i’m in the bus which is really just an old car/and it’s night and pouring rain and i’m/thirteen and the car is jammed with bodies… – Eleonore Shönmaier*
Have you filled your pockets with poems yet? Have you dropped a poetic postcard in the mail? There’s still time to swirl in this whirlwind of poetic celebration. Below is a cluster of literary news items collected and raked up like paper leaves off my desk. Quick, line your calendar pockets with the words of poetry.
Tomorrow (Thursday, April 18 to be exact), The League of Canadian Poets will roll out nature’s leafy-green carpet to present Poem in Your Pocket Day, another initiative for its National Poetry Month 2019 (#NPM19) celebration. According to the League’s website, “you can carry a poem, share a poem, or even start your own Poem in Your Pocket Day event.”
Have you checked your mailbox lately? Look at what the League snail-mailed to me the other day! I’ve decided to share it a few hours early.
What a wonderful surprise! The poem “it didn’t happen here” by Eleonore Shönmaier was the winner of the League of Canadian Poets’ 2019 National Broadsheet Contest. It’s powerful in the way the poet pulled me into the vehicle with her opening lines and then left me numb (and haunted) at the end, as if I were also alone walking in the cold. I love poems that make me think and this one made me ponder deep about the teenage years and how an impulsive action can leave a lingering scar.
I’m unfamiliar with Schömaier and her work but I found an unread copy of her latest book Dust Blown Side of the Journey (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017) on my “Books to Read” bookshelf so I have moved it up the queue and placed it on my desk for future reading.
NOTE: Please feel free to share the above postcard poem and/or this blog post with your social media friends. It is meant for sharing. A copy of this postcard as well as additional poems and postcards by other poets, booklets, sharing ideas, and information about the Poem in Your Pocket event can be found on the League’s website.
Last year I received a postcard featuring the work of Canadian poet Bernice Lever. See my response here followed by an interview with the poet here.
ONGOING #NPM19 EVENTS
This year’s National Poetry Month theme is “Celebrate Nature With Poetry” and what a celebration it has been so far.
Every day of the week in April, the League has been and will be posting tree-themed poems from their fundraising anthology Heartwood: Poems For the Love of Trees edited by Lesley Strutt. The posts are part to the League’s “Poetry Pause” series. More information about “Poetry Pause” can be found here.
More information about Heartwood can be found here.
My blog post about the anthology can be found here.
COMPLETED #NPM19 EVENTS
Locally in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, Sharon Berg of Big Pond Rumours Press organized and emceed an afternoon reading filled with poetry and music. Featured guest Toronto musician/poet Tom Gannon Hamilton mesmerized the audience with his violin, poetic voice and words. (More details about the event here.)
The afternoon also included mini-spotlight readings by eleven area poets (in alphabetical order): Sharon Berg, Bob Boulton, James Deahl, Jale Fancey, Mary Frost, Debbie Okun Hill, Norma West Linder, David D Plain, Kara Ghobhainn Smith, Najah Shuqair, and Lynn Tait. Poet Rhonda Melanson originally scheduled to read, could not attend due to illness.
Several new and familiar faces from the community rounded out the audience.
Special thanks to the local indie bookstore The Book Keeper for promoting books by local poets:
Local poets also participated in out-of-town events to celebrate the launch of two Lummox Press anthologies TAMARACKS: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century edited by Sarnia’s James Deahl and LUMMOX Number Seven edited by California publisher/editor RD Armstrong. (More details here.)
London also had its fair share of events including “Gathering Voices” where London poet Penn Kemp read with three other poets from across Canada: Katerina Fretwell, Susan McCaslin, and Susan McMaster. The event was hosted by the London Public Library with special thanks to the League of Canadian Poets, the Canada Council for the Arts, and Canadian Heritage.
UPCOMING #NPM19 EVENTS
Check my Events – 2019 page for upcoming literary activities that will take place in southwestern Ontario and throughout the province. Please note these are only events that I have become aware of. If you are organizing an event and wish to have your event listed please contact me via my contact page.
Two events I’d like to highlight:
“Infinite Sequels” with Toronto/Stratford poet David Stones and Toronto musician Tom Gannon Hamilton to be held Friday, April 26, 2019 in Stratford. I understand tickets are going quickly.
I’ll be reading my ‘nature-themed’ poems at the Welland Public Library on Saturday, April 27, 2019 as part of its National Poetry Month celebration. Hope to see you there.
SEEKING CHAPBOOK MANUSCRIPTS
Feeling inspired? There are two contest submission calls for chapbook manuscripts with April 30th deadlines. See details below:
The Ontario Poetry Society Golden Grassroots Poetry Chapbook Award 2019 will be awarded to the best manuscript of 24 pages submitted by a Canadian citizen. Each page features a maximum of 35 lines and poems may be previously published but cannot have previously won any contest prizes or awards. The first prize winner will receive $50 and 50 free copies of the chapbook plus all entrants will receive one copy of the winning chapbook. Rules and guidelines can be found here.
The Vallum Chapbook Award will be awarded to the best manuscript of 12 to 20 pages of poetry by a Canadian, American or international poet. Individual poems can be previously published elsewhere but the manuscript must be original and never published. The first prize winner will receive $300 plus publication. Guidelines can be found here.
Both contests have a submission fee.
ONE LAST THOUGHT….
Below is my own postcard poem (with a nature theme) created several years ago and recycled for you today! Happy National Poetry Month everyone!
Follow this blog for future posts:
remembering the late Carmen Ziolkowski; a Q and A with Toronto/Stratford poet David Stones; behind the scenes with two or three Manitoba writers (you know who you are); what’s new in the Windsor literary arena; and my summer reading list.
thanks for the photos and info on the Sarnia poets. very good. But also thanks for sharing that haunting poem ‘it didn’t happen here’. Have passed it along already.
Heather, you might want to check out the other postcards on the League website. I haven’t read them all. I plan to do that tomorrow.