THIS SABBATICAL CALLED COVID:
You may have noticed that I disappeared from this website/blog. It wasn’t anything that you did. Let’s just say that the world (and my world) turned upside down in 2020 when we all started social distancing due to all the COVID restrictions. Was this a forced mid-life crisis? As someone once said, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Oh, the cliche!
It took me a long time to start making lemonade. I put most of my writing on hold to declutter my surroundings and to explore other creative options like the fine arts, knitting, card making, reading, and yes even just dreaming and colouring in children’s colouring books. Was it time to shut off the computer, retire a bit early, and spend more time with nature? Mother Nature proved to be so healing. I loved gardening and playing in the earth.
You may have also seen me on Goodreads, writing reviews and exploring a variety of different genres other than poetry. I love books and felt fortunate that my home had many unread volumes sitting on shelves that I could turn to when the local libraries temporarily closed their doors.
Was it a mistake to take such an extended break from my literary journey? I did write at least one poem a month by using Rattle Magazine’s monthly ekphrastic challenge as a prompt. It’s something I would like to explore further: this love for art and words and how art inspires writing.
So, I’m back! A lot greyer than when I started but perhaps somewhat wiser too! My next project shall be a surprise, even to me. We’ll see where the muse leads me now.
DUSTING OFF OLDER PROJECTS:
First draft of a new collection of poems focusing on pioneer and rural crafts has been completed and is still percolating/waiting for revisions. Several poems have already received minor awards. Research and writing made possible thanks to the support of The Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve 2013-2014 program.
Ash Leaves, a collection of tribute poems focusing on the ash tree and how the invasion of Emerald Ash Borers is changing the Canadian landscape. Several poems are still circulating and submitted to literary magazines. Manuscript is polished and the hunt is on for a publisher. Special thanks to the support of the Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve 2012-2013 program. Special thanks to award-winning Canadian poet and mentor Harold Rhenisch for his editorial suggestions and guidance.
SEPTEMBER 2017 RELEASE:
Chalk Dust Clouds, first prize winner in The Ontario Poetry Society’s 2017 Golden Grassroots Chapbook Award. Filled with school supplies metaphors, this 19-poem collection dares to ask: “Did Eve drop…/the polished apple into Newton’s lap?”. Published by Beret Days Press, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-926495-42-2 24-pages
JUDGES COMMENTS: “Original and creative language…Overall, I found this to be brilliant poetry…it [the manuscript] rose to the top early and I kept going back to it time and again” — Becky Alexander, Contest Judge, The Ontario Poetry Society’s 2017 Golden Grassroots Chapbook Award
Check the list for other contest winners.
SEPTEMBER 2017 RELEASE:
Drawing from Experience, shortlisted for the Big Pond Rumours 1st Chapbook Contest. A chapbook of 15 art- and ekphrastic-themed poems published by Big Pond Rumours Press, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-9780201-9-4 30-pages More info here.
“Debbie’s poems make clear she has the love and eye of an artist, her rich visual imagery whether observed from museum masterpieces, a dramatic tribute to Emily Carr, or from a tarantula framed in a gallery gift shop, touch on the necessity for art and artists to enrich our lives.” – John Di Leonardo, Canadian visual artist/poet
AUGUST 2015 RELEASE:
MINDSHADOWS: A Canadian Poetry Anthology featuring poetry by 81 members of The Ontario Poetry Society and focusing on themes confronting those times and events which plague our thoughts: Swallowing Confusion, The Night’s Not Long Enough, Casting Shadows, and Drinking the Light. Edited and compiled by Debbie Okun Hill. Illustrated by Elana Wolff and Katerina Fretwell. Beret Days Press, 2015, ISBN 978-1-926495-14-9 See foreword here.
Tarnished Trophies, an 88-page collection of sports themed poems, published by Black Moss Press as part of its First Line Poetry series, 2014, ISBN 978-0-88753-528-4
“In these well-crafted, wide-ranging poems, Debbie Okun Hill introduces a variety of athletic disciplines, as well as touching on the seasons of both humankind and those of nature. Her poetry encompasses the joy of winning and the despair of defeat. Cheers and tears. But, always, the judicial use of original metaphors makes this collection a rewarding experience for the reader: There’s gold to be found here. Go for it!” – Norma West Linder, Author of Adder’s-Tongues.
For 2015 tour dates, check here.
EnCompass I, a 75-page anthology featuring the work of Canadian poets Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews, Debbie Okun Hill, Bernice Lever, Lynn Tait and Jan Wood; Beret Days Press, 2013, ISBN 978-1-897497-73-9
Another Trail of Comet Dust: Poems Pulled from Earth, The Stanza Break Chapbook Series #43, Beret Days Press, 2011, ISBN 978-1-897497-53-1 24-pages
Swaddled in Comet Dust: A Collection of Award-winning Poems, The Stanza Break Chapbook Series #27, Beret Days Press, 2008, ISBN 978-1-897497-10-4 24-pages