Poetry for Lit erRacy!

My poem, “Rash Talk”, is up on http://thelitteriseeproject.com/.

Fun!  Terrific project for Lit erRacy!  Congrats, Carin Makuz and Frontier College​.

(t)(r)(a)sh talk

Posted: July 20, 2015 in penn kemp


Litter begets
more litter—

ah, sure when
litter it, we re
itter ate it.

I / it


the literal

The ill litter it
refuse refuse
and garb age.

I utter a light
little iteration

against litter
alluding to

allusion, all
iteration and

assonance off
the road, on

the road and in
to ash, rash,


London ON performance poet, activist and playwright Penn Kemp is the 40th Life Member of the League of Canadian Poets and their 2015 Spoken Word Artist of the Year. She received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for service to arts and culture. As  inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of London (2010-12), she presented poetry at many civic functions. As Canada Council Writer-in-Residence for Western University for 2009-10, her project was the DVD, Luminous Entrance: a Sound Opera for Climate Change Action, Pendas Productions. Penn has published twenty-five books of poetry, prose and drama, had seven plays and ten CDs produced as well as several award-winning videopoems.

Follow her on Twitter or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Penn-Kemp/126450531030?fref=ts.
Updates: http://mytown.ca/pennkemp, https://pennkemp.wordpress.com/


Goddess Poems 2015

The summer issue of Goddess Pages is out!  http://www.goddess-pages.co.uk/three-poems-from-penn-kemp/#more-2890. Beautiful new issue, and the poems look grand. Thanks to editor Geraldine Chapman!

Goddess Poems 2015

by Penn Kemp

 Heart to Art

Urban rose

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

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

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 over betrayal.

Old lays, old lies surround
and comfort, surround and
suffocate. Taken to heart,
by, in, through and cross
your word against mine.

Your Hermes to my Hestia
bests your Zeus to Hera.

Penn Kemp

Too Close for Comfort

Gavin and Penn - photo Daniel Kolos

Husband and wife are discussing the probabilities
almost calmly. Rationally. As if the heart were not
involved, involuntary upheaval, a bitter laugh. Pitter
patter on the roof, pathetic this old phallic fallacy.

A game of dominos again, of subtle dominance. You
before me or vice versus. No virtue in (this) question.

Who might die first? I am the gardener, indoor and
out. If I go first, who would take care of our plants?

You say you’ll send the dead-heads heavenward, one
at a time. Pharaohs never had it so good. I would be

sent more blooms past-it than could ever arrive alive.
They’d appear in clusters of manna, manic bunches

I would throw back down as if to descend with flowers
the still frantic ladder that is suspended beyond belief.


Now shrewdly pruning, I appraise petals for everlasting
color when dried and flattened. Though fading now, they

might be up there with me forever and a day. Day’s eye,
daisy, give me your answer, do, on petals’ potential.

For if you should, if you should, if you should die be-
fore me, I would not wish to survive. I would throw

my heart on our pyre of dead leaves. I’d fire the kiln.
I’d kill the fire. I’d throw my voice. I’d throw a fit. I’d

throw away my chance and choices. I’d definitely die.
Or I’d toss off Hera and adopt my inner Hestia hearth.

Penn Kemp


I’ve been bereft these last few days, not knowing
how to work out a perennial problem with power.

I remember a Tara dream woman who slipped out of
my left side to go strolling off along Front Street.

She is Compassion, Love, Wisdom. I need to recall her,
reclaim her, invite her to return to my heart. Come back

to my heart, Love, where you are home. There’s room.
There is room enough for two, for multitudes. For you.

Become me, I beg you. Worry my concern into peace.
Shake this rag doll out of stiff contrition back to joy.

Till bones, blood, marrow, mind all leap up to dance,
to expand and mingle with the greater Presence, gift

we are heir to if we remember to remember the Whole.
The whole that made us, not the hole we often fall into.

From her celestial seat in the Pure Land, Tara smiles,
extending a white limb of blessing, her invitation. Up.

Penn Kemp

Ula’s Orbit of Ellipsis

Sitting with Orion

My granddaughter is going as Wonder Woman
for Halloween.  She’s practised swinging her
Lariat of Truth so I’m reading up on Artemis,

protectress of young girls and the archetype for
our current Wonder Woman. Arrow to hand, she
alights on the mark, drawing the bow on intruders.

