A. Garnett Weiss

The news feed for A. Garnett Weiss is mirrored at agarnettweiss.com.

County Bookclubs and Mystery Lovers: Come Meet Steve Burrows at the County Launch of his New Birder Murder Mystery

Calling all County Book Clubs and mystery lovers to attend the Prince Edward County launch of Steve Burrows’ 8th ‘birder murder’ mystery, A Nye of Pheasants.

This fundraiserPheasants for the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory takes place on Saturday, May 18 at South Bay United Church, 2029 County Road 13, starting at 2:30 PM.

Here’s a unique chance to get up close and somewhat personal with the author for a conversation moderated by Lynn Pickering. You will be able to ask him questions about his popular series, now optioned for the small screen by the folks who produce the highly successful Murdoch Mysteries for CBC and streaming services. Refreshments in the church hall follow the reading, discussion, and Q & A. There’s a door prize! And Books & Company will have copies of the novel for sale on site.

Tickets @ $20 each can be purchased from https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/prince-edward-point-bird-observatory/events/steve-burrows-book-launch/  Information: comms@peptbo.ca 

The County Reads: JC Sulzenko Presented ALL THE COLOUR IN THE WORLD April 18 in Picton

JC was delighted to be one of five debaters in this year’s The County Reads on April 18 in Picton, Prince Edward County.

On the eve of the Authors Festival, the in-person audience enjoyed hearing debaters argue why their Canadian book published during the last 5 years should be read by everyone in the County.  The audience then voted via secret ballot and chose?

NOT JC’s selection, C.S. Richardson’s All the Colour in the World.  “I chose to champion All the Colour in the World, a finalist for the 2023 Giller Prize, because I couldn’t put it down. And it’s not a whodunnit,” JC explained. She suggested the book is not only a good story but is innovative in the way it uses facts and tidbits from history, the arts, science, culture and literature to illuminate and illustrate, to inform the story and its characters. And in the sensuous way it incorporates the colour palette.

Here’s a link to the event on as reported by the Picton Gazette today: https://pictongazette.ca/post/the-great-debate-of-2024 

JC congratulated winning debater Ernie Margetson, whose title Where the Falcon Flies by Adam Shoalts, won the day. That author will read at the Picton Branch of the Library later in May.

For the Total eclipse JC celebrated National Poetry Month with poems about the sun on The County Reads…The County Writes

 

 

 

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Lynn Pickering’s interview with JC aired on Sunday, April 7, after the noon news on 99.3 County FM’s The County Reads… The County writes.

JC read her ecletic selection of poems written by poets from the mid 1800’s to today. “Since Prince Edward County is on the path of totality for the April 8 eclipse of the sun, what better way to mark this occasion than with poetry that offers glimpses into its light. Such an eclipse won’t happen again in the County for more than 400 years, which is well past my best before date!” JC added.

Among the poems she read were words written by Bliss Carman, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walt Whitman, Philip Larkin, Mary Oliver , Robert Bly, and Richard Wagamese.

 

C.S. Richardson’s ALL THE COLOUR IN THE WORLD: JC’s choice at County Reads, April 18, 2024, in Picton

Here’s the link to the story on countylive.ca about the Prince Edward County Authors Festival’s County Reads debate at which JC will champion ALL THE COLOUR IN THE WORLD, the C.S. Richardson novel which was a finalist for the 2023 Giller Prize.

https://www.countylive.ca/five-residents-will-defend-favourite-books-at-county-reads-debate/

 Five panellists will attempt to persuade the in-person audience that their title is THE one which everyone in Prince Edward County should read. After the pitches, members of the audience vote, and the winning book emerges from that process.

 “I chose ALL THE COLOUR IN THE WORLD by C. S. Richardson, a finalist for the 2023 Giller Prize, because I could not put it down!” JC explained. “And it’s not a whodunnit!”

 JC looks forward to the debate and encourages friends and colleagues to attend the event and support her choice! County Reads takes place at St. Mary Magdalene Church at 335 Main Street in Picton, Ontario, on Thursday April 18 at 7:00 PM.  Tickets are available at Library branches in the County and at the door. For further information, go to:

peclibrary.org/countyreads

County Arts Mentorship Program Panel on March 26 Featured JC Sulzenko

JC was a panellist in the wrap-up event at the Picton Armoury for the first County Arts Mentorship Program, which began in October, 2023.

