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Upcoming Events

Emily Izsak’s podcast features the Radish in New Recruits Episode 22: Serena Posner Reads Pearl Pirie

On Wed May 17, 2017, 1pm-4pm, Studio Nouveau presents Catherine Owen Title: Eavesdropping on Mars. Cost: $60 (including a book, is 3 hours and all about fun experimentations). Due to a couple conflicts of schedule, 2 spots are open.

3 hour workshop description: Writing is serious work but the core should be always be pleasure. Join Catherine Owen in exploring techniques of narration and anaphora, sound, repetition and song, drawing from a range of pieces, including those in her two most recent books: The Day of the Dead: short stories, sliver fiction and an homage (Caitlin Press 2016) and Dear Ghost, (poems from Buckrider Books/W & W, 2017). Cost: 60 includes a copy of one of the books. 8 max. Where: 202 Hinton Ave N more info: here


May 18, 2017, 7pm at knifeforkbook , Toronto, Location: Rick’s Cafe | 281 Augusta Avenue |

ensington Market knifeforkbook just before words(on)pages have their event.


May 19-21, 2017, Haiku Canada Weekend

UTM (University of Toronto, Mississauga campus), Book launch of Erotic Anthology, Black Moss Press (editors: George Swede and Terry Ann Carter) and chapbooks from phafours press.


May 30, 2017, 7pm, Michael Dennis launch for Bad Engine

Avant-Garde Bar at 135½ Besserer St., Ottawa. Michael’s biggest and most exciting book to date in 40 years of publishing — Bad Engine: New and Selected Poems, edited and introduced by Stuart Ross, hot off the Anvil Press! Several special guests from the Ottawa poetry community — including Sandra Ridley, Stephen Brockwell, Marilyn Irwin, rob mclennan, and Pearl Pirie — will be reading Michael’s poems before Michael himself takes the floor. The evening will be hosted by Michael’s long-time friend and collaborator Stuart Ross. Books will be for sale. Astonishing conversation will occur. There will be laughs and maybe even tears. And all in the beautifully eccentric coziness of the Avant Garde Bar, whose food and drink menu is an event in itself. (Fb Event)

Categories: Link Dump, PSA, Poetry.

PSA: Tasks of a board and reading series organizers

Tasks of a board or reading series organizer:

Find list of potential readers
– Read literary magazines bio notes for who has a forthcoming book
– Browse bookstores to find what excites
– Ask regulars of series and board who they want to see
– Check whose book is coming in the season ahead at 49thshelf
– Brainstorm local writers
– Go to open mics and see who is new-to-you
– Seek out indigenous writers, people of colour, queer writers
– Watch award lists and twitter for buzz
– Compensate for white midlife pitching more regularly and getting more media buzz
– Put out feelers for who is doing a tour
– Ask publishers for their list of upcoming readers on tour
– See who is coming through other series across Canada
– Search indexes of or, TWUC,
– Tie-ins with any special occasions, banned book month, poetry month, anniversary of series, cross-series events
– Share readers; co-ordinate with other series to make cost of travel for writers more profitable, arrange workshops to make it more cost effective for writers

– Compile list of contact emails for publishers and authors
– Ask people you know to introduce you
– Search people on linkedIn and Facebook
– List all dates the series will run
– Back and forth of finding dates for people
– Confirm readers and send info and reminders
– See also PSA: Reading Series Communication: What and When
– Recommend places to eat
– Assisting with local billeting or hotels
– Assisting with setting transportation to and from train or plane
– Tell readers what to expect for timing, ask for preferred reading order
– See if they need any screens or extra equipment
– Follow up email asking them if all went well and thanking them for coming

Communicating within board
– Spearhead finding dates in common to meet
– Arrange a secretary for minutes and to update
– Bouncing ideas off one another, pooling sources of knowledge
– Annual general meeting to keep everyone in the loop on finances and develop plans
– Scout to replace board members and volunteers
– Delegate aspects of organizing events to particular volunteers
– Mind to mandate, refresh policies for vulnerable persons
– Committees for special events, workshops, volunteers, drivers, media

