Poetry Workshop

Last month, I hosted a poetry workshop with participants of the New Horizons program in Ottawa, funded by the government of Canada. After an overview of basic poetry structure and an introduction of a few Jewish Canadian poets, the group hunkered down to compose a poem of its own.
Inspired by the recent massive storm that hit the city, the new poets brainstormed a word cloud (fully in the theme’s spirit), then assembled their poem, which you can read below.
Mazel Tov to Marcia, Jenny, Marcella, Shirli and Merle for their contribution to Canadian Jewish poetry!

Victoria’s Fury


thunderous heaven opens up
winds blow horizontal,
rattling rain

trees destroyed
loss of environment
power of nature
blows me away

like election signs in the wind
roots disconnected
lines disconnected
we are powerless
left at the mercy of nature

loss of voice
telephones down cannot carry it
not in charge
how to recharge?

cooking it up
before freezers thaw
sharing laundry, sharing showers, sharing shelter

sustenance, resilience, gratitude

renewal of friendships,
showering love on neighbours
to bring new growth

Cousin dee – Wildness Rushing In

Last month, I met cousin dee – we are related through her attachment to my mother’s third (?) cousin, Dave; their grandmothers were sisters. Something like that.

Both dee and Dave are writers, and I met them as they each came to Toronto to read their work. dee has recently published Wildness Rushing In, a collection of poems, which she shared as part of a recent reading tour.

dee Hobsbawn-Smith reading her poetry at the Rower’s Pub reading series.
dee Hobsbawn-Smith reading her poetry at the Rower’s Pub reading series.

My favourite poem of the collection is At 15, which narrates her fifteen-year-old self and the surly angst and rage accompanying her.

But what I enjoyed most about dee was her generosity of spirit. She warmly welcomed me – and my four-year-old son – to the event, helped us get settled, and ensured we were comfortable. In fact, so comfortable were we that my little one fell asleep at the pub bar, allowing me to listen without interruption, babe in arms, to the poets in attendance.

Do pick up a copy of dee’s delicious collection; linguistic delight for the senses.

A Literary Cabaret

Very happy to participate in the Toronto Writers’ Cooperative’s Literary Cabaret next month. I even changed vacation plans in order to participate. How’s that for dedication to one’s craft? Details on the cabaret follow:

T.O. Writers’ Co-operative

Presents the 6th

Exchanging Notes: A Literary Cabaret

Tuesday, February 18, 2014, at 7:30 PM

Alleycatz Lounge

(2409 Yonge Street, 2 blocks north of Eglinton Avenue)

‘Exchanging Notes: a literary cabaret’ offers a unique combination of spoken word and live musical accompaniment.  A variety of instruments support authors in a variety of genres.  Rock! Blues! Jazz! Poetry!  Prose!

Our venue, Alleycatz Lounge, offers 2 menus, an exceptional kitchen and bar, great service!

There is no cover charge.

Further info: exchangingnotes@live.ca

For further info on Alleycatz: http://alleycatz.ca/

Poetry Matters

April is national poetry month and, this year, I am fortunate enough to have a poem featured in a new poetry anthology called Love Poems Deconstructed. It features about 20 poets from the Writers Unite online community.

The project, led by Jim Woods and Gabriel Gadfly, is described thusly:

« Writers Unite is an online writer’s group that conducts a weekly Twitter chat using the hashtag #writestuff. Recently, we decided that we wanted to release a small publication, and this free collection of poetry is the result.

Love Poems Deconstructed is a collection of poems about the variety of relationships our lives are filled with. It contains about romantic love, of course, but it also explores other kinds of love — the love of a tired mother conducting the day-to-day tasks necessary to care for her children, the love of a frightened grandmother trying to protect her grandkids from a threatening world, the admiration of a young person for the skilled artisan hands of an elder. It addresses love that is blissful and love that hurts. »

My poem « His Hands » features the young person and the artisan mentioned above.

You can download and read the free poetry ebook here.