 JC spoke first on the panel and described how she worked closely with County poet Heather Lindsay over the four core months of the mentorship. She discussed how their collaboration evolved and what she brought to the table. Here’s The Picton Gazette’s great story on the event with the fine photo of Heather and JC taking part in the panel.

https://pictongazette.ca/post/collaborative-creation

Here’s CountyLive’s take on the culminating event:

https://www.countylive.ca/county-arts-celebrates-mentorship-program-success/

And here’s the link to how the Wellington Times captured the story:

https://wellingtontimes.ca/mentorship-program/

“In my writing career, I have been fortunate to have been mentored by the best (Olive Senior, Miller (formerly Sylvia) Adams, and Allan Briesmaster), and I have worked with poets aged 7-97! This focussed program gave me the chance to share my experience and expertise and, at the same time, to learn from my mentee, Heather Lindsay, ” JC explained.

“Serving in the first mentorship program to be offered in the County was a true privilege. I thank County Arts for giving me the opportunity.”

JC’s collaborative poem with Carol A. Stephen published in Silver Birch Press series on spices and seasonings

JC and Carol have been writing collaboratively for many years. Their first full collection, which seeks a publisher, has the working title of BREATH OF SKY AND WATER. This manuscript includes the poem “Afloat on Flan Pond,” which California-based Silver Birch Press published in its series with spices and seasonings as the theme.

To read their ekphrastic poem, after an image by Will Cotton,  go to: https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2023/10/03/afloat-on-flanpond-by-carol-a-stephen-and-jc-sulzenko-spices-seasonings-series/

“I enjoy writing with Carol because, for the most part, we find a way into each new poem that allows us freedom to riff off each other’s line or lines smoothly and yet to remain true to our own intention.

In BREATH OF SKY AND WATER, each poem demonstrates the power of ekphrasis, where one work of art serves as a springboard for another. In some cases, the poems we write stay close to the original artwork. In others, we stray farther afield. It’s always and adventure, ” JC adds.

Follow up: Between Beauty and Loss Workshop and Mentorship Program with JC Sulzenko

Prince Edward County’s Arts Lab programming in October featured JC a weekend workshop which explored the synergy between collage and found poetry.

JC welcomed the participation of registered artists and writers. “I learn so much in such exchanges. It amazed me how many of us worked in both collage and in words with imagery related to trees.I thank each participant for the richness they brought to the time we spent together.”

 JC also looks forward to working with a mentee through the first mentorship program from October 2023 through March 2024

“I feel privileged to have these opportunities to work with County artists.

 “My approach to leading workshops and to mentoring remains consistent: I am not prescriptive. With the workshop, I seek to enable emerging and established writers and artists to enhance their capacities to express themselves through poetry. I always am eager to learn from and with them.

 “The mentorship program will allow me to develop a working relationship with the mentee writer over its 5 month period in a way which addresses and advances that poet’s goals. I look very forward to this unique program.”

Here is a link to the Arts Council October newsletter featuring JC:

https://countyarts.ca/artscene/jc-sulzenko/

For September 30: A. Garnett Weiss cento in memoriam the child victims of residential schools

I did not know what to do

                                

Let us stand here and admit we have no road,

though what we say can cover truth

beneath the bitter ground this year—

the past itself disgraced by the ferocity of the new

edges curling with blasphemy and blame—

oppression which preceded history.

Vigilant in anguish and unattended grief,

my own heart and I catch my breath in pain,

now ululate in deep despair,

in deep apology,

lonely for something, nameless as they had been

like shades of broken stars.

