Next Poetry Reading on Wednesday March 18

[Posted on behalf of James Felton]  If you read the last blog post, you would’ve been left with that ominous feeling Poets Corner may have come to a rather sad end. I felt that way, too. It looked grim, but only for a brief while. Let me be the first to announce that we are still very much alive. In fact, we are more alive than ever, and it really feels like this is the start of something new.


Earlier, I said my hope was to find a small group of willing, caring, energized and enthusiastic people to revitalize this series and to carry its banner into the future. And I believe I’ve found just the right team. In this month’s newsletter, I’ll tell you more later about these incredible individuals who have stepped forward to save the series.

Next Poetry Reading

Resuscitating Poets Corner took some doing, but we are now ready to rock and roll. And what a way to kick off our first reading of 2020! We will have not two but three featured poets on Wednesday March 18 and two are from back east. Here’s a little more about March’s featured readers…


Fiona Tinwei Lam’s third collection of poetry, Odes & Laments, was launched last fall. She has authored a children’s book, edited The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poems on Facing Cancer, and co-edited Love Me True: Writers Reflect on the Ins, Outs, Ups & Downs of Marriage with Jane Silcott. Lam won The New Quarterly’s Nick Blatchford Prize and was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award. Her work appears in more than thirty anthologies, including The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry in English: 10th Anniversary Edition and Forcefield: 77 Women Poets of BC. Her poetry videos have screened at festivals internationally. She teaches at SFU Continuing Studies.  FionaLam.net


Maureen Hynes’s first book of poetry, Rough Skin, won the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry by a Canadian. Her 2016 collection, The Poison Colour, was shortlisted in 2016 for both the Pat Lowther and Raymond Souster Awards. Maureen’s fifth book of poetry, Sotto Voce, comes out from Brick Books in fall, 2019. Her poetry has been included in over 25 anthologies, including twice in Best Canadian Poems in English, and in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, 2017. Maureen is the poetry editor for Our Times magazine, where she encourages submissions that reflect themes about workers’ lives, rights, insights, and social justice.  MaureenHynes.com

Allan Briesmaster has been active on the Canadian literary scene for many years as a workshop leader, readings organizer, editor, and publisher. He was a partner in Quattro Books from 2006 to 2017 and currently runs his own small literary press, Aeolus House. The author of eight full-length books and eight shorter ones, he has given readings and talks and hosted poetry events at venues across the country. The Long Bond: Selected and New Poems was published last fall by Guernica Editions. Allan is a Life Member of the League of Canadian Poets. He lives in Thornhill, Ontario. 6 Pieces on Poetry






Next Poetry Reading on ???

Before explaining why we can’t give you a date for our next reading, we need to acknowledge what a superb reading we had to wrap up 2019. You would think that people would be too busy to attend a reading just a week before Christmas, but it turned out to be yet another full house at Poets Corner.

photo collage of poets Jay Ruzesky and John Lent reading at Poets Corner on Wed Dec 18 2019.

Nearly 50 came to hear the talented voices of Jay Ruzesky and John Lent. And the preambles to the readings, followed by the engaging q & a sessions that followed, proved to be as riveting as the poems themselves.

Our Next Poetry Reading

As you’ve noticed above, we don’t have a date for our next reading and I’ll explain why. Our series has been running continuously for over nine years when you include our predecessor, Poetic Justice. It takes a fair amount of energy, time, and human resources to run a reading series and all of these have been running low these days.

image depicting exhaustion I have loved running this series, but other priorities are growing and demanding more of my time. Unless I find a small group of willing, caring, energized and enthusiastic people who want to continue Poets Corner’s legacy, I may have to call it a day.

I am hopeful that as you read this, you will ask yourself whether you or someone you know may be interested in helping to keep Poets Corner alive. Feel free to contact me at: james[at]poetscorner.ca

FINISHED! Next Poetry Reading on Wednesday December 18

I feel for you. You missed something special if you weren’t at November’s poetry reading. Imagine someone whose left brain and right brain were equally well exercised and you’ll find Karen Shklanka. She is an M.D. who specializes in addiction medicine but she also holds an MFA in Creative Writing. The result? An alchemy of excellent poetry, infused with a cerebral insight that is truly unique.

photo of featured poets reading at poets corner on Wed Nov 20, 2019

Karen was joined last month by John Donlan whose poems combine his connection with his natural surroundings with a contemplative insight that is startling. The inspiration for much of his writing springs from his childhood home on the edge of the Canadian shield in southeastern Ontario. He still spends a big chunk of the year there and his natural surroundings provide the rich backdrop to many of his poems.

Our Next Poetry Reading

Our final reading of 2019 takes place one week before Christmas. Give yourself a break from shopping, stressing, fussing and fretting by coming out to hear two exceptional poetic voices on Wednesday, December 18. Here’s a little more about December’s featured poets…

John Lent is a professional writer, editor and singer/song-writer who lives in Vernon, BC. He has been publishing poetry, fiction and non-fiction nationally and internationally for the past thirty years. John has also taught Literature, Creative Writing and Canadian Literature courses at Okanagan College for over three decades, serving as Dean of the college for the last five years of his teaching tenure. One of the founders of Kalamalka Press, he also performs in the jazz/roots/blues group, the Lent/Fraser/Wall Trio.

photo of writer, Jay RuzeskyJay Ruzesky’s most recent book is In Antarctica, a travel memoir and historical narrative about the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. His poems and stories have been published in many magazines including The New Quarterly, Event, Saturday Night, and Poetry is Dead and have been included in anthologies and translated into several languages. His novel, The Wolsenburg Clock was shortlisted for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize and he has work forthcoming in Five Dials.


