Current Events

As we continue to amplify the voices of diverse and vibrant poets from across the breadth of Nations, territories, habitats, waterways, and provinces commonly known as Canada, we recognize that “Poetry London” needlessly repeats a colonial signifier in a manner discordant with our ethos as an organization.

As such, we’ve decided to change the name of the reading series formerly known as Poetry London to Antler River Poetry, which borrows from the transliterated Anishinabemowin Deshkan Ziibi, one of the original and continuous names for the river. Unceded to treaty, the Antler River flows through the Oneida Nation of the Thames, the Munsee Delaware Nation, the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation, and the city known as London, Ontario. The name Antler River Poetry symbolically moves our reading series away from the city and toward the river: a source of life, a place of intersection, and a host to diverse communities.

Antler River Poetry (formerly Poetry London) 2021-2022 Season

We are delighted to announce the readers for our upcoming 18th season!

Antler River Poetry (formerly Poetry London) is eager to provide our online audience with a line-up of excellent poets during live Zoom workshops and events taking place through the remainder of 2021, with the possibility of in-person events in 2022 remaining subject to restrictions and guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Poetry London Presents

Wednesday June 30rd 7pm – the long-awaited video collaboration of Mary di Michele and Susan Gillis, including work by Yoko’s Dogs!

  • Local Openers Michelle Arnett and Michele Nicole
  • YouTube Event 7:00pm ET
  • Zoom Workshop 6:00pm
  • Join us for great online poetry!

Poetry London Presents

Wednesday June 23rd 7pm – Spring Mini Reading Series – Episode Three:
Joseph Dandurand, Jen Sookfong Lee and Yusuf Saadi

Episode Two of our online Spring Mini Reading Series will feature great poetry by Joseph Dandurand, Jen Sookfong Lee and Yusuf Saadi! Videos will launch Wednesday June 16th at 7:00pm EDT on Facebook and YouTube. See poet bios below.


Poetry London Presents

Wednesday June 16th 7pm – Spring Mini Reading Series – Episode Two:
Larissa Lai, Lisa Pasold and Ayaz Pirani

Episode Two of our online Spring Mini Reading Series will feature splendid readings by Larissa Lai, Lisa Pasold and Ayaz Pirani! Videos will launch Wednesday June 16th at 7:00pm EDT on Facebook and YouTube. See poet bios below.


Poetry London Presents

Wednesday June 9th 7pm – Spring Mini Reading Series – Episode One:
Bertrand Bickersteth, John Elizabeth Stintzi and M. Travis Lane

Episode One of our online Spring Mini Reading Series will feature great poetry by Bertrand Bickersteth, John Elizabeth Stintzi and M. Travis Lane! Videos will launch Wednesday June 9th at 7:00pm EDT on Facebook and YouTube. See poet bios below.


Announcing Our 2021 Spring (into Summer) Digital Mini Reading Series!


Announcing our 2021 digital Mini Reading Series! Starting June 9th at 7:00pm, we’ll launch new poetry videos on YouTube featuring these great poets: Bertrand Bickersteth, Joseph A. Dandurand, Larissa Lai, M. Travis Lane, Jen Sookfong Lee, Ayaz Pirani, Yusuf Saadi and John Elizabeth Stintzi.

Poetry London is pleased to announce our 2021 digital Spring Mini Reading Series! Starting on June 9th, we will launch poetry videos on our YouTube channel each Wednesday at 7:00pm EDT (for three weeks). These videos will feature closed captioning. Read bios of our featured poets below.

