This poem participates in the CWAKE event (Canadian Writers Against Kinder-Morgan Expansion) in protest of the Kinder Morgan buyout and pipeline expansion in Burnaby, British Columbia. Oil pipeline spillage is a huge threat to the natural world. After being read, the words will be hung in the trees around the Kinder Morgan site, as well as compiled and mailed to the Office of the Canadian Prime Minister. The protest will take place at The Watch House camp in Burnaby on August 25 at 1 pm.
Support In Absentia
But present in spirit. With you to
protect all the land and the water.
I wish I could attend the ceremony
in person. I wish I could stop this
Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion
and buyout in Burnaby in person.
Kinder? Not this morning. Never.
No children of the morning need
apply. Nothing kind here and no
comparison in this short-sighted
gain for profit on unceded land.
Who is the enemy of the people?
Who gives voice to the salmon?
Courage, mes braves. Courage.
May all our words be enough to
affect right action, to stop this
This poem will be published in Tuck Magazine next week. See http://tuckmagazine.com/tag/penn-kemp/.
There is still time for you to participate! Contributions to be read can be sent to email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>, and will be received up to August 20th.
“Dear Canadian Writer,
Pardon the impersonal delivery of this message, but it’s being sent to you by another Canadian writer, perhaps a friend or acquaintance, asking if you will participate in the CWAKE event (Canadian Writers Against Kinder-Morgan Expansion) in protest of the Kinder Morgan buyout and pipeline expansion in Burnaby, BC. You might share our concerns about the threat to local waters; the federal government’s promise that toxic bitumen can be cleaned up when science says it can’t; the marketing of tar sands oil, adding hugely to climate change; the squandering of Canadian tax dollars on a plainly awful business deal; or the violation of the rights and titles of Indigenous peoples during this time of reconciliation.
You can participate in two ways: come to the ceremony to read, or contribute in absentia by sending words to be read on your behalf. Because writers use words, and words can travel yet retain their power, this can be a truly national event. We hope to attract media attention, especially in light of national news outlets’ ominous lack of coverage of the issue, the ongoing protests, and the high profile arrests.
The reading (taking place on the unceded territory, and with the generous support of local Indigenous communities) will take place Saturday, August 25, at 1:00 p.m..
Please send this to another writer friend or acquaintance and share on your social media!”
Photo by Mary McDonald for http://www.riverrevery.ca.
A wormhole, ribbed in smooth spiral
toward Light’s round orb. Is it Sun
to which we aspire, scrambling upward?
Foothold on red rib, hand on another, we
climb. Distractions abound: dimensions
we could spend lifetimes wandering along,
sideways mirrors where images always
appear larger than they are in the reality
that quickly solidifies if we lose our way.
Reams of Bardo realms reflect reality but
do not release us. Dreams do not grant
deliverance but start us along the corridor.
If we listen, passage doors open a crack.
Finally, my hands reach solid surface and
head popping out of the burrow, I look
about the expanse of blue to the Sun, orange
rimmed in red. Pulsing rays draw me up
along spider web of filigreed light. Home.
Happy to be launching my new 2018 collections, Local Heroes (Insomniac Press) and Fox Haunts (Aeolus House).
