The Poetry PEI Events Page

We are pleased to share photos and comments from recent literary events on this page, together with announcements of forthcoming events.

Allan Cooper will be the featured reader on Monday, May 11 at the Haviland Club’s 7–9 pm monthly reading series hosted by PEI’s Poet Laureate, Dianne Morrow. An open mic reading will follow Cooper’s presentation. This will be the final open mic for the season.

The New Brunswick poet and songwriter-musician has played a key role in the region’s literary scene as founder of Owl’s Head Press and editor of Germination magazine. Allan’s latest poetry book, Deer Yard, is co-authored with Harry Thurston, renowned nature and environmental writer based in Nova Scotia. In 2009, Thurston was writer-in-residence on Vancouver Island. While there, he and longtime friend Cooper, on the east coast, embarked on a poetic dialogue about the natural world. Allan’s recent musical projects include Rosedale and Songs for a Broken World. He will, hopefully, bring his guitar to the Haviland Club, too.

Cooper’s reading is co-hosted by the UPEI English Department, with funding support from The Canada Council for the Arts.

Open Mic readers are invited to sign up at 7 p.m. to read up to five minutes each to a friendly audience. All are welcome. Admission is free or by donation.

Poet John Smith, PEI's first poet laureate, prepares to read 'The Last One' by poet W.S. Merwin.Poet John Smith, PEI's first poet laureate, prepares to read 'The Last One' by poet W.S. Merwin. On April 22nd a large gathering attended an Earth Day Remembrance at Trinity United Church. Conceived by heritage activist Catherine Hennessey, and hosted by writer Deirdre Kessler, the event helped us honour and come to terms with the loss of 300 majestic elms in Charlottetown.

Below is a poem written by Jessie Lees to describe the event and its promise, followed by the ode written for the event by Dianne Hicks Morrow.

Final Gift

Three hundred died
cut down piece by piece
their slow dismemberment was terrible to watch
grandeur should die grandly.

We grieved, we accused and then we met—
to share delight in beauty we had known
gratitude for those who foresaw it—
sorrow and reproach were implicit.

Our Poet Laureate spoke for us
with her lovely, “Ode to Fallen Elms”
our first Poet Laureate moved us
by a poem powerfully read.

We heard about beginnings and nurturing
sang with musicians who expressed
our feelings in haunting notes
of piano, fiddle, smallpipes and saxophone.

We hushed to see photographers’ images
of entities we had known and cherished
since childhood—
they should have out-lived us.

We were a diverse community
gathered in astonishing union
a final gift
from trees that gave so much.

Jessie B. Lees 29/4/2015

Ode to Fallen Elms

Epigraph from from Henry Smith’s talk to Prince St. School on Arbour Day, 1921:

“Thirty-seven years ago there were very few trees in the public squares or streets of Charlottetown. Today we see them all around us as they are budding into leaf… These trees have transformed the city and clothed it in a verdure of living beauty. This is all the result of one day in each year.”

O stately elms that lined the streets of our beloved city,
we gather now to honour your passing.
We will not forget your high branches touching
above Longworth and Elm Avenues—
majestic arches welcoming all to our town.
We will never again take trees for granted.

Sacrificed to save strong members of your species
you deserve our praise, though our hearts be broken.
Some of you still thrive, our town’s oldest residents.
But the diseased majority are now fallen.
Your truncated forms haunt us—piled like funeral
pyres on city squares and downtown streets.

Last week sawyers cut table-top slices
from the tall stump of my favourite elm—
the one outside my toddler grandson’s window.
He watched wide-eyed while the chain saw howled.

May Arbour Day return for today’s children
to plant for the future, as did their forebears—
knowing they would not live to see their trees mature.
We will never again take trees for granted.

Dianne Hicks Morrow, Poet Laureate of P.E.I.

April is Poetry Month across Canada, a fitting time to have one of PEI’s most esteemed poets as featured reader at the Haviland Club’s Open Mic on April 13.

