Current Events

Poetry London Online Presents Melanie Janisse-Barlow & Cassidy McFadzean

Thursday March 25thPoetry 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!

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

 

Poetry London 2021 Open Theme Contest

***DEADLINE EXTENDED:  March 19th, 2021

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!

  • YouTube Readings 7:00pm EDT on YouTube
  • 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 Rhoades 2020 01 20

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

  • YouTube Readings 7:00pm EDT on YouTube
  • 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.

Poetry London Online Presents Madeline Bassnett & El Jones

Wednesday November 18th

On Weds Nov 18, we launch our next video event featuring Madeline Bassnett & El Jones, along with local opener Melissa Schnarr

On Wednesday November 18th, we launch our next video event featuring Madeline Bassnett, El Jones, along with local opener Melissa Schnarr!

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

Join us for fantastic online poetry!

All Wings and Fire: A Review of Madeline Bassnett’s Under the Gamma Camera

by Taylor Rousselle

Madeline Bassnett’s first full-length collection of poetry, Under the Gamma Camera (2019), comes at the perfect time to a world plagued by natural and physical illness. Described as “a frank portrait of our relationship with disease,” Bassnett’s poetry gives voice to the intensely personal, as it works to reconcile her contradictory experience with breast cancer which was at once deeply emotional and strangely clinical, but also to the broader human condition which, at its core, is inextricably connected with the fraught condition of the Earth.

Divided into three sections, Bassnett’s collection brings readers on a journey through the treacherous terrain of internal and planetary disease beginning with diagnosis in Tricks of Light, entering treatment and remission in Pilgrimage, and recovering in In Praise of Small Things. Though the poems are ostensibly distinct, each of which examines a different aspect of the minutiae of everyday life through the lens of a gamma camera – meditating on specific moments, memories, and the physical and ecological spaces in which they are created – Bassnett brilliantly binds her verse through recurrent motifs (of botany, silence, sense, satiation, and pollution), symbols (of limbs, roots, and cells), and juxtaposing imagery (of the impersonal blue vinyl with the warmth of “this red-gold day”) which work in harmony to emphasize the collection’s larger theme of interrelation and connectivity.

If you were to ask any of my peers, they would tell you that I refuse to analyze poetry before I have read it aloud at least once. While I hold this fervent belief that meaning is missed, sometimes entirely, in the absence of sound, I caution the reader who dares to speak “The Secret Life of Crabs” aloud. When verbalized, this poem which explores the relationship between internal and external illness, between the natural world and the human body, can be felt; not emotionally – though I was certainly moved by this poem – but physically. To one who has yet to read this collection, this idea of a poem holding the power to physically touch you might seem alien. If it does, or even if it doesn’t and you are simply curious, I implore you to pay close attention to enunciation and sound as you read the following lines aloud: “I have found them always slightly repellent, / their hiding tactics, their sideways scuttle” (1-2); “Their communal ways, / clambering over each other’s brittle shells, / the rise and fall of multitudes of legs, clicking / and scraping” (7-10); “Their dim pools, / their crannies and caves, the way they appear / unnoticed, voraciously reproducing” (12-14).

Could you hear the crabs scuttling out of a crevice? More importantly, could you feel them crawling all over your skin like tiny pins and needles? If you could, you have Bassnett’s masterful (and unnerving) use of onomatopoeia (“clicking,” “scraping,” “clambering”), alliteration (“their sideways scuttle,” “their crannies and caves”), and diction (“multitudes of legs,” “voraciously reproducing”) to thank (or deplore). “The Secret Life of Crabs” is thus a poem that works at a multitude of levels, making it a useful roadmap for reading the collection in its entirety. At the most basic level, and most evidently, it is a poem that embodies Bassnett’s larger theme of connectivity between the natural world and internal illness: the crabs equated with cancerous cells. At the more personal level, however, it is a poem which both captures the personal unease felt by the poet at the idea of these crab-like cancerous cells “voraciously reproducing” within her breast and, through form and language that mirrors this anxiety, imparts a similar unease onto the reader.

Madeline Bassnett’s Under the Gamma Camera offers a powerful reminder of mortality and relation. Both as a woman born into a body with the incessant desire to suffocate her and as a human existing amidst a global pandemic and active climate crisis, I have never felt as seen and understood as I did while reading this collection. There is no better moment than the present, in which we feel disconnected from ourselves, from one another, and from the Earth, to be reading Madeline’s stunning verse which reminds us of our inherent bond with our own body, with others, and with our planet: of just “[h]ow wonderful it is, to be one.”

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