Category Archives: Archive

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New Bookends Mini-review by JC Sulzenko: “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”

JC reviews Maria Semple’s national bestseller (US), “Where’d You Go, Bernadette.” Go to Bookends at www.jcsulzenko.com to read her low-down on the 2012 novel.

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Nancy Drew met Garnett Weiss on March 11 at The Supermarket Restaurant and Bar in Toronto

From 3:00-5:30 PM, Saturday March 11, Garnett joined Toronto writer and event host Lee Parpart and other contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology, plus special guests emcee Liz Gruening-Hay, Angela Misri and Melanie J. Fishbane to celebrate this new collection of poems, artwork, short stories, and memoirs inspired by the forever-young-woman sleuth.

Geared to adults and to appeal to kids grades four and up, the afternoon entertained the enthusiastic audience with readings from the anthology published by California-based Silver Birch Press (SBP.) Each speaker shared anecdotes about her own connection to and love of all things Nancy Drew, whose mystery series was published over a period of 80+ years and enjoyed by multiple generations.

Garnett first read four poems by international contributors to the anthology and then focused on the work of Canadian poets in the anthology. She explained that SPB published her erasure poem, “With original mystery,” which extracts words in the order in which they appear from the list of Nancy Drew book titles on the inside title page of “The Hidden Staircase”, released in 1939. Instead of reading “With original mystery,” she shared her found poem, “Siren,” now posted her website. “Siren” uses non-contiguous, unaltered phrases from “The Secret of Mirror Bay,” published in 1972.

The afternoon’s festivities included prizes and a book sale. Copies of the anthology are available from Silver Birch Press and Amazon.

 

 

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January 20 Deadline for the February Poetry Quarter Featuring Themes Linked to Canada Sesquicentennial

JC returns for the second year to curate “Poetry Quarter(PQ)” in the Glebe Report. For 2017, rather than collect and bank poems throughout the year, PQ will tailor calls to specified themes for each issue. 

Full details of the call for submissions for the February, 2017, PQ appear on the home page of January’s Glebe Report at www.glebereport.ca.

Open for the first time to any poet writing in English who reads the Glebe Report and lives in the National Capital Region, February will celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial through poems on subjects relevant to the people, history, culture, present and future of the Glebe and its neighbouring communities. Here are the basic guidelines. Poems should be:

  • Original, unpublished in any medium (plus not submitted elsewhere)
  • Up to 30 lines
  • On any aspect of the theme within the bounds of public discourse
  • By poets of all ages (school-age poets, please include your grade level)
  • Submitted by January 20 to: editor@glebereport.ca. (Please include contact info.)

 

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Annual reflection on the holiday season — JC’s poem “Boxing Day Colours”

From time to time, I revisit this poem after the frenzy of activity and gift-giving/receiving because of how it captures for me the inevitable, annual letdown, even as celebrations around the new year add add an upbeat quality to the season. So here again is the piece.

Boxing Day Colours

 

Three black pigeons found solace

in the too-warm puddles

 

They alone had not dreamt of a white Christmas

Did not regret the grim gray slush

that bequeathed lines of salt to new leather boots

still stiff from packages, now crushed, stuffed

along with blue reindeer wrapping

and rivers of silver ribbon

into bulging green garbage bags

 

at the curb

of a new year

 

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A. Garnett Weiss takes 3 of the top prizes in The Bannister 2016 Poetry Contest

Here’s the link to the Niagara CAA’s website which lists the 2016 winners. Three of Garnett’s centos were awarded top prizes. “Never mind the first unicorn” took 2nd Prize and “We lie down in each other, we lie down alone,” and “The only song I know” gained honourable mentions. “This is the second time my centos have been favoured in this contest. I am grateful to Judge Keith Garebian for favouring my work with these awards,” Garnett confirmed.

http://canauthorsniagara.org/poetry-contest/

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Day 30 poem, “Generation, from memory,” the last piece in the month-long poetry challenge

I accepted the day 29 prompt in NaPoWriMo.net because the Day 30 prompts from that site and from Found Poetry Review were not a good fit. I am pleased to have participated in this month-long writing challenge but, at the same time, feel relieved it’s over. And apologetic that I was a day late once in a while.

