Launching TAMARACKS – Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century

“Canadian literature has emerged as a world literature in the full sense of the term,” – James Deahl, editor of TAMARACKS*

It’s not every day that an American publisher takes an exclusive look at Canadian poetry but last autumn Lummox Press from San Pedro, California forged ahead and published TAMARACKS – Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century, a 240-page anthology edited by Sarnia, Ontario resident James Deahl and compiled for the United States market.

Tamaracks - Lummox Press 2018 - front and back cover

TAMARACKS: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century (Lummox Press 2018) was edited by Sarnia, Ontario resident James Deahl.

Now it’s time to celebrate!

In less than a month, over half of the 113 contributors of TAMARACKS will begin touring the province and sharing verses from this anthology filled with over 175 contemporary poems ranging in topics from World War I (Robert Acorn’s “Passchendaele”) to Canada’s Residential Schools tragedy (Rhonda Melanson’s “One Catholic’s Apology for Residential Schools”). As of today, eight celebration launches have been scheduled between late March and early May 2019 for such Ontario cities as Hamilton, Toronto, Welland, and Sarnia.

Another celebration, this one organized by the publisher, will be held in California in mid-April. Additional events in London and North Bay are being considered for the autumn.

TAMARACKS is the first survey of modern Canadian poetry (in over 30 years) to be published by an American small press outfit,” stated RD Armstrong, publisher of the California-based press, on his website.  “This mammoth undertaking was hammered out in half a year’s time and was fraught with setbacks and near-fatal difficulties. But through it all, editor and publisher managed to work together, so that TAMARACKS could come into being.”

The editor James Deahl, who was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but spent most of his adult life in Canada (the last 7 1/2 years in Sarnia), is an avid supporter of Canadian poetry and at one time published numerous poets through Mekler & Deahl Publishing. Not only was he close friends to such poetic icons as Milton Acorn, Dorothy Livesay, Raymond Souster, Al Purdy, and Sam Simchovitch but he is still acquainted with hundreds of poets across the country. As stated on the back cover, the book includes “the work of 113 Canadian poets from Halifax (Brian Purdy) to Vancouver (Daniela Elza). It also contains detailed biographical and bibliographical information on these important writers.”

James Deahl

Editor James Deahl says the TAMARACKS anthology features the work of 113 Canadian poets.

In fact, this acknowledgements and contributors appendix is so comprehensive that it comprises 55 pages (over one fifth of the book’s content).

See the Lummox Press website for a full list of contributors.

Also appearing in the book are photos by seven Canadian poets: Nancy M. Bell, Henry Beissel, Richard M. Grove, David Haskins, Debbie Okun Hill, Lynn Tait, and Elana Wolf.

“Full credit to book designer Chris Yeseta for making a truly lovely book,” wrote Deahl in a September 2018 e-mail to contributors. “And, of course, there would be no TAMARACKS without 113 top-quality Canadian poets.”

As one of the contributors, I feel honoured to have my poem “An Old Miner’s House” as well as my full-colour cover image and several black and white photos included in the book. For that reason, I refrain from posting on this blog feature my personal review of the anthology but will mention that several positive reviews (by literary scholars) have already been listed on the Lummox Press website.

“In the 21st century, poets, artists, political and social leaders, and scholars have been questioning what Canada is and what directions Canada should take,” said Deahl. “Clearly the Justin Trudeau version of Canada has failed to work. TAMARACKS shows where Canada is right now. It is time to take stock and decide what comes next. Our nation requires a common vision, something missing these past fifty years.”

Whether you agree with Deahl’s political views or not, the anthology is a significant volume of Canadian work to be read and celebrated.

Check out the launch events scheduled so far:

Tuesday, MARCH 26 in TORONTO: A. F. Moritz, Toronto’s new poet laureate (and a TAMARCKS contributor) opens the first TAMARACKS anthology celebration with a reading followed by an open mic for contributors, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Parliament Street Branch of the Toronto Public Library, 269 Gerrard Street East.

 Sunday, APRIL 7 in HAMILTON: Thirty-two local and out-of-town contributors will read their work, 2 to 5 p.m. Artword Artbar, 15 Colbourne Street.