               Cento gloss

                Title: Olena Kalytiak Davis, “On the Certainty of Bryan”

                Line 1: William Empson, “Homage to The British Museum”

                Line 2: Fred Cogswell, “Black and White”

                Line 3: Susan Hahn, “January Ovaries”

                Line 4: Campbell McGrath, “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool/The Founding of Brasilia (1950)”

                 Line 5: Molly Peacock, “Blasphemy & Blame”

                 Line 6: Richard Greene, “Independence”

                 Line 7: Gloria Burgess, “Blessing the Lepers”

                 Line 8: Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, “The Race”

                 Line 9: John Whitworth, “The Room under the Eaves”

                 Line 10: E. J. Pratt, “Come Away, Death”

                 Line 11: Claudia Emerson, “Cyst”

                 Line 12: Elliot Fried, “Daily I Fall in Love with Waitresses”

                (Lines drawn unaltered from Bricolage, A Gathering of Centos by A. Garnett  Weiss)

“WILD CRONE WISDOM” online reading October 28 featured two poems by JC Sulzenko

Editors Stacy Russo and Julie Artman of Wild Librarian Press (Santa Ana, California) offer a new  anthology of poetry and stories worth savouring. Just published ‘WILD CRONE WISDOM, POETRY AND STORIES” embraces poetry of depth and character. In pushing aside the negativity surrounding the term, ‘crone,’  the editors created a collection that embraces crones, women in old(er) age  with “…complexity, ambiguity, and the wisdom found in the dark and light” their stage of  life brings.

In the prose poem, “I wear scars on the inside,”  JC pulls no punches in revealing as much about herself as she does the subjects of her observations — women in a changing room at a local pool after an aquafit workout. “Do-si-do,” is a dance of sorts between the poet, a long-time friend of an artist now in decline, and the artist herself, who no longer remembers their relationship.

On October 28, most of the contributors to the collection were on hand for a reading on Zoom. “Having heard these fine writers read their own work added so much to my appreciation of the anthology. I am honoured that my poems appear  in this fine anthology, “JC noted. Contributors include poets and authors writing in Canada, the  US, France, and India. JC appears to be one of two Canadians in the mix. Copies are available from https://bookshop.org/p/books/wild-crone-wisdom-poetry-and-stories-stacy-russo/20514200?ean=9781737675938.

For information on the press, please go to: https://www.wildlibrarianpress.com

A. Garnett Weiss Cento featured in “Hope Springs Eternal, An anthology of Hopeful Poetry”

In its new anthology Simple Simons Press published “Time in the hourless houses,” a cento by A. Garnett Weiss. This found poem also features in BRICOLAGE, A GATHERING OF CENTOS, JC’s collection from Aeolus House (2021.) JC, writing as A. Garnett Weiss, is the sole Canadian whose work appears in the slim volume.

This piece, the only found poem in the anthology, draws lines or partial lines unaltered except for changes in punctuation for the sake of grammar, from TWELVE MODERN POETS, the Continental Book Company AB, edited by Arthur Lundkvist (1946.) Among the luminaries whose lines make up the new poem are Dylan Thomas, T. S. Elliot, Stephen Spender, W. H. Auden, and Ezra Pound. George Baker’s words from “Sacred Elegies, Elegy 1″ provide the 10th line for her poem: “I see tomorrow grow a tree of hope.”

“What intrigues me about this book is the eclectic nature of the selections editor J.R. Simons has made and how JR chose to array these offerings, from free verse to sonnets and haiku. Once again, I find my work in fine company,” JC noted. Here’s a link to the publisher’s site: https://www.simple-simons-press.com/simple-simons-press-poetry

Copies of HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL can be ordered this way: https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Springs-Eternal-Anthology-Introduction/dp/B0CC4G1HNR?crid=L4TC940FMSL6&keywords=hope+springs+eternal&qid=1690289202&sprefix=hope+springs+eter,aps,220&sr=8-16&linkCode=sl1&tag=simplesimonsv-20&linkId=438c0de956e03e600b76061d82631664&language=en_US&ref_=as_li_ss_tl

 

Between Beauty and Loss, JC Sulzenko’s hands-on County Arts Lab Workshop in October

Join JC over the weekend of October 14 and 15 to explore collage and found poetry and the dialogue between the two as part of the offerings from the The Prince Edward County Arts Council at the Armoury in Picton, Ontario.

Each afternoon, participants will delve into their personal experience and how that relates to spaces between, for example:

–seasons, when autumn gives way to winter;

–people or places, when leaving gives way to remembering;

–objects, where one treasure is lost and can or cannot be replaced.