Here’s the prompt: “write a poem based on things you remember. Try to focus on specific details… You could start… every line with “I remember,” and then you could either cut out all the instances of “I remember,” or leave them all in, or leave just a few in….”

What has emerged is a more personal poem than my other offerings this month. Perhaps that’s fitting for the last in this series, perhaps not. I’ll let the poem be for a while, then may revisit “Generation, from memory.”

Thanks to Found Poetry Review and NaPoWriMo.net for kick-starting every day in April with great ideas.

Generation, from memory

In May, the jubilant pronouncement: “I’m pregnant!”
Your mother’s words turned an ordinary day into a celebration,
then draped me in a shawl of worry: Would she be alright? Would you?

In June, she popped pills to stem the nausea, then slept day-long.
My gentle words that this would pass so inadequate,
I offered mint-leaf tea, dry toast, warm blankets and hugs.

In July, a visit to the midwife, tattooed and pierced, tightened
the worry around my shoulders. I asked myself could I trust
her judgment, her experience? Could I trust her with my daughter?

The rapid thrum/thrum/thrum/thrum of your heartbeat filled the room
when you were smaller than a lime, still on the tree. At that moment
I understood the passion, the argument about when life begins.

In November, my hand on your mother’s stomach—smooth,
without stretch marks, swollen to watermelon size— I felt
you kick at me as though you were dancing the can-can.

In January, on walking home with your mother from the spa,
sudden cramps stopped us every ten minutes, then every five,
then every fifteen as she breathed through your false start.

I packed that evening, took the long ride home, even though
I wanted so badly to stay, to wait with her it hurt in my gut.
I gathered the shawl to me but felt its cold through the car window.

Then a text message: your mother and father were at the hospital,
your mother resting well with a local anesthetic.
I sat in the living room, sipped wine, held your grandpa’s hand.

Waiting, worrying, waiting, worrying, waiting, worrying,
waiting, worrying, waiting, worrying, waiting, worrying.
In the silence, the shawl constricted like a straitjacket.

The phone rang, delivering your mother’s voice.
She sounded like a child herself.
“He’s here! It’s a boy. I’m looking at him.”

I tasted tears as I put down the receiver. I cast off the shawl,
left early the next morning to greet you before you were a day old.
Coming into the hospital room alone that first time to hold you,

light as a feather, I studied your eyelashes and tiny fingernails, traced
the line of your soft cheek with my arthritic hand. I both believed
and couldn’t believe the wonder you are, of my flesh, my blood.

I began singing “Hush little baby, don’t say a word…”
for the first time in almost thirty years
and remembered all the words.

 

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Beth Ayer’s April 29 Impromptu prompt to write a poem from an unintelligible text (in your own language)

Beth Ayer’s challenge through FPR was as follows: “In the spirit of heading into darkness after all things unseeable and obscure, write a poem using a text that is inexplicable to you. Could be quantum physics, thermodynamics, mathematics, aeronautical engineering – or something else altogether that to you speaks in incomprehensible language. Choose a text or texts and begin selecting words and phrases as they spark associations. Write a poem using the collected words and phrases. Let your imagination fire, and don’t worry about what these terms mean in their original context.”

I went online and used phrases and words largely unaltered from an article from European Nuclear Society (euronuclear.org.) What Is A Nuclear Reactor? to respond to the prompt on this penultimate day of National Poetry Month.  I certainly didn’t understand the technicalities in the article when I composed the poem below. Comments are welcome.

This basic difference

After the separation
converted their bond,
transferred power
for multiple purposes,
fission released them.

Before they escaped
slightly enriched,
they felt intense deceleration,
released from the laws of nature,
the pressure to combine.

Devices designed in a loop
fed into the fuel they use:
The same, reinforced, secondary light.

