Dominican Poet

When I  met Andre I met a great poet, although I never will know his last name.

In 1995 while I was a TA in an adult ESL class in Ottawa, he was the sort of tall person who stooped and spoke quietly as if to keep a small presence and to not intimidate with his size.

A gentle giant, somewhere around 6’6”, he was between forty and fifty, with work rough hands from construction. He was a solid muscular black man with big beard covering some of his vitiligo.

He was learning English as a refugee claimant from the Dominican Republic. He didn’t talk to others at break, but kept to a corner, earnestly writing in his notebook. 

I sidled over one break, and asked what he was writing. He said, I am a poet. I am translating my poems to English. I’ll never forget his words, his newly translated line:

with the poor of the world I am waiting for my luck to change.

New to the city back then, I thought it inevitable we would cross paths again, as all people did. I still want to hear more of his poetry.

FW: League contest & mentorship

News from the LeagueThe P.K. Page Mentorship program is currently accepting applications from emerging and established poets! The selected applicants will participate in a mentorship program from September 5 to November 5, 2021. Mentees and mentors will meet every other week (likely digitally) for two hours to discuss a poetry work-in-progress as agreed upon prior to the mentorship start date. Deadline to apply is July 12, 2021Find out more

The 1st Annual Lesley Strutt Poetry Contest The Lesley Strutt Poetry Contest is an award that provides a prize for the single best poem submitted to our judges. This contest is open to all poets (professional, emerging, and first-time) in Canada, and is run each summer in memory of poet and friend Lesley Strutt. Deadline to submit is August 2, 2021. Find out more

Honouring Lesley Strutt – The Lesley Strutt Poetry Fund Lesley Strutt was an incredible poet, friend and supporter of emerging poets across Canada. Her recent passing has left a void for many people, and we feel it is important to do a few things to honour her writing, legacy, and all the incredible work she did for poets in Canada. The League of Canadian Poets, as well as Lesley’s family and friends are establishing the Lesley Strutt Poetry Fund to support the following initiatives: The Lesley Strutt Annual Poetry Contest (Submission are now open), the Lesley Strutt Chapbook for Emerging Poets over 40, and the Commemorative Bench and Celebration Livestream Event. Learn more. or Donate to the Lesley Strutt Poetry Fund


I am book-centric. Most of my life goes towards buying books, reading books, writing books, selling books, mailing books, editing books, writing grants for writing books.

I am currently editing 2 books. I hope to finish them and another I have conceived. And to finish 2 poetry collections next year, then I will be clear of all the past and living fully present, right?

Three chapbooks are out for consideration and two full-length collections. By November I should have heard something back about those and the two grants I applied for.

I just mailed 3 chapbooks which were bought and three more are pending.

I am also updating my website.

I am now a member of Haiku Canada, Tanka Canada, the Quebec Writers Federation, the League of Canadian Poets and The Writers Union of Canada.

If committees were riches, I would ride jets. Although for $4 we can buy 5 kiwis direct from New Zealand, a sort of luxury that even Roman emperors would have had before this time of ubiquitous global trade. Except in food deserts we are all kings.

And I’ve got a chapbook coming next month. You can see it here marked coming soon.


In primary school reading Rainer Maria Rilke— how lavish the words, how freeing that a woman should write of blossom breasts and God. 

“But though my vigil constantly I keep
My God is dark—like woven texture flowing,
A hundred drinking roots, all intertwined;
I only know that from His warmth I’m growing.
More I know not: my roots lie hidden deep
My branches only are swayed by the wind.”

Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, trans by Jessie Lemont (Project Gutenberg, 1918)

What a sweep of passion.

How my heart sank into my thigh’s hollowed marrows to learn in university that Rilke was just another famous man writing of boobs. 

With a name like Maria, famous, and still not a woman. Drat.

Still, how not to like a poet whose whole life arc is set in verse.

Almost century after his death, he’s still on CBC,

And on my jacket.

Routes to the Public

Some never publish books. Some never submit to magazines. Magazines can be trailers for books.

I seem to have 3 routes for sending out poetry to the world: Magazines, Chapbooks and Books.

In theory poems are gathered and sent to magazines. Those that land successfully are gathered into chapbooks. Chapbooks that land well are collated into books.

However I mostly send different poems to magazines than chapbooks than books, without a lot of overlap. Partly because magazines want a theme, and chapbooks are that unit of thought long. I still have chapbooks left so don’t want to undercut sales by putting them in books and I want to give people new poems in books.