On Day 1, participants will deep-dive and create a visioning board collage which gives expression to their thoughts. On Day 2,  they’ll use magazine, newspaper, and other text sources to write found poems arising from their collage. Sharing and showcasing their work in the group and beyond the workshop will also be discussed.

The workshop will appeal to everyone, regardless of their writing or art-related backgrounds, with an interest in exploring relationships between visual art and self-reflection and in finding the poetry there.  All materials will be provided.

Here’s a link to register for the program. https://countyarts.regfox.com/between-beauty-and-loss-with-jc-sulzenko

JC’s Letter to the Editor of the Globe and Mail published August 20, 2023

Here’s the text of my letter, unaltered from what I submitted, regarding this article — “Canadian writers can’t afford to write non-fiction anymore – and that’s a problem for all of us” (Arts & Books, Aug. 12):

I appreciate contributor Charlotte Gray’s considered analysis of the woeful state of Canadian non-fiction publishing and, in particular, the lack of support for writing about Canadian history.

But if, as Plato observed, “poetry is nearer to vital truth than history,” then the shortcomings of our publishers and policies apply tenfold to poets and poetry. In a U.S.-dominated and globalized marketplace, we risk losing our soul without access to these words.

Two, New Bookends Mini-Reviews by JC

JC reviews two recent reads.

Go to Bookends on this site to find her ratings of a book that’s hard to typecast: “World of Wonders: In praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments,” written by Aimee Nezhukumatathil and illustrated by Fumi Nakamura, 2020.

The second review JC shares focuses on a very Canadian novel written in 1973, that still resonated with her: “The Book of Eve” by Constance Beresford-Howe.

South Carolina anthology features 3 poems by JC Sulzenko

JC is delighted that three of her poems appear in the 2023 Tales on the Yellow Brick Road anthology just launched by Yellow Brick Road Publishing of Beaufort, South Carolina.

Here’s a link to the story on this new collection of poetry and prose, which appears in the current issue of Your Island News: https://yourislandnews.com/ybr-anthology-tales-on-the-yellow-brick-road-to-hit-beaufort-bookstore/

The free-verse poems chosen by Publisher Jack Gannon are unrelated to each other thematically. Mens rea takes on the concept of criminal intent in a quasi light-handed way. Long after Dorothy, a memory piece not written specifically for the anthology, contains coincidentally the lines “Now she’s dead at fifty-five. Again to my surprise,/ I miss the yellow brick road of our childhood.” Southern triptych distills a holiday experience into a trio of poems. “I was delighted to see this poem in the collection, given that it pulls no punches and captures and contrasts genteel city squares in Savannah with the history of racism and slavery.”

Copies of Tales on the Yellow Brick Road are available from JC through this website, from the publisher (https://www.ybrpub.com/product-page/tales-on-the-yellow-brick-road-2023), and on Amazon. (https://www.amazon.ca/Tales-Yellow-Brick-Road-2023/dp/B0C4QLNHWD/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2BEQRCZSD6JBI&keywords=Tales+from+the+yellow+brick+road&qid=1686240744&sprefix=tales+from+the+yellow+brick+road%2Caps%2C92&sr=8-1)

ARTSCENE featured JC’s winning cento on 99.3FM Voice of the County

JC thanks ARTSCENE host Sarah Moran for inviting her to participate in the discussion on June 2 of  winning entries in the 2023 Wind & Water Writing Contest, the 5th such competition sponsored by County Arts in Prince Edward County.

 JC, writing as A. Garnett Weiss, won first prize for her cento, “For our many moods, there is nothing like a lantern.”  Taking part in the conversation about the contest and sharing thoughts about why and how they write were contest Judges Leigh Nash and Andrew Faulkner and prose winner Dawn Miller.

 Copies of Weiss’s collection, BRICOLAGE, A GATHERING OF CENTOS, a finalist for the 2022 Fred Kerner Book Award (Canadian Authors Association), are available from Books & Company in Picton and at the Prince Edward County Municipal Library.

Wind and Water 2023 Contest awards first place to JC writing as A. Garnett Weiss

JC thanked the judges and convenors of the Prince Edward County Arts Council’s Annual Wind and Water Writing Contest for selecting her cento as the winning poetry entry.