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Award Ceremony on March 29 for OPL’s Awesome Authors Contest Winning Poets and Writers

JC Sulzenko, English poetry judge for the 2016 Awesome Authors contest wants to encourage poetry-lovers of all ages in the region to come out for the awards ceremony honouring the best English and French poems and short stories written by local poets and writers, ages 9-17.

The culminating event of the the 2016 Awesome Authors Contest starts at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, March 29 at Centrepoint Theatre, Ben Franklin Place.

“I really look forward to the ceremony, particularly after having read all the poems submitted in English. What a challenge it was to choose the winning entries!  The quality and impact of the poetry these emerging writers crafted will amaze you, as it did me,” JC guaranteed.

Here’s the link to all the information on the contest. Winning stories and poems will appear in Pot Pourri, the anthology to be published by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library in the autumn.

https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/about/awesome-authors

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JC’s Awesome Poetry Workshop a hit with 9-12 year-old poets

On January 22, JC led a great group of enthusiastic and talented young poets in her one-hour poetry workshop in advance of the Ottawa Public Library’s 2016 Awesome Authors Contest deadline, February 15. The annual contest encourages poets ages 9-17 to submit their original poems and short stories in English or French so that they will have the chance to both win prizes and see winning entries published by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library in the annual anthology, Pot Pourri.

“Can you run, steer or stumble into writing poems? What makes a poem great?” JC took a vote and everyone agreed that all three ways of getting into a poem can work. She read aloud selected, winning poems from past Awesome Authors contests, plus used hit song titles from this week’s charts, to tackle these questions and others raised by the group. JC’s call to poets 9-17?  “Swamp me with your poems! I can hardly wait to read them!”

For information on the contest, go to the Awesome Authors Contest page on OPL website: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/about/awesome-authors

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January 11 deadline for February “Poetry Quarter” in the Glebe Report

Here’s the OPEN CALL FOR POETRY SUBMISSIONS from poets in Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood and surrounding areas for the 2nd Poetry Quarter, a compilation of poems curated by JC, which appears four times a year in Ottawa’s Glebe Report. The next Poetry Quarter will be issued in the February 2016 Glebe Report. The deadline to submit is January 11, 2016.

Poems should be:

  • Original and unpublished in any medium
  • No more than 30 lines each, including stanza breaks and title
  • On any subject within the bounds of public discourse

The poem or poet must have a connection to the Glebe or close neighbouring community, i.e., the poem must be about the Glebe or the poet must live, work, study or volunteer in the Glebe (or close neighbouring community.)

Poets of all ages are welcome to submit up to 7 poems at a time in one doc. or docx document attachment. Please include your contact information, your connection to the Glebe and your grade if you are in school in your covering email.

Please email submissions to editor@glebereport.ca

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A. Garnett Weiss reflects on the holidays

Boxing Day Colours

 

Three black pigeons found solace

in the too-warm puddles

 

They alone had not dreamt of a white Christmas

Did not regret the grim, gray slush

that bequeathed lines of salt to new leather boots

still stiff from packages, now crushed and

stuffed along with blue reindeer wrapping

and rivers of silver ribbon

into bulging green garbage bags

 

at the curb

of a new year

 

A. Garnett Weiss

 

Best wishes to you all for a healthy, happy 2016 in which peace is given a chance.

 

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October 22 Launch of “Pot Pourri,” winning poems and stories from the 2015 Awesome Authors Contest at the Ottawa Public Library

JC is a huge fan of emerging poets and authors in the region who participate in the Annual Awesome Authors Contest at the Ottawa Public Library (OPL).

“I am pleased return to judge the English poetry submissions to the 2016 contest which closes in February. The quality of what poets aged 9-17 submit always blows me away. These poets are awesome, indeed.”

Each year, the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA) publishes an anthology of winning entries entitled “Pot Pourri.” The OPL and FOPLA join in launching the new collection on Thursday, October 22, at 6:30 PM in the downstairs auditorium of the Main Branch on Metcalfe at Laurier.

“This publication celebrates the creativity and courage of these emerging artists. I encourage all participants in the contest, whether past or prospective, to come out and applaud the release of “Pot Pourri!” Copies of the anthology will be available for purchase at the launch and through FOPLA.