Readers include: Becky D. Alexander (Cambridge), Sharon Berg (Sarnia), Robert A. Boates (Hamilton), Rebecca Clifford (Caledonia), Patrick Connors (Toronto), James Deahl (Sarnia), G. W. Down (Hamilton), Gertrude Olga Down (Hamilton), Jennifer Lynn Dunlop (Ancaster), Ronda Wicks Eller (Mitchell), Kate Marshall Flaherty (Toronto), Jennifer L. Foster (Hamilton), Ryan Gibbs (London), David Haskins (Grimsby), Debbie Okun Hill (Camlachie), Eryn Hiscock (Toronto), Lawrence Hopperton (Stouffville), Laurence Hutchman (Oakville), Keith Inman (Thorold), Ellen S. Jaffe (Toronto), Eva Kolacz (Oakville), John B. Lee (Port Dover), Norma West Linder (Sarnia), Mori McCrae (St. Catharines), Michael Mirolla (Oakville), Deborah A. Morrison (Hamilton), Gianna Patriarca (Toronto), Stella Mazur Preda (Waterdown), Kathy Robertson (Kitchener), Lynn Tait (Sarnia), Ed Woods (Dundas), and Anna Yin (Mississauga).

April 7, 2019 in Hamilton

The Hamilton celebration at the Artword Artbar is one of eight celebration events scheduled so far in Ontario.

Saturday, APRIL 13 in VENICE, CALIFORNIA, USA: The publisher’s launch of Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry For the 21st Century (Lummox Press, 2018), 4 p.m. at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Boulevard.

Tuesday, APRIL 16 in TORONTO: Contributors Clara Blackwood (Toronto), Elizabeth Greene (Kingston), and Michael Mirolla (Oakville), will read followed by an open mic 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Parliament Street Branch of the Toronto Public Library, 269 Gerrard Street East.

Thursday, APRIL 18 in HAMILTON: Nine local and out-of-town contributors to TAMARACKS and/or the international LUMMOX Number 7 anthology will read their work, 7 to 9 p.m. at The Staircase, 27 Dundurn Street North.

Readers include: Roy Adams (Hamilton), April Bulmer (Cambridge), Gaiyle J. Connolly (Hamilton), James Deahl (Sarnia), David Haskins, (Grimsby),   Ellen S. Jaffe  (Toronto), John B. Lee (Port Dover),  Deborah A. Morrison (Hamilton), and Lynn Tait (Sarnia).

Wednesday, APRIL 24 in TORONTO: Eight local and out-of-town contributors will read their work, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Main Branch of the Toronto Public Library, 137 Main Street.

Readers include: Allan Briesmaster (Toronto), G. W. Down (Hamilton), Gertrude Olga Down (Hamilton), David Haskins (Grimsby), Keith Inman (Thorold), Ellen S. Jaffe (Toronto), Mori McCrae (St. Catharines), and Elana Wolff (Toronto).

Saturday, APRIL 27 in WELLAND: The Welland Public Library will host five local and out-of-town contributors of Tamaracks and Lummox Number 7, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Welland Public Library, 50 The Boardwalk. This is a National Poetry Month event made possible by The League of Canadian Poets.

Readers include: Fran Figge (Stoney Creek), Debbie Okun Hill (Camlachie), Keith Inman (Thorold), John B. Lee (Port Dover), and Mori McCrae (St. Catharines).

April 27, 2019 in Welland

Sunday, MAY 5 in TORONTO: Guest readers: Frances Boyle (Ottawa), Margaret Patricia Eaton (Moncton, N.B.), Blaine Marchand (Ottawa), and Brian Purdy (Halifax, N.S.) plus forty-one other contributors will read their work, 1 to 6 the Supermarket Bar and Restaurant, 268 Augusta Avenue, Kensington Market.

Blaine Marchand - Great Canadian PoeTrain Tour 2015

Ottawa poet Blaine Marchand is one of several guest readers who will be travelling to Toronto and Sarnia to read his work.