Saturday August 25, 5:00-6:00 pm. Reading from Fox Haunts for Synaeresis #3 launch, The Black Walnut’s back room, 134 Wortley at Askin St., London ON) http://harmoniapress.blogspot.com/2018/07/synaeresis-issue-4-call-for-submissions.html. Contact: email@example.com
Sunday, September 9, 2018, 4-6 pm. Launch of Fox Haunts, with Aeolus House poets: Ariane Blackman, Brian Cameron, Stanley Fefferman, Tom Hamilton, Penn Kemp and Colin Morton. Pressed (waffle house), 750 Gladstone Ave, Ottawa, ON K1R 6X5. (613) 680-9294. Contact: Allan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, Sept. 10, 7 pm. Launch, Local Heroes and Fox Haunts. Novel Idea, 156 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L 1B1. Introduced by Elizabeth Greene. Contact: (613) 546-9799, email@example.com. Bruce Kauffman’s radio show “finding a voice”—a showcase of spoken-word events broadcast weekly, Friday 4pm-6pm EST on CFRC 101.9FM. http://220.127.116.11/wp/eventscalendar/
Wednesday, Sept. 12, 7-9 pm. Launch of Fox Haunts, with Aeolus House poets: Ariane Blackman, Brian Cameron, Tom Hamilton, Penn Kemp and Sydney White. Supermarket Restaurant, 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto. Contact: Allan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, September 23, 2018. Launch of Out of Line by Tanis MacDonald. Reading from Local Heroes and Fox Haunts. Oxford Book Shop, 262 Piccadilly St, London, N6A 1S4. Contact: Hilary 519-438-8336, http://www.oxfordbookshop.com
Tuesday, October 16, 2018, 7:30 pm. Launch and reading with Susan McCaslin. Spoken Ink Reading Series, La Fontana Caffe, 101-3701 East Hastings, Burnaby, BC. Contact: Lara, email@example.com, 604-240-8903.
Thursday, October 18, 2018. Launch and reading with Damian Rogers at Milkcrate Records. Kelowna, BC. Contact: Matthew Rader, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, October 20, 2018. Nelson, BC. Launch, Local Heroes and Fox Haunts. TBA. Contact: Elizabeth Cunningham, email@example.com
LOCAL HEROES: Poetry · Canada $19.95 · US $19.95 · Trade paperback · ISBN 978-1-55483-206-4 · 154 pages · 5″ x 8”
“It is an excellent collection of poems which celebrate London cultural pioneers. It is full of Penn’s humour and wordplay. These poems evoke the city in its particular landscape and history.
And as anyone who knows Penn, a launch is never merely a launch. It is more like an evening with Penn and friends.
The evening began with a curator tour: Women’s Lives in Canada: A History, 1875-2000. Then Penn read from the book. They also showed several short videos on Local Heroes by Dennis Siren, Mary McDonald and Western’s Community Engaged Learning.
Dennis Siren recorded much of the evening at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-zCVUjonwk.
You can also keep up to date with Penn at her blog https://pennkemp.wordpress.com
She is a poetic El Nino.” Mike O’Connor, Insomniac Press
The LOCAL HEROES event held on July 22 at Eldon House in London, was a great success. It featured poems from “Teresa Harris Rides Again”. Mary McDonald created several augmented reality videos which were shown and displayed as qr markers in the house all week. You can see them on https://teresaharrisdreamlife.wordpress.com/
BEARING DOWN (1972) poetry. Coach House Press, 401 Huron St. Toronto ON
TRANCEFORM (1976) poetry. Soft Press, Victoria BC. Reprinted 2006, Pendas
THE EPIC OF TOAD AND HERON (1977) play. Black Moss Press, Windsor ON
Reprinted 1985 by Playwrights Union, Toronto
CLEARING (1977) poetry. B.C. Monthly, Vancouver BC
CHANGING PLACE (1978) poetry/prose. Fiddlehead, U.N.B., Fredericton NB
ANGEL MAKERS (1978) play. Playwrights Union, Toronto
TOAD TALES(1981) poetry. White Pine Press 76 Center St. Fredonia NY 14063
CVii: Spiritual Poetry in Canada (1982), ed. Box 3062, Winnipeg R3C 4E5
ANIMUS (1984) poetry. Caitlin Press. Reprinted, 2005, Pendas Productions, London
BINDING TWINE (1984) poetry. Ragweed Press, Charlottetown PEI
SOME TALK MAGIC (1986) Ergo Productions, Box 4460 London ON N5W 5J2
TRAVELLING LIGHT (1986) poetry. Moonstone Press, London ON
EIDOLONS (1988) poetry. White Pine Press, 76 Center St. Fredonia NY 14063
THROO (1989) poetry. Moonstone Press, Book. CD, Pendas Productions, London
THE UNIVERSE IS ONE POEM; FOUR POETS TALK POETRY (1990) Simon & Pierre
WHAT WHAT THE EAR HEARS LAST (1994) play. Playwrights Union, Toronto
FOUR WOMEN (1999) poetry. Red Kite Press, Guelph ON
INCREMENTALLY (2000) poetry Pendas Productions, London. Book and CD combo
TIME LESS TIME (2000) poetry. Pendas Productions
SUITE ANCIENT EGYPT (2001) poetry. Mothertongue Press, BC
VOCAL BRAIDINGS (2001) with Patricia Keeney, poetry. Pendas Productions
WHAT SPRINGS TO MIND (2001), Pendas Productions
Poem for Peace in Many Voices, ed., Vol. 1 & 2 (2002), book and CD
SARASVATI SCAPES (2002) with Angela Hryniuk, Pendas Productions
C’LOUD (2003) poetry, Pendas Productions. Book and CD combo
SARASVATI SCAPES: a sound opera, CD, Pendas Productions
MELISMA, CD (2002) with Angela Hryniuk and Penn Kemp
GATHERING VOICES (2002) with Gloria Mulcahy, Pendas. Book and CD combo
POEMAS ESCOLHIDOS DE PENN KEMP/ Selected Poems (2004) ABECAN, Brazil
PINCELADAS (2005, 2011) with Gloria Mulcahy, Pendas Productions
RE:ANIMATING ANIMUS (2006) Pendas Productions. Book and CD combo. London ON
HELWA1 (2011), PigeonBike Press. London ON. CD forthcoming with Light of East Ensemble
FROM DREAM SEQUINS (2012), Lyrical Myrical Press, Toronto ON
THE EPIC OF TOAD AND HERON (2012), reprint. Pendas Productions, London ON
JACK LAYTON: ART IN ACTION (2013), editor, Quattro Books, Toronto
WHAT SPRINGS TO MIND (2016), second edition, forthcoming. Pendas Productions
WOMEN & MEDIA, editor and contributor, Living Archive Series, Feminist Caucus, League of Canadian Poets, http://poets.ca/feministcaucus/. Launched June 17, 2016.
WOMEN & PERFORMANCE, editor and contributor, Living Archive Series. June 18, 2016.
BARBARIC CULTURAL PRACTICE (2016), Quattro Books, Toronto
THE TRIUMPH OF TERESA HARRIS (2017), Playwrights Guild of Canada, Toronto
LOCAL HEROES (2018), Insomniac Press
FOX HAUNTS (2018), Aeolus House
FOX HAUNTS isn’t officially out till September, but foxes are sly and appear unexpectedly, those tricksters. Here’s a delicious first review by poet Stanley Fefferman: http://opusonereview.com/?p=4769!
Penn Kemp’s FOX HAUNTS reviewed by Stanley Fefferman
The way suburban garden fences are a line the fox crosses from the countryside to steal our chickens, is like the line fox, since time immemorial, has crossed from the countryside into our myths, into our dreams, into our literature and our language. Shenanigans is derived from the Gaelic word for fox. A skulk of foxes is the collective noun. Jimmie Hendrix sang of his “Foxy Lady.” And here is a stanza from Penn Kemp’s poem to Inari, the Shinto fox-god deity:
Fox girls dance beneath the twisted maple
calling their sister to tranform from mist
as beguiling women with red in their hair.
Fox Haunts, Penn Kemp’s 24th collection, is a meditation in 90 poems on a predator who is our closest neighbour, one who is getting closer all the time as it’s habitat yields to subdivisions. The longest section of Fox Haunts, entitled “Urban Fox,” consists of poems about foxes Kemp might have encountered: her writing can be elegant.
It’s true you walk on toes like cats
like a ballerina of the wildwood.
Kemp empathizes with the drama of the hunt, the inside as well as the outside of it.