 

 

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On the Eve of the Canadian Election, here is JC’s plea

This poem first was broadcast on CBC’s program Commentary. JC brings it back to these pages on the eve of Canada’s federal election to BEG voters to turn out and vote.

So much is riding on each riding’s choice. \ JC hopes Canadians know how much each vote counts. Feel free to comment on her poem, “Anthem.”

Anthem

 

A Mountie sings Oh Canada

A Fine baritone in scarlet

Odd how his stiff brown hat stays put

 

I strain to hear the others –their singing jumbles off

high glass planes, transparent walls

I make out Des plus brilliants

God keep

Glorious and free

 

I hear my voice, small in the great room

Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee

 

I will the words to be true

Fear we are not up to it

 

Many don’t vote

They squander their choices, our democracy

Grumble at leaders in power almost by default

 

Our fault, really

Centred in little lives, blind to our need to protect

our country — beautiful, fragile

 

We ought to know better, to know

what to do for Canada every day

and in times of flood, plague, war and fire
Could someone tell us how

or should we go out there, start somewhere

Work not only for ourselves

but for our Canada

 

A half hour a day

times the 34 million of us or so

(minus the sick, the too-young)

would sure buy a lot

 

of standing on guard

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Deadline today for the Glebe Report “Poetry Quarter,” curated by JC Sulzenko

The deadline for submitting poems to be featured in the first of The Glebe Report’s new feature, Poetry Quarter, is October 9, 2015. Here’s the link to the website for specifics on how to submit. http://www.glebereport.ca/2015/08/glebe-report-poetry-quarter/

JC is delighted that the Editor of this community newspaper has chosen to bring a poetry focus to the community four times a year by publishing poems JC will select as ‘curator.’

“Poetry Quarter” welcomes submissions from poets who work, live, study or volunteer in the Glebe in Ottawa or in its close, neighbouring communities on subjects that reflect the lives and sensibilities of people living in this community and that are appropriate for publication in a paper with an audience of all ages.

Poems can be in any form – rhyme, free verse, sonnets, haiku, found poems, etc., but must not be more than 30 lines in length. The work must be the poet’s own and should not have been published before anywhere, in any form or medium.

“As ‘curator,’ I will recommend a number of poems per quarter to the Editor. Poets will be contacted if their work is slated for publication in “Poetry Quarter.” We have already received many fine submissions and look forward to reading what emerging and established poets contribute to this project.”

 

 

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February 16 deadline for Awesome Authors and Poets

Just one more day for poets and short story writers to enter the Ottawa Public Library’s Awesome Authors Contest.

Don’t miss this chance to have your work read by professional writers and be considered for up to 6 prizes in each age category, 9-11, 12-14, 15 -17. Winning poems and stories will be published by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library in the 2015 Pot Pourri anthology.

See the information in the post below for details. I want 500 good poems, please!  And I’m sure my fellow judges Caroline Pignat and Michel Lavoie join me in wishing you each good luck and happy writing!

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Awesome Poets at JC’s January Workshops for the Ottawa Public Library’s 2015 Awesome Authors Contest

On January 10 and 16, JC lead workshops for young poets who are thinking about entering the OPL’s 2015 Awesome Authors Contest. The contest, now in its 19th year, closes on February 16 for both online and hard copy submissions.

Open to writers of poetry and short stories in English and/or French in three age categories (9-11, 12-14 and 15-17), the contest gives an opportunity to talented students in this region to submit their work to judges who are professional writers. Winning entries appear in the annual anthology, Pot Pourri, published by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library. Winning writers also receive prizes at an awards ceremony held at the end of March.

“This is a great way for talented young people to move forward with their work. Submitting poems and stories takes courage, but it is worth doing. If you are a writer, you want your work to be read or heard. And, if the writing doesn’t leave your head or stays on your own page, then it’s more in the nature of a journal or diary, which is fine, but not the sharing experience, which this contest offers,” JC suggests.

