Thank you!

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-gavin-and-penn

It really does take a community! Thank you so much for all your kindness on many levels. Change is on the wing for us pilgrims on Canterbury Road. Mutability is afoot.

So many have donated their time, their moral, emotional, financial and spiritual support to help us in the transition. Not to mention food!


Look at what The London Free Press wrote in support of artists in these difficult times. https://lfpress.com/entertainment/local-arts/belanger-our-poet-laureates-financial-plight-and-a-call-to-help…

Dear friends set up this https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-gavin-and-penn:

“Our beloved friends Penn and Gavin need our help. As many of you know there have been significant changes in Gavin’s health status.  He has had several strokes recently and has been hospitalized after a serious fall.

We are raising funds for home renovations to meet their current mobility and health needs and provide an environment that is safe and workable into the future.  This will include a major bedroom and bathroom renovation that will increase accessibility for Gavin.”

If you are able to contribute please consider donating to this GoFundMe campaign.

Gavin is not doing well; so far he is only able to consume a couple of hundred calories per day and a little water. But the threat of hospitalization has encouraged him to eat a little more: my chicken broth! We are hoping he can access the rehabilitation help he needs at Parkwood: he’s on the priority list.

We’re in this pickle for the long haul.

LOVE and so much gratitude from us,
Gavin and Penn

A NEAR MEMOIR: NEW POEMS

A NEAR MEMOIR: NEW POEMS from Beliveau Books is out!

Live! Launching A NEAR MEMOIR: NEW POEMS 

Sunday, September 5, 2021, 7:30-9:35pm. Red Lion Reading Series, 23 Albert St., Stratford ON. I’ll be reading as Featured Poet, https://beliveaubooks.wixsite.com/redlionreadingseries/shows. 
Register: https://www.facebook.com/events/110970911119609/?ref=newsfeed

If you’d like a numbered copy signed to you, let me know, pennkemp@gmail.com. 
If you’d like a numbered copy, unsigned, please contact beliveaubooks@gmail.com.

The cost is $15, including postage. See https://beliveaubooks.wixsite.com/home/books.

But on September 5th in Stratford, it’s $10!

Readings from A Near Memoir

​Thursday, May 20, 3pm, 2021. Feature, Owen Sound Poet Laureate Open Mic series.​ Host: Richard-Yves Sitoski 
Sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets. https://www.facebook.com/events/169826411638195/?ti=ls

And Live!, Sunday, September 5, 2021, 7:30-9:35pm. Red Lion Reading Series, 23 Albert St., Stratford ON. I’ll be reading from A NEAR MEMOIR: NEW POEMS as Featured Poet, https://beliveaubooks.wixsite.com/redlionreadingseries/shows.

Thanks to a CAIP grant from the London Arts Council for time to write these poems.

Press

“Diving into a new book of poems by Penn Kemp is like setting out on an adventure.” https://lfpress.com/entertainment/local-arts/poet-penn-kemp-celebrates-growing-up-in-london-in-new-book-of-verse? with a video of my reading from the book,  a poem, “Choose to Challenge”, commissioned by Brescia for International Women’s Day this March 8: https://youtu.be/dNC2sbZGp3c. And https://lfpress.com/entertainment/books/new-books-by-london-area-authors-offer-variety-for-all-readers-tastes.

“A new book of poetry from prolific Southwestern Ontario writer and spoken word artist Penn Kemp”, https://stratfordbeaconherald.com/enttainment/books/latest-work-from-poet-penn-kemp-published-by-stratford-micropress-beliveau-books.

On Line

Read Richard-Yves Sitowski’s review in “SUSTAINING CONNECTIONS” on http://www.sageing.ca/sageing37.html, P. 25.

Three of the poems in the book are linked online.

A poem in the book, “Choose to Challenge”, was commissioned by Brescia University College to celebrate International Women’s Day! Read it here: https://brescia.uwo.ca/about/who_we_are/choose_to_challenge_poem.php
This poem was presented to the University at Brescia’s Dr. Hanycz Leadership Lecture on March 8, 2021. To see a video of me reading the poem, visit Brescia’s YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThguVNENewQ #.

The London Free Press featured it: https://youtu.be/dNC2sbZGp3c?list=PLfojJEPqDqrTBdAxGfpQaPao8m_ynhfuI&t=11.

With special thanks to Dennis Siren, visionary videographer, for his videopoem of a poem in the book, “Translation”, dedicated to my father, painter Jim Kemp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMqzgfLJtws&t=22s.

“There you are”, from A Near Memoir, is at 8:14 in my Luminous Entrance: a Sound Opera for Climate Change Action, up on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9mS75i.

Endorsements for A Near Memoir: new poems

The poems in this unusually substantial chapbook reflect with charming insight on key moments and memorable forks in the road in the poet’s early life, then move to more sombre reckonings with mortality, the traumas of war, and the trees and environs of her Souwesto region, and conclude with inspirational “challenges” to us all in facing our uncertain future. Stylistic aplomb is underpinned, throughout, by mindful perception, impassioned concern, and a visionary verve.   
— Allan Briesmaster, author of The Long Bond (Guernica Editions)

d the deep without. It draws from the innermost regions of subjective consciousness while opening to social engagement and planetary awareness. The title suggests a genre both personal and universal, exploring the double lineages of family and the larger polis, our civic communities. Here we meet various members of her family, including her father, the visual artist. Penn has transformed his legacy into spoken word and a poetics where sounds and silences converge: “I still wait with paper’s white space till / words arise, images in words, watching them come into form…” As we participate, we are whirled into places where perception sharpens, and we too are transformed.

Penn Kemp’s A Near Memoir carries the reader simultaneously to the deep within and the deep without. It draws from the innermost regions of subjective consciousness while opening to social engagement and planetary awareness. The title suggests a genre both personal and universal, exploring the double lineages of family and the larger polis, our civic communities. Here we meet various members of her family, including her father, the visual artist. Penn has transformed his legacy into spoken word and a poetics where sounds and silences converge: “I still wait with paper’s white space till / words arise, images in words, watching them come into form…” As we participate, we are whirled into places where perception sharpens, and we too are transformed.
—Susan McCaslin, author of Heart Work (Ekstasis Editions)

A Near Memoir collects a confluence of poems around Penn Kemp’s beloved subjects: art, nature, community, the divine feminine, and flowingness of life.
—Sharon Thesen, author of The Wig-Maker (New Star Books)

Penn Kemp’s A Near Memoir: new poems explores the earliest stirrings of the creative imagination in childhood and the joys of associative thinking. With narrative skill and vivid sensual detail, it discovers and uncovers the effect of adult perspectives on a young mind, the puzzling life lessons of parents and teachers, the wisdom and heartbreak of nature. Ironic and lyrical, accurate and ambiguous, playful and profound, these finely tuned poems—whether enlightened moments or deep dives into an evolving self—flow with the ease and excitement that only a seasoned artist can bring. A book full of surprises and affirmation.
—Patricia Keeney, author of Orpheus in Our World (NeoPoiesis Press)

“Diving into a new book of poems by @pennkemp is like setting out on an adventure. You never know what you’ll come across and @JoeBatLFPress says her newest offering, A Near Memoir: New Poems, is no different.”

Hey, Red! Great poems!!!! So sensuous and lyrical and sly. 
—Catherine Sheldrick Ross, author of The Pleasures of Reading (Libraries Unlimited)

Penn Kemp ‘s book is wonderful in her mastery of language and attention to detail. A gorgeous read. A really great gift!” —Jude Neale

Nice day in the Grove for a new read from a dear friend and mentor, the magical Penn Kemp — Nick Beauchesne

A near Memoir has arrived and it is a treasure. So beautifully produced. With your life writings personal and planetary. And with such touching story-telling visuals. —Patricia Keeney

April Poetry with Penn Kemp & Pals

National Poetry Month Virtual Readings

A Near Memoir: new poems (Beliveau Books) is launching on Earth Day, April 22!
Want a taste of my new work? Four poems from A Near Memoir (“Drawing Conclusions”, “A Convoluted Etymology of the Course Not Taken”, “Celebrating Souwesto Trees” & “You There”) appear in Beliveau Review, Vol. 2 No. 2 Issue 5, out now on https://beliveaubooks.wixsite.com/home/magazines.

National Poetry Month Readings

Sunday, April 18, 4pm EDT. Our group reading from the anthology, Voicing Suicide, is hosted by Josie di Sciascio-Andrews with Daniel G Scott, Editor. Spread the word and join us if you can. Here is the link: meet.google.com/pwz-yqew-fiu Contact: <voicingsuicide@gmail.com>.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT. Join us for a party in virtual reality, featuring Kelly Kaur, Nancy R. Lange, Laurie MacFayden, Valerie Mason-John, Gregory Betts, Laurie Anne Fuhr, Jocko Benoit & Penn Kemp. #All you need is a computer ://bit.ly/31JadY6. Co-hosted by Kelly Kaur and Lyn Cadence. Sign up for the event on Eventbrite. https://bit.ly/31JadY6 #NPM2021, https://pic.twitter.com/okIfLuw93w.

Sunday, April 25, 2021, 1 PM EDT. National Poetry Month zoom and launch of Femmes de Parole/Women of their Word, edited by Nancy R Lange. The readers for Femmes de parole / Women of their word on the 25th will be Mireille Cliche (QC), Catherine Fortin (QC), Louise Bernice Halfe, Penn Kemp, Nancy R Lange(QC), Genevieve Letarte, (QC), Sharon Thesen and Sheri-D Wilson! Contact: rappelparolecreation@hotmail.com.