  • Bertrand Bickersteth
  • Joseph A. Dandurand
  • Larissa Lai
  • M. Travis Lane
  • Jen Sookfong Lee
  • Lisa Pasold
  • Ayaz Pirani
  • Yusuf Saadi
  • John Elizabeth Stintzi

About the Poets


Bertrand Bickersteth

Bertrand Bickersteth

Bertrand Bickersteth is an educator who also writes poetry and plays. His collection of poetry, The Response of Weeds was named one of CBC’s best books of poetry for 2020 and won the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for 2021. He lives in Calgary, teaches at Olds College, and writes about Black identity on the Prairies. Purchase Bertrand Bickersteth’s book here: https://newestpress.com/books/response-of-weeds-the

Joseph A. Dandurand

Joseph Dandurand

Joseph A. Dandurand is a member of Kwantlen First Nation located on the Fraser River about 20 minutes east of Vancouver. He resides there with his 3 children Danessa, Marlysse, and Jace. Joseph is the Director of the Kwantlen Cultural Center. Joseph received a Diploma in Performing Arts from Algonquin College and studied Theatre and Direction at the University of Ottawa. He has published numerous books of poetry, including I Want (Leaf Press, 2015), Hear and Foretell (BookLand Press, 2015), The Rumour (BookLand Press, 2018), and SH:LAM (the doctor) (Mawenzi Press, 2019). His most recent books are The East Side of It All (Nightwood Editions, 2020), shortlisted for the 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize, and I Will Be Corrupted (Guernica Editions, 2020). Purchase Joseph Dandurand’s latest books here:

Larissa Lai

Larissa Lai - photo by Monique de St. Croix

Larissa Lai is the author of Iron Goddess of Mercy (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2021), as well as two previous poetry books: Sybil Unrest (with Rita Wong) and Automaton Biographies (shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Award), and a chapbook Eggs in the Basement (shortlisted for the bp Nichol Chapbook Award). Winner of the Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists’ Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, and an Astraea Award, she has also authored three novels, most recently The Tiger Flu. She directs The Insurgent Architects’ House for Creative Writing.

Purchase Larissa Lai’s latest book here: https://arsenalpulp.com/Books/I/Iron-Goddess-of-Mercy

M. Travis Lane

M. Travis Lane

One of Canada’s most distinguished writers, M. Travis Lane lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She received her B.A. (Junior PBK) from Vassar College, and her M.A. and PhD. from Cornell University. She and her husband Lauriat Lane came to New Brunswick in 1960. Travis taught briefly at Cornell and at the University of New Brunswick and is a Honorary Research Associate with the English department at U.N.B. She is a member of the Voice of Women for Peace and a Raging Granny, a member of the Writer’s Federation of New Brunswick and a Lifetime member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has published nineteen books of poetry and two of prose. She has received numerous awards for her writing, including the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, the Alden Nowlan Award for Excellence in Literary Arts, and the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for High Achievement in Literary Arts. She was also shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 2015. Her latest book of poetry, Keeping Count, was published by Gordon Hill Press in 2020. You can purchase it here: https://www.gordonhillpress.com/products/keeping-count

Jen Sookfong Lee

Jen Sookfong Lee

Jen Sookfong Lee was born and raised in Vancouver’s East Side, and she now lives with her son in North Burnaby. Her books include The Conjoined, nominated for International Dublin Literary Award and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, The End of EastGentlemen of the Shade, and Chinese New Year. Jen teaches at The Writers’ Studio Online with Simon Fraser University, edits fiction for Wolsak & Wynn, and co-hosts the literary podcast, Can’t Lit. Her first book of poetry, The Shadow List, was published by Buckrider Books in 2021. You can purchase it here: https://bookstore.wolsakandwynn.ca/products/the-shadow-list

Lisa Pasold

Lisa Pasold, photo by Louis Maistros

Lisa Pasold is the author of 5 books of fiction and poetry. In 2012, her book, Any Bright Horse, was shortlisted for Canada’s Governor General Award. Lisa’s poetry has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Los Angeles Review, Fence and New American Writing. Lisa is also the creator of “Improbable Walks”, story-telling art walks focusing on history, folk tales, and place memory. She has spent the pandemic taking pictures of flowers. Purchase Lisa Pasold’s books here: https://www.lisapasold.com/books

Ayaz Pirani

Ayaz Pirani

Ayaz Pirani was born in Tanzania. He studied humanities in Toronto and Montreal with a degree from Vermont College. Ayaz’s books include Happy You Are HereKabir’s Jacket Has a Thousand Pockets, and Bachelor of Art. His work recently appeared in The Malahat ReviewARC Poetry Magazine and The Antigonish Review. A new book is forthcoming from Gordon Hill Press in 2022. Purchase Ayaz Pirani’s latest book here: https://www.mawenzihouse.com/product/kabirs-jacket-has-a-thousand-pockets/