JC invited 15-17 year-olds to enter the amazing space where poetry works at the first workshop, billed as “What’s on your mind? Write? Edit? Post?”By reading together some of the winning poems over the history of the Awesome Authors Contest, JC highlighted features that attracted her and which led to the poem securing a place in the winners’ circle.

Some participants brought poems they had written, which they would not enter into this year’s competition. One past winner looked for insight into why a poem had not placed in the competition in a particular year.

JC reiterated what she explains at each awards ceremony: “Judging poetry is highly subjective. What one judge would choose might not appeal to another. Plus, how a poem ‘rates’ depends somewhat upon the competition, particularly when there’s a rich field of entries.”

JC’s approach with 9-12 year-olds departed from “What cereal boxes Say about Writing Poetry,” and focused on factors that make poems stand out from the pack, or the package! Again, the group looked at winning poems from past contest to show how they succeeded.

“I encourage emerging poets and short story-writers to submit their work in time for the mid-February deadline. I’d like 500 English poetry entries this year. I want to feel swamped and amazed by the creativity and daring of young poets.”

Information on where and how to enter is available from: http://biblioottawalibrary.ca.

 

 

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Erratum: “Hesitation marks” by A. Garnett Weiss

Garnett Weiss apologized today for the error which occurred in the key for the cento poem “Hesitation marks,” which “Vallum: Contemporary Poetry” published in its last issue.

“I am at a loss to explain my lapse, since I take great care to ensure attribution and acknowledgment of the words of other poets and writers which inform my centos.

I now offer my most sincere apologies to poet Robin Robertson and to “Vallum” for misspelling his name. I am a fan of Mr. Robertson’s writing and cannot imagine what possessed me not to catch this error myself. I assure him and readers that I have corrected the key to this poem in all my files.”

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Awesome Authors Anthology: “pot pourri” Launched on October 7

JC attended the launch of the 8th anthology of winning poems and short stories in the Ottawa Public Library’s 19th Awesome Authors Contest.  JC has served as the judge of poetry entries in English for a number of years and in the past has edited the winning poems which appear in the collection. “What a great turnout of young writers, ” JC observed after the event. “In fact, many poets who couldn’t attend the award ceremony in the spring made it to the launch. It was great to see them there.”

“pot pourri,” the 2014 anthology published by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library, is available from the OPL at a cost of $12.95. For more information, here’s a link: http://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/node/21442

“I consider it a privilege and honour to read the poetry of emerging poets in the 9-11, 12-14 and 14-16 age categories.  Their creativity knows no bounds, so that it’s always a huge challenge to select the winning poems from among such fine entries.”

In January, JC will offer two poetry workshops through the Library in the lead-up to the 2015 Awesome Authors Contest. The dates and times will appear on the OPL events listing and on this website as soon as they are set.

“I encourage all young writers to send in their best poems and short stories. I know that it takes guts to submit work for review by others but that’s the way writers become published authors and poets. What better way to launch a writing career than through the Awesome Authors Contest.”

 

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At the end of the longest day, 2014

Sunset: Still waters

reflect the colour spectrum.

Later, fireflies.

 

 

A. Garnett Weiss

 

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A. Garnett Weiss Releases Cento for Bloomsday, June 16, 2014

On parade

When we sallied forth, it was blue o’clock in the morning

after the night before.

 

The Malahide Road was quiet,

immortal wheat standing from everlasting to everlasting.

 

Clatter of horsehoofs sounded from the air

where fallen archangels flung the stars,

 

bronze by gold. Just a flash like that,

a crumpled throwaway, Elijah is coming.

 

With ratsteeth bared, he muttered

“Their last hour came like a thief in the night,

 

worth double the money, the stars and the moon,

and comets with long tails.”

 

 

I tackled him this morning on belief

and the whole jingbang lot.

 

“What’s the best news?

Who could know the truth?”

 

“But wait till I tell you,” he said.
“Wait a while. Hold hard

 

the act of a hero,” he said.

“Who has passed here before me?”

 

His eyes looked quickly, ghost bright.

“All I want is a little time,”

 

smiled with unseen coldness.

“Shatter me you who can!”