Happy National Poetry Month, NPM2021! These readings are sponsored by the League @CanadianPoets!

New Publications

“Strike/Struck/ Stroke”, These Days Zine, Jeff Blackman, publisher, thesedayszine2020@gmail.com. https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/HorsebrokePress?coupon=EIGHTNINETEN

“Drawing Conclusions”, “A Convoluted Etymology of the Course Not Taken”, “Celebrating Souwesto Trees” and “You There”. Beliveau Review, Vol. 2 No. 2 Issue 5, Spring 2021. https://beliveaubooks.wixsite.com/home/magazines.

“To Carry the Heart of Community Wherever You Find Yourself”. Sage-ing With Creative Spirit, Grace and Gratitudehttp://www.sageing.ca/sageing36.html, P. 12. Number 36, Spring 2021.

“What Matters”, “Studies in Anticipation”, “Hope the Thing”, Possible Utopias: the Wordsfest Eco Zine, Issue 6. http://www.wordsfest.ca/zine, March 2021.

Forthcoming Publications

A Near Memoir, limited edition chapbook. Scroll to bottom of https://beliveaubooks.wixsite.com/home/books. Pre-order now. To be launched on April 22, Earth Day!

“What we did not know in 1972. What we know now.” Resistance Anthology. Sue Goyette, editor. University of Regina Press, Spring 2021.

SPRING Events

Up now!

The Free Press has a marvellous article on line: https://lfpress.com/entertainment/local-arts/london-poet-penn-kemp-marks-womens-day-with-call-to-action. The video link to reading the poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNC2sbZGp3c&t=6s.

“The Words Festival is very pleased to present two of Canada’s finest poets, Jane Munro & Penn Kemp! Our host for the afternoon was Phil Glennie”: http://wordsfest.ca/events/2020/jane-munro-penn-kemp-in-conversation. The recording is up on https://vimeo.com/498423922.

February 19, 2021. “Steal, Stole, Stun”. One Minute Poem, Poets Corner Reading Series. From FOX HAUNTS, P. 15 (Aeolus House) Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5Dtvlc5rNE. https://poetscorner.ca/one-minute-poem/.

February, 2021. “We are gonna begin writing sometime when…” from “Re:Solution”. Performed with Anne Anglin. Sound Poetry DJ mix on  https://www.mixcloud.com/spoken_matter/sound-poetry-mix-tape/. Editors, Andreas Bülhoff & Marc Matter, <andreasbuelhoff@googlemail.com

February, 2021. “Heart to Art” from Barbaric Cultural Practice (Quattro Books) https://pennkemp.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/valentine-poem.

Forthcoming Events with Penn Kemp

April 18. NPM. Readings from “Voicing Suicide”, an anthology edited by Daniel G. Scott. Contact: <voicingsuicide@gmail.com>, organizer Josie Di Sciascio Andrews <j_andrews@sympatico.ca>

April, 2021. NPM Zoom and launch of Femmes de Parole/Women of their Word, edited by Nancy R Lange. Readings: Penn Kemp and Sharon Thesen. Contact: rappelparolecreation@hotmail.com.

May 20, 3pm, 2021. Feature, Owen Sound Poet Laureate Open Mic series. Host: Richard-Yves Sitoski 
https://www.facebook.com/OSPoetLaureate2019to2021

September 5, 7:30-9:30pm, 2021. Feature, Red Lion Reading Series, 23 Albert Street, Stratford ON. Host: Andreas Gripp,
https://beliveaubooks.wixsite.com/redlionreadingseries/shows. Contact beliveaubooks@gmail.com.

  1. “Becoming”: a poem of 80 words matched with Jim Kemp’s painting for 80mL Exhibition to celebrate Museum London’s 80th Birthday. http://museumlondon.ca/. Contact: 80museumlondon@gmail.com

New Publications

“To Carry the Heart of Community Wherever You Find Yourself”. Sage-ing With Creative Spirit, Grace and Gratitude, http://www.sageing.ca/sageing36.html, P. 12. Number 36, Spring 2021.

“What Matters”, “Studies in Anticipation”, “Hope the Thing”, Possible Utopias: the Wordsfest Eco Zine, Issue 6. http://www.wordsfest.ca/zine, March 2021.

Forthcoming Publications

A Near Memoir, limited edition chapbook. Scroll to bottom of https://beliveaubooks.wixsite.com/home/books. Pre-order now.

“Strike/Struck/ Stroke”, These Days Zine, Jeff Blackman, publisher, thesedayszine2020@gmail.com.

“Drawing Conclusions”, “A Convoluted Etymology of the Course Not Taken”, “Celebrating Souwesto Trees” and “You There”. Beliveau Review, Vol. 2 No. 2 Issue 5, May, 2021. https://beliveaubooks.wixsite.com/home/magazines.

“What we did not know in 1972. What we know now.” Resistance Anthology. Sue Goyette, editor. University of Regina Press, Spring 2021.

“Re:Solution”, performed with Anne Anglin. Sound Poetry DJ mix. Limited edition audio cassette. Editors, Andreas Bülhoff & Marc Matter, <andreasbuelhoff@googlemail.com

“Weather Vane, Whether Vain, Whither and Thither” and “Black, White and Red All Over Town”,  An Avian Alphabet. Edited by Susan McCaslin, with woodcut prints by Edith Krause.​

“Dichte” and “Cancel Culture”, EVENT 50/2 (Fall 2021) or 50/3 (Winter 2021/22). http://www.eventmagazine.ca

Recent Events with Penn Kemp

March 8, 2021. 7 – 8:30 p.m. “CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE: Finding Common Ground Through Dialogue”,
Featuring keynote address by Waneek Horn-Miller. Celebrating International Women’s Day at the 2021 Hanycz Lecture/International Women’s Day event. 8:15 p.m. Penn’s reading, commissioned by Brescia University College, London, is sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada.  Register here for the whole event (https://hopin.com/events/choose-to-challenge-finding-common-ground-through-dialogue?bblinkid=248579307&bbemailid=28900794&bbejrid=1864748878. Contact: Linda, lpalme9@uwo.ca.

“Re:Solution”, performed with Anne Anglin. Sound Poetry DJ mix for https://www.mixcloud.com/. Limited edition audio cassette. Editors, Andreas Bülhoff & Marc Matter, <andreasbuelhoff@googlemail.com

Forthcoming Events with Penn Kemp

Up now! February, 2021. “Re:Solution”, performed with Anne Anglin. Sound Poetry DJ mix on  https://www.mixcloud.com/spoken_matter/sound-poetry-mix-tape/. Editors, Andreas Bülhoff & Marc Matter, <andreasbuelhoff@googlemail.com

February 26, 2021. “Steal, Stole, Stun” from Fox Haunts, One Minute Poem, Poets Corner Reading Series, https://poetscorner.ca/one-minute-poem/.

February 27, 2021.11:00am EST. “Craft Bites!” Live Zoom reading and discussion with Sarah Adams. Penn reads from The Triumph of Teresa Harris. Sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada. Moderator, Mindy Doherty Griffiths,  mindy@playwrightsguild.ca

February, 2021. “Re:Solution”, performed with Anne Anglin. Sound Poetry DJ mix for https://www.mixcloud.com/. Limited edition audio cassette. Editors, Andreas Bülhoff & Marc Matter, <andreasbuelhoff@googlemail.com

February 26, 2021. “Steal, Stole, Stun” from Fox Haunts, One Minute Poem, Poets Corner Reading Series, https://poetscorner.ca/one-minute-poem/.

February 27, 2021.11:00am EST. “Craft Bites!” Live Zoom reading and discussion with Sarah Adams. Penn reads from The Triumph of Teresa Harris. Sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada. Moderator, Mindy Doherty Griffiths, mindy@playwrightsguild.ca​

March 8, 2021. 7 – 8:30 p.m. “CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE: Finding Common Ground Through Dialogue”,
Featuring keynote address by Waneek Horn-Miller. Celebrating International Women’s Day at the 2021 Hanycz Lecture/International Women’s Day event. 8:15 p.m. Penn’s reading, commissioned by Brescia University College, London, is sponsored by Playwrights Guild of Canada.  Register here for the whole event (https://hopin.com/events/choose-to-challenge-finding-common-ground-through-dialogue?bblinkid=248579307&bbemailid=28900794&bbejrid=1864748878. Contact: Linda, lpalme9@uwo.ca.

April, 2021. NPM Zoom and launch of Femmes de Parole/Women of their Word, edited by Nancy R Lange. Contact: rappelparolecreation@hotmail.com.

May 20, 3pm, 2021. Feature, Owen Sound Poet Laureate Open Mic series. Host: Richard-Yves Sitoski 
https://www.facebook.com/OSPoetLaureate2019to2021

  1. “Becoming”: a poem of 80 words matched with Jim Kemp’s painting for 80mL Exhibition to celebrate Museum London’s 80th Birthday. http://museumlondon.ca/. Contact: 80museumlondon@gmail.com

Forthcoming Publications

 “To Carry the Heart of Community Wherever You Find Yourself”. “To Carry the Heart of Community Wherever You Find Yourself”. Sage-ing With Creative Spirit, Grace and Gratitude, http://www.sageing.ca. Number 38, Spring 2021.

“What we did not know in 1972. What we know now.” Resistance Anthology. Sue Goyette, editor. University of Regina Press, Spring 2021.