Additional readers include: Rosemary Aubert (Toronto), Sharon Berg (Sarnia), Clara Blackwood (Toronto), Kent Bowman (Toronto), Allan Briesmaster (Thornhill), April Bulmer (Cambridge), Patrick Connors (Toronto), David Day (Toronto), James Deahl (Sarnia), Bernadette Gabay Dyer (Toronto), Kate Marshall Flaherty (Toronto), Ryan Gibbs (London), Sharon Goodier (Toronto), Elizabeth Greene (Kingston), David Haskins (Grimsby), Rhoda Hassmann (Hamilton), Eryn Hiscock (Toronto), Lawrence Hopperton (Stouffville), Laurence Hutchman (Oakville), Luciano Iacobelli (Toronto), Keith Inman (Thorold), I.B. Iskov (Toronto), Ellen S. Jaffe (Toronto), Eva Kolacz (Oakville), Donna Langevin (Toronto), Beth Learn (Toronto), Norma West Linder (Sarnia), Carol Malyon (Toronto), Steven McCabe (Toronto), Mori McCrae (St. Catharines), Rhonda Melanson (Sarnia), Bruce Meyer (Barrie), Michael Mirolla (Oakville), Deborah Panko (Cobourg), Chris Pannell (Hamilton), Kathy Robertson (Kitchener), Karen Shenfeld (Magnetawan), Lynn Tait (Sarnia), Bruce Whiteman (Toronto), Elana Wolff (Toronto), and Ed Woods (Dundas).

Monday, MAY 6 in SARNIA: Guest readers Frances Boyle (Ottawa), Blaine Marchand(Ottawa), Brian Purdy (Halifax), and Karen Shenfeld (Magnetawan) plus 11 other readers. Pre-event dinner 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Readings: 6:30 to 9 p.m. at John’s Restaurant (Famous Room), 1643 London Line.

Additional readers include: Lois Nantais (Brigden), Debbie Okun Hill (Camlachie), Andreas Gripp (London), Denis Robillard (Windsor) and from Sarnia: Sharon Berg, James Deahl, Joseph A. Farina, Norma West Linder, Rhonda Melanson, Lynn Tait, and Grace Vermeer.

TAMARACKS Sarnia launch May 6, 2019 at John's Restaurant - version 2

Sarnia’s May reading represents the last celebration in the spring 2019 season. More readings are being considered for the autumn.

Admission to all of the events is FREE.

Introducing LUMMOX Number 7:

LUMMOX 7 - Lummox Press, 2018

Published by Lummox Press 2018

For seven years, Lummox Press has published an anthology focusing on American and international poets, interviewers, and short fiction/article/review writers. The press also publishes other books by individual poets and authors including two of James Deahl’s books To Be With a Woman (Lummox Press 2016) and Unbroken Lines: Collected Poetic Prose (1990-2015) (Lummox Press 2015).

This autumn, over 150 contributors including twenty-three Canadian poets were featured in the 222-page international anthology LUMMOX Number 7 edited by RD Armstrong. Some of these Canadian contributors will also be sharing their work during the above TAMARACKS readings.

Ontario contributors are: Roy Adams, April Bulmer, Patrick Connors, Gaiyle Connolly, James Deahl, Jennifer Lynn Dunlop, Jennifer L. Foster, Katherine L. Gordon, Debbie Okun Hill, Eryn Hiscock, Keith Inman, I.B. Iskov, Ellen S. Jaffe, Maureen Korp, Donna Langevin, John B. Lee, Norma West Linder, Mori McCrae, Deborah A. Morrison, Lynn Tait, and Grace Vermeer.

Other Canadian contributors are: Bernice Lever from British Columbia and D. A. Pratt from Saskatchewan.

The anthology’s cover image was created by Canadian poet/photographer Richard M. Grove.

A full list of the international contributors appears on the publisher’s website.

Seeking poems, prose, and artwork for LUMMOX Number 8:

Do you have poems, prose, and/or artwork that are needing a home? Submissions to LUMMOX Number 8 (to be edited by RD Armstrong with an October 2019 release date), will be accepted from April 1 to 30, 2019. Additional information can be found here.

A glimpse back:

LUMMOX 6 - Sarnia reading - Group - Photo 1 November 18, 2017

The 2018 launch of LUMMOX Number 6 at the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts in Sarnia.

Additional articles about TAMARACKS as well as the Canadian launches of other Lummox Press anthologies can be found in several locations on this website. Check it out here.

*Epigraph from editor James Deahl’s “Introduction” to TAMARACKS: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century (San Pedro, California: Lummox Press 2018). Used with permission from the publisher and editor.



5 thoughts on “Launching TAMARACKS – Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century

  1. Bob Boulton

    James and all contributors, this is a noteworthy and significant achievement. Hard to overstate how impressive this is. I can’t really imagine how much effort, James, you must have contributed along with your expertise. Wow may not be overly literate, but it is what I said reading this posting. Bob.

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