National Poetry Month 2013 was an amazing success, and we have a lot of people to thank for the support! My Bindi, Literature for life, The Literary Press Group, The Canadian Library Association, and many others helped us to spread the word about National Poetry Month.
2013 marked the fifteenth year of National Poetry Month in Canada, and has been one of our most successful celebrations yet! Throughout April, poets were out in libraries, schools, pubs, community centres and on the street celebrating poetry. There were a huge number of poetry readings and spoken word events; workshops were given in many different cities to teach new poets how to get started; and there has been a huge number of amazing online poetry projects that have been started up.
Each year, the Poetry City Challenge is extended to cities across the country. This year, the challenge was enthusiastically taken on by city councils in Regina, Toronto, Saskatchewan, Guelph, Coubourg, Llloydminster, Waterloo, New Westminster, Surrey, New Glasgow, Sackville, Yorkton, Cambridge, Calgary, St John’s, Brantford, Victoria, Nanaimo, Whistler, Nelson, Jasper, Grande Prarie, North Battleford, Moose Jaw, Oshawa, Fredericton,
We can’t wait for next year!
… a perfume is not the same as a sentence … – David Howes
Don’t tell me that perfume
cannot be a sentence,
that trees are not language,
because to deny this
is to deny that hands
can be cathedrals,
which was proven by Rodin,
bronze fingertips timbered
to create a room
walled by palms.
I know that
perfume is a sentence
because the rounded vowels
entwine with the consonants
until heart notes fade into
that press into the Cambrian rock
Scent lingers but cannot
by porous sheets of skin
stretched over a spire
faint but fossilized
in a pattern of neurons.
I know that perfume is a sentence
because it is how I remember you –
with the articulate longhand of musk.
Vanessa Moeller’s poems and short stories have appeared in numerous periodicals including The Fiddlehead, Prism International, The Antigonish Review, CV2, The Pottersfield Portfolio and Qwerty and have won several awards including the Atlantic Poetry Prize and an honorable mention in the poetry category of the 2010 National Magazine Awards. Her first poetry collection was published by Signature Editions in 2009 and is entitled Our Extraordinary Monsters. She has worked on Qwerty and The Fiddlehead and as associate poetry editor for Goose Lane Editions. She completed her MA in creative writing at the University of New Brunswick. She now lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
It’s a boy
Complete this sentence: As long as it’s healthy…
By the time your startle reflex has kicked in
and he’s tested his grasp of your finger
(melting your belly from the outside)
you’ll have counted his toes one to ten, twice,
as if there’s something to do with missing toes
searched his frosted eyes, scried his tears
pressed his belly, the nurse for assurance
that unlike your brothers
he will someday write his name, hug you back
As you pour yourself into him at 3 am
stare out the glazed window,
rock rhythmically in the dark
(“It’s a boy” was published in CV2 Fall 2012)
Winnipeg journalist Angeline Schellenberg began publishing poetry in summer 2012, with pieces in Rhubarb, Geez, CV2, and forthcoming in The Beautiful Women Anthology and Prairie Fire. Méira Cook’s apprentice in the 2012 Manitoba Writers’ Guild mentorship program, Angeline received a MAC grant to write a poetry collection about autism.
You don’t pray for rain in mountains.
It comes and goes as if to home —
sometimes wandering in clouds,
other times running into rising streams.
The soil is forever soft.
Leaves unfold to hold each drop.
At the end of each cycle,
you always hear it singing
all the way home —
Some drops stay longer on tall branches.
All of a sudden, a wind blows;
they let go —
a light shower
sitting motionless under a phoenix tree.
Anna Yin was born in china and immigrated to Canada in 1999. She won the 2005 Ted Plantos Memorial Award, 2010 MARTY Award for her poetry. Her poems in English & Chinese and ten translations by her were in a Canadian Studies textbook used by Humber College. Anna has a coll ection of poetry “Wings Toward Sunlight” and three chapbooks. In early 2013, Mosaic Press will publish another collection of her poetry “Inhaling the Silence.” www.annapoetry.com.
Loving an Old Dog
There were days
loosed from the leash
when she’d burst
from fall-frail leaves, lungs
ecstatic with young daylight.
She found mud where
there’d been no rain
or river, tracked paths
to squirrel dens
and litterbug ravines.
There are days still
when she nips at the tail
of her younger self, her limbs
stiffer but her eyes
as wide as horizons
while for a few seconds
she slips the grey
of her fur and fills
the chilly morning with
a mess of barking
and misted breath.
In those moments I know
she feels the ache of speed remembered
by the hunt-brain,
but not this old body,
these lurching bones.
One morning when she runs
along the cusp
of calling range, she’ll find that clearing
where the tree-line thins
and the bracken falls away.
She’ll hesitate a moment,
hearing a voice
older and more urgent than my own.