Yusuf Saadi

Yusuf Saadi - Author Photo

Yusuf Saadi’s first collection, Pluviophile (Nightwood, 2020)is shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize. He currently lives in Montreal. Purchase his book here: https://harbourpublishing.com/products/9780889713741

John Elizabeth Stintzi

John Elizabeth Stintzi

John Elizabeth Stintzi is a non-binary writer and artist who grew up on a cattle farm in northwestern Ontario. Their work has been awarded the 2019 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, TheMalahat Review’s 2019 Long Poem Prize, the Sator New Works Award, and has been shortlisted for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award and the Raymond Souster Award. Their work has appeared in Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, Fiddlehead, The Malahat Review, Best Canadian Poetry, and many others. JES is the author of the novels My Volcano (2022) and Vanishing Monuments, as well as the poetry collection Junebat. They live and work with their wife in Kansas City. Purchase John Elizabeth Stintzi’s latest book here: https://houseofanansi.com/products/junebat?_pos=1&_sid=db84dca96&_ss=r

Poetry Projections Are Back This Week


Phil Hall
Phil Hall
Kathleen Roffey
Kathleen Roffey

Hey London! Poetry projections are back this week, “Monday April 26 to Friday April 30, from dusk to dawn”. Walk behind Museum London to see big outdoor projections of poems by our April feature reader Phil Hall & our 2021 contest winner Kathleen Roffey.

All details: http://museumlondon.ca/programs-events…

And don’t miss viewing our April digital event on YouTube!

In Conversation


To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’re digging into our interview archives!

Listen to Canisia Lubrin discuss her collection Voodoo Hypothesis (2017) with Kevin Heslop. Originally recorded & broadcast at CHRW Radio Western in 2019. Hear Governor General’s Award-winning poet Arleen Paré discuss Frances Loring and Florence Wyle in the context of her poetry collection The Girls with Stone Faces (Brick Books, 2017). Check out In Conversation.

Announcing Poetry London 2021 Poetry Contest Winners


We are delighted to announce the winners of our 2021 Poetry Contest judged by Phil Hall. Big thanks goes to Phil for being the judge and to all contestants for submitting their poetry. Congratulations to the winners!

1st Prize “Third in Line” – Kathleen Roffey

Third in Line

Carefully sorting through your grandmother’s life. 
After the Mass, and the burial, and the reception, 
with those lemon squares you could never stomach.  

There was so much of her to unearth. 

When you found it, gold chain in the palm of your hand, 
you knew it was yours. It was your birthright.  
Miniature engraved scale resting just below your throat. 
Both sides equal and balanced. 

You were the third in a line of Libra daughters,  
inheriting indecision and a dogmatic civility. 
Born two days before your mother’s birthday, 
she always claimed you were her favourite present. 

When the necklace started to itch, 
you kept it on despite the burn. 
*   
Your grandparents met at a church dance, your parents at a wedding.  
Easy stories told over Sunday dinners.   
Comfort in the repetition, it was only natural to fall. 

You always bought into the fantasy.  
Butter yellow flowers, rows of tulle knotted around pew corners.  

You never considered the possibility that the church you were raised in, 
where you had memorized stained-glass windows,  
preformed grade school Christmas carols, 
wouldn’t marry you now. No church would. 

You never wanted to be the one to break tradition. 
*  
You were supposed to be the third in a line of Libra daughters. 
You were supposed to be daughter. 
But the irritation never stopped, 
the necklace heavy around your neck. 

So lovingly created,   
features borrowed, matriarchal in design. 
You couldn’t understand, the feeling devastatingly familiar, 
of your own body ill fitting and confining.  
  
You didn’t know how to tell your mother, 
the second in line, that this body was no longer yours,
that daughter no longer fit. That the procession had stopped.

