “The Spoken World” and twenty-seven other works of fiction, essays, poetry and environmental writing. He works as a professional editor in Vernon and does reviews for the Ormsby Review. He won awards in the CBC Literary Contest in 2007 and 2017 and won the Malahat Review Long Poem Prize twice. He met John la Greca while he was Writer in Residence at Okanagan Regional Library.
December’s Third Featured Poet
John La Greca. I’m 64. I’ve been a client of government social agencies since I was 13. I cracked up when I was 17. It wasn’t until 1980 that I got hospitalized in a psychiatric ward. I’ve been off and on Welfare ever since. I studied at Okanagan College, McGill, Guelph and UBC. Everything that came after, including six months of homelessness, can be seen in the light of an oppressed individual in the social welfare and psychiatric gulag that is present in Canada. I write because the rich and the beautiful and the connected have the monopoly on communication access and distribution. Cultural marginalization cannot kill my essence.
Because we will have three featured poets for this reading, there will be a shortened Open Mic segment for this reading, so if you want a chance to deliver one of your best poems, get there early. Doors open at 6:40pm. See you all at December’s Poets Corner reading on Wednesday, December 19. We’re underway at 7:00 p.m. sharp.
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Yes, a very exciting poetry contest is coming up in November, but before giving you the low-down, let’s not forget what a fantastic reading we had this month.
Good friends Penn Kemp and Sharon Thesen delivered the goods to a packed house. Penn read from Fox Haunts, one of her two just-launched volumes and further wowed us with an audience-participation sound poem. Sharon read from her last release, The
Receiver, and the evening ended with her reading a poem inspired (very tongue-in-cheek, mind you) by leafing through People magazine that she had then sent to Penn, followed by Penn stepping up to the mic and reading her poetic response. A wonderful evening, all round.
Our Next Event
November’s reading won’t be a reading at all. Instead, it’s a contest. Our very first Open Mic contest is taking place on Wednesday, November 21. It’s simple. Read one of your finest poems and you could win the top prize of $100 cash.
There is a total of $225 in prizes ($50 for second and three runners-up prizes of $25 each). Your poem can be published or unpublished but you are restricted to just one. You will have a maximum of two minutes to deliver your potential prizewinning poem.
And who decides on the winners? The audience does. Everyone in attendance will be given a ballot to vote on each contestant. Those with the most votes win. It’s simple; it’s fair, and it’s going to be a whole heap of fun.
There won’t be any featured poets for November’s reading, just you with with what you consider to be your best effort to win our inaugural Open Mic Contest. Doors open at 6:40pm. To get through the evening in our allotted time, we will have to cut off participants at some point. The sooner you get there, the better your chances of getting into the lineup. See you all at November’s Poets Corner reading on Wednesday, November 21. We’re underway at 7:00 p.m. sharp (and don’t forget your poem)!
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