Current Events

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:…

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
                               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 30 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:

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 (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

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 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.

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