2019 – Archived Content from Current Events Page

Join us at Landon Branch for our November event!

Wednesday November 20th, 2019

Poetry London presents Deanna Young and Joshua Whitehead at Landon Branch Library in Wortley Village 7pm Wed Nov 20th 2019
Deanna Young & Joshua Whitehead Nov 20th 7pm

Come hear the work of two powerful writers: Deanna Young and Joshua Whitehead.

  • Landon Branch Library at 167 Wortley Rodd
  • Workshop 6:00-7:00pm
  • Readings 7:00-8:30pm
  • Free admission
  • All welcome!

Poetry London Presents Nicole Brossard – Lecture-rencontre avec Nicole Brossard

Wednesday October 23rd, 2019 – Mercredi, le 23 octobre 2019

We are incredibly fortunate to host legendary writer Nicole Brossard for a bilingual (French/English) poetry reading on Wednesday October 23rd. You won’t want to miss this event! – Un événement bilingue (français/anglais) organisé par Poetry London Gratuit, en accès libre. Check out Sile Englert’s review of Nicole Brossard’s Ardour.

Poetry London Presents Nicole Brossard October 23rd 2019
Poetry London Presents Nicole Brossard
Lecture rencontre avec Nicole Brossard
Lecture rencontre avec Nicole Brossard
  • Landon Branch Library at 167 Wortley Rd
  • Readings 7:00-8:30pm • Workshop 6:00-7:00pm
  • Lecture-rencontre, de 19h à 20h30
  • Atelier, de 18h à 19h (en anglais)
  • Free admission

Join our 6:00pm pre-reading workshop (in Landon Library’s basement) to discuss work by the evening’s poets, and bring your own poem too; original work will be discussed as time allows. All welcome!

Atelier (discussion et échange de poèmes), de 18h à 19h (en anglais). Pour toute question, contactez-nous: poetrylondon.ca@gmail.com

Review of Nicole Brossard’s Ardour

by Sile Englert; translator: Angela Carr, Coach House Books, 2015

now no one can clearly recall
the colour of silence
before the alphabets intersected

       Nicole Brossard, Ardour

One of the most bewitching things about poetry is that it often exists as a challenge to language, occupying a space outside of common speech and testing the boundaries of what can be communicated through words. In Nicole Brossard’s Ardour, I found a love letter to language as a connecting force, a bridge over differences and divides. And where language fails or where it is inadequate, Brossard’s poetry reminds us that there is always touch.

Without a table of contents as a guide, the reader tumbles headlong into Ardour with only an epigraph from Anne Carson as an anchor: “think of your life without it.” I keep coming back to this thought, applying it variously to language, poetry and the idea of ardour, itself. It asks us to consider where we would be without our passions, without this connecting force. I think the only honest answer is: lost and isolated. As a species, we are moving through a time of crisis and division which requires us to work harder at making intimate connections in order to overcome. Brossard’s Ardour is evidence that language is the best map we have to find ourselves and each other.

In Ardour, the idea of language is balanced in a place of duality, the enigma of existing as both a unifying and a dividing force. A tool that is enough and not enough. Language is what allows us to explore our individual passions and communicate our own humanity to others, but like any tool, it doesn’t fulfill the needs of every situation. Sometimes it comes up short, which is often where poetry comes in. In “Nape 27,” Brossard explores the act of naming: “therefore someone thought / of images, accounted for / the continents, therefore someone knows / why the interior / muscles, breath and the heart surpass / the intentions of dawn and voracity” (70). This acknowledges that part of the evolution of language is to keep it malleable, giving names to things we were previously unable to talk about. Expanding the language around new ideas brings them into our reality, allowing us to communicate effectively and form vital connections with each other. Putting words to the abstract and unnameable is one of the important functions of poetry, and something which is celebrated in Brossard’s book.

In the opening poem, Brossard asks: “what would difference be …/ if we could make out / my side our side / in the hollows of living languages” (6). This was one of the thoughts that struck me most intensely in the book: when we can push language beyond its limitations, enough to speak one person’s humanity to another, what then? If we really listened, what would our differences be? In these times of increasing division, can we push language far enough to make it sufficient to overcome our divides? And what if we can’t?