“Re:Solution”, performed with Anne Anglin. Sound Poetry DJ mix. Limited edition audio cassette. Editors, Andreas Bülhoff & Marc Matter, <andreasbuelhoff@googlemail.com

“Weather Vane, Whether Vain, Whither and Thither” and “Black, White and Red All Over Town”,  An Avian Alphabet. Edited by Susan McCaslin, with woodcut prints by Edith Krause.​

Forthcoming Publications

Spring 2021. “What we did not know in 1972. What we know now.” Resistance Anthology. Sue Goyette, editor. University of Regina Press, spring 2021.

​Spring 2021. Interview, Bill Arnott’s Artist Showcase, https://billarnottaps.wordpress.com/bills-artist-showcase/

Recently Published

“Tangled”, P. 124-5. “Snarl”, P. 150-1. Voicing Suicide. Daniel G. Scott, editor, voicingsuicide@gmail.com. Ecstasis Editions, 2020.

SAGE-ING: Wider and Deeper”,​P. 9-11.  
SAGE-INGwith Creative Spirit, Grace & Gratitude||The Journal of Creative Aging, Number 35, Winter 2021, http://www.sageing.ca/

“A Short History of Epiphany”, p. 38. https://beliveaubooks.wixsite.com/home/beliveau-review,&nbsp;https://2e8a8d6d-e97c-4235-92c8-7aa31bae0d77.filesusr.com/ugd/830f0d_846ba1cde5be4432a8eeccec45b5cfb5.pdf

May poetry see us through! 

My books are available from pennkemp@gmail.com) or from https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=Penn+Kemp&ref=nb_sb_noss

See https://pennkemp.weebly.com.

See https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/126379.Books_by_Penn_Kemp.

2020 Holiday Recommendations

Curling Up

with a Great Book!

Superb Canadian writing highly recommended, grouped idiosyncratically

First, by women

Pairing books by Indigenous Writers: Michelle Good, Five Little Indians; Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, This Accident of Being Lost, Islands of Decolonial Love and Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies.

Pairing pandemic novels: Emma Donoghue’s The Pull of the Stars; Saleema Nawaz’s Songs for the End of the World and Larissa Lai’s The Tiger Flu.

Pairing BC novelists: Shaena Lambert’s Petra Maria Reva; Good Citizens Need Not Fear; Caroline Adderson’s A Russian Sister and Anakana Schofield’s Bina.

Pairing books on relationship: Christy Ann Conlon’s Watermark; Annabel Lyon, Consent; Lynn Coady, Watching You Without Me; Shani Mootoo, Polar Vortex; Vivek Shraya, The Subtweet; Frances Itani, The Company We Keep.

Pairing Westerns: Gil Adamson’s Ridgerunner; Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel; Helen Humphreys’s Rabbit Foot Bill and Kate Pullinger’s Forest Green.

Pairing fiction set abroad:  Aislinn Hunter’s The Certainties. Janie Chang’s The Library of Legends; Sarah Leipciger’s Coming Up For Air; Marianne Micros’s Eye; Louise Penny’s All the Devils Are Here; Lisa Robertson’s Baudelaire Fractals. Anne Simpson’s Speechless AND Farzana Doctor’s magnificent Seven.

Non-Fiction
Carol Bishop-Gwyn, Art and Rivalry: The Marriage of Mary and Christopher Pratt
Lorna Crozier, Through the Garden: A Love Story (with Cats)
Naomi Klein, On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal
Theresa Kishkan, Euclid’s Orchard & Other Essays
Amanda Leduc, Disfigured
Susan McCaslin & J.S. Porter, Superabundantly Alive: Thomas Merton’s Dance with the Feminine
Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie, and Paulette M. Rothbauer, Reading still matters: what the research reveals about reading, libraries, and community
Susan Vande Griek and Mark Hoffmann, Hawks Kettle, Puffins Wheel
Elizabeth Waterston, Railway Ties 1888-1920
Jody Wilson-Raybould, From where I stand: rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a stronger Canada

Awards
The Writers’ Trust Award goes to Gil Adamson for Ridgerunner!
The Giller goes to Souvankham Thammavongsa for How to Pronounce Knife
The Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize goes to Armand Garnet Ruffo

Reading Canadian men
Billy-Ray Belcourt, A history of my brief body
Dennis Bock, The Good German
Michael Christie, Greenwood: A Novel of a Family Tree in a Dying Forest
Desmond Cole, The Skin We’re In
David Frum, Trumpocalypse
William Gibson, Agency
Rawi Hage, Beirut Hellfire Society
Thomas King, Indians on Vacation
Thomas King, Obsidian: A DreadfulWater Mystery
Kurt Palka, The hour of the fox: a novel
Andrew Pyper, The residence
Iain Reid, I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Robin Robertson, The long take: a Noir Narrative
Jesse Thistle, From the Ashes
Clive Thompson, Coders
Richard Wagamese, Keeper’n Me

Back to Poetry, Canadian and Beyond
Madhur Anand, A new index for predicting catastrophes: poems
Margaret Atwood, Dearly
Adèle Barclay, Renaissance normcore
Gary Barwin, For it is a PLEASURE and a SURPRISE to Breathe: new & selected Poems
Heather Birrell, Float and scurry
Jericho Brown, The Tradition 
Lucas Crawford, The high line scavenger hunt
Amber Dawn, My Art is Killing Me
Dom Domanski, Bite down little whisper
Klara du Plessis, Ekke
Nathan Dueck, A very special episode / brought to you by Nathan Dueck
Chantal Gibson, How She Read
Julie Hartley, Deboning a dragon
Karen Houle, The Grand River Watershed: a folk ecology
Patricia Keeney, Orpheus in Our World
Kaie Kellough, Magnetic equator 
Canisia Lubrin, The Dyzgraph*st
Daphne Marlatt, Intertidal: The Collected Earlier Poems, 1968 – 2008
Jane Munro, Glass Float
Harold Rhenisch, The Spoken World 
Robin Richardson, Knife throwing through self-hypnosis: poems
Anne Simpson, Strange attractor: poems
John Elizabeth Stintzi, Junebat
Moez Surani, Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real?

See more recommendations on https://pennkemp.wordpress.com/2020/08/31/31booksinaugust/ , https://pennkemp.wordpress.com/2020/04/02/reading-and-recommending-poems-for-national-poetry-month-2020/ and https://pennkemp.wordpress.com/2020/11/06/on-reading-new-work-by-canadian-women-novelists/On reading new work by Canadian women novelists.

Anthologies
Best Canadian poetry 2019   
Measures of astonishment: poets on poetry / presented by the League of Canadian Poets
Caroline Adderson, editor. The Journey prize stories: the best of Canada’s new writers
Nyla Matuk, editor. Resisting Canada: an anthology of poetry
Adam Sol, How a poem moves: a field guide for readers of poetry

Beloved Books on Spiritual Ecology
Tim Dee, Landfill: Notes on Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
Diana Beresford-Kroeger, To Speak for the Trees: My Life’s Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest
Robert Macfarlane, Underland
Richard Powers, The Overstory
Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life

Deepest, Longest and most Transformative Read of 2020
Peter Kingsley, Reality, Catafalque Press, 2020
(and Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom)

International Reads
John Banville, Snow
Neil Gaiman, American Gods: The moment of the storm. 3
Sue Monk Kidd, The Book of Longings
Lily King, Writers and Lovers
Natsuo Kirino, The goddess chronicle
E. J Koh, The magical language of others: A memoir
Raven Leilani, Luster
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
William Maxwell, So long, see you tomorrow
Ian McEwan, Machines like me: and people like you
Ian McEwan, Cockroach
Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, Hamilton: the revolution
David Mitchell, Utopia
Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts
Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere
Naomi Shihab Nye, Cast away: poems for our time
Maggie O’Farrell, Hamnet and Judith
Tommy Pico, Feed
Samantha Power, The Education of an Idealist
Omid Safi, Radical love: teachings from the Islamic mystical tradition
Jake Skeets, Eyes bottle dark with a mouthful of flowers / poems by Jake Skeets
Mirabai Starr, Wild mercy: living the fierce and tender wisdom of the women mystics
Natasha Trethewey, Memorial Drive
Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough
Ruth Ware, The Turn of the Key
Jennifer Weiner, Big Summer
Niall Williams, This is Happiness
Bob Woodward, Rage

About to read (sometime, soon-ish)
Madhur Anand, This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart
Marianne Apostolides, I can’t get you out of my mind: a novel
Nina Berkhout, Why Birds Sing
Carol Bruneau, Brighten the Corner Where You Are: A Novel Inspired by the Life of Maud Lewis
Cathy Marie Buchanan, Daughter of Black Lake
Catherine Bush, Blaze Island
Louise Carson, The Cat Possessed
Dede Crane, Madder Woman
Lorna Crozier, The House the Spirit Builds
Francesca Ekwuyasi, Butter Honey Pig Bread
Heather Haley, Skookum Raven
Catherine Hernandez, Crosshairs
Natalie Jenner, The Jane Austen Society
Shari Lapena, The End of Her
Jessica J. Lee, Two trees make a forest: travels among Taiwan’s mountains & coasts in search of my family’s past
Tanis MacDonald, Mobile
Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Mexican Gothic
Noor Naga, Washes, Prays
C.L. Polk, The Midnight Bargain
Damian Rogers, An Alphabet for Joanna: A Portrait of My Mother in 26 Fragments
Johanna Skibsrud, Island
Susan Swan, The Dead Celebrities Club
Emily Urquhart, The Age of Creativity: Art, Memory, My Father, and Me
Natalie Zina Walschots, Hench: a novel

AND…
Jordan Abel, Nishga
André Alexis, The Night Piece: Collected Short Fiction
Bill Arnott, Gone Viking
John Barton, Lost Family 
David Bergen, Here the Dark
Wade Davis, Magdalena: river of dreams 
Cory Doctorow, Radicalized
Cory Doctorow, Attack Surface
Gary Geddes, Out of the ordinary: politics, poetry and narrative
Steven Heighton, Reaching Mithymna: among the volunteers and refugees on Lesvos
Kaie Kellough, Dominoes at the Crossroads
David A. Robertson, Black Water
Mark Sampson, All the Animals on Earth
J.R. (Tim) Struthers (Editor), Alice Munro Everlasting: Essays on Her Works II
Mark Truscott, Branches
Ian Williams, Reproduction

Most of these books have come to me through London Public Library, now celebrating 125 years! Thank you!
Others came from Indie bookstores and friends. None from Amazon.