– Publicity person to do press releases
– Twitter updates
– Facebook page events
– Newsletter to people who sign up
– Update website or blog of series
– Tumblr of highlights, photos
– Photo taking, get permission
– Videoing, get permission from readers
– Relationships with media to set up radio, blog, newspaper and tv interviews for readers in advance of their reading

Advertising in print
– Passing bios and photos to someone to make posters
– Someone to print and distribute posters

– Find a venue that is accessible by transit and for chairs, including bathrooms
– Liaison regularly with venue to ensure all is smooth for venue and series
– Ensure there’s enough lighting to read by
– Accessibility ramps (

– Touch base to ensure volunteers can come
– Set up space for chairs, screen, book table, sign up sheet, microphone, tape down cords
– Someone to greet readers and know who they are
– Someone to prep introductions and MC
– Someone to hand payment or gift to readers
– Someone to pass the hat and deposit donations
– Paper trail of receipts of any hospitality to readers
– Buy the writer’s book if you can afford it
– Chat with people who come, host and introduce people who may not know each other, because this is all for community.

Listening and Recording
– Sound system and someone who knows how to use it
– Videos
– Passwords for youtube or vimeo

– Accountant for taxes
– Treasurer for keeper of records of grants, donations, costs
– People to to sign cheques who are signatories at bank
– Bank account
– Paying the venue rep

– Someone to investigate what programs one is eligible for
– Ontario Arts Council, City, Trillium, Canada Council
– Counting the number of attendees for reports later
– Default term is 1-year and max 4-years but can be reelected for non-profits
– Keep a history of all the organizational files and know where they are
– Passwords, keep track of
– Keep mailing list up to date
– For legal non-profits, non-profits have to provide by-laws and minutes on on request.
– Insurance
– Reports to funders
– Files of publicity received for funding
– Promotional information, press releases for publicity

Categories: PSA, Poetry.


Toronto Launch - You Were Here (1)

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

Winter KaDo

Hard to chair a meeting, host, record minutes and take snapshots. But totally doable. Pics from the meeting today of Winter KaDo here.

Categories: Poetry reading write-up.

Book in Context

Kilby Smith-McGregor‘s Kids in Triage happened to be in my bag to read, just in case whatever delay, when mom ended up getting reassessed at the e/r. 4 hours waiting and for her to get antibiotic i.v.

(Among it all, I got as far as p.10 in the first visit of 4)


First do no harm.

I only just wanted so awfully to see.






from “Anomalies of Water, from p. 61

High-spirited, hard-living. High heat of sublimation. Water forgets water. Water refuses water. Water wants wine, transubstantiation. Highlight, high life, high-flying entropy of, heat of vapourization. The eventaul condensation of, repatriation of rain.



from page 64, [2] Tricks with Eggs,

the difference between hard-boiled and raw one spins better

Categories: Currently reading.

Toronto Readings

Toronto Launch - You Were Here

Categories: Uncategorized.

Written vs Spoken

Can I peg a poet as written or spoken from a headshot?

The performance with body on stage poet is more apt to get studio lighting, performance capture with expressive face and microphone. There’s more dynamic angles.

The written poet disproportionally is outside, with grass, trees. Written poets are more likely to conceal their face or use an instagram filter.

Intuitively I think females smile more in author photos. Looking 132 author photos on past years VERSeFest sites 31 males, and 36 females had neutral face or frown or performance. 17 males smiled for the camera, but 38 females smiled.

Categories: Uncategorized.

VERSeFest Volunteering

Calling all past and prospective VERSeFest volunteers!

To honour our incredible volunteers of poetry past and future, VERSeFest invites you to come out for a night of poetry, complimentary drinks, fabulous raffle prizes, and karaoke at Bar Robo on February 13, 7pm.

Featuring readings by:


Followed by Karaoke Performances by YOU!


– Get a free drink chit if you volunteered at our 2016 edition, or if you sign up to volunteer this year!