 

He walked by the treeshade of sunnywinking trees,

where pigeons roocoocooed,

 

stood still in midstreet and brought his hat low.

The castle car wheeled empty into upper Exchange St.,

 

the most historic spot in all Dublin

swallowed by a closing door.

 

This Cento uses phrases  taken unaltered from Chapter 10 of James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” pages 210-244, 1922 text, Oxford University Press

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June 16: A. Garnett Weiss embraces BLOOMSDAY with a Cento drawn from James Joyce’s “Ulysses”

On parade, Garnett’s new cento draws on phrases taken directly from Chapter 10 of James Joycc’s Ulysses. Why this poem for that day?

“Bloomsday celebrates Thursday 16 June 1904 as that day is depicted in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The day is named after Leopold Bloom, the central character in Ulysses. The novel follows the life and thoughts of Leopold Bloom and a host of other characters – real and fictional – from 8 AM on 16 June 1904 through to the early hours of the following morning.” Quoted from the site of The James Joyce Centre Dublin @ jamesjoyce.ie/

“I couldn’t resist using phrases without changing a word to create this new work, ” Garnett comments. “What came to me from Joyce’s words was the parading that goes on in Chapter or Episode 10 which I combined with the coming of Elijah. In my case, I took that as the coming of the prophet, where Joyce chose to give a man-made object the name.”

Garnett seeks feedback on this abstract. What do you think?

 

 

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Two rejections in one day; an opportunity not to be missed

It’s not often JC receives two rejection emails in one day. That double whammy coloured sunny Sunday a little bit, JC admits. As she says, if you send your work out, you should be hopeful. But, at the same time, it’s important to remember that what one reader or editor appreciates, another may not.

JC has spent the last couple of months focussing on her collection of centos,  which use lines from other poets’ work and combine them to create a poem that is new in form and meaning.

“This collection reflects my love of the form and the process, ” JC explains.  “I read books written by individual poets or anthologies which capture the work of many different poets. From such sources, I extract lines that affect me in some fashion. Often I choose words which I wish I had written!

“From there, I live with the lines for a while: a week, a day, a month… And I wait for a sequence, a story, a poem to emerge. Letting other poets’ words guide me to something unexpected feels like an adventure!”

The Found Poetry Review’s “In Bloom” project, in which one poet’s found poem per chapter or episode of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” would be published on June 16 attracted JC’s attention. She wrote a cento which uses key phrases lifted directly from Joyce’s narrative and links them to the coming of the prophet Elijah, also suggested by what is contained in Joyce’s 1922 text.

For June 16, JC will release the new cento, “On Parade,” on this website. Watch for it.

 

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JC Sulzenko’s Salute to Winning Poems in the Awesome Authors Contest: A Cento Using Their Lines

JC announced at the Awards Ceremony on March 25 that she created a cento using a line or a part of a line from each of the winning poems in Ottawa Public Library’s annual contest for young writers aged 9-17.

“The fine poetry these emerging writers submitted to the contest inspired me to write a cento in their honour, “JC explained to the overflow audience at Ben Franklin Place. The cento form takes single lines or parts of lines from another poet or poets’ work, and without changing the words, rearranges them into an original poem with an original sense and meaning.

Here is the cento, with a key that attributes each line to the poet who wrote it and with the title of the poem from which the line has been extracted. “My salute to these writers is offered in admiration for their talent and dedication to the craft of writing.”

Underneath my grains of sand

There’s a part of me that loves this world so much:
The tree still bears blossoms,
illuminating the new beginning,
where light exists as beauty,
a beacon of childhood memories.

 

Misunderstanding our ways into each other’s lives,
I want to know how we came to be
hollow eyes and missing heart,
whispered words hidden behind fists.

 

My hands were not made to hold yours,
to go where you want to go.

 

I can reach out,
help you pick up your pieces.
Completely your choice.

 

In a few years, this will all be gone.
Maybe we exist to be an extra in someone else’s life story
just glided through like I was biting into a cloud.

 

JC Sulzenko

            Cento Gloss: Underneath my grains of sand
            Title: Fiona Christine McCallum, “New Brunswick”
            Line 1: Kayla Rain, “Gina thinks we are forever”
            Line 2: Erin Jackson, “After the lightning”
            Line 3:  Lia Codrington, “Starting Fresh”
            Line 4: Kaitlyn Chen, “The Dreams”
            Line 5: Mackenzie Huggins, “ Walk in the Woods”
            Line 6: Kathleen McCulloch-Cop, “After I fell for you”
            Line 7: Bastien MacLean-Valenzuela, “I am”
            Line 8: Isabella Crysler, “The Girl Behind the Sunglasses”
            Line 9: Madeline Cuillerier, “The Girl in the Mirror”
            Line 10: Sarah McNeely, “My body”
            Line 11: Julia Dolansky-Overland, “But-But-But”
            Line 12: Irelynd Tackabury, “I am a thirteen year-old girl”
            Line 13: Wayquay Rombough, “Bigger Person”
            Line 14: Kate Gragg, “The Haiku”
            Line 15: Belinda Xu, “Flames to embers”
            Line 16: Kate Yeadon, “Explanations”
            Line 17: Sasha Hopkins, “The Giant Cookie. To: Lucy”

Lines or parts of lines taken from 18 winning English language poems by poets
9-17 years-old in the Ottawa Public Library’s 2014 Awesome Authors Contest

 

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JC Appears on Shaftesbury’s Murdoch Mysteries, Monday, March 31 on CBC TV

Yes, JC’s appearance  as a ‘church lady’ in a fine maroon velvet cape on the upcoming episode of Murdoch Mystery approaches.

Though JC harbours no illusions about how much exposure she will have in an outdoor scene in which she was one among many in a crowd, she looks forward to finding out what happens in the Episode. “But don’t blink, or you’ll miss seeing me!” she warns.

“I am delighted to learn that Murdoch Mysteries has not been cut by CBC. It’s an intelligent, entertaining show, and most of the time avoids the excess of gore that seems to characterize everything on prime time these days.”

Consult local listings for exact air times.

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Awesome Poets Ages 9-17 to be Celebrated March 25 at Ben Franklin Place

 

TONIGHT’s the night! The Ottawa Public Library hosts the annual awards ceremony for winning poets and writers who entered the 2014 Awesome Authors Contest.

The event at Ben Franklin Place (Centrepoint) welcomes emerging writers from across the community and their friends and family. Be prepared for a large and enthusiastic crowd. Extra seats are being offered this year after there was standing room only in 2014!

JC judged the English poetry entries which were excellent.  She looks forward to the reveal this evening and offers congratulations to everyone who entered the contest.

“It takes guts to send a poem out into the world, to let your words be judged in a contest.  To me, its akin to a parent who leaves her child at school or a summer day camp for the first time. Knots in stomach and all that!

This year’s entries were amazing. It’s always a challenge to chose the top six in each age category.”

The event begins at 7:00 PM.

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Awesome Authors Poetry Workshop at the Ottawa Public Library: Saturday, January 17, 2014

JC comes to the Sunnyside Branch of the Ottawa Public Library to give two workshops for young poets in advance of the deadline for submitting poetry and short stories to the Awesome Authors Contest at the OPL. JC is thrilled to judge the English poetry entries in the 2014 competition. Winning poems will be published in the anthology, “Pot Pourri,” sponsored by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library.

From 10:30-11:30 AM, poets ages 13-17 will have the chance to raise questions they have about their writing with JC who promises a chance to try out something punchy-new!

From 2:00-3:00 PM, poets ages 9-12 will play with words and forms they can shape, just like the ice sculptures artists create for Winterlude.

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Holiday wishes

Wishing all my readers on this site happy and safe holidays and a wonderful 2014.

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JC Sulzenko on the Set of Shaftesbury Film’s Murdoch Mysteries

JC spent November 16 on the set of Murdoch Mysteries, now in its seventh season and on CBC. Having ‘won’ the walk-on role in an auction that raised funds for Reach Canada, JC stayed on the set from 6:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.in the garb of a respectable ‘churchwoman’ circa 1900.