Read ↓

2nd Prize “Called, Culled, Chosen, Caught” – Penn Kemp

Called, Culled, Chosen, Caught

                      There you are in the sudden
confirmation of synchronicity
              when the radio speaks the word
                    I am writing. Jack Spicer, move
                           back. But keep talking, please,
                    humming through medium cool.
              So the song responds, corresponds
        to mood. Ordinary, moving. Ordinary,
                                    sacred. Blessed from the beginning, you assert.
And I start in sympathy, startled into sense.
                      All the mediums remark in one refrain that the dead are happy
                      now, talking to us in dream. Hello, hollow. Are you there? Where?
                      Who can hear you among the tumult of the damned, Jack?
          To be named is to be
               recalled from another realm, to be
                       remembered after such dismembering.
This body knows only the present. It obeys the question and strains.
Cartilage gives, ligaments stretch— a kind of inflammatory frieze
that escapes the ultimate dimensional leap so far, that mimetic fear
               caught in the doctrine of signatures.
I lie flat, listening, learning not to recreate
          realities that are no longer yours. Nor mine. Abandon plans, idle
                  curiosity, knowing you lie. Goodbye, Jack.
The dreadful internalized, I am shelled
immobile on a familiar
horizontal, ghosted, going nowhere. Outer light
allows a muffled
       certainty beyond
        gravity, beyond your grave
                      countenance. Who is still
                      speaking, mouthing phrases I hardly hear?
Perhaps if I get your words down just right
I can fool my fate to take this paper
                       substitute
                               for any further injury
                       it might have in mind.
What, I won't ask. Don’t ask.

Read ↓

3rd Prize “Sensory Overload, Echolocation in for Repair” – Lynn Tait

Sensory Overload, Echolocation in for Repairs

If I can believe my eyes—it’s late,
can’t visualize my heart pain
or so my woman-clock articulates
like a fine-tuned fork chiming
beat-ups per minute.

Did I hear you correctly?
Echolalia’s long drip
convulses through imaginary pools,
I smell the quack of controversy
from here/hear/there

the pitter-patter of its webbed feet,
geese in formation
honking up the wrong tree
makes my ears weep.

Heartbreak keeps showing up in this poem
like a low frequency ping
a mispronunciation
a sour consistent stink
gliding by so close you can almost not not taste it.

Odium flails its wings in all directions.
Caught in its own stone-toothed trap,
ego feathers up you stay me go.

Strange echoes touch me now, like a kindness.
Swans—their love dance plays on my fingertips.
They trumpet a song, one about the mermaid
who learns to swim through fire.
Read ↓

Honourable Mention “Eighty Land Birds to Know” – Deborah Windell

Eighty Land Birds to Know

How are you holding up? the doctor asks
Her prognosis in the way he put his hand on my shoulder
His face both sincere and practiced, his question unanswerable
The technician tilts the screen towards us, a digital Borduas
This language that none of us speak, pictographs
of muscle, bone and blood

This will be the last room, her last view
An avid birder, I hope that she can hear the cooing
of pigeons outside her window
We gather on the ward, restless and nodding,
desperately snatching up any news like crumbs
We stand close together, suspend old grievances
We whisper

Strangers wearing scrubs come in and out
Most are brisk, all are unannounced
We are not privy to the choreography
We learn the names of the sympathetic ones
We thank them. Bring them coffee. Bless them.The hours are measured by paper cups
crumpled and discarded in the bin
The gurgling sounds from inside her chest an alarm
We take turns holding her hand, repeating

It’s okay  I’m here  I love you

A year later, a recipe card
Found tucked between the pages of Eighty Land Birds to Know.
Written in her elegant cursive,
a prescription to follow, precisely measured
I carefully trace each loop and tittle to summon her,
To tell her
        how much I miss her

Read ↓

Poetry London Online Presents Phil Hall

Wednesday April 21st


Poetry London Presents Phil Hall 2021 April 21 7pm Join Us Online

On Wednesday April 21, we are launching our final video event of the season featuring a full-length reading from Phil Hall with local opener Aidan Clark!

  • Online Readings 7:00pm EDT on our YouTube channel
  • Zoom Workshop 6:00pm (open to all, email registration)
  • Email us at poetrylondon[dot]ca[at]gmail[dot]com

Join us for great online poetry!


