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fw: Ottawa Poetry workshops

take a workshop with rob mclennan

A spot or two left.

Upstairs at The Carleton Tavern, 223 Armstrong Street (at Parkdale).

The workshops are scheduled for Sunday afternoons, 2-4:30pm: August 28; September 11, 18 + 25; October 2 + 16.

$200 for 6 sessions.

The course will focus on workshopping writing of the participants, as well as reading various works by contemporary writers, both Canadian and American. Participants should be prepared to have a handful of work completed before the beginning of the first class, to be workshopped (roughly ten pages).

Participants over the past few years have included: Amanda Earl, Frances Boyle, Chris Johnson, Roland Prevost, Christine McNair, Pearl Pirie, Sandra Ridley, Marilyn Irwin, Rachel Zavitz, Janice Tokar, Dean Steadman, N.W. Lea, David Blaikie, James Irwin, Claire Farley, Barbara Myers and Marcus McCann.

For those unable to participate, I still offer my ongoing editorial service of poetry manuscript reading, editing and evaluation.

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

Framework: Words on the land 2016

Reading and Conversation with 10 Writers at Fieldwork.
Featuring: Natale Ghent, Katherine Graham, John K. Grande, Helen Humphreys, Jonathan Kaplansky, Monty Reid, Sandra Ridley, John Steffler, Alissa York and Pearl Pirie.

August 21st. 3-5 PM.
2501 Old Brooke Rd. (The barn across the road from Fieldwork).

Watching the Art installations in the fields, the field itself, the rustic cabins, for each compose a suite of poems. More details.

Tickets: $20 Advance only from the Ottawa International Writers Festival website.

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

The Little Veggie That Could

Or might.

the pet radish, shrunken

the pet radish, shrunken is up for the Lampman. Winning book is announced this fall. The three finalists are:

David Groulx, Wabi­goon River Poems (Neyaashi­inig­mi­ing, ON: Kege­donce Press, 2015)

A fero­cious, eru­dite col­lec­tion cen­tred around an unflinch­ing epic poem, breath­tak­ing in its wide-rang­ing look at oppres­sion, rev­o­lu­tion, and sur­vival. Wabi­goon River Poems draws upon Indige­nous knowl­edge and tra­di­tions while push­ing at the bound­aries of what read­ers might expect Indige­nous poetry to be. It is mas­ter­ful, urgent, and dev­as­tat­ingly frank, a nec­es­sary syn­the­sis of hor­ror in an unre­lent­ingly defi­ant and resilient voice.

N.W. Lea, Under­stander (Ottawa: Chaudiere Books, 2015)

In this bril­liant book of com­pact lyrics, themes of alien­ation and fragility meet dark humour and hope. Part Baude­laire, part Bashō, Nicholas Lea’s pre­cisely-focused poems exam­ine the raw edges of being. Ques­tions, equiv­o­ca­tions and mis­di­rec­tions abound, as Under­stander walks with ner­vous aplomb along the edge of the abyss, but never falls in.

Pearl Pirie, the pet radish, shrunken (Toronto: Book­Thug, 2015)

Inven­tive, adven­tur­ous, humor­ous, and a lyric aper­ture onto the strange beauty of the quo­tid­ian, pet radish, shrunken is a delight to read. Uni­fied in their unpre­dictabil­ity, these poems explore a range of forms and voices.   Pirie rubs words until they spark and fume, turn­ing the com­mon into an uncom­mon blaze. Every line is joy­ful in its eccen­tric­i­ties, and emi­nently re-read­able as it tum­bles through lan­guage.


Buy the whole set.

More at Arc Poetry Magazine on the Lampman

Categories: Uncategorized.

Poetry for Improving Lives

I know that poetry can go to the good. Fundraising through poetry works as a few years ago we raised enough money from poetry for the Guatemala Stove Project through chapbooks to convert words into the work of 3 stoves for the Maya in the Guatemala highlands.

Natalie Hanna of Battleaxe Press got the idea that an anthology about assault would create a safe forum for talking about what must be said. The result was the bird, philomela which launched at a special edition of the Sawdust Series.  All the money from the poetry anthology goes to the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre and so far has raised over $700.

You can see pictures of the event here.

Jennifer Pederson was on the show talking about Sawdust Reading Series. In this episode of Literary Landscape we talked about the philomena chapbook which Natalie Hanna put together. It is so important that dismissal, silence, get-tough-love and derailing are not allowed to close people’s ears to compassion and to understanding how complex assault is to navigate. “Perpetrators” are not demons, and “victims” are not waifs.

You can listen to the episode there and hear the start of the song Epilogue: Beater. You can buy the whole song by local writer/singer instructor Jennifer Pederson’s and make a further donation to the rape crisis center at Bandcamp.


Ontario has launched a free legal advice program for people who have been assaulted.

Categories: CKCU, PSA, Poetry.

Arts Lecture

ArtsNight poster

For more events see

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

VERSeFest photos

For those of you not on twitter and not following VERSeOttawa on Facebook, an album of 170 photos from the 6-day 2016 event.

Categories: Link Dump.