– Raffle draws throughout the night! Earn ONE raffle ticket at the door, and ONE raffle ticket for every event you sign up to volunteer for! Prizes will be announced via leading up to the event.

– Sign up to volunteer for two events and get a free FESTIVAL PASS!

– Get first dibs on event sign-up!

VERSeFest (March 21 – 26) is looking for volunteers to work as:

– Ticket desk attendants
– Merch desk attendants
– SmartServ Certified bartenders
– Ushers
– Drivers


Visit to for regular updates about our raffle prizes!

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

Current English Ottawa Poets


Adams, Sylvia
Akinlolu, Segun
Akpata, John
Akse, Tiah
Alcofribas Nasier II
Alexander Heinis, Shery
Aljied, Roua aka ‘Philosi-Fire’
Allison, Luna
Al-Mansouri, M.T.
Andrews, Dana Carly
Anstee, Cameron
Apollo the Child aka Khaleefa Hamdan
Arar, Barâa
Armstrong, Allison
Artelle, Stephen
Atkinson, Susan J.
Auclair, Marie-Andrée


Baker, Jennifer
Bandukwala, Manahil
Bansfield, Anthony
Bedford, Celena
Beissel, Henry

Bell, Dorian
Ben-Shalom, Shai
Berkhout, Nina
Bien, Jeff
Blackman, Jeff
Blaikie, David
Blouin, Mike
Boland, Daniel
Boyle, Frances
Bourque, Jacqueline
Bradley, Jamie
Bragg, MaryLee
Brockwell, Stephen
Brown, Ronnie R
Bruchhaeuser, Candice
Brunet, Catherine
Buckthought, Mike
Burke, Liam


Caesar, Mike
Calvo, Elena
Carter, Terry Ann [Former resident]
Charlebois, Éric
Chetcuti, Vincent (r.i.p.)
Christie, Jason
Citron, Murray
Clayton, Conyer
Collins, David [former resident]
Connell, Marcie
Cook, Bryan
Cumming, Alicia
Cummings, Beverly
currie, brock
Currie, David
Dabydeen, Cyril
Dako, Pete
Dawson, Kanina
Day, Lindsay Clayton 
de Paul, Stephen
Debarats, Michelle
Deen, Faizal
Dennis, Michael
Díaz, Luciano
Djossou, Jean Maurice
Dolman, Anita
Doucet, Clive
Douglas, Rhonda
Droll, Randy
Dumais, Douglas [Former resident]
drystek, nina jane



Earl, Amanda
Ede, Amatoritsero
El-Mohtar, Amal
Emery, David
Etcheverry, Jorge
Farina, Laura
Farley, Claire
Fejzić, Sanita
Firth, Matthew
Fiszer, Doris
Ford, John-James [former resident?]
Foss, Gill
Fotheringham, Avonlea
Fraser, Janet L
Furesz, Eva (Eva Boros-Furesz)
Fragiskatos, Artemysia
Fralic, Mike
Frenken, Sjef
Friday, Rob
Frutkin, Mark
gagno, jesslyn
Gerken, Klaus
Graf, Adele
Greenberg, Jennifer
Groleau Landry, Daniel
Groulx, David
Guth, Gwendolyn



Hamilton, David
Hanna, Natalie
Harvor, Elisabeth
Hawkins, Bill (r.i.p)
Haysom, Jenny
He, Bing
Herrera, Charlene
Heymans, Joshua
Hill, Sylvie
Hogg, Robert
Hunt, Kathryn
‘Hyfidelik’ aka Sergio Guerra
Hyf the GypsySun
Iliza, Amy
Irwin, Marilyn
Iwamoto, Ren 
Jarvis, Jenna
Javaid, Sahira
Jennings, Chris
Johnson, Chris
Jones, Matt [former resident]
JustJamaal aka Jamaal Jackson Rogers