The cento “For our many moods, there is nothing like a lantern” uses lines drawn unaltered apart for reasons of punctuation from individual poems by 9 different poets in The Next Wave, An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry, Jim Johnstone, Editor, Palimpsest Press, 2018.

Here’s what the judges had to say about the poem: “This cento captured this year’s theme in both form and content, offering a moving depiction of the poetic ties that connect one person to another.”

The year contest this year attracted the highest number of entries since the competition was established by the Arts Council in 2019. JC’s cento won the inaugural contest that year.

JC saluted each of the writers and poets who shared their fine work this way. Here’s a link to reading the winning entries and honourable mentions: https://countyarts.ca/wind-water-writing-contest/

Al Purdy Day, April 21– JC celebrates with A. Garnett Weiss cento based on Purdy lines

The League of Canadian Poets declared April 21 as AL PURDY DAY to recognize his legacy.

Published under her pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss, JC’s collection of centos, BRICOLAGE:A GATHERING OF CENTOS, features “Where love was slowly becoming possible,” based on Al’s poems. For the Art of Conversation joint project of the County Arts Council and the Community Care Association for Seniors JC created a second Purdy-linked cento after a number of conversations she had with a wise and independent 99 year-old woman who was born in Prince Edward County.

“I am a screen through which the world passes” draws non-contiguous lines and its title, unaltered apart from changes in punctuation, from Purdy’s long poem,  In Search of Owen Roblin. 

To honour AL PURDY DAY, here is the cento:

I  am a screen through which the world passes

                                                                                            

To belong somewhere torn

from the great pine forests,

so far from anywhere.

Leaning back against the tree trunks, sitting

on a stone where water foams out,

I realized that here was the exact spot

above the watery rumble.

A long misty chain stretched thru time, and I

began to read books about the 19thcentury.

But names and dates say little.

But the only thing certain is the settlers, themselves.

And I can hear them,

in the past shouting questions and hearing echoes, movings

and reachings and fragments.

For the book is not closed,

as we, too, have our shadowy children deep

down beyond the morning light and under

the high green ceiling of the forest.

JC’s Poetry Prompt for National Poetry Month selected by Poetry Super Highway (PSH)

Here’s the full text of the prompt that PSH Editor Rick Lupert posted on April 12:

 “If I had…” or roads not taken.

Write a poem imagining/focussing on how your life or your subject’s life could have been changed or become different if one decision had been made that was different from what actually happened. What risks did you take or avoid? What benefits came your way or did you miss out on? Examples: What if you had married the first person you loved or who loved you? What if the hitchhiking ride you and a buddy took turned bad rather than being the lark it was? What if you hadn’t accepted that job in another city but decided to stay put? What if you had not blown up at a social event and been shunned after that by people who you had counted as your friends?

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

#napowrimo #poetry

https://www.poetrysuperhighway.com/psh/april-12-2023-poetry-writing-prompt-from-jc-sulzenko/

Ontario Poetry Society and Aeolus House Poetry Afternoon April 15, 2PM-4PM

JC reads from her collection, Bricolage, A Gathering of Centos, at the Spring into Poetry in-person book launch, Saturday, April 15 at the Toronto Public Library’s Main Street Branch, 137 Main Street.

IB Iskov, President and Founder of the Ontario Poetry Society (TOPS), and Aeolus House Publisher Allan Briesmaster co-host this TOPS event at which members will read from their new titles.

JC, who serves as a member-at-large on TOPS’ executive committee, will read a cento from her collection. Which one will she choose?

Here’s a link to the TOPS website with full details: https://www.theontariopoetrysociety.ca/Events.html

 

JC’s “Find a poem” Workshop for NCR Canadian Authors Association

JC was delighted with the turn-out for the April 11 ZOOM workshop on how to find a poem as a way to celebrate National Poetry Month!

Whether erasure, black-out, or cut-up poetry intrigues (or all 3!), this hour-long interactive session engaged local and faraway participants in exploring the possibilities for creating an original work from texts written by others. Centos were off the table for the discussions which focussed on erasure or black-out poems.

One writer commented she would use the learnings from the session with her students, who often freeze at the blank page when they try to write a poem. Another noted she hadn’t known much about found poetry and would add it to her repertoire.