Brossard explores these complex ideas with a deceptive brevity in her writing style. Though each poem and the lines themselves are visually short, there is a beautiful depth and weight to the way her lines are constructed. Every word is solvent and saturated with meaning. Without uppercase letters or punctuation— and with the exception of the middle “Napes” section, even titles— to indicate endings, each piece feels at once complete and as if it begins in the middle of itself. Brossard’s poems are alive in one uniform voice, flowing smoothly from one thought to the next. This impression is reinforced by words like ardour itself, which repeats and lingers in the reader’s mind. Other words indicating transitions and the passage of time also echo through the book, along with elements of language. All of these seed and reinforce the interconnecting ideas between the pages. The choice of lower-case “i” for the poems’ speaker feels like another unifying gesture, a way to make the connection that develops because of the poem more important than the individual.

Like threads binding the English reader back to the original French text, words like toujours and l’intimité are woven throughout the book, as if to remind us that the poems themselves also exist in a duality— a place between two languages. In the opening section, this idea forms in the line: “my nature between two sentences(27). In “Nape 4,” Brossard writes: “dictionary in hand, i can / submerge my soul in all my cities / of origin / utter blue or death / in another language” (47). The poems both suggest and embody the wisdom that crossing the divide between languages expands our ability to communicate with each other.

Brossard’s poems also hold space for a sense of exhaustion with the world and fear for its future. There are multiple references to the ravenous, patriarchal and capitalist culture which is consuming the planet it feeds upon. She writes: “i don’t know in what order / to recount civilization’s opacity / the grey taste of excess consumption” (26). In Ardour, as in our ordinary lives, we find the ever-present fear of an ending in the potential for human extinction or, at the very least, the collapse of what we know. Even as she acknowledges the uncertainty of where our violence and greed as a species has taken us, Brossard puts into poetry our growing desperation for revolutionary acts of beauty and joy. Our ability to inhabit, acknowledge and record these moments is a quiet weapon in combatting destruction and isolation.

Through Ardour, Nicole Brossard reminds us that our hope lies in language, in connection, in both literal and metaphorical touch. And recording all of this as art means that we not only communicate in life but also after we’re gone: “i am as pronounced / language or war or premature / … i become again a piece of time / embedded in our species” (54). This is what we leave behind of ourselves, in the hope that our own humanity will be seen and understood. I think this is what makes Ardour a revolutionary act of beauty and, as Brossard writes, one of “our notebooks of resistance” (76).

Read more ↓

Finding Pleasure in Ubiquity: A Review of Emma Healey’s Stereoblind

by Amelia Eqbal

To read Emma Healey’s latest collection of poems is to feel as though you are stealing glimpses into the pages of your older sister’s diary, with all the affection and curiosity that simile conveys and none of the questionable ethics involved. The title of the collection, Stereoblind, refers to the inability to perceive depth – a deceptive title as there is much depth to be perceived within Healey’s poetry. Her unwavering voice unravels the realities of living in Toronto, working as a professional writer, and being a millennial woman in a pitiless world all while peppering in moments of humor and magic so that you can never quite predict what awaits you on each page.

The narrative structure of Stereoblind serves up Healey’s poetic account of life in snapshots. It’s rare that Healey uses the full page; the majority of her prose poems don’t extend past the top half. Arranging these bite-sized pieces in this way effectively keeps the reader flipping from page to page, creating a pace and sense of urgency that mirrors the one we find in the speaker’s mind, which similarly jumps from memory to memory, worry to worry, lament to lament. Her poems are arranged in symphonies, so to speak, with new movements filling the intervening pages: where there is a titled poem, there will follow a stretch of stanzas from that poem in the ensuing pages, encouraging the reader to puzzle out where one poem/thought/experience ends and the next begins. These suites of poems present a uniquely fragmented narrative structure, one that teases out the anxieties living both between and within the lines of the collection.