Check out my own books on http://pennkemp.weebly.com/works.html.

Read on ! Read often:)

Sounds of Trance Formation


Sounds of Trance Formation:

An Interview with Penn Kemp now up!

https://spokenweb.ca/podcast/episodes/sounds-of-trance-formation-an-interview-with-penn-kemp/

with Nick Beauchesne, Spoken Web Canada

December 7, 5-7 pm

“For Penn Kemp, poetry is magic made manifest. While her subjects are varied, and her interests and approaches have evolved over the years, Kemp has always understood the power of spoken word to evoke emotion, shift consciousness, and shape the world. Drawing on a syncretic blend of spiritual philosophy informed by Alchemy, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other wisdom traditions, Kemp’s work is imminent and transcendent, embodied and cerebral. The words on the page produce certain effects, while the voices in the air produce others altogether.”

New #SpokenWebPod episode coming next Monday, Dec 7.
Come to our Listening Party to experience
“Sounds of Trance Formation: An Interview with Penn Kemp.”

Monday, December 7, 2020 at 5 PM EST – 7 PM EST
Hosted by SpokenWeb

Join us to listen and discuss #SpokenWebPod episode
Sounds of Trance Formation: An Interview with Penn Kemp

We will gather virtually to listen together at 5pm ET and share our reactions in a Twitter conversation. This will be followed by a 6pm ET Q&A with Episode Producer Nick Beauchesne and featured guest Penn Kemp. You are invited to join for the entire event or at 6pm ET for just the Q&A.

Listening Party Zoom Link:
https://sfu.zoom.us/j/83778515727…Meeting ID: 837 7851 5727
Password: resonate
One tap mobile
+16473744685,,83778515727#,,,,0#,,71824394# Canada

https://www.facebook.com/events/752942868631837/

Join the Twitter Conversation:
You are invited to follow @SpokenWebCanada and #SpokenWebPod on Twitter and join the conversation during the event as we listen together. Tweet at us with #SpokenWebPod and share your listening experience: what moments jump out to you? what sounds resonate with your experience?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SpokenWebCanada at https://spokenweb.ca/podcast/episodes.

On reading new work by Canadian women writers

And the Giller goes to Souvankham Thammavongsa for How to Pronounce Knife! Congratulations! And Congratulations as well to the other finalists!

Superb writing that I highly recommend, grouped here idiosyncratically.

Pairing Westerns: Gil Adamson’s Ridgerunner; Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel; Helen Humphreys’s Rabbit Foot Bill and Kate Pullinger’s Forest Green.

Pairing work set abroad: Shaena Lambert’s Petra; Janie Chang’s The Library of Legends; Louise Penny’s All the Devils Are Here. Lisa Robertson, Baudelaire Fractals. Pairing Caroline Adderson’s A Russian Sister and Sarah Leipciger, Coming Up For Air. AND Farzana Doctor’s Seven.

Pairing pandemic novels: Emma Donoghue’s The Pull of the Stars; Saleema Nawaz’s Songs for the End of the World and Larissa Lai’s The Tiger Flu.

Pairing books on relationship by Annabel Lyon, Consent; Lynn Coady, Watching You Without Me; Shani Mootoo, Polar Vortex;  Frances Itani, The Company We Keep.

Pairing books by Indigenous Writers: Michelle Good, Five Little Indians; Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, This Accident of Being Lost

Memoir: Lorna Crozier, Through the Garden: A Love Story (with Cats)

Sans pareil: Naomi Klein, On Fire. Not a novel: I wish it were!

About to read (sometime, soon-ish):

Marianne Apostolides, I can’t get you out of my mind: a novel
Carol Bruneau, Brighten the Corner Where You Are: A Novel Inspired by the Life of Maud Lewis
Cathy Marie Buchanan, The Day the Falls Stood Still
Cathy Marie Buchanan, Daughter of Black Lake
Catherine Bush, Blaze Island
Catherine Hernandez, Crosshairs
Maria Reva, Good Citizens Need Not Fear 
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies
Elizabeth Waterston,  Railway Ties 1888-1920

Hoping to read:
(Attention, London Library! Every other book listed here is in your collection. Please take the hint…)
Dede Crane, Madder Woman
Lorna Crozier, The House the Spirit Builds

Celebrating Wordsfest, tuning in to MORE Literary Arts!


Then back to new poetry. And back to writing…

Feature image: Daniela Sneppova
Photo of me age 7: Jim Kemp

#31BooksInAugust

A challenge indeed, to read a poetry book a day throughout August!

It’s only now in preparing this list that I’ll see if I reached 31 books. Included here are several anthologies of poetry and the very poetic novel, Baudelaire’s Fractal. I’ve also read books that I had started earlier, a couple that I reread, and several that I have not yet finished! Some I’d been meaning to read forever. There’s always #SealeySeptember!

How to group the list? Some are from my own collection; some, gifts from friends. Many others arrived from the Library. The books came in clusters: Canadian; writers of colour, feminist, contemporary. I decided to go alphabetically. I didn’t have time to include comments or quotes, though a running commentary is ongoing in my head. Pals, if I haven’t included you here, are you in my blog for National Poetry Month? Check out https://pennkemp.wordpress.com/2020/04/02/reading-and-recommending-poems-for-national-poetry-month-2020/.

Here’s the list:

  1. bill bissett, Air 10-11-12
  2. Billy-Ray Belcourt: NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field
  3. Di Brandt, Glitter & Fall
  4. Ariane Blackman, The River Doesn’t Stop
  5. Allan Briesmaster, River Neither
  6. Jillian Christmas, the gospel of breaking
  7. Margaret Christakos, charger
  8. Tom Cull, Bad Animals
  9. Ellen Jaffe, Skinny-Dipping with the Muse
  10. Patricia Keeney, First Woman
  11. John B. Lee, The Half-Way Tree
  12. D.A. Lockhart, Devil in the Woods
  13. Alice Major, Welcome to the Anthropocene
  14. Daphne Marlatt,  Seven Glass Bowls
  15. Susan McCaslin, Painter, Poet, Mountain: After Cézanne
  16. Susan McMaster, Haunt
  17. Bruce Meyer, McLuhan’s Canary
  18. Stephen Morrissey, A Poet’s Journey: on poetry and what it means to be a poet
  19. Colin Morton, Coastlines of the Archipelago
  20. Miguel Neneve, En los Caminos de la Miradas
  21. Catherine Owen, Riven
  22. Harold Rhenisch, Winging Home: a palette of birds
  23. Canisia Lubrin, The Dyzgraph*st
  24. Jay MillAr, The Ghosts of Jay MillAr
  25. Joni Mitchell, Morning Glory On the Vine
  26. Lisa Robertson, Baudelaire Fractals
  27. Sharon Thesen, The Receiver
  28. Phyllis Webb, Peacock Blue

Anthologies
29. Kim Maltman, editor. The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology 2018
30. Nyla Matuk, Resisting Canada: an anthology of poetry with an Introduction by Nyla Matuk
31. Adam Sol, How a poem moves: a field guide for readers of poetry

Thanks for such an inspiring initiative, Nicole Sealey! @Nic_Sealey

#31outof31 #TheSealeyChallenge #sealeychallenge #poetry #31Books31Days #31BooksInAugust

WHEW~! See you in September!

Penn Kemp
http://www.pennkemp.weebly.com

A panacea of poems in the pandemic

I’m so grateful to Joe Belanger and the Free Press for supporting the arts and local artists.
Poetry really can console and articulate our emotions in the pandemonium of pandemic. But imagine, a local newspaper publishing new poems!  and these three of mine are so beautifully laid out with room for the poems to breathe! But, hey, embrace me from 6 feet away, okay? 🙂

BELANGER: It’s time to embrace London’s poet laureate, Penn Kemp, and all artists

It’s funny the things you think of when the going gets tough.

London poet Penn Kemp explores the pandemic in her writing as the country has a muted celebration of Poetry Month. JOE BELANGER

It’s funny the things you think of when the going gets tough.

Like everyone else in recent weeks, I could feel the sun’s warmth, see the green tips coming through the garden soil and welcome the crocuses.

It’s spring arriving, yet there wasn’t a big smile on my face; no, just the tension of uncertainty and foreboding that goes hand-in-hand with the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Then I heard Penn Kemp’s voice on the telephone and a smile arrived.

I can’t help it. London’s first poet laureate and one of this country’s great writing talents always offers up some delightful word treats that usually provoke a smile, sometimes laughter and even tears that eventually give way to serious pondering of the words, ideas and observations she so expertly writes on paper.

I should have anticipated the phone call because April is poetry month and, more often than not, a chance for me to reconnect with Kemp, who has written more than 30 books of poetry and drama and is renowned as a spoken word performer.

Penn Kemp is a perpetual reminder to me of why we need our artists and I couldn’t wait to find out how she’s been keeping, but even more excited to find out what she’s doing.

“Life as usual for a writer, I’m at home,” said Kemp, for whom a degree of isolation is a natural consequence of her art.

“But we feel it all so deeply. The irony and the consolation or disparity in it all is spring’s arrival – the return of warmth against the depths of sadness and sorrow of so many people passing. There’s so much information coming at us, we’re inundated with so much grief. For me, poetry can console.”

And then I read her new words, in her new poem titled, What We Remember, words this horror has provoked that grabbed my heart and told me I am not alone. The opening stanza drawing tears . . .

So many are leaving the planet and yet

are with us, still and still.

How they hover,

the lost, the bewildered, the wild ones!

Clearly life during a pandemic hasn’t escaped Kemp’s gaze or understanding; it has provoked her muse to sing.

There are two more poems, each with compelling observations, perhaps even provocations. It is what Kemp must do, even though she won’t get paid this month when she is often on tour to celebrate her art. It is why I feel so compelled to write about our artists.

“I so believe in the power of community yet everything we relied upon has shifted — to ‘host’ has become a negative and even ‘positive’ (test) has become a negative,” said Kemp.

“What the arts really does is offer a vehicle for the expression of emotion, whether we’re creating or we’re a recipient, you can share in the collective expression of sorrow and suffering and sense that we are together, that humanity is facing this together.”

And I smile again because I don’t feel so alone.

I’m feeling hopeful again because the power of the arts continues to churn, inspiring and, yes, comforting.

jbelanger@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/JoeBatLFPress


The Big Ask

In times of crises we count on the arts for respite,
relief, relaxation and articulation of our response
and reaction to a compounded new normal. As if

unknowns have not always been nearby, hovering
at edge of sight, beyond reach but closing in now,
still unknown. All our questions rise without reply.

How long.

The difference is now we know for once what we
did not know, can’t know, don’t want to face, hid
under cover. But special masks hand-sewn as if to

protect let us feel we are doing our bit, let us act in
dispelling disconnect, overwhelm of circumstance.
Art helps us stitch together disparity or discontent.

This poem will not reveal statistics, won’t describe
missing medical gear, what remains undelivered,
how many gravesites prepared, how much suffering—

how many gone. We have aps for that, as numbers
grow beyond belief but not beyond hope nor help.

Frontline workers, be praised. May all you need be
yours now. May salaries be raised. May you rest
till the rest is easy. May your harvest be in health

not death, not calculated statistics of raised risk.
Do care for yourselves just as you care for others.

We wait, sequestered, connected, isolated, missing
touch, missing what we used to call normal, what
we used to do long ago just last month. We wait for

the weight to lift, to remember we are safe at home,
not stuck. We also serve who stay indoors and wait.

May home be our haven. May we shelter in place,
in peace of mind. Confinement’s just fine for now,
home stead, home stayed and schooled in the new.

Mind the gap, the gulf between then and now as
broadcasts sweep over: they are not forever. Turn
off the hourly news. Tune in to spring joys instead.

We can gather in the power of dandelion greens.
Warmer weather is not another postponed elective.

Even though last night, lightning and hail the size
of loonies lit up the sky at the pink full moon, no
frogs are raining and forsythia has not forsaken us.

Toads are peeping, myrtle is purpling and the sun,
sweet sun, is warming our faces as forget-me-nots
pop their determined way up through damp earth.

What is essential, what urgent when baselines shift?
Spontaneous dance parties and web performance
lighten fatigue, the philosopher’s moral dilemma.

The consolation of poetry is the resilience of words
given to comfort or challenge, compare and contrast.

What is grief but love unexpressed? What is love but
expression? Giving, not in, not out, but forth, giving
over to you. The game’s a match. Love won. Love all.

Penn Kemp
April 8, 2020

What We’ll Remember

How first scylla sky shimmers
against the tundra swan’s flight
west and north, north north west.

How many are leaving the planet and yet
are with us, still and still forever.

How they linger,
the lost, the bewildered, the wild ones!

Though tears come easily these days,
we too hover over the greening land

as spring springs brighter than ever
since stacks are stilled and the pipe
lines piping down.

When the peace pipe is lit
and sweetgrass replaces
smog— when the fog of pollution
lifts and channels clear—

Earth take a long breath
and stretches over aeons to come
and aeons past.

Penn Kemp

No Reruns, No Returns

for les revenants

Those who died once from influenza
a century ago, who now are pulled to

a hell realm of eternal return—are you
repeating, reliving the hex of time as if

doomed to replicate the old story you
already lived through? Once is enough.

No need to hover. You have suffered
plenty. You’ve loved and lost all there

is to lose. You have won. You’re one
with all that is. Retreat now to your own

abode. Return home, spirits. You’re no
longer needed here. You are no longer.

Although we honour you and thank
you and remember you each and all,

all those who’ve been called back, called
up from dimensions we can only guess at—

caught in the Great War and carried away
or carried off in the aftermath of influenza—

by this spell, we tell you to go back to
your own time, out of time. Just in time.

May you depart. We don’t know, how can
we tell? where your home is. It’s not here.

Know this virus is not yours. Know this
war is not yours. You are here in our era

by error, by slippage, a rip. You’ve mis-
taken the signage, the spelling in wrong

turns. Now return, by this charm, retreat.
You are dispelled, dismissed, dismantled,

released to soar free from the trance of time.
May you travel well. May you fly free.

Penn Kemp

The poems have been slightly revised.

Poems & Plays for Sale, by the Book-full!

Books are the best gift for a time of self-isolation!  A shout-out to Canadian small press publishers and indie bookshops.  Long may you thrive! Your health all round!

Here are my recent offerings for your wish list, to share with poetry- and play-loving pals.

If you order the books from me, I’ll sign them for you!

Penn Kemp
525 Canterbury Road
London Ontario N6G 2N5
pennkemp@gmail.com

Or order from Amazon*. Details below.

From Insomniac Press*, $2O + tax + postage:

River Revery front back cover

Celebrating local writers! https://lfpress.com/entertainment/books/new-books-by-london-and-area-authors-just-in-time-for-christmas

Local Heroes cover good

From Quattro Books*, $2O + tax + postage:

FoxHaunts-Cover

barbaric-cultural-practice_front-cover

Also, prose to celebrate Jack Layton: Love, Hope and Optimism, Ongoing!*

960121_10151616103230020_1383103619_n

Travel to Ancient Egypt with me for $6 + tax +postage!

Helwa cover

Or this fabulous hand-made chapbook from Mother Tongue Books for $50 + tax +postage!

Suite Ancient Egypt

If you love plays and local history, two of my plays about Victorian explorer Teresa Harris are available: https://www.canadianplayoutlet.com/products/the-dream-life-of-teresa-harris and https://www.canadianplayoutlet.com/products/the-triumph-of-teresa-harris.

And this anthology,  available only from me. $20 in this format.  But for $12, without the colour, order from https://www.canadianplayoutlet.com/products/performing-women.

performing-women-2016

* Find my books on https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=Penn+Kemp&ref=nb_sb_noss.

You can also find them in your Library, I hope. Certainly London Public Library has them all, plus CDs and DVDS.

Blessings for a Joyous Holiday! 

Penn
http://www.pennkemp.weebly.com

Listening to the River

“London poet Penn Kemp helps explore identity at Wordsfest”

The Thames River moves swiftly through London’s Kilally Meadows, a turn in the river at the end of Windermere Road that is eating away at the bank, carving a new history in its journey.

It’s here on the Thames, two kilometres from her childhood home that poet, spoken word performer and playwright Penn Kemp has found inspiration that culminated in River Revery, her 31st book of poetry and drama.

It will be launched Saturday at the sixth annual Words, London’s literary and creative arts festival, also known as Wordsfest, being held at Museum London Friday through Sunday.

Wordsfest will feature 40 Canadian authors, poets, writers, songwriters and other literary stars. It’s a “celebration of creative ideas, artistic expression and cultural diversity,”  where the concept of identity will be the theme.

“The Thames River is the very centre of London – look at the forks downtown – the very heart of the city, the flow, the current and the influence,” said Kemp, sitting under a sunny sky days ago a few metres from the river.

In Kemp’s new book is the poem Riparian, inspired by the place where we had just been walking and this excerpt reflects our view:

Woodcocks drum in May at Kilally Meadows as
mallard mothers introduce their pride to water.

Cattails sieve sediment in the marsh. Let alone.
Carrying on. There a dead ash stands undercut by
spring current sweeping without resistance among
dangled roots. On topmost branch, the local osprey,
intent on a shoal of suckers suspended in shadow,

catches sunlight, breast gleaming, before plummeting
with curved claws to pluck family breakfast.”

On Saturday at 1 p.m., Kemp will be in conversation with Diana Beresford-Kroeger, an author, medical biochemist and botanist who wrote the forward for River Revery.

Beresford-Kroeger is the author of several books, including To Speak for the Trees, released in September. She was named a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 2011 and named by the society as one of 25 women explorers of Canada.

The Thames, its tributaries and the land it flows through is the land of Kemp’s childhood, where she wondered and dreamed and played and ran and walked and rode a bike.

The river meanders through her work, including her plays about Teresa Harris, The Dream Life of Teresa Harris (2013) and The Triumph of Teresa Harris (2017).

Harris was born in 1839, youngest of the 12 children of Royal Navy Capt. John Harris, one of the city’s earliest settlers and builder of Eldon House. The house was owned by the family until 1960 when it was donated to the city as a museum, while much of its property along the Thames became Harris Park.

Teresa, an independent minded adventurer, inspires not only Kemp’s work but also her heart.