JC thanked Arlene Smith, Chair of the National Capital Region CAA, for hosting the event and for the invitation to meet with these poets and authors, keen to discover new ways to the heart of a good poem. And she welcomed the lively conversation about the possibilities writing found poetry create.

Copies of JC’s collection of centos, Bricolage, are available from bricolage.weiss@gmail.com. 

BRICOLAGE in the Poetry Super Highway 2023 Great Poetry Exchange

JC Sulzenko participated in the Poetry Super Highway’s Great Poetry Exchange by sending a copy of her collection of centos to another poet whose address the US-based publisher provided. She wrote BRICOLAGE as A. Garnett Weiss, her pseudonym.

Here’s the link to the list of poets whose work featured in this 2023 initiative:
https://www.poetrysuperhighway.com/psh/great_poetry_exchange/

“This exchange is the brainchild of the Poetry Super Highway, which offered a most welcome lift in the dead of winter. Some 101 poets joined in the program and were paired randomly. I am most curious about my ‘twin’s’ poetry and look forward to the surprizes in store for me,” JC commented.

“Thanks to publisher Rick Lupert for the idea and for showcasing the work of participating poets on the Poetry Super Highway site.”

The Poetry Super Highway explains its mission this way: “To expose as many people to as many other people’s poetry as possible.” The publisher encourages users to read poems, submit their poetry for publication, enter its annual poetry contest, and peruse its directory of writing and poetry websites.

Ottawa Poet Laureate selects “Mission Extended” for the I AM A HUMAN BEING Anthology

JC Sulzenko’s five-line found poem, “Mission Extended,” appears in a new anthology edited and published by Ottawa’s English Poet Laureate.

“I thank Albert Dumont for choosing this found poem for the anthology, launched in Ottawa on December 18, 2022. I am honoured that my work has gained a place in this fine collection.”

JC writes found poetry and centos using the pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss. “Mission extended” uses words drawn unaltered from death notices and obituary articles published in the Toronto Globe and Mail on April 26, 2017.

Here is how Albert Dumont describes the book:

“I AM A HUMAN BEING is an anthology of poetic perspectives on the topics of love, death, support, honour and other emotions contained in the human heart. They are offered by established poets, by folks who dabble at poetic wordsmithing and by deep-thinking high school students from Ottawa schools. And may I proudly add, include 24 from the Kitigan Zibi School.”
To purchase a copy of I AM A HUMAN BEING, go to his website : http://albertdumont.com/books/i-am-a-human-being/

As he explains: “All proceeds generated from sales of this book will go towards promoting poetry as medicine, bringing healing to those finding themselves in emotional distress.”

The November 2022 THE LIGHT EKPHRASTIC pairs JC Sulzenko’s poems with images by Georgia artist and writer Debbie Walker-Lass

“Perchance to dream,” JC’s poem in response to “Amy and the Queen” by Atlanta artist Debbie Walker-Lass, appears in the November 2022 issue of the online literary journal, THE LIGHT EKPHRASTIC.

Walker-Lass’s image “Cherish Togetherness Forever,” responds to JC’s found poem, “Recovery efforts,” written under her pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss. The five-line poem draws words unaltered from one day’s obituary articles and death notices in the Toronto GLOBE AND MAIL.

Here is the link to their collaboration: https://thelightekphrastic.com/walker-lass-sulzenko-november-2022/

“I am grateful to Editor Jenny O’Grady’s for her choice of the artist with whose work I could interact and for this opportunity to be published in November’s THE LIGHT EKPHRASTIC.

“I revel in writing ekphrastic poems, which gives me both freedom to take an image to heart and respond to it without any restrictions on how, but also demands I respect my partner artist’s original creation.

“Debbie and I chose not to discuss how we were approaching each other’s work while we were doing so. It is always a wonder to me when I first see the artist’s visual interpretation of my words. There is both suspense and mystery in the process.

“I thank Debbie Walker-Lass for this collaboration–a unique experience which resonates deeply.”

JC’s love for ekphrastic poetry isn’t new. She wrote for and curated poetry for the exhibition and chapbook Ekphrasis at Blizzmax Gallery, participated in the County CollAboRaTive exhibition and collector’s book, and co-authored a chapbook of collaborative ekphrastic poems, SLANT OF LIGHT, with Carol A. Stephen, with whom she has a full manuscript, BREATH OF SKY AND WATER, seeking a publisher.