Brent MacLaine is Professor of English and a 3M Teaching Fellow at the University of Prince Edward Island where he teaches twentieth-century literature. He was born and grew up in Rice Point, to which he returned in 1991 after teaching at universities in Vancouver, Edmonton, China, and Singapore. In addition to numerous articles on modern literature and the literature of Atlantic Canada, he has published four volumes of poetry: Wind and Root) (Vehicule 2000); _These Fields Were Rivers (Goose Lane 2004); Athena Becomes a Swallow and Other Voices from The Odyssey (Goose Lane 2009); and Shades of Green (Acorn 2008), which won both the Atlantic Poetry Prize and the Prince Edward Island Book of the Year Award. He has also edited with Hugh MacDonald Landmarks: an Anthology of New Atlantic Canadian Poetry of the Land (Acorn 2001). His fifth collection, A Promontory View, is forthcoming this year.

Everyone is welcome. Admission is free or by donation. Readers can sign up at 7 p.m. to read their own poetry or prose, for up to five minutes, to a friendly audience.

Host Dianne Hicks Morrow, PEI Poet Laureate, invites readers to write poems on this year’s poetry month theme, Food and Poetry, to share at this Open Mic.

Please contact peipoetlaureate@gmail.com with any questions.

The talented writing couple, Ivy Wigmore and Douglas Malcolm, will be featured readers at the Haviland Club Open Mic on Monday, March 9 at 7 p.m.

Well-known to Buzz readers as a regular contributor, Ivy Wigmore’s day job is content editor on WhatIs.com, an online tech encyclopedia. She writes for The Buzz as the much-needed antidote to writing about enterprise software. Art? Music? Theatre? Yes, please. Ivy’s ongoing free-time projects include a book of Island ghost stories, a book of personal essays, and a motley assortment of other half-finished endeavors. Her stock line is that throughout her career she’s written about everything from quantum theory to a bicycling bear. Along the way, she’s “published some poetry and a couple of short stories, and won a few PEI Literary awards.”

Douglas Malcolm has won the Milton Acorn Prize for Poetry and the Guardian Feature Article Award. He has published his poetry in various small magazines and anthologies and has read his poems on Atlantic regional CBC. He also has published a wide variety of other material including book reviews, feature articles, and scholarly work. Douglas works for DeltaWare Systems, a PEI IT company. He and his wife Ivy live in Charlottetown a block-and-a-half from the (former) hospital where she was born and about a mile up the road from the house where she and her many siblings grew up.

Guest host will be Orysia Dawydiak, novelist, children’s author, and non-fiction writer, as well as PEI’s most recent recipient of the Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Literary Arts. She invites those who like to be read to, and/or wish to read from their own writing, to attend.

Everyone is welcome. Admission is free or by donation. Readers can sign up at 7 p.m. to read their own poetry or prose, for up to five minutes, to a friendly audience.

Please contact peipoetlaureate@gmail.com with any questions.

Well-known poet John MacKenzie will be the featured reader at the Haviland Club Open Mic on Monday, Feb. 9. A past recipient of the Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Literary Arts on Prince Edward Island, John MacKenzie has had three collections of his poetry published: Sledgehammer (Polestar Press, 2000), Shaken by Physics (Polestar/Raincoast, 2002), and Letters I Didn’t Write (Nightwood Editions, 2008). He lives in Charlottetown, a grey gull circling the city, scavenging bits of poems from the detritus of lives.

Guest host will be Orysia Dawydiak, novelist, children’s author, and non-fiction writer, as well as PEI’s most recent recipient of the Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Literary Arts. She invites those who like to be read to, and/or wish to read from their own writing, to attend.

Everyone is welcome. Admission is free or by donation. Readers can sign up at 7 p.m. to read their own poetry or prose, for up to five minutes, to a friendly audience.

Please contact peipoetlaureate@gmail.com with any questions.

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