Sarah Kabamba 
Keteku, Ian
Keyes, Adele
King Kimbit
Kirby, Patricia
Kletke, Glenn
Klostermann, Janna
Koensgen, Laurie
Kohler, Miche
kozak, a.m.
Krausz, Rosemarie
Ladouceur, Ben
Lam, Justin
Lamantia, Jason
LaPierre, Margo [former resident]
Larwill, Alastair
Latta, Ruth
Le Dressay, Anne
Leifso, Brenda
Leyton, Katherine
Loeffelholz, Joycelyn
Lyons, Christine


MacDonald, Heather
Macdonald, Robin
MacDonell, Sarah
MacLean-Evans, Leah  [former resident]
Madhavan-Reese, Sneha
Mallet, Heather
Manicom, David
Marchand, Blaine
Martin, Ian
Massey, Karen
Matthews, Kevin
Mayne, Seymour
Mazza, Antonino [r.i.p]
McCann, Marcus [Former resident]
McCarthy, Christopher
McDermott, Terry
McGee, Elizabeth
McInnis, Nadine
McLachlen, Robin
mclennan, rob
McDonald-Zytveld, Cathy
McMaster, Susan
McNair, Christine
McPherson, Christian
Meya,Jenny aka Rational Rebel
Middle, Max
Miller, Ceilidhe
Montreuil, Mike
Moore, Jane
Moran, James K.
Morden, Brad
Morgan, Mia
Morton, Colin
Musa, Sarah
Mustafa, Aruba
Myers, Barbara

Mylrea, Colin


Nadja, Miko
Newman, Kemisha
Nicholls, Sandra
Noble, Catina
Nykyforak, Cassandra
O’Meara, David
Olafimihan, Komi
Oni the Haitian Sensation
OpenSecret aka Onyegbula, Ikenna
Pederson, Jennifer
Pederson, Rod

Peterson, Kimberly
Pirie, Pearl [former resident]
Poile, Craig
Power, Willow-Marie
Pratt, Ryan [former resident]
Prevost, Roland
Priske, Rusty
Pulles, Kirsten



Racek, Jakub
Radmore, Claudia Coutu
Rainville, Nathalie
Raycroft, Brent
Reid, Monty
Rhodes, Shane
Richardson, Peter [former resident]
Ridley, Sandra
Rochefort, LM
Rotondo, Vanessa aka V
Roy, Ian
Ruszala, Sarah



Saghir, Omar
Saikaley, Sonia
Savage, Grant
Seatter, Ronald
Senior, Olive
Ramon Sepúlveda
Shaffran, Rona
Simpson, Rachael
Simser, Guy
Smith, Jesslyn Delia
Stacey, Robert
Steadman, Dean
Steiner, Dawn
Stevenson, Diane Schmolka
Stephen, Carol A
Stewart, Corey
Struthers, Betsy [no longer local?]
Strutt, Lesley [former resident]
Stymeist, D.S.
Sulzenko, JC
Suse, Luminita

Sweazey, Glenn Arthur


Tan, Evelyn
Taj, H. Masud
Taylor, Bruce
Thomas, Rob
Thomson, Sharon
Thumm, Alex Jürgen [former resident]
Tiwana, Amarjit
Tokar, Janice
Trafford, Mary [former resident?]
Tunney, Deborah-Anne
Turnbull, Chris
Tyler, Paul
Tzu, Eyob
Vallance, Richard
Valley, Taymaz
Van Loon, Jean
Vavassis, Vivian
Vuleta, Nina
Vulpe, Nicola


Wabegijig, Vera
Wallace, Gillian
Warrington-Kearsley, Betty P.
Way, Mike
Weerasinghe, Asoka
Whistle, Ian
Wilkins, Grant
Wright, Catriona
Young, Deanna
Zielinski, Margaret


Some are from the National Capital Region, with Ottawa is the closest city or the city where they come and read and contribute. S

From contributions from Ottawa poets as well as,, VERSeFest, Bywords, TWUC, Sawdust, Apt613, Poets’ Pathway, Wikipedia,, Tree,Penny’s Poetry Pages, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawater, In/Words, googling, and seeing people about.

Categories: Poetry history.

2017 Books Read

1. Silence by Nora Parker Cox, illus., Anna Bongiovanni (Hucklenut Press, 2016) – breathtaking. It has a refrain of “This is a biography in silence.” It doesn’t grow redundant but forceful of pushback. Cowed into, gaslighted into, correctness cornered into the silence which will not, does not stand. It feels like a coming of (feminist) age from childhood to adulthood, but is neither raw nor expected and processed into a velouté creamy palatableness of regret. It is a setting self apart from the messed up family and patriarchal obligations to blame, second-guessing self’s (“our girl’s”) motivation. It walks thru and on. “The accusation,/which I still fear will come,/the court order,/which I spend every moment braced fro,/doesn’t have to kill me.//My voice reminds me of this/as I try to feel again”

2. Never Mind: poems by Katherine Lawrence (Turnstone Press, 2016) liked the epigraphs but not my cuppa gauzy poems.

Structured as ekphrastic response to paintings, which are never shown. A parallel text of their name, an epigraph and a response are a good portion of the book, except for the baffling 11 page existential conversation and jokes between oxen. Sketch quotes of Pocketbook Memorandum, I liked, such as p. 73: “Said our goodbyes, gathered the last brown egg. Moving west of not knowing.” The response seems duller. I could see some people digging it.

This has a concreteness and elegance: p. 45 “Garden plot responds to spring’s weak light but my jar of yellow ochre is empty spent”. It is responded to with the less catchy, “Faint line tender-sprung beaded romaine blushed oak iceberg line green green bibb deep burgundy frilly French butterhead veined with nerves.”, ending with a bottom of the page note on painting: Salad Days//Watercolour on Note Page.

3. Portraits of Canadian Writers by Bruce Meyer (,/Porcupine’s Quill 2016)—  tremendous fascinating book. A CanLit staple. Recommended for the photos, some decades ago, some contemporary. They have no unformity to them but capture some ephemeral moment of a poet in sumptuous lighting.

It doesn’t cover everyone, and how could it, but who it covers it does so with an intimate touch, a conversational sharing about a writer, shared times, how the photo or contact came about. It’s like a memoir that shares, hey, look at this great person, and this person too. It is idiosyncratic rather than “objective” and dry.

On Erin Mouré he says “Her passion for language is almost like that of a coroner for forensic detail. SHe is always attempting to determine causality.” (p. 144)

On (Daniel) Jones he wrote “He published one book of poetry in his lifetime (although I suspect that his output was more prodigious than a single volume), The Brave Never Write Poetry.” He did do more than one volume. I have his Unfinished Monument Press chapbook of 30 pages Jack and Jill in Toronto (1983). It was published 3 years before his photo in Portraits. Guess he means full collection tho.

Another portrait is of Richard Harrison in 1981 (p. 94-95) along with the anecdote from near Saratoga Springs pool room with Meyer, Harrison, Ross Leckie and Lawrence Hopperton. “Everything fell silent when a gang of bikers walked in. The bikers had been there before and trashed the place because the locals were outnumbered. The locals lined up with the 4 Canadian poets, and we stared down the bikers, who who beat a quick retreat. We didn’t have to buy beer for the remainder of our weeklong stay.”

4. Thirty-seven Small Songs & Thirteen Silences by Jan Zwicky (Gaspereau Press, 2005) — slow unfolding of a beautiful soul, breathing. Such elegance and space in the poems, and wilful kindliness and trust towards the world.And we won’t mention the entirely beautiful binding with the titles in spot colour to match the cover, will we? p. 30.  how does she get away with personifying the sea and it feeling okay? With saying instead of showing so much and yet it working? If you are that good, you can bend and break the rules you understand.

Small song on being lost

The sea is lonely today.
Here is is, weeping in the streets again,
as if that could help.

I’ll go visit– out along the old pier
where the fishboats used to dock.

how to call the self in
off the wet streets, how not to worry
if it can’t be found.

Books unread keep piling. No chosen order.

currently reading
Books I have started, some I read on and off for months or years, being bumped from queue whenever a library book comes in.

Categories: Currently reading.