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

 

“Choose to Challenge”!

Celebrating International Women’s Day with my poem, “Choose to Challenge”!

https://lfpress.com/entertainment/local-arts/london-poet-penn-kemp-marks-womens-day-with-call-to-action.​

The video link to my reading the poem is up now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNC2sbZGp3c&t=6s.

CHOOSING TO CHALLENGE

London poet Penn Kemp marks Women’s Day with call to action

Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas pedal in the race for gender equality.

That’s the message from London’s foremost poet a year into the pandemic, ahead of International Women’s Day celebrations.

“It’s essential to keep working,” said Penn Kemp, who will deliver the inaugural Women’s Day poem for Brescia University College, Canada’s only university-level women’s college, during its fourth Dr. Colleen Hanycz Leadership Lecture Monday.

“Gender equality has not been reached. I think equality has slipped (during the pandemic) because so many people are living in isolation and it is women who are shouldering more of the burden, staying home with the children and taking care of the elderly.

“The need for a sense of equality is more important than ever, yet I think equality has slipped over the last year, we haven’t gained, we’ve lost income and that sense of equality.”

The title of Kemp’s poem is “Choose To Challenge”, reflecting the theme of the virtual celebration, Choose To Challenge: Finding Common Ground Through Dialogue. A keynote address will be delivered by Olympian, activist and broadcaster Waneek Horn-Millera, a member of the Canadian women’s water polo team that won Pan American Games gold in 1999 and the second Mohawk woman ever to compete at the Olympics at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games.

There will also be a panel discussion with Brescia alumnae Joëlle Kabisoso and Christy R. Bressette, moderated by Marlene Janzen Le Ber, chair of Brescia’s school of leadership and social change.

The Hanycz lecture series, honouring former Brescia principal Colleen Hanycz, was set up “to bring outstanding leaders to Brescia to share their knowledge, experience and advice to inform and inspire women leaders of the future.”

To register to view the free event, or for more information, visit brescia.uwo.ca.

Kemp, a poet, playwright, and performance artist who has produced more than 30 books of poetry, prose and drama since the early 1970s, was London’s first poet laureate in 2010, has served as Western University’s writer-in-residence and was the League of Canadian Poets’ spoken word artist in 2015.

She has been on the front lines battling for women’s equality and social justice issues her entire career.

She also has celebrated women in her work, like her two plays about the life of 19th-century adventurer Teresa Harris, youngest of 12 children born to John and Amelia Harris, who built what remains today as London’s oldest and most historic home, Eldon House, which the family donated to the city along with the land that is now Harris Park.

Choose To Challenge is no different, calling on Brescia students to change the world, to face, challenge and conquer their “dragons”:

“Your mission, should you choose to accept

is to choose your own challenge. To challenge

your world, your beliefs, all that you know.

Activate that challenge with confidence.

Call on courage to challenge those old fears

that stop you from embracing what is new.”

“I love it,” said Linda O’Connor, Brescia’s development and campaigns manager, who was instrumental in bringing Kemp to the college’s Women’s Day celebrations.

“I’ve known about Penn’s poetry for a long time and the students, the staff and the faculty have been through so much over this last year. I thought ‘What can we do to show we care?’ ” she said.

“This poem really was intended as a gift to students. For me, the arts are inspirational. They energize me. Penn is really a feminist elder who has always supported women and brought comfort. She inspires and builds people up. She empowers people.”

Kemp said the pandemic has been hard on everyone, but especially for artists, whose income from performances and tours evaporated, forcing most to seek other income or pivot to virtual presentations, often unpaid. A new book she’d hoped to release last year is languishing at the printers.

“Like everyone, I feel the isolation, the suffering and the loss immensely,” said Kemp, who has received little or no income from book tours, which fuel book sales.

“Personally, my life hasn’t changed much, except the complete loss of income was surprising. I’m still here at my desk writing as I would be in normal times.”

Kemp also misses face-to-face contact.

“I suppose I’m inspired meeting face to face with other writers, students and others, being out in the world,” said Kemp, who said the chaos in the U.S. over the presidential election was a major distraction.

“The political situation there was so intense, it stopped my writing for a few months until (President Joe) Biden was safely in office. It took a lot of energy.”

The loss of income due to the pandemic only exacerbated an already difficult financial situation for artists, said Kemp.

“There’s always been a great disparity between what all the artists give in terms of their cultural richness and impact on lives that what they [get] back financially,” said Kemp.

“The way artists have had to pivot to create more opportunity for themselves, and especially for their communities, should be celebrated.”

Kemp quoted the words of American poet Ezra Pound who wrote that “Artists are the antennae of the race.”

“So, there’s a sense of responsibility to our community,” said Kemp.
“That’s been evident in the creative ways artists have pivoted to get their new work out.”

jbelanger@postmedia.com

CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE
By Penn Kemp

What challenges you, my darlings?
What challenge will you accept as
you step into your own sweet life?

Do you choose your own challenge?
Do you allow challenge to choose you?

Lean in to that challenge. Lean in to
your calling, whatever calls your name.

Choosing your challenge is choosing
the calling that lets you know who you
are and who you may become. What calls

you to be the best you can be? What
calls you to act for the sake of all beings?

What challenges you most is what demands
you be the most you can possibly become.

What challenge are you choosing to face,
to head off, to dare become, double dare?