River Revery, dedicated to Kemp’s grandchildren, is not just a book of poems; it’s a collaboration with London artist Mary McDonald, who provided photos and animations to support Kemp’s words. The website riverrevery.ca includes the full breadth of the work, which was first revealed at last year’s Wordsfest.

Kemp is also a wealth of knowledge about the Thames. She tells me the Thames is called Deshkan Ziibi (Antler River) in the Ojibwe language, but it was named by Lt.-Gov. John Graves Simcoe after its British namesake – a name itself rooted in the ancient Celtic language and meaning the Dark One.

“I really think we need to return to listening to what the river and the land are telling us,” said Kemp, a lifelong environmentalist and activist.

“Ever since I was a tiny child, I’ve tried to articulate the mystery not expressed in words – the river, trees, the birds – . . . and I’m still trying to translate the mystery. I believe if I’m listening I can hear one maple.”

Kemp gets irritated with anthropomorphism of nature by people making it appear and behave as a human being even though the rivers, trees, animals and land are distinct entities.

“The land is not limited to our sensibilities or understanding and comprehension,” said Kemp.

“That’s where the listening comes in . . . We’ve been trained to project, transfer our humanness values to nature and the truth is nature is so much longer lived. It has its own life. It breathes so much longer than we do. We have to get back to honouring the land as the Indigenous People did before colonialism.”

Kemp said the Thames is more than a “metaphor” of the identity of London. “It’s the reality of our identity, staring us in the face, asking for recognition, to be honoured and valued, not just to be used,” she said.

Wordsfest artistic director Joshua Lambier said the festival’s theme of identity is about “re-imagining Souwesto” referring to name coined by the late London artist Greg Curnoe for Southwestern Ontario.

Lambier said identity will be explored from a variety of angles, including the “notion of the Forest City,” which Kemp and Beresford-Kroeger will explore, and the relationship between “creativity and identity,” which a panel hosted by award-winning author Nino Ricci, the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity at Western University, will discuss Saturday at 4 p.m.

“The great thing about Wordsfest is the diversity of the content, so there should be something for everyone,” said Lambier.

“We try to bring the Western University campus downtown to the people of London who want to meet and see national authors, but also our local writers who will all be discussing new ideas, new books, new artistic approaches.”

Joe Belanger, The London Free Press, October 31, 2019

GOING WITH THE FLOW: Kemp a natural at Wordsfest C1

London poet helps explore identity at sixth-annual Wordsfest

Penn102019 Belanger

Photo: Joe Belanger

Believe…

In the space of a year she has learned to sit,
to stand, to walk, to totter forward in a run.

She has seen one full round of the seasons.
She wraps her family round her little finger.

Now just before dusk we stroll hand in hand
to witness the evening ritual of geese return.

Gliding along the Thames in formation, they
skim overhead, flapping slow time in synch.

She studies their procedure, dropping my hand
to edge forward, neck outstretched, arms aero-

dynamically angled. She flaps and flaps along
the bank, following their flight, ready for that

sudden lift. Again, again, till the last goose has
flown. Dragging her heels home, disconcerted,

she braces her body against the rising breeze,
bewildered that she too can’t take off to sky

but game to try again tomorrow, convinced
the birds’ secret will soon belong to her.

believe 2018 Mary McDonald

 

*A TREE-POEM-A-DAY to protect our Ancient Ecosystems*


This month of September, Daniela Elza  is sending a Tree Poem a Day to BC Premier, the Prime Minister, and select Ministers and MPs calling on them to work across party lines to protect Ancient Ecosystems and to protect the peaceful forest defenders at Fairy Creek, BC.

Dear Premier Horgan, Prime Minister Trudeau, Ministers, MPs, current and future MLAs,

It will take extraordinary vision and concerted effort on many fronts to stop our province and country from burning and to combat the climate crisis. But fighting the old-growth forest defenders and protectors is not one of them. 

In a recent Globe and Mail article Grand Chief Phillip said, “You can’t simply parcel this off as an Indigenous cultural rights issue. You can’t parcel it off as an economic issue. You must remain focused on the fact that old growth forests in British Columbia are at the point of extinction. We all have a responsibility to do whatever we can to protect them.” 

I am a writer and educator who spent the last pandemic year writing tree-poems with my students. They had many questions I could not answer. Our policies do not make sense for the bold action we need to take today to preserve our life support ecosystems. I have to ask: WHY? 

Studies out of UBC say: “Trees are the most efficient air conditioner we’ve got”. [https://beyond.ubc.ca/fighting-climate-change-through-our-urban-forests/] In our urban environments this has become particularly urgent in the heat waves. In other words, stop cutting down our most efficient cooling systems on the planet. At Fairy Creek the machines are lining up to resume the ancient tree massacre. WHY?

I am sending you a tree-poem-a-day this month to inspire you to implement policies that will protect our Fairy Creeks, our home, our ancient forests on the verge of extinction, our children, and their future. 

Just like the housing crisis (enabled by policy) is manufacturing homelessness at unprecedented rates, destroying our ecologies is rendering many species homeless and extinct. 

This month the injunction at Fairy Creek will be reviewed and we are going back to the polls. Please commit to more than words. Stop the ancient forest logging, protect the people who are peacefully protecting the ancient ecosystems at Fairy Creek against police violence and violations. Stop policing our right to clean air, diverse ecology, and our chances for survival.

Instead, put these efforts and funds into a vision we can all gather around. Work across parties, across provinces, and across borders. The planet knows no boundaries, or political divides. 

I hope these poems give you inspiration, and the courage to protect the natural wealth we are abusing and losing.

To destroy what is irreplaceable is to steal from the future. 

DAY 9 –  Today’s poem comes from poet activist and London’s inaugural Poet Laureate Penn Kemp, who has believed in the sentience of trees forever and especially in the ongoing, essential presence of old growth forest.

Kind Regards, 

Daniela Elza Vancouver, BC————-

Poem for the Fairy Creek Elders

by Penn Kemp

When Buddhist monks ordain the great Cedar
no axe can approach, none can wield harm.
May we too wrap saffron ribbon round
the girth of beloved ancients. If only symbol
would suffice to protect the great ones.

We breathe trees, their life-giving air and atmosphere.
Until trees breathe us, how can we speak for them?
In protest, we appeal nonetheless, we demand, we assert.
In spirit, I join the seniors who arm in arm surround
the old ones who witness millennia along the watershed
unless their slow heartbeat in heartwood is stopped.

Cardboard cut-outs crafted into trees are planted on
the Legislature lawn, though simulacrum can never
present the magnificence of old-growth forest.
Who can halt this unacceptable harvest of living deities, 
these trees who are the elders of the oldest among us?


And this pine from Southwestern Ontario:

Global Warming in Lytton, A Long View

Essential and all too timely a piece by Harold Rhenisch. So carefully considered. Listen up.

Okanagan Okanogan

The scorching temperatures in Lytton this last week, and the horrible loss of the entire town to fire could have happened long ago. From March of 1869 through November of 1870, Father Pandosy mentioned while packing over the Dewdney Trail from Hope, not a drop of rain or snow fell from the sky and all the rivers ran dry. He was talking about the Okanagan, a bit east of Lytton, but if it happened there, Lytton was probably in a crisis as well. Here’s Lytton in 1867. Not a Canadian town yet.

A lot of local trees went into those buildings, for sure, but likely not the ones on the banks below town or on the steep slopes leading down to the river in the distant. The slope in the foreground, for sure. Note that the flat in the centre of the image, on the bank of the Fraser River…

View original post 519 more words

3 Haunting New Canadian Novels

3 Haunting New Canadian Novels Recommended

None of them light summer reading. All of them essential for our time.

Kim Echlin’s SPEAK, SILENCE is essential reading. Long ago, I coined an neologism, SIOLENCE to express exactly what this book delivers, in its title and its text. SPEAK, SILENCE should be hollered to the mountain tops. Written in Kim Echlin’s lucent prose, SPEAK, SILENCE rings as clear as a bell, tolling for thee. Mothers and daughters, intergenerational trauma expressed with eloquent clarity and compassion. Listen to these women and you too will be inscribed by their stories. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5…

Gary Barwin’s Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy is a master work, hovering between tragedy and the humour (puns galore!) Barwin brings to all his work… very like Indigenous writing in that good regard! The novel reads like Salmon Rushdie at his best in its exuberant inclusivity… but the writing is so much tauter than Rushdie’s rush, and it never totters. Nor does it falter in its quixotic but sure dash toward safety, somewhere, surely! My only quibble is the title, Nothing the Same, which does not invite the reader in. But begin at high noon, as Motl might suggest, and you will be still reading long into the night, impelled by plot and even more by language to conclude. A picaresque triumph. https://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/…

Delighted in the new Rachel Cusk, Second Place. Truly remarkable perceptions, by far her best work…. no longer that detached null-at-centre narrator of the trilogy. I think Cusk has learned from Joan Didion’s concision in remarking on the peripheral that has not yet been articulated! Fascinating re art, and the background Laurentian story: compare Second Place with Mabel Dodge Luhan’s Lorenzo in Taos. Dodge ‘s book has a new half-life, a palimpsest… a second Second Place, with a wet Norfolk marsh replacing dry New Mexico. Compare too Cusk’s 2016 essay: “Like gravity, truth can only be resisted for so long: it waits, greyly, for the fantasy to wear off.” https://granta.com/coventry/

For Those Without Air (Conditioning)

Night Orchestra, a poem written & performed by me with #music & #Sound design by marvellous composer Bill Gilliam & visual editing by Gera Dillon. Opening title painting: Jim Kemp

Night Orchestra

Deep in summer
stillness, an electric
hum of air conditioner
in B flat flat monotone
entrains my body
              monotonous.