Most recently, her cento “Repeatedly, now in a dream,” was a finalist in The Poets Corner’s Ekphrastic Pairings: poetry, paintings and photography event. Here’s a link to that November 13 program from Maine: https://www.thepoetscorner.org/events/ekphrastic-pairings . JC’s reading as A. Garnett Weiss appears at around the 35-minute mark.

BRICOLAGE stays a finalist: JC Sulzenko congratulates winners of the CAA’s Fred Kerner Book Award

JC congratulated Catherine Graham (winner) and and Susan Olding (Honourable Mention) who took home top awards in the Canadian Author Association’s (CAA) Fred Kerner Book Award Contest.

She feels honoured to have had her collection of centos, BRICOLAGE, among five finalists for this national prize. Aeolus House published BRICOLAGE in 2021 under her pseudonym, A. Garnett Weiss.

Here’s a link to the June 18 announcement from the CAA :
https://canadianauthors.org/national/fred-kerner-book-awards-2022-winner-and-shortlist/

The judges’ wrote about BRICOLAGE in this way:

“A paean to the intoxicating power of not only the written word, but also of “borrowed” words, Bricolage is a singular triumph of centos—new poems created from other poets’ verse. Written over the course of a decade, these affecting, absorbing homages are a double-delight: first as cerebral, many-layered musings on both the fragility and resiliency of the human condition astride space and time, and second as a chance to honour the brilliance of the original works.”

In thanking the judges for placing BRICOLAGE on the short list, JC welcomed their generous comments about the poems in this gathering of centos. “BRICOLAGE remains in very fine company on the shortlist.” JC also thanked the CAA for the way in which the organization nourishes its members.

The Fred Kerner Book Award is awarded annually to a Canadian Author Association member who has the best overall book published in the previous calendar year–whether fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Fred Kerner was a devoted and long-time CAA member, an author, journalist, editor, teacher, and mentor.

Copies of BRICOLAGE can be obtained from bricolage.weiss@gmail.com, Books & Company (Picton, Ontario), and Octopus Books (Ottawa).

Centos for the 21st century –lose yourself in BRICOLAGE

On October 15, JC and colleague Blaine Marchand gave a by-invitation, in-person reading from their new poetry collections for friends under the canopy at the most hospitable winery in Prince Edward County, Half Moon Bay Winery.

This event followed Aeolus House’s virtual launch of JC’s book of centos, BRICOLAGE, and Blaine’s BECOMING HISTORY on Thursday, September 23 before some 100 viewers.

“It’s a real pleasure to read aloud in front of people whose reactions are immediate and true rather than confined to the small screen,” JC observed.

On each occasion, JC read more than a dozen poems, including one cento that reuses lines from various poems in BRICOLAGE in memoriam the child victims of residential schools. “I didn’t know what to do” will remain unpublished as a one-time only cento of centos,” JC stated.

BRICOLAGE comes out under JC’s pseudonym, A. Garnett Weiss, adopted to give her distance from her lyric or narrative work.

Bricolage-front cover

 

JC admitted that gathering her centos into a volume proved challenging but also brought joy. She thanked poets Olive Senior, Keith Garebian and Gregory Betts for providing the fine comments which appear on the book’s back cover. She also acknowledged how grateful she is to fine artist Diana Gubbay for allowing her stunning “Cathedral Forest” collage to grace the book’s front cover. Here’s a link to Ms. Gubbay’s website: https://www.dianagubbay.com

“I thank Allan Briesmaster for publishing BRICOLAGE. It was an honour to share the programs with Blaine Marchand.”

To order BRICOLAGE for $18 plus shipping and handling, please email bricolage.weiss@gmail.com.

Copies of the book also can be purchased from Books & Company in Picton, Ontario, or from Octopus Books in Ottawa, Ontario .

Impromptu poetry morphs into BESPOKE POETRY or POETRY To-GO– JC Sulzenko writes poems on commission

“I just can’t resist the challenge: writing to a subject not of my choosing, suggested by someone whom I didