Tag Archives: Literary Events

Filling Your Heart with Love Poems

“All You Need Is Love,” wrote John Lennon. The lyrics to this 1967 Beatles single holds me captive and warms my mood like a lit fireplace on a snowy evening.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if love could soften some of the hatred in this world? Call me an optimist! I’d sooner be hypnotized by cupid’s arrow than lambasted by hurtful words. Are you feeling drained by all the negative news? I know I am.


Mark your calendars for this special Red Valentine event in Chatham, Ontario.

In just eight days (Saturday, February 11), the Thames Art Gallery presents “All Four Love”, a special Red Valentine themed event featuring Black Moss Press* poets Cornelia Hoogland, Vanessa Shields, Kara Ghobhainn Smith, and Debbie Okun Hill (that’s me) plus special musical guest celebrity sing-songwriter Crissi Cochrane. If you’ve never heard Crissi perform, here’s your chance. She has a beautiful voice.


If the idea of poetry frightens you, attend anyway. I dare you. We all have different styles and voices to reach a wide audience. Expect your heart to be filled with poetic words from the sentimental to the sexy to the humourous.

For example:

“What’s your hurry? Don’t be such a schoolgirl.” – from the poem “Red Meets the Wolf in the Woods” by Cornelia Hoogland.

“These days I choose sleep over sex/Fiction over poetry/Movies over dancing” – from the poem “Where Is the Love?” By Vanessa Shields.

“She thought he was/boring, arrogant/even full of it/but he showed her” – from the poem “The night the music ended” by Kara Ghobhainn Smith.

“Remember when…/I first kissed you,” –from the poem “Gentle Devotion” by Debbie Okun Hill

Yes poetry CAN be entertaining! For additional information and performers’ bios, stop by the Thames Art Gallery website. Crissi also has a website.

Will there be food? Of course!


A seven-course fully red tapas menu by William Street Café is included. Expect gazpacho shooters, beet hummus with vegi chips, red pepper bruschetta, phyllo cups with goat cheese pomegranate syrup & pistachios, cranberry glazed chicken wings, tortellini in tomato sauce, and mascarpone tart with raspberries.

Mmmmmm….is your mouth watering yet?

What are you waiting for? Forget your troubles. Bring a date, a friend, a group of friends. Wear something red. And yes, tickets are available here.

Still not convinced!

Below is a short section from my longer poem “Taped Together”.**

  1. iv) Two-sided Tape

They say there are two sides

To a coin, to a story

Sometimes two sides to love

His and her sides of a bed

Two sides to an argument

And two sides to mend.

Love, love, love! May love heal our world, today, tomorrow, and always. Hope to see you in Chatham at the Thames Art Gallery/Chatham Cultural Centre.

Can’t attend? Perhaps you’d prefer to share your own love poems. Check my Ontario 2017 event page for additional love themed readings and open mics such as the Poetry and Roses reading in London on February 9, The Ontario Poetry Society’s The Love of Poetry Gathering in Toronto on February 12, and/or the Art Bar’s Cupid Wins & Wounds All Open Mic Night in Toronto on February 14.

Happy Valentine’s Month Everyone!!!

*Additional information about Black Moss Press can be found on this website.
**The poem ‘Taped Together’ received an Honourable Mention Award from The Ontario Poetry Society’s (TOPS) The Open Heart 10 poetry competition 2015 and was first published in Open Heart 10: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry, Beret Days Press, 2016. Copyright © Debbie Okun Hill

New Fall Season for Sarnia’s Bluewater Reading Series

“I believe that most poets have a moon poem tucked away in a file somewhere”.–Becky Alexander*

If you’re in or within travelling distance to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada mark your literary calendars with two more Bluewater Reading Series offerings planned for September 12 and October 3, 2015. Expect to hear new poetry, prose, and non-fiction by both local and out-of-town writers.

This September 12th reading by local and out-of-town writers represents the 6th event in Sarnia's Bluewater Reading Series.

This September 12th reading by local and out-of-town writers represents the 6th event in Sarnia’s Bluewater Reading Series.

The Saturday, September 12 event showcases an all-female lineup with four out-of-town readers sharing lunar themed work from the recently released anthology Moon Shine: A Canadian Collection (Craigleigh Press). Presenters include the Cambridge, Ontario publisher/editor Becky Alexander plus three other contributors: Barb Day (Paris, Ontario), Elizabeth McCallister (Brantford) and Kathy Robertson (Kitchener).

Moon Shine was edited by Becky Alexander, publisher of Craighleigh Press in Cambridge, Ontario.

Moon Shine was edited by Becky Alexander, publisher of Craigleigh Press in Cambridge, Ontario.

Local readers include Debbie Okun Hill who is back home following a multi-city-multi-province tour of her first book Tarnished Trophies (Black Moss Press) and Phyllis Humby, a First Monday columnist and a crime fiction writer. Both local writers have previously read on the Fringe Stage of the Eden Mills Writers Festival: Okun Hill in 2011 and Humby in 2013.

On Saturday, October 3, Canadian poet Chad Norman will travel from Truro, Nova Scotia to read from his latest book Learning to Settle Down (Black Moss Press). Pat Connors, manager for the Toronto chapter of 100,000 Poets for Change will share poetry from Scarborough Songs (Lyricalmyrical). An additional out-of-town guest is pending confirmation. Local readers include historical fiction writer Bob McCarthy and retired Lambton College Literature Professor Pat Sheridan.

“All of the out-of-town writers have never visited or read in this area of Ontario before,” said Bluewater Reading Series committee member and prolific Canadian poet James Deahl. “This is a great opportunity for guest readers to network with other writers. Local writers, in turn, will hear different voices which can often stimulate ideas and future growth for their own writing.”

Barb Day

Barb Day

Both readings are free, open to the general public, and will start at 2:30 p.m.at John’s Restaurant on the outskirts of Sarnia, Ontario.

To date, the Bluewater Reading Series committee (consisting of emcees Deahl and award-winning poet Lynn Tait) has already organized five other successful readings. Previous out-town guest readers (in alphabetical order) included: Clara Blackwood, Allan Briesmaster, Ronnie R. Brown, Andreas Gripp, David Haskins, Laurence Hutchman, John B. Lee, Carol Malyon, Antonino Mazza, Michael Mirolla, Denis Robillard, Vanessa Shields, and John Wing Jr.

Elizabeth McCallilster

Elizabeth McCallilster

Below is additional information about the anthology Moon Shine and the September featured readers:

Moon Shine: A Canadian Collection: features moon-themed poems by 21 writers including Sarnia’s award-winning poets James Deahl and Norma West Linder. Published by Craigleigh Press, the book was officially launched May 31, 2015 in Cambridge, Ontario. Additional information about the book and a list of contributors can be found on the publisher’s website.

Featured Moon Shine Contributors:

Becky Alexander (Cambridge) is the author of Growing Up in Hespler, a memoir. With her husband Dave Allen she runs Craigleigh Press. Becky is active in the Cambridge Writers Collective.

Kathy Robertson

Kathy Robertson

Barb Day (Paris) is the author of Zanzibar, a children’s book. She is a spoken word performer and the host of The Brant Rant Poetry Slam.

Elizabeth McCallister (Brantford) is the author of Notes from Suburbia. She is active in the Cambridge Writers Collective and the Brant Poetry Group.

Kathy Robertson (Kitchener) has had work in The Cambridge Citizen and other places. She is active in the Cambridge Writers Collective.

Local Writers:

Debbie Okun Hill (Photo: Melissa Upfold for Calculated Coloured Co.)

Debbie Okun Hill (Photo: Melissa Upfold for Calculated Coloured Co.)

Debbie Okun Hill (Lambton County) recently completed a multi-city-multi-province book tour with her first poetry collection Tarnished Trophies (Black Moss Press). She also edited/compiled the recently released MINDSHADOWS (Beret Days Press), a membership anthology for The Ontario Poetry Society. She is a member of numerous local and Canadian writing groups.

Phyllis Humby

Phyllis Humby

Phyllis Humby (Lambton County) Although her passion is writing novels, her short stories, often scheming, twisted, or spooky, appear in anthologies and journals in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. In addition, she writes a monthly column, “Up Close and Personal” for First Monday magazine. She blogs at her websiteThe Write Break.

Additional information about the October 3rd event will be posted soon.

Follow this blog for future updates on the Bluewater Reading Series and other literary events, reviews and profiles.

*Becky Alexander’s quote first appeared on the Craigleigh Press website.