In full make-up, wig and velvet cape, JC stood and interacted with around 50 actors who provided ‘background’ in the one scene that was the subject of that day’s shooting, which took place in a quadrangle on the campus of the University of Toronto.

“It was wonderful, though the too-thin clothing for a November day without much sun made for some shivering, and my hat weighed a ton!” JC observed. “I really am pleased NOT to have been a woman in those times, so physically constrained by fashion. The long skirt made it far too easy for me to trip, which I did, frequently!

What struck JC were the number of actors and crew involved in capturing just one scene for the hour-long program and how there was constant movement that looked chaotic but actually was the result of real choreography on the part of the director and the many assistant directors who were all linked by earphones.

JC had the chance between takes to meet both Yannick Bisson, who plays Detective Murdoch, and Jonny Harris, Constable Crabtree on the show. “Both actors were courteous and welcoming. It was a pleasure to speak with them and made for a memorable experience.”

JC left souvenir bookmarks from Reach Canada with key crew members and actors to express the organization’s gratitude to Shaftesbury Films for donating the walk-on opportunity as a way to support the fine work Reach does in Ottawa in the service of access to justice for persons with disabilities and community education.

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Cranberry Tree Press to Publish JC Sulzenko’s ‘Fairy Tales’ in “Happenstance”

Written by JC under the name of A. Garnett Weiss, ‘Fairy Tales’ crawls into a mother’s clothes closet and channels the mystery of evening gowns and silver dancing slippers as perceived as a child but remembered as an adult.

How well this evocative poem aligns with the theme for the new anthology becomes evident to readers in its final, arresting stanza.

Is this piece autobiographical? If JC will never tell, would Garnett?

For copies, contact Cranberry Tree Press (www.cranberrytreepress.com); 5060 Tecumseh Rd.E. Windsor, Ontario N8T 1C1. “Happenstance” will be published at the end of November

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JC Sulzenko, Writing as A. Garnett Weiss, Receives First Prize in The Saving Bannister Contest

Judge Gregory Betts awarded prizes to three of JC’s poems in this Contest sponsored by the Niagara Branch of the Canadian Authors Association. “I am honoured and delighted that my centos enjoy such prominence in The Saving Bannister Anthology which the CAA launched over Thanksgiving weekend,” JC said. “I thank Gregory Betts for giving “Nothing is eternal. Not even the trees” First Prize and Honourable Mentions to “Against a guttering candle, written dreams” and “psyche.”

In his remarks that preface this year’s anthology, here is what Professor Betts said about the prize-winning poem:
“The winner is a cento. Now the cento is an ancient form, most famously used by the early Christians to produce versions of epic Greek poetry that didn’t contradict the tenets of their faith. The cento is a form that allows writers to look back on previous writing they admire and highlight precisely what they liked about their predecessors. “Nothing is eternal. Not even the trees” uses the cento in a remarkable way, turning back to Canadian lyric poetry of old and discovering a unified voice across the work of nine different mid-century Canadian poets. I don’t know if you know about Canadian poets, but they are a famously fractious bunch. They tend to disagree on weather that is good. This poem captures a shared note and tone of yearning for greater unity: form and content married in the uncovering of something new. It would take an essayist half a book to describe what this poem instantly captures in a handful of lines.”

JC approaches centos as though they were jigsaw puzzles. Lines written by poets from the last century and this one which speak to her in some way provide rich material from which JC crafts her own piece. “I am so encouraged by the response to these poems that I am now working toward a full collection of centos.”

JC uses the pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss when she writes poetry for adult readers. “Because so much of my published prose and poetry reach out to young people and families, I took on the pseudonym to distinguish what I write for a more general audience. Weiss already has been published in the Maple Tree Literary Supplement, for example.”

For more information on The Saving Bannister Anthology, please go to:http://canauthorsniagara.org/poetry-contest/. Copies of the anthology are avialable from The Canadian Authors Association Niagara Branch c/o 70 Champlain Avenue, Welland ON L3C 2L7 at $15 per copy, plus $3 for shipping/handling.

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