Special Art-Poetry Webinar Event!


On March 30th at 7:00pm, join us for a live Zoom artist’s talk with @mingot, who will discuss her poet portraits series with @rozsharp & give a tour of her visual arts studio space!

Full info & free registration here: https://t.co/2aZi1GUJ8Z

Poetry London Online Presents Melanie Janisse-Barlow & Cassidy McFadzean

Thursday March 25th


Poetry London Presents Cassidy McFadzean and Melanie Janisse-Barlow Thursday March 25 7pm EDT Zoom Workshop 6pm EDT To register for the workshop, email poetrylondon.ca@gmail.com (enrollment limited)

On Thursday March 25th, our next video event launches featuring Melanie Janisse-Barlow & Cassidy McFadzean along with local opener Akshi Chadha! Tune in at 7pm to our YouTube channel and join us for great online poetry!

  • Online Readings 7:00pm EDT on our YouTube channel
  • Zoom Workshop 6:00pm (limited enrollment, register by email at poetrylondon[dot]ca[at]gmail[dot]com)

Museum London Poetry Projections

Featuring the words of Melanie Janisse-Barlow and Cassidy McFadzea


  • Visible behind the Museum from the Wolf Sculpture Garden
  • Tuesday, March 23 to Saturday, March 27, from dusk to dawn

Museum London’s Poetry at the Forks projections are returning this week for all-night viewings. See arts-inspired excerpts from Windsor poet Melanie Janisse-Barlow’s latest collection Thicket, and Toronto-based Cassidy McFadzean’s book Drolleries projected onto our river-facing screens (the big window behind the Museum). Experience writing like you’ve never felt it in this night-lighting, larger than life format. All details here!

Poetry London 2021 Open Theme Contest

***DEADLINE EXTENDED: March 19th, 2021


Poetry London 2021 Open Theme Contest

Submit your best work to Poetry London’s 2021 Open Theme poetry contest, judged by legendary Canadian poet Phil Hall! Contest entries must be one poem of no more than 40 lines, on any topic, in any style; only submit original work that has not been previously published in print or online.

Send poems in PDF format by email only to poetrylondon.contest@gmail.com. Please include your name, your complete contact information (including mailing address) and the title of your poem in the body of the email. Judging will be anonymous. Do not include your name in the PDF file of your poem. You must be a resident of (or attending school in) London and surrounding area to enter. Winners will be announced in mid April 2021 (only winners will be contacted).

  • First Prize is $100
  • Second Prize is $75
  • Third Prize is $50

The winning poets will have their work published on Poetry London’s website and will be invited to read their winning pieces at an upcoming digital video event.

Poetry London Online Presents Sachiko Murakami & Catherine Graham

Wednesday February 24th


Poetry London 2021 Presents Sachiko Murakami and Catherine Graham Wednesday February 24th 7pm Join Us Online

On Wednesday February 24th, our next video event launches featuring Sachiko Murakami & Catherine Graham along with local opener Jonathan Hermina! Mark the day in your calendars. Tune in at 7pm to our YouTube channel and join us for great online poetry!

  • Online Readings 7:00pm EDT on our YouTube channel
  • Zoom Workshop 6:00pm (open to all, email registration)
  • Email us at poetrylondon[dot]ca[at]gmail[dot]com

Poetry London Online Presents Irfan Ali & Shane Rhodes

Wednesday January 20th


Poetry London Presents Irfan Ali and Shane RhoRdes 2020 01 20

Don’t miss this event! Browse to our YouTube channel on Jan 20th at 7pm and enjoy.

  • Online Readings 7:00pm EDT on our YouTube channel
  • Zoom Workshop 6:00pm (open to all, email registration)
  • Email us at poetrylondon[dot]ca[at]gmail[dot]com

Happy 2021 everyone!


While COVID-19 prevents us from returning to live events, we still have outstanding digital #poetry coming your way, starting with our Jan 20, 2021 event featuring Irfan Ali & Shane Rhodes.

Archived “Current Events” Content From Years Past


Past Seasons Page


Questions?


Email us at poetrylondon[dot]ca[at]gmail[dot]com