The world is huge and there be dragons.
Challenge your life dragons lurking in dark
corners. Invite them into light for inspection.

Stand in your power to challenge all that
stands between you and your future self.

Your mission, should you choose to accept
is to choose your own challenge. To challenge
your world, your beliefs, all that you know.

Activate that challenge with confidence.
Call on courage to challenge those old fears
that stop you from embracing what is new.

Cultivate the challenge till you feel it fill you.
Accept the challenge to live in joy, in thanks.

Challenge accepted? Long may it feed you,
your friends and family and your community.


Think of your mentors, your mothers or
sisters, all those who have gone before to
seed the garden for your growth to flourish
as flowers in youth and as fruit in age.

Look to the Order of St. Ursula, patron
saint of school girls, and their foundress,
Saint Angela Merici and her companions,
community-minded, in spirit ensouled.

Think of the lineage of Ursuline Sisters,
dedicated to girls’ education, protectors
of the land and of Canada’s one women’s
university. Committed to community,

they inculcate women’s learning and
leadership. They so encourage you to
actively contribute your gifts and your
yearning toward a new society, the one

that is yours to build, if you choose and
choose wisely. With their backing, you
know you are free to accept a challenge
to be the best of all your possibilities, to

return to the world the flowering of your
gifts, so that their legacy of clarity, calm
and compassion is shared among those of
every colour and creed who so need such

encircling love, strength and wisdom: all
the Ursuline Sisters exemplify in being as
in their teaching. Ursula Major bright in
night sky, points us toward the center of

the North Celestial Pole, Polaris, the light
that guides us on, guides us home. May you
embody their teachings and follow their lead
as you come into your own, agent for change.

Family Day So Far Away

Silicon Valley

For my grandchildren

Do you remember the days
when silicon was an element
central to sand, the sense of
grit between your toes by
the river just beyond the
reverberating slap of the old
screen against the door
jam where wood never quite
met wood and was kept
together by hook in eye?

It was revolutionary then to
discover silicon also sprouted
in the segments of scrawny
horsetail that surrounded
the house as soon as sand
met any sort of soil. You’d
chew the stalk thoughtfully,
its brittle twist into saliva,
thinking dinosaur, this plant
alive at the same time and
huge the way the past is
thrown by a trick of light
projected onto shadow
out of all proportion.

Yourself the size of an ant
in a jungle of horsetail.

And then the thud of approaching
brontosaurus, its jaws dripping green
weeds the size of trees, its wet eye
unable to focus on anything

as small as you at seven
.shadow of tree thrown up onto wall out of proportion

by a trick of light

https://riverrevery.ca/animation/#siliconvalleyanimation

Text: https://riverrevery.ca/text-of-river-revery/silicon-valley/

My Valentine

Heart to Art

Romance of the rose in part-
icular scent, texture, hue
carried and cared
for from you.

Roses reside inside, arriving
by scent from smooth petal
scarlet or white. Roses arrive
and rest
assured.

They rest not knowing
the future as I do and so the rest
is easy before

rust nips at the coiling edge of
hope, nips and tucks, curtails, till
petal droops, curls and drops
on stone.

Heart suspends suspense
and pauses, skips the beat
to bear what can’t be
born.

The heart does not grow over.
It grows through the lump in
the throat and out the mouth—
new birth of sorts, of change.

Heart knows its kind, knows its
own, knows as well kind
words. They too can cut
clear through skin, so many
layers meaning… what?

To stay kind
of alive in metaphor— beating
beating heart, the rhythm of
survival, thriving.

Your Hermes to my Hestia,
fire-side.

for Gavin, Beloved

For Groundhog Day, for Persephone

For Brighid and the Return of Light

Forecast at Candlemas

O whistling pig! Mark this quarter turn.
Persephone, goddess of flowers, returns
today in Greece. Here, she wears thick

brown fur and burrows up through feet
of snow to determine by a nod whether
winter will surrender soon to spring or

not. After quick survey, she ducks back
down the cold tunnel of time into long
distant mythic dream. We don’t know

what the groundhog dreams when she
scurries home to her warm, hushed den.
Edible flowers from our garden, we bet.

Or the security in curling round herself
as her squirming pile of pups blindly
snuffles, eyes unnecessary in the dark.

*

Mary now purified, free of confinement
shows forth her babe. Forty days respite
in temenos, in shelter, and they call that

impure, the labour in giving birth impure.
Longer light at last starts to awaken her.
Goddess has recovered to hold her child.

*

Persephone in Hades eats the pomegranate
that ensures her return. Red, translucent and
succulent fruit seeds are cased in possibility.

She changes from Crone to Maiden once
more and always, grieving Mother consoled,
to celebrate the Feast of Torches together.

*

We lay out scarves for Brighid’s blessing on
outer evergreen boughs. We retrieve our white
cloths next morning from under soft topknots

of snow that fell all night, consecrated when
Brighid passed over. Her snowdrops here are
snow flakes dropped one by one into many.

Initiatory dreams score a long night’s rest as
we celebrate Imbolc, fire festival between
solstice and equinox on the year’s wheel.

Imbolc, in our Mother’s belly, when ewes
are close to lambing. Milk for a wan sun.
Brighid as midwife presides over stirring

new life, new beginnings in perpetual flame.

Penn Kemp

Brighid, by Jim Kemp: