Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Power of Poetry and Lorna Crozier

Poetry is making a long overdue comeback, even if it is only in my life, my eyes, my important circle in this world. And, I choose to include the poetry of Lorna Crozier in that circle. Her recent book The Blue Hour of the Day rests on my bedside table and has been of great comfort and inspiration to me since Christmas when I received it as a gift.

The gift of poetry. The power of poetry. If I could send Lorna Crozier a message it would be that I value her poetry. She once wrote in ‘Who’s Listening?’ published in the NeWest Review in February/March 1989 that even she needs “to be reminded that poetry somewhere has value” and she adds “I write in case someone, anyone, is listening.”

Lorna, we are listening and reading and singing too.

Last night during the Music on Main at the Cellar Jazz Club & Restaurant in Vancouver B.C., poems from The Sex Lives of Vegetables by Crozier were set to music and performed by Leslie Uyeda. This is just one of the unique ways Lorna has inspired us through her exceptional poetry. Lorna was born in 1948 in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. The biography on her own web site chronicles her work history after university, when she went on to teach English in the high school setting and work as a guidance counsellor. She began publishing her poetry during these years and soon found herself the writer-in-residence at the Cypress Hills Community College in her home town, then at the Regina Public Library and on to the University of Toronto. After serving short-term residencies at the University of Toronto, Lethbridge and at Douglas College, she now teaches and serves as Chair in the Writing Department at the University of Victoria in B.C.

Her biography goes on to say ‘In addition to leading poetry workshops across the globe, Lorna has given benefit readings for numerous organizations such as the SPCA, the BC Land Conservancy, the Victoria READ Society, and PEERS, a group committed to helping prostitutes get off the street. She has been a frequent guest on CBC radio where she once worked as a reviewer and arts show host. Wherever she reads, she raises the profile and reputation of poetry.’

Lorna is known within the Canadian writing community as a mentor of other poets and as both a generous and inspirational artist. She continues to share her passion for writing in the forthcoming issue of ROOM available mid April 2009 in which she is the featured writer.

I encourage you to explore poetry, ROOM and Lorna Crozier. It is well worth it!

Peace through poetry.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ali Howard

Listening to the Vinyl Café on Sunday, I was full of nostalgia. Stewart McLean and the gang were performing live in Smithers, a small town in north western BC about 5 hours from my home in Prince Rupert; then. (then being about seven years ago).

I have been hearing great things as of late from this little town and it is nothing short of inspirational; to begin with, the drive from Smithers to Prince Rupert is the most beautiful stretch of highway in all of Canada to paraphrase Stewart McLean. Further, there is the sensational Alex Cuba ; I encourage you to explore him!

Finally, we have Ali Howard!
Ali, a 33 year old Smithers resident, is about to venture on a trip to remember. She is swimming the entire length of the Skeena River (610 km) starting at the Sacred Headwaters and finishing in the Pacific Ocean. This swim personifies the annual migration swim of the Skeena Wild Salmon. Ali, a professional chef at The Cliffs at Kispiox River – Bear Claw Lodge ,was inspired by friends and active members of the SWCC.

Ali’s purpose on this adventure is to raise awareness of the importance of the Skeena watershed. The river is one of the longest un-damned rivers in the world, the swift cold waters mean big healthy fish, and it is one of the longest runs of wild steelhead on the planet!

I can personally attest to the year round cold of the waters in northern BC having jumped into Lakesle one May long weekend (it literally “took my breath away”!). So with a dry suit and an impressive team that has dedicated itself to the safety of Ali on this three week trip, she hits the water on July 16th. Chris Gee is the key player, a kayaker and swift water rescue technician from Hazelton, who will closely follow Ali on her swim, in addition to a professional safety team trained by Rescue 3 International.

Please join this team effort on Facebook at

Feel free to e-mail this new Canadian female inspiration at .

Good luck to you, Ali!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Canada, keep funding your Literary and Arts Magazines!

It is not official, but the Conservative government has been mumbling about cutting funding to all magazines under 5000 circulation. I personally think that is worth kicking up a fuss about. Current editor of The Malahat Review, an Arts and Literary magazine put out by the University of Victoria is making noise and has started a Facebook group which I strongly encourage you to join and support.

Further reading on this issue can be found at a fellow blog Biblioasis which is “a publishing house committed to the best fiction, poetry, criticism and non-fiction in beautiful editions”.

Keep reading, writing, painting or whatever art genre you love! Places for Writers is a great online list of places to start submitting!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rock the Red Pump

This past Sunday, I attended the International Women’s Day Wall of Words in Bloomfield, Ontario. On this unseasonably warm and beautiful day, the town hall was bursting with guests in unexpected numbers. Women of all ages, and men too, came out to celebrate Women’s Day. The theme at this particular event was Heal Mother Earth.

International Women’s Day is a reminder that we must continue to work together and understand those issues effecting women today. This day directly precedes National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 10th which challenges us all to be inspired, but furthermore, to follow through with action.

That brings me to a couple of ladies who are doing just that. They are Karyn of The Fabulous Giver and Luvvie of Awesomely Luvvie and they are ‘Rocking the Red Pump’. Check it out…

In closing I leave you with a commanding quote spoken by Roz at the Wall of Words that resonated that day;

We are not afraid of our ignorance.
We are afraid of our power.

Stand tall.
Love you.
Love Me.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Women's History Month

Internationally, March has been declared Women’s History Month highlighting women’s achievements, roles and contributions in the effort towards equality between women and men worldwide. The Status of Women Canada announced the theme for 2009 as ‘Strong Leadership. Strong Women. Strong World. Equality.’ See the web page here,

It is equally important for men to be involved in the celebration of the women in their lives and to recognize these women for the equal partners they are.

I am proud to be raising four very strong, independent daughters who are clearly leaders of their generation. Over the years, they have been exposed to many powerful and passionate female role models ranging from school principals to reverends, and most importantly, mothers. I do include myself here, but the list is long in our family of strong independent matriarchs that struggle for the life they want while remaining the nurturing mother too.

As a Canadian, I like to explore those female role models that have made contributions to the movement of equality in our country. We have made great strides, though there is still movement necessary in order to close the gender gap. For a great list of some famous Canadians worth celebrating click on the following link;

A first reading of my poem In the Name of Gaia takes place on International Women’s Day, March 8th, at the Town Hall in Bloomfield Ontario from 2-4pm. The works of other commendable female contributors will also be displayed and read with a print version to follow.

Stand tall.

Monday, March 2, 2009

In the Name of Gaia

I, Mother Earth

Cradle thee tenderly

Offer up my breast

Feeding naturally

I, Mother Earth

Raise thee up high

Open thy mouth

Release thy cry

I, Mother Earth

Bounty give to thee

Embrace my gift

Engorge and set free

I, Mother Earth

Innate and free

Hold in my womb

Dominion of fertility

With love