Heat produced to cool
my neighbours thrums
the outside air, heats
up our collective night.

Mechanical multitudes
self-replicate in chorus,
relentless fridge and clock.

The only spell breaker
is a tape of Tibetan chant.
Deep harmonic overtones
conjure a resonance,
disturb the sine waves.

Sleepless in the Beaches,
I resist the single sound
as Blake deplores single
vision and Newton’s sleep.

The sound of the perpetual
twentieth century
colonizied our future
with a dominant beat, sales
pitched for comfort, con-
venience, reliance on
appliance.

The pity is not
that the century
wound to a close but
that it’s whining
on and on

Somewhere beyond
the pervasive rattle,
waves break on the shore.
Species diversify.

From:   On Our Own Spoke. CD-ROM. Toronto: Pendas Productions, 2000.
Text updated: 2021

The audio alone is up on https://soundcloud.com › penn-kemp › night-orchestra.

Painting: Jim Kemp

For Ula, On Graduating Grade 8

May you keep on flying, Beauty!

And for Kai! And her cousins Ana, Matteo, Neveah, Olivia, Audrey, and Rowan.
And for all those who attended their graduation ceremonies virtually.

You can hear my reading:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UBjrrX5QVC3RGOz5Qf85Zz8pZ1FPSz8s/view?usp=sharing

Believe…

In the space of a year Ula has learned to sit,
to stand, to walk, to totter forward in a run.

She has seen one full round of the seasons.
She wraps her family round her little finger.

Now just before dusk we stroll hand in hand
to witness the evening ritual of geese return.

Gliding along the Thames in formation, they
skim overhead, flapping slow time in synch.

She studies their procedure, dropping my hand
to edge forward, neck outstretched, arms aero-

dynamically angled. She flaps and flaps along
the bank, following their flight, ready for that

sudden lift. Again, again, till the last goose has
flown. Dragging her heels home, disconcerted,

she braces her body against the rising breeze,
bewildered that she too can’t take off to sky

but game to try again tomorrow, convinced
the birds’ secret will soon belong to her. 

Love,
Nanna Penn

Issue Four: Wednesday’s Man by Penn Kemp

I’m so moved by how Catherine Owen breathed into my poem with such a close and astute reading!.

The The

Penn Kemp has participated in Canadian cultural life for 50 years, writing, editing, and publishing poetry and plays: 30 books and 10 CDs. Penn is theLeague’s Spoken Word Artist (2015) and inaugural recipient of the “Muttsy” award! Hercollection,A Near Memoir: new poems(Beliveau Books), recently launched.

Of the old poets, the one I most
often call on is Creeley.

That singular
eye. That dear
clear voice.

That. Oh, and
this. Odin, move

over.

*

Catch as catch can.
Stand your staff
by. Wander, Wotan,

over new terrain where
words no longer
count.

Where you wonder
why. Or rather why
not, when over form.

Understanding.

When the deep-sighted
eye opens
worlds, no need of
catchphrase to recant.

Why funnel
many dimensions down
to one small realm of
print?

*

Bob, have I
lost you in clouds
of northern gods?

Not foreign to you but
absent. Irrelevant, off-
beat.

And you. Are you…

View original post 626 more words

Sage-ing, Summer 2021

Sage-ing With Creative Spirit, Grace and Gratitude

P. 25. Number 37, Summer 2021. 
http://www.sage-ing.com/Sage-ing37.pdf

The Solstice edition of SAGEING is out, with fine articles by Susan McCaslin and John Lent. AND a review of A NEAR MEMOIR by Richard-Yves Sitoski !

“SUSTAINING CONNECTION”

Penn Kemp with Richard-Yves Sitoski 

Even as we are isolating in place during this long pandemic year, we need to conjure a sense of community… now more than ever, perhaps. These days, my community lives on-line and in memory through many decades. Because I think in poetry more than prose, my musings turned into a collection, A Near Memoir: New Poems, and I welcome the new connections my memoir is bringing to me.


MEMORIA TENERE: PENN KEMP’S A NEAR MEMOIR: NEW POEMS
Richard-Yves Sitoski

I write this at 4:36 a.m. on a mid-May morning, 56 weeks into a pandemic that has left me simultaneously enervated yet full of a need to move, to do. I have become my cat, essentially, alternating between endless hours of otium and brief instants of frenetic activity. Because my priorities need realignment and my insecurities ministrations, I have, like many, turned to poetry, greedily hoovering up biographical and autobiographical works in an attempt to feel rooted. Penn Kemp’s new chap, A Near Memoir, therefore arrived at an opportune time. Kemp looks at the body of her cat in “For a Small, Beloved Descendent of Bast.” There’s a wonderful juxtaposition here of the promised mythologizing indicated by the title with the very matter-of-fact description of the cat’s lifeless state, leading to a payoff at the end that takes us into Christopher Smart territory.
As the title indicates, her book is not a memoir – it can’t be, with only 23 poems – but rather a brief compte rendu of a life of dynamism and poetic invention. In its scope and concerns, however, it accomplishes one of the roles of a memoir, which is (to reverse engineer the paraphrase of Heidegger that serves as the book’s epigraph) to “empresent” the past and bring it near in a process that slows the future’s approach.
Context is key. Kemp situates the personal in the familial and the familial in the public, sometimes through slapstick satori slaps that take us out of our own egos – symbolic and physical falls to the “sous-face” of the Earth – and remind us that we are part of something bigger than we can possibly understand. In “Shooting the Duck,” a young Penn becomes resigned to figure skating, fails in the process of “enduring” her mother’s encouragement, and we find in her mother’s motives shades of vicarious living.

Shooting the Duck

During the snowy winter of 1952, when I was eight
mom drove me each week to the Arena for a figure
skating class. She outfitted me just right, in a navy
blue velvet skirt that just covered my bum, a white
rabbit muff that kept me warm, a pompom wool cap.
En route mom told me romances of skating to Silver.

But those nasty nicks on the skate blades would trip
me up just as I pushed forward. Even when I learned
not to topple over, I could not figure out how to shoot
the duck. The ideal was to hunker down till you were
nearly sitting on your skates, then to dart one leg out
like the barrel of a gun as you coasted along the ice.

Not me. Invariably I’d end up on my bottom, gangly
colt legs galumphing out in front of me. An older girl
skated graceful rings around the fallen and the splayed
in a swirl of perfection as glumly shivering we tried to
imitate her glide. Like an unwelcome, embarrassed dog,
our wet legging stench slunk into the arena’s crisp air.

But I’d been given a dime and a nickel. My reward after
class was a soggy and savoured cone of chips, best chips
ever, the paper cone soaked in salted vinegar, well worth
taking mittens off for and enduring mom’s encouragement
on the wet-bottomed ride home. She’d been an avid skater
on outdoor ponds and still had unwarranted hopes for me.

Her dream of Winter Olympic Championship held no sway.


Getting back to the importance of context, one of the most affecting pieces in A Near Memoir is “Circling the Gulf,” which to me articulates something that may seem heretical in the discourse surrounding mental illness: that what we call illness might very well be a rational, if not reasonable, response to trauma. How should we on the outside react to war? Is it not possible that the trauma of war can be visited upon some people not directly involved in conflict, simply by virtue of their extreme sensitivity to our shared humanity?
Kemp leaves it to you to decide; what she does tell you, however, is that the situation played out in her family in a very specific way which ought to be considered by all of us, as we are currently living through a nightmare scenario that will have emotional ramifications the likes of which we can’t honestly predict. which to me articulates something that may seem heretical in the discourse surrounding mental illness: that what we call illness might very well be a rational, if not reasonable, response to trauma.

A Near Memoir, then, is a stop along the way in a career that has given us much poetry and given much to poetry. It does what poetry is meant to do, celebrating the universal by highlighting the particular, and whets our appetites for what will come next.

Richard-Yves Sitoski


Circling The Gulf: A Gain A Loss, Ingrained

Signs proliferate as we pass by. Plastered on the auto dealership plate
glass: SAVE THOU SANDS SAVE THOU SANDS. Save thou souls,
save thy soul, grain of sand, rain of rant, cycles of want and plenty.

We are so defined by the stories we tell and those we as children hear.
For years, as I was growing up, ‘war stories’ were served with dessert
at the table. Over & over, I listened to my grandfather’s tales of leading
a regiment of Iroquois troops in battle on the killing grounds of France.

This warrior tradition emerged in my son in a fantastical, twisted way.
During an acute psychotic episode, he was hospitalized. His terrible
adventure, coinciding with the Gulf War, took on metaphoric overtone.
Even the word “gulf” looms between realities. Mind the gap, mine hole.

As a child, he listened to my father’s stories about his work as a bomb
disposal expert in Scotland during the Second World War. That stress
internalized by my son with dreadful accuracy. I believe a literalization
of memory occurs down generations all the time. Our work is to stop
the war in art and life so that the children don’t continue to enact conflict.

At the height of concern about the possibilities of chemical, biological
or nuclear warfare, he became convinced he himself was radio-active,
a bomb about to explode. Who is to say what his response to threats
of nuclear annihilation should have been? His was a tortured way of

reinventing personal history, of linking himself up with our tradition
of war service, of families disrupted by early deaths from wounds borne
on the field of battle. With the end of the Gulf War, my son recovered
and continues to celebrate family histories to this day as our memory
keepers.

Penn Kemp

On Sunday, September 5, 2021, 7:30 – 9:35 pm, Kemp will be reading from A Near Memoir: New Poems as featured poet in the Red Lion Reading Series: https://beliveaubooks.wixsite.com/redlionreadingseries/shows.
Kemp is thankful for a CAIP grant from the London Arts Council, allowing time to write these poems.
A numbered copy of A Near Memoir, signed to you, is available by writing to pennkemp@gmail.com.