Fox circles her prey, closing in
on her victim in ever tightening
gyres. Her fixed glare freezes
poor rabbit into terror so pure it
dissolves to acceptance, suspended
acquiescence, adrenalin overload.
Almost like peace. Soft as comfort,
this compliance in the fox’s grasp.
Just a single shriek before the
At her best, Kemp’s narrative and poetry are transparent. She has variance in her voice: sometimes she addresses her images directly to the fox:” I come upon your prints on/muddy path, neatly, deliberately splayed.” Sometimes, she drops into a journalistic mode and addresses the reader directly in what sounds to me like chopped prose: “Like Canada Geese, Fox may/be adopting city life to avoid/ hunters, the tough slog of/country life. Clever fellow.” Only to follow that with a passage of the most startlingly direct poetry:
They look upon the easy prey of pets, soft
and vulnerable bichon frisés left outside
by themselves in the yard, those with no
defense but a petulant, startled bark —
before they are meat, carried off dangling
in the soft jaw of a mother triumphantly keen
on feeding her kits.
Kemp is ‘entranced’ with the world of “Wily wiry trickster tales,” and devotes a section to ‘Fox’ references in the writings of Taliesin, Ovid, in the legend of Samson, in other Hebrew Scriptures relating to Solomon and Ezekiel, in Aesop, W.B Yeats and St. Exupéry, Akiro Kurosawa and Alice Munro whose father raised foxes for fur on a farm where he also kept ” Old horses in the barn waiting/their turn to be fed, to be feed.” As for the night sky, Kemp puts fox in the constellation Canis Major and Canis Minor, These bits of Fox arcana bring into close focus the mythical resonance of that beast in the human imagination.
After having the pleasure of reading Fox Haunts, and of writing down these few thoughts, I look forward to more hours with the book, looking into the stories behind lines like:
Fetch Laelaps, a bitch commanded to catch all
she chases. Let her seize that Teumessian fox!
Fox Haunts is one those rare books that can become a companion.
ABOUT PENN KEMP. She has been dubbed “a one-woman literary industry” as London, Ontario’s inaugural Poet Laureate and Western University’s Writer-in-Residence. Kemp was the League of Canadian Poets’ Spoken Word Artist, 2015. Her website is www.pennkemp.weebly.com
This poem is in my forthcoming FOX HAUNTS which can now be ordered! https://www.amazon.com/Fox-Haunts-Penn-Kemp/dp/1987872142/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525695775&sr=1-5
I’ll be launching FOX HAUNTS on September 9, 2018, 4-6 pm. Launch, Aeolus House poets: Ariane Blackman, Brian Cameron, Stanley Fefferman, Tom Hamilton, Penn Kemp and Colin Morton. Pressed (waffle house), 750 Gladstone Ave, Ottawa, ON K1R 6X5. (613) 680-9294. Contact: Allan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 7-9 pm. Launch, Aeolus House poets: Ariane Blackman, Brian Cameron, Tom Hamilton, Penn Kemp and Sydney White. Supermarket Restaurant, 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto. Contact: Allan, email@example.com.
SUNDAY, JULY 22, 1:00 P.M.
Join local poet and playwright Penn Kemp for an afternoon of readings from The Dream Life of Teresa Harris and Local Heroes, paired with a viewing of ‘Augmented Reality’ exhibits by artist Mary McDonald. Books and CD’s will be available for purchase.
Mary’s visual art and animation of my play will run for a week in Eldon House following the tea.
ELDON HOUSE INTERPRETIVE CENTRE
(AND GROUNDS FOR TEA OPTION)
COST: $6.00 + HST IN ADVANCE OR $8.00 AT THE DOOR (FOR ADMISSION ONLY)
OR $30.00 + HST FOR ADMISSION PLUS AFTERNOON TEA WITH THE AUTHOR AND ARTIST! THIS OPTION INCLUDES OUR REGULAR SUMMER TEA MENU.
Registration required through Eldon House.
Video by Mary McDonald