The first poem of the collection, “Flat Earth,” stands out as a sort of manifesto for today’s millennial, who is wise to how generations before them made the world what it is today but is too exhausted to push back. Healey puts words to the plight of her peers trying to build careers: “Every morning in dark with the birdsong and buzzsaw we wake and are not paid enough to build things.” However, she infuses a little hope as she continues: “Still, we climb and daylight climbs with us.” This is a speaker who knows that “Power lies in definitions,” and yet can still admit that “It hurts and is a privilege to know the world for what it truly is.” She continues to expose the whole truth of modernity throughout the collection, such as when she conveys the anatomy of her anxiety on page 24. Mirroring the rapid onset of a panic attack, Healey puts her stream of consciousness to paper as she goes from examining the “punishing multiplicity of hummus” at the grocery store to the sense that “something endless and dark wants its way through me” within a single line.

The author’s preoccupation with the passage of time and all things fleeting permeates the text as we revisit her personal history. The piece “Here and Now” plays with meta-poetry as the author thinks back to her first published collection and the writing process leading up to its debut. Her reflections on this period of her life play with temporalities – although the title refers to the present, the poem looks to the past (from the future) while also thinking about the future. At the same time, her repetition of the words “past”, “present” and “future” within this poem refer back and forth to each other, in themselves playing with the reader’s notions of memory and time. Later in “Here and Now,” Healey acknowledges that time is malleable when she writes: “I want to make something that climbs, pivots, arranges, a way to work the past against the present and reverse them both. I want to tell you history is nothing – that sometimes when you’re alone and walking in the city, it could be any year.” She reminds readers of this practice throughout the collection, whether she’s contemplating “the city’s smallest places, breathing in centuries of dust, trying to imagine a future underground” or the demise and renewal of Ontario Place.

In Stereoblind, Emma Healey lays out her spellbinding take on life itself. These poems give voice to life’s most ubiquitous moments, making even the sleepiest segments of CBC Radio seem poetic. Fraught with tension and relatability, this book feels akin to a long-awaited letter from an old friend. With this collection, Healey establishes herself as a voice for this generation, inviting you into her world with a measured sense of control, telling us only what she wants us to know about her without ever sounding guarded, and reminding us that every moment is fleeting.

Read more ↓

Poetry London Presents Emma Healey & Jason Dickson

Wednesday September 18th, 2019

Poetry London Presents Jason Dickson and Emma Healey Wednesday Sept 2019
Poetry London Presents Jason Dickson and Emma Healey

Join Poetry London on Wednesday September 18th for a reading by poet Emma Healey and poet Jason Dickson.

Before feature poets, local opener Gabrielle Drolet will read at our event! Gabi is a poet/journalist & Student-Writer-in-Residence at Western.

Join our 6:00pm pre-reading workshop (in Landon Library’s basement) to discuss work by the evening’s poets, and bring your own poem too; original work will be discussed as time allows. All welcome!

  • Landon Branch Library at 167 Wortley Rd
  • Readings 7:00-8:30pm • Workshop 6:00-7:00pm
  • Free admission

Conversation with Emma Healey for Poetry London

NEW: Poetry London’s 2019-2020 Season

Poetry London is delighted to announce the readers for its upcoming 16th season. We look forward to seeing you at these events!

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

Help Celebrate Poetry London’s 15th Anniversary on May 15th, 2019!

Join Poetry London on Wednesday May 15th for a celebration of our 15th Anniversary! This catered event will feature special guest Cornelia Hoogland, stories about the development and history of Poetry London, and readings by members of the Poetry London community!

Landon Branch Library at 167 Wortley Rd
Refreshments/mingling: 6:00-7:00pm • Readings 7:00-8:30pm
Free admission • All welcome!


Announcing 2019 Poetry London Contest Winning Poets

We’re pleased to announce the winners of our 2019 Poetry Contest judged by Canisia Lubrin. Thanks Canisia for being the judge and to all contestants for submitting a poem!

• 1st Prize: “Recycling Humanity” by Kayla Skinner

Recycling Humanity by Kayla Skinner

The river is almost empty,
just a leaking sponge that has absorbed all of the city’s problems.

Every now and then it coughs up receipts from the people that didn’t have time to make
dinner at home,
spits out syringes from the people that didn’t eat at all.

Yesterday’s meal: a bottle of Olde English and a torn pair of sneakers.
Dessert was a mother trying to stare at her reflection but only a murky silhouette looked

Her child, mirroring her image, tossed crumbs to the ducks that floated along the bank.

His light smile blows away with the breeze realizing his pockets are empty.

Nothing left to give back to the river; nothing left to trade for the stories his mother has

or so he thought.

Today, an Olde English bottle rests upon a desk, housing an assortment of pens.
Somewhere, a man walks in patched up sneakers and with a pocket full of crumbs.

Read ↓

• 2st Prize: “No Words” by Kelly McConnell

No Words by Kelly McConnell

For my son, age 2

no words
plucked from this infinite keyboard staccato

from the splayed fingers of ink
covering gasps of white pages

can explain the vastness of the ocean
to a tadpole

no way
to chew and swallow the wholeness of absence

the throat-gouging edges of loss
with a mouth tender like moth wings
with teeth just small seeds

alphabet letters planted in the gums
draw in sunlight through his laughter

will it ever be enough
to germinate syllables and symbols

that can twine around his breath
and bear the true weight

of life and death?

Read ↓

• 3st Prize: “Abyss” by Isabella Kennedy

Abyss by Isabella Kennedy

Hidden in the underbelly
of a rotten wharf, my body is dead
weight. My hair, a slimy mess
of rope. My legs, chains
in this stagnant sea.

Your voice crawls
over the broken glass rocks,
over the swollen wood panels, peers
into the dregs of the Pacific
and here I am
a crude mask, face afloat
staring up at the storm.

you whisper into the water:
take off the mask
tell me about it

my ears hear the cloth-stuffed
scream of metal ground against metal—
the handle of my empty pail
hanging from a pillar
like the flag of my depression
half-mast in the wind.

One day you will rise
from this incubation in the mud water
wet like baptism
on the soft tongue of a cracked clam shell

but Sister, I am drowning
in this marina’s mouth. Swallowed,
sinking like sewage
away from the surface
away from the sky
away from you.

I won’t rise from this

Read ↓

Poetry London Presents Canisia Lubrin & Jack Davis

Wednesday April 17th, 2019

Poetry London Presents Jack Davis and Canisia Lubrin Wednesday April 17

Join Poetry London on Wednesday March 17th for a reading by poet Canisia Lubrin and poet Jack Davis.

Join our 6:30pm pre-reading workshop (in Landon Library’s basement) to discuss work by the evening’s poets, and bring your own poem too; original work will be discussed as time allows. All welcome!

Landon Branch Library at 167 Wortley Rd
Readings 7:30-8:45pm • Workshop 6:30-7:30pm (in the basement)
Door prizes • Free admission

A Walk in the Woods with Jack Davis: A Review of Faunics

By Amelia Eqbal, Poetry London Student Representative

Jack Davis is no stranger to nature. Not only is he a northern Ontario native and current resident of Parry Sound, but he has also spent ten summers operating a remote fire lookout post in the northernmost Alberta wilderness. Getting up close and personal with the environment for all that time has given him a unique perspective on the natural world; it has also given him a lot of time to put it down in writing. Davis’ love of the natural world and the animals that inhabit it cannot help but shine through in his debut poetry collection, Faunics.

Davis’ poetry gives you the sense that he really sees the world around him wholly and completely for what it is, in a way that few others can; his knowledge of the natural world, and quite simply his world view, are imbued in every line and syllable.This collection reads almost as a field guide or a bible; he offers an intimate picture of the environment that in turn leaves the reader with a fresh perspective on the natural world, a renewed desire to see it for themselves in this new light. In between the lines you can imagine the experiences it took to get this intimate knowledge – the camping weekends and canoe trips, the hikes up mountains, the walks along rivers and runs through forests.

This poetry collection is a linguistic feast. Indeed, the title even seems to harken back to primary school phonics classes, where we as children learned about language and grammar for the first time. With this poetry collection, however, Davis schools us all over again, challenging us to broaden our vocabulary and open our eyes to the world around us. In the opening poem, “Listening,” his use of alliteration draws attention to every single syllable; to quote the poet himself, we as the reader are “made to / make / some sense / from sound.”

It is clear from the beginning that Davis has put a lot of thought into each word choice; his economical style requires him to make every word count. In this same vein, the sparseness of Davis’ writing allows his peculiar word choices to stand out. The words he chooses are simple for the most part, which leaves the reader with the impression that there is more to this poetry than meets the eye. He shows off the breadth of his vocabulary with words like “feuilletons,” “deckled,” and “laconic.” Such word choices that reach beyond the realm of his simpler bits of text effectively draw the reader out of the poem in order to understand their full meaning; and yet, at the same time, readers find themselves drawn further into the natural world Jack Davis describes because of these thorough and unorthodox depictions.

Perhaps the most notable quality of this collection is the way in which the poet has seemingly curated each and every poem to ensure the way it is displayed on the page is reflective of the piece itself. Because of the sparse nature of his poetry, Davis has the leeway to play around with how his words are arranged on the page. He spaces out his words, creating shapes and patterns of flow reminiscent of shore lines, tides, gusts of wind, and even craters (quite literally with “The Brent Crater”). In playing around with the order and aesthetic of his words on the page, Davis makes the experience of reading his poetry akin to that of stumbling through a wood, as you try to follow his words up, down and around the page; likewise, this manipulation of the reader’s line of sight feels reminiscent of how one’s head would swivel to take in one’s surroundings when hiking through a forest. His use of line and stanza as poetic devices in of themselves feels fresh.

Jack Davis’ stunning debut collection offers a beautiful new perspective on the natural world most of us take for granted. He re-writes the characters of creatures like mice and birds, and makes nature and her tendencies feel more magical and full of promise than readers may perceive at first glance.

Show the full review ↓

Poetry London Presents Arleen Paré & E Martin Nolan

Wednesday March 20th, 2019

Join Poetry London on Wednesday March 20th for a reading by novelist and poet Arleen Paré and poet, essayist and editor E Martin Nolan.

Poetry London’s 2019 Open Theme Poetry Contest

Deadline EXTENDED! noon on Saturday March 16th, 2019

Submit your best work to Poetry London’s 2019 Open Theme poetry contest, judged by acclaimed Canadian poet Canisia Lubrin!

Rules/regulations: Submit no more than 40 lines on any topic, in any style. All poems must be original work that has not been published anywhere else. Email your work (along with your phone number and complete mailing address) to poetrylondon.ca@gmail.com as a DocX or PDF file. You must live (or attend school) in London, ON (and area) to enter the contest. Winning poets will have their poems published on the Poetry London website and will read their work live at our April 17th, 2019 Poetry London event!

First prize: $100 Second prize: $75 Third Prize: $50

Poetry London Presents
Susan Elmslie & Dane Swan

Wednesday February 20, 2019

Join Poetry London on Wednesday February 20th for a reading by Montreal-based poet Susan Elmslie and Toronto-based poet Dane Swan.

Opening for our feature readers will be local poet Jennifer Wenn.

The event will include poetry door prizes donated by Brick Books. Join our 6:30pm pre-reading workshop (in Landon Library’s basement) to discuss work by the evening’s poets, and bring your own poem too; original work will be discussed as time allows. All welcome!

Landon Branch Library at 167 Wortley Rd
Readings 7:30-8:45pm • Workshop 6:30-7:30pm (in the basement)
Door prizes • Free admission

Poetry London Presents
Susan Holbrook & Julie Cameron Gray

Wednesday January 23rd, 2019

Poetry London January 23 Poster

Join Poetry London on Wednesday January 23rd for a reading by Windsor-based poet Susan Holbrook and Toronto-based poet Julie Cameron Gray.

Opening for our feature readers will be local poet/fiction writer/visual artist Sile Englert.

The event will include poetry door prizes donated by Brick Books. Join our 6:30pm pre-reading workshop (in Landon Library’s basement) to discuss work by the evening’s poets, and bring your own poem too; original work will be discussed as time allows. All welcome!

Landon Branch Library at 167 Wortley Rd
Readings 7:30-8:45pm • Workshop 6:30-7:30pm (in the basement)
Door prizes • Free admission

Archives of Past Years’ Content from the Current Events Page

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