She’ll think of turning back
to the comfort of afternoon naps,
but instead find herself plowing forward,
a bolt of meat and shag
picking up speed until the trees
blur around her and the forest becomes
an endless streak of saliva
and panted steam,
a chase unending
Peter Chiykowski is a card-carrying basset hound owner and
back-alley poet. His work’s popped up in the likes of Best Canadian Poetry, Best Canadian Speculative Writing, and a Globe and Mail feature on the best erotic writing. In his spare time he doodles Rock, Paper, Cynic, an online comic that’s been shared by George Takei, Nathan Fillion, and Tor.com.
Once I Fashioned Wings
I’m in her garden, among the roses,
flowers wrapped in plastic bags,
bees placed in match boxes
tied with string, yellow ants
kept in old shoe-polish tins,
fish that seem to float upside down,
birds tethered by strands of purple wool
attached to painted sticks, snakes
chopped in pieces by a spade,
their bodies dumped in garbage bins.
I’ve fashioned wings from discarded
envelopes I’ve been scribbling on,
but as I flap, all I hear
is their rattle in the wind.
(Previously published in the Chapbook: Rattle in the Wind, Black and White Quarterly, Summer, 2012, Vol. 1 No. 2 Red Ochre Press)
David Fraser lives in Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island, BC. His poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Rocksalt, An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry. He has published five collections of poetry, most recently Caught in My Throat, 201, and Paper Boats, 2012.
The Bird Girls
That was the year they’d call the night before
like birds that congregate on black phone wires
to plan what to wear to school the next day:
skirts, though it was a deathly winter there.
They were all spindly knees and feathered hips,
and wore their straight blonde hair like nested crowns
for their higher births and older money,
last names emblazoned across the city.
Once a friend of mine overheard in time
to wear hers. We viewed it as betrayal,
in our jeans without affiliation,
without thigh-skimming pleats, without a guard
against talons. And without brighter wings
they didn’t yet know couldn’t bear their weight.
The Disarmed Heart
People arrive at a nuclear site
to dismantle various missiles
and other weapons of mass destruction
Hands gently and tenderly
peel away pieces of a shield
from a large, viscous red heart
until a bit of the thundering organ
starts to show (just barely) beneath
the heavy apparatus
All you can see are hands of all sizes
and colours and shapes
moving over the encased drum
More and more of the fleshy heart
stirs underneath as the hands
continue their work
At last, except for a few pieces of bronze
that resemble armour plates, the heart
lies wholly exposed, thrumming
as the palms fall away
Susan McCaslin is a Canadian poet and Faculty Emeritus of Douglas College in Westminster, BC where she taught English and Creative Writing for twenty-three years. She is the author of ten volumes of poetry, including her most recent, Demeter Goes Skydiving (University of Alberta Press, 2011). The latter was a finalist in 2012 for the BC Book Prize (Dorothy Livesay Award) and the first-place winner of the Alberta Book Publishing Award (Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award). Susan has recently published a volume of essays, Arousing the Spirit: Provocative Writings (Wood Lake Books, 2011). She has edited two anthologies and is on the editorial board of Event: the Douglas College Review. She
Untitled (The Mole Rat)
Maybe there’s a poem for the cool of the bus
in my hair,
like the whole network
of hidden vein lines
in clear eyes, or the air
rattling under the stop-caller’s
white words. In this poem,
when a container empties
engorges it, fills out
its deep corners again,
a deep network
of trusting, tensile thin.
I am a container,
and even sweat-gleaming in the shit-lined tube tunneling
I’m filling with the cool,
with clear eyes.
The head swimming the best elements
of death, the light,
the marathon exhilaration finish.
The mole rat
tunneling in the black dirt
works towards brightness blind,
hands careening and ears blowing up
at every new threshold of depth.
John Nyman’s poetry has appeared in Misunderstandings Magazine, Steel Bananas, and The Antigonish Review’s Poet Grow Op. He is a graduate of the undergraduate program in creative writing and English at York University, and has performed at several live reading series in Toronto.
The Year of (white) Fun
There are some things I just don’t like to think about.
There are some places I just don’t like to go.
Sometimes I feel so old.
Sometimes I feel false.
Don’t let my face tell you things you don’t know.
You have no idea.
And now I’m not so sure of my age anymore,
when certain things seem out of place.
I tarnished my (white) youth.
Yet I am still only 21?
Yeah twenty-one (and white),
the Year of Fun,
the year I am supposed to fuck everyone.
And get fucked.
Get drunk, do drugs, receive some douche-bag-love.
Well guess what?
I did do all of this.
And I received…
How are we,
supposed to stay young (and white)
/get drunk/fuck/take drugs/suck cock/get up
/keep jobs/get degrees/no babies/no HIV/STD’s
‘Cause shit I feel old.
And now I feel cold because
I am not open to love.
despite my complicated relationship with
(white counterrevolutionary) “wildness”
I feel that this is my time to be uncouth,
To spit off of roofs,
Speak truth through sober tears.
Grit my teeth and name names.
Jess Goldman is a mix of many identities, and not sure how to define herself. She writes her poetry as a means of puzzling out her struggles and placing herself within a world where so many dynamics are constantly at play. She has never been published.