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, December 18. Looking forward to seeing you then!


FINISHED! Next Poetry Reading on Wednesday November 20

What a fun, exciting reading we had this month! From time to time Poets Corner hosts a themed reading and that was exactly what October’s event was all about. It was our very first ekphrastic poetry reading and 12 poets read poems inspired by the visual art of Deborah DeJong.

photo of participants at Poets Corner Ekphrastic Poetry reading on Wed Oct 16.

Out of an exhibition of 14 pieces of stunning photographic art, no less than 11 pieces ‘spoke’ to our lineup of 12 poets.  Some of them presented a second poem. This is a stunningly huge compliment to the appeal and excellence of Deb’s work.

Our Next Poetry Reading

In November we return to our more traditional format of two featured poets preceded by our Open Mic segment. In keeping with our commitment to showcasing both established as well as emerging poets, we have the veteran, John Donlan paired with a very talented newcomer, Karen Shklanka.  Here is a little background on each of them.

photo of poet, john donlan

John Donlan’s collections of poetry are Domestic Economy (Brick Books, 1990), Baysville (House of Anansi, 1993), Green Man (Ronsdale Press, 1999), Spirit Engine (Brick Books, 2008) , Call Me the Breeze (Alfred Gustav Press, 2013), and Out All Day (Ronsdale Press, 2018).  He is an editor with Brick Books and was the 2012-2013 Barbara Moon Editorial Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto, the 2014-2015 Writer-in-Residence at Saskatoon Public Library, and the 2016-17 Haig-Brown Writer-in-Residence in Campbell River.


photo of poet, karen shklanka

Karen Shklanka is a Vancouver physician who works as an Addiction Medicine consultant. She also teaches clinical communication skills to resident physicians in the Department of Family Practice at UBC. Previously, she was a family physician on Salt Spring Island and in Moose Factory, ON. She also has an MFA in Creative Writing. Her first book, Sumac’s Red Arms (Coteau, 2009), was a finalist in the Foreward Review Book of the Year prize. Two long poems from her second book, Ceremony for Touching (Coteau, 2016) were longlisted for the 2012 CBC Poetry Prize.

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, November 20. Looking forward to seeing you!

FINISHED! Next Poetry Reading on Wednesday October 16

If you weren’t there, you missed something special. And if you were (and we had a near-full house), everyone left knowing they had just experienced one of the best poetry readings Vancouver has held in a long time.

Marilyn Bowering and Eve Joseph wowed the audience with over-the-top

collage showing marilyn bowering and eve joseph reading at poets corner on Sep 18readings. The Q & A session that followed was just as insightful and captivating as the readings themselves.

Our Next Poetry Reading

October’s reading features none other than you. That’s right; you could be the star of the show with a recently crafted ekphrastic poem. Surprisingly, there are still some who aren’t familiar with this word. An ekphrastic poem is simply one that’s been inspired by a work of art.

Photographic artist Deborah DeJong with her inaugural solo exhibition in Massy Books' Art GalleryThe inspiration for your ekphrastic poem has been created by none other than Poets Corner’s resident photographer, Deborah DeJong. Her photographic art is compelling, thought-provoking, and a compilation of some incredibly innovative techniques. For more information on how to participate in this month’s ekphrastic poem reading, click here.

This is a must-see exhibition! Deb sold several pieces the first day of the exhibition. The entire show comes down the day of our ekphrastic reading (Wed Oct 16), so if you want to participate in October’s reading, get over to Massy Books now, select the piece that speaks loudest to you, and register right away.

A few more words about Deb…

Deborah DeJong, a photographer with a daily drawing discipline, secretly writes the
occasional poem in her spare time. A one-time elementary school teacher who has
been on a long recess, she will soon be getting back to class! Attending Poets
Corner, a monthly gathering held here at Massy Books, satisfies DeJong’s artistic
urges on two levels: the poetic, and the photographic. Having had her images
featured in numerous multi-artist shows over the past several years, Cover Story is
DeJong’s first solo show.

And here’s Deb’s Artist Statement…deborah dejong's artist statement

See you on Wed October 16 at 7pm at Massy Books.  There is no Open Mic that evening since you could be the featured reader! But you need to register by the deadline if you want to be included in the lineup.

FINISHED! Next Poetry Reading on Wednesday September 18

Note:  No Reading in August!

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.

photo of marilyn bowering

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

photo of eve joseph


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.

FINISHED! Next Poetry Reading on Wednesday July 17

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.

collage of d.n. simmers and mallory tater poetry reading

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…

photo of poet, Kerry GilbertKerry 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.

photo of poet, Clea RobertsClea 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.

photo of poet, Renée Sarojini SaklikarRenée 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.


FINISHED! Next Poetry Reading on Wednesday June 19

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).

collage of nine readers who honoured e.d. blodgett at Poets Corner

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…

photo of poet, Mallory TaterMallory 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.




photo of poet, d.n. simmersd. 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.


FINISHED! Next Poetry Reading on Wednesday May 15

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

cover of Apostrophes VIII ~ Nothing Is But You and IWhat 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.

FINISHED! Next Poetry Reading on Wednesday April 17

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!