Penn Kemp has participated in Canadian cultural life for 50 years, writing, editing and publishing poetry and plays. Her first book of poetry, Bearing Down, was published by Coach House, 1972. The League of Canadian Poets acclaimed Penn as their 2015 Spoken Word Artist and she is the League’s 40th Life Member. In 2020, she was presented with the inaugural Joe Rosenblatt (Muttsy) Award for Innovative Creators. In 2021, she was nominated for the League of Canadian Poets’ Pavlick Poetry Prize.


Richard-Yves Sitoski is a poet, spoken word performer, visual artist, songwriter and poverty activist from Owen Sound. His works have appeared in periodicals in Canada, the United States and Great Britain.

,

Resistance: an anthology

Resistance: Righteous Rage in the Age of #MeToo

 University of Regina Press. Sue Goyette, editor.
https://uofrpress.ca/Books/R/Resistance.

Thanks to U. of Regina Press and editor Sue Goyette and all the courageous contributors to this important anthology. May our voices help those who need to hear our words.

The launch of this anthology is up now on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kTVd2w_VSQ.

Here is my contribution, the poem below and my reading, up at 29:30- 31:30 on RESISTANCE: the official launch.

My longer reading is up on “What We Know Now”, https://youtu.be/m7DadxaiPR4.

What we did not know in 1972. What has changed.

It’s too late. He has jumped me, fallen on me, almost as
in love, catching his weight in his hands as they smack
against the grungy linoleum tiles I’ve wanted to replace.

The kitchen wall is rippling. The chalky ceiling bulges
as if it needs new plastering; as if something is trying
to pound through, something that can’t be contained.

A flash flood, a fire? My spine slams against the door.
My skull is permeable. I know what’s going to happen.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. Time expands to
include all the random possibilities of thought, of world.

Tectonic plates collide. I know that he erupts explosively,
a system under great pressure from without, from below.

His face balloons massively through the mist. I know him.
I know that drawn-down mouth, mask of Greek tragedy.

How often I have traced the dimple in his chin, a line from
nose to mouth where God pressed His finger: the philtrum.

His fingers close, blunt tips touching, the heels of palms
meeting as if in prayer. Relentless hands ring my throat.

Gold wedding ring presses deep into my gullet. Even in
absolute panic, my body responds to his closeness, dearly

familiar and almost kind. My breath stops, is stopped. My
breath holds itself, forgets itself under his thumbs, then

gasps. And is forced quiescent.

I have already disappeared up the smoky trail, out the top
of head into wide blue sky. A buzz as of bees in the cool

expanse of air. Strange croaks seem to start in my gullet
and travel up with me into the vast and empty. I am flying.

Mewling, I hover, open my new eyes to glimpse our roof, so
puny from this height. Beyond him, beyond myself, above.

*

Violent shaking startles me out of freedom: a sudden updraft.
I’m being pulled down the vortex of consciousness back into

a body I thought I’d surrendered. The sound in my ear, carol,
carol, and no song but choking, roaring. Nothing but his voice,
loud as Poseidon in a seashell in my ear. He’s really done it now.

I swim in an ocean of blood. Swirling red currents fill each cranny
of consciousness and this time I go under, diving, divining down.

When I emerge, he is gone but the room is swirling around me
in colours of other travels. Turkish scarlet cushions. Moroccan

striped curtains dance a jig of molecules that confuse my senses.
I am lying on the couch. I shut my eyes again, not to see. Not

to hear. His footsteps, running closer. Water, soaking my head.
I look at him. A yellow cast of fear lies over last red flares of rage

on his face. But the hands that hold the basin barely tremble. “If
you’ve quite recovered,” he announces, his voice oddly strangled.

“I’m off to town. Just take it easy. You’ll be all right!” He commands.
Irony of statement, concern of question or relief: it doesn’t matter.

Pain neatly divides head from shoulders. Voice creaks like something
inanimate outside its box. Words, the ability to make words— gone.

Phrases flutter and dissolve. “I’ll be all right.” Something automatic,
something ancient in me, is attempting re-entry. “All right. Just go.”

He is already gone, a flash of yellow bike. Silence except for
that buzz of wasps in my head. Wasp-words ring in my ears.

*

Can either of us remember what it had been about this time?
His jealousy of my phantom lover, the one that got away…

Who knew for sure what happened. What is this complicity
between us?  Already it’s as if nothing at all had happened.

We can talk to no one, certainly not each other, about
the sudden black holes, the mine-fields in ordinary
conversation that suddenly erupt. Because most often,

they are not there. The house is simply a house, the scene
domestic with cat and kids, and cauliflower on the stove.

I can talk to no one. I cannot talk. When I tried—family or
friends—all told me that it was none of their business. Not
to interfere. Not to know. I made my bed. Now lie in it. Lie.

When I did call the police, they listened intently to my story.
“Is the perpetrator your husband, ma’am?” “Yes.” “I’m sorry.

We do not interfere in cases of domestic assault. Thank you
for calling the Precinct.” The dial tone still rings in my ears.

And where could I go anyway, on my own with two kids
and no money and a body that will not move. Shame— I

wrap it around me to keep warm as if it were my own,
protecting me from the eyes of neighbours, hiding black

and yellowing bruises under sleeves and stockings. What
have I done? Dishes, drying in the sink. What has he done?

The fingers I’ve studied so closely, bald sentinels drumming
action. Beating to their own rhythm, the jazz that syncopates

sudden movement. My glasses hang by a wire arm, frame twisted.
Retribution, then contrition. Pain is finite after all. He comes back

begging. I pride myself on the ability to forgive that’s been bred
into me. A flip of power and I get whatever I want; he does what-
ever I want. Until resentment steams over again. Next time. No.

*

There will be no next time. There’s never going to be a next time.
This I believe on faith. This he believes on faith. When he returns

after the kids are asleep, he knows he has changed, knows his ire
has disappeared forever, as if it never was. I know there is no more

fear. I pray there is no more fear. We hold onto each other all night.
without a word. Stealthily, while his breathing deepens, I practice

opening and closing my throat for when the words come. If I could
speak. For when I will speak. My jaw creaks on its wrenched hinge.

*

His thumbs are imprinted on either side of my windpipe like black
sentinels. For days, I wear a long turquoise scarf and go around

pretending I am Isadora Duncan. Pretending I could fly. Secretly,
unwinding my scarf, I inspect the delicate progression of bruises.

A circle of yellow surrounds the thumbprint. I think I can make out
the actual whorls that are the perimeter. Black fades to purple, then

softens to a yellowish centre. In the mirror, that face that is not mine
looks out at me from the telescoped distance of time, wrinkled thin

with the patience of years. Her eyes clear and almost wise, assuring—
she is somebody I will become, the face I will grow into someday.

Penn Kemp

“It’s so important that the stories of the survivors be told and honoured. We are all one. Consciousness and the best forms of art go hand in hand and this is something your work demonstrates. The moment in “What we did not know…” that shone for me was the last one where you looked into the mirror and beheld your own face, knowing it as “The face I will grow someday.” And surely you have grown it and it has grown you. I’m glad poems about violence against men were included and hope that men and women will join together to address the systemic evils that allow such horrors to happen and be tolerated. Your tone was just right, not over-dramatized but authentic, each line finding the precise tenor and music to best accompany it as it moved from horror, to lament, through to healing.”
Susan McCaslin, author of Heart Work (Ekstasis)

“This is the strongest, most potent poem I’ve ever read about violation! Closely observed, the disassociation of flying over the rape, the denial, hope, lack of support of friends and authorities! the grounding in myth and history! The image of his wedding ring imprinted on her gullet is haunting and such a stark clear image of his physical violence! Brava and huge courage! Love in overcoming,” Katerina Vaughan Fretwell, author of Class Acts (Inanna)

Heraclitus, Ongoing: a poem

Books I read are in the process of shaping, shifting
each time I open them. Not just pages but the content
won’t let me step into the same novel twice. Characters
talk back and letters dance jigs that won’t stand still.

Nor do I step into the same house twice. When I come
home, the front hall shifts to accommodate the change
I bring in my wake from outside realms. And the place
itself has contentedly settled within my absence.

I don’t step into the same dream twice. Oh, I try to return
to change the story, to divert the flow from disaster. But
the dream flips a new twist into its narrative, leaving me
to contend with eddies and currents I never suspected.

I don’t step into the same grief twice. Each has its own
taste, bitter, sweet or bittersweet, its intense specificity.
marked distinct and marking me. Every sorrow forms
a trail you know me by, sure signature of some loss.

I don’t step into the same life twice. Whether I step
into the same death is anyone’s guess: so many small ones
you’d think would prepare me, but who knows what
awaits us over on the other side, en la otra orilla.

I don’t leave my shoes on the bank and wade in.
I don’t recover what is swept away in the current.
Every poem hovers on the bridge over metaphor.
I don’t step into the river at all.

Penn Kemp

“Heraclitus, Ongoing,” P. 28-29.
Paintings by Jim Kemp, P. 49-50.
A Near Memoir: New Poems cover, P. 67.

Beliveau Review #8, June 2021
https://2e8a8d6d-e97c-4235-92c8-7aa31bae0d77.filesusr.com/ugd/830f0d_40d96803476c422d8e7809da400ff2c7.pdf.
Scroll down, https://beliveaubooks.wixsite.com/home/magazines

Jim Kemp,
“Zen Burst”

Jim Kemp, “Moth”