Fw: VERSeFest Hall of Honour Inductees Announced

Ottawa, ON – Mar. 18, 2016 –  VERSeFest, Ottawa’s International Poetry Festival, is pleased to announce this year’s inductees to the Hall of Honour, rob mclennan and Andrée Lacelle, for outstanding service to the Ottawa-Gatineau poetry community.

mclennan and Lacelle will be inducted into the Hall of Honour 7:00 P.M., Sunday, March 20th. The ceremony will also include readings by Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke and Governor General Award winner Robyn Sarah.

For three decades, rob mclennan has been at the forefront of promoting poetry in the city of Ottawa. His literary productivity has been outstanding, with over two dozen trade books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. He has demonstrated tireless community leadership in his activities as the founder of the Ottawa small press book fair, the organizer of the factory reading series, and the editor and founder of Chaudiere Books, ottawater, the Peter F. Yacht Club, and above/ground press. All of these activities, alongside the generosity of his mentorship and his editorial flair, have helped to shape the creative ethos of this city.

Born in Hawkesbury, Andrée Lacelle has published a dozen books and received numerous literary accolades. She was the first to receive the French-language Trillium Book Award for Tant de vie s’égare (Éditions du Vermillon, 1994 [2007]) and she has also been shortlisted for the Governor General Award. Instrumental to the promotion of French-language literature, she has been a long-time contributor of book reviews. She has also reviewed Franco-Ontarian literature on the show “Panorama” (TFO, 2006-2010) and on her radio program “Au cœur des mots” (2011-2014). Her literary collaborations recently included co-writing and co-editing pas d’ici, pas d’ailleurs, Anthologie poétique de voix féminines contemporaines (Montélimar, Voix d’encre, 2012).  Her poems have been translated into English and Czech.

The VERSeFest Hall of Honour recognizes established poets from the greater Ottawa-Gatineau region who have produced a substantial body of work and have made a significant contribution in building the poetry community as a leader and mentor.

Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar St. Tickets are $10 per event, $20 for a weekend day pass, or $50 for a festival pass. Available online or at the door. For more information, visit

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

Toronto Chapbook Launch

Words(on)Pages Chapbook spring launches, Toronto! April 20, 2016, 7-9pm, 6:30 door. That’s Upstairs at The Central, 603 Markham Street, Toronto, Ontario M6G 2L7 FB event page

A triple launch: Brady Tighe’s debut chapbook, Bottling the Lead Singer of the Mountain Goats, Adam Zachary’s Bodies Vs. and Pearl Pirie’s An Ongoing Lack of Spontaneous Combustion,

An Ongoing Lack of Spontaneous Combustion


An Ongoing Lack of Spontaneous Combustion is is a collection of poems with a menagerie of sidekicks, hippos and ladybugs, centipedes and giraffes, all on the same sometimes senseless, sometimes surreal, sometimes ecstatic journey.

In Brady Tighe‘s debut chapbook, a young poet ventures to Seattle to see a legendary folk-rock band. Bottling the Lead Singer of the Mountain Goats is a collection of 13 poems about great cities, great bands, and the eternal question of whether or not your ex needs a postcard, or whether or not you should bottle the lead singer of a band just because he reminds you of someone you want to hit with a beer bottle.
Bodies vs., is Adam Zachary‘s debut chapbook, a collection of essays and stories that details experiences of human bodies as insufficient avatars for our souls. Of bodies demanding too much space between ourselves and things that we long to interact with more intimately; including friends, lovers, and their bodies, too. Of our limited senses, of eyes and nerve endings as ineffective conduits of information. Of bodies subjected to injuries or disabilities that interrupt or permanently impede perception. Of bodies too weak to serve as weapons, no matter how willing is the spirit to fight.


Categories: Uncategorized.

Doyali Islam

Coming up on Thursday on Literary Landscape, a conversation with Doyali Islam who is part of the Arc event at VERSeFest. Hear more ahead at her 12 or 20 interview with rob mclennan. That’s be at 6:30pm EST, 3:30pm PST on March 3rd at CKCU.

3 weeks ago I was with Rachel Rose, who is poet Laureate of Vancouver. That’s on playback here: Rachel Rose on Literary Landscape. We were talking about food and immigrants, working dogs and poetry.

Categories: CKCU.


Centretown Buzz has VERSeFest coverage. The site and schedule is up and advance passes are for sale. 60+ poets for $50. Can’t even get gum for that rate and you don’t take the gum home either. March 15-20th. Coming up fast.

Some of the poets from in, across and out of Canada: David McGimpsey, Marilyn Dumont, Gerður Kristný, Yusef Komunyakaa, Phil Hall, Amal El-Mohtar, Anne Boyer, Barâa Arar, Doyali Islam, George Elliott Clarke, Terry Ann Carter, André Duhaime, Gerald Hill, King Kingbit, Robyn Sarah, Shannon Maguire, Sanita Fejzić, Sneha Madhavan-Reese, Pamela Mordecai, Natalie Hanna, Maurice Riordan, Liz Howard.


More coverage from OttawaLife.

Categories: PSA, Poetry.