Artemis herds her young artoi, girls of eight or so
away from polis, the city, into wilder woods where
she reigns Queen and they her willing apprentices

stay till puberty. Artoi, little Bears, they follow
their Great Bear into the chase and Orion hides,
the hunter hunted and flung out to constellation.

My granddaughter has gone trick or treating and
returned with a gleeful sack full of eternal returns.

Penn Kemp

You can hear Penn read “Ula’s Orbit of Ellipsis” here.
Penn Kemp
 Photo: Kim Young Milani

Penn Kemp

Activist poet, performer and playwright Penn Kemp is the League of Canadian Poets’ Life Member and winner of their 2015 Spoken Word Artist of the year award. She is the inaugural Poet Laureate for London Ontario and a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal, with twenty-six books of poetry and drama published; six plays and ten CDs produced as well as award-winning videopoems.As Writer-in-Residence for Western University in Canada’s London, her project was the DVD, Luminous Entrance: a Sound Opera for Climate Change Action, Pendas Productions. Penn has performed and published her work world-wide, often as writer-in residence in Canada, Brazil, New York and India; and at festivals like the Findhorn Arts Festival. She especially loved performing at The Goddess Conference in Glastonbury! See www.mytown.ca/pennkemp and www.pennkemp.wordpress.com.

Conference Highlights – The Tough Business of Writing in Canada

Excellent overview, Deb!

Kites Without Strings

“The work of writers fuels an almost 2 billion dollar industry, and yet more than 80% earn an income from their writing that is below the poverty line.” –The Writers’ Union of Canada*

It is late, almost midnight, but I can’t stop thinking about Winnipeg and all the ‘writer-ly’ chats and facts gathered during “Cultivating the Literary Ecosystem”,the League ofCanadian Poets (LCP) and The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) 2015 Joint Conference held May 28 to May 31, 2015 at the Radisson Hotel. By now, most of the conference highlights would be considered old news but some messages need to be repeated, personalized by other voices, and shared with new audiences.

All lit up - Winnipeg view from the Radisson Hotel Winnipeg, all lit up – a view from the Radisson Hotel

Did you hear The Writers’ Union of Canada’s announcement? Let me SHOUT it again from the rooftop: “Today’s writer does more to earn less. Taking inflation…

View original post 1,505 more words

Celebrating Brick Books’ 40th anniversary!

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Photo: Kathy Smith

Photo: Kathy Smith

Follow the Yellow Brick Road  

In these tough times, all publishing houses
need more than a name like Brick to stand.
Take a reputation for exceptional books by
some of the finest poet editors in the land.
Take Kitty Lewis at the helm, steering poets
to read cross-country, words springing to life.
Brick Books birthed in London forty years ago
under the aegis of Applegarth’s Folly and/or
Nairn Books. Just like our own Antler River,
Brick’s origins are forked. In the Seventies,
London knew the regional led to national
recognition but was in itself the foundation.
More lime and less clay constitute the local
soft yellow buff brick London is famous for.
Now Brick Books stretches across the land
with aplomb, not coasting on a poet’s laurels
but publishing new and more established talent,
whatever is fresh, exact, exquisitely designed.
Reading their titles, you realize how space
for the art of poetry is created in the heart .
“Three cheers for the Brick Books experience”,
writes Barry Dempster, Brick poet and editor.
We too salute Brick’s enterprise, excellence
and enduring enthusiasm for poems that last.
No winds of change will blow this house down.
It’s built to endure so the word can be read and
heard.  For Brick Books takes care and cares for
the several poetic Muses with singular attention.
Penn Kemp is a London poet, playwright and activist, winner of the
2015 League of Poets Spoken Word Award. Her Muse/ news is up on

This poem was publised on 
http://www.brickbooks.ca/follow-the-yellow-brick-road-celebrating-brick-books-40th-anniversary/ for

Celebration of Canadian Poetry 2015, http://www.brickbooks.ca/category/news/celebrate-canadian-poetry/

See also http://www.brickbooks.ca/week-2-i-love-canlit-by-irene-mathyssen/
and http://www.brickbooks.ca/week-19-penn-kemp-presented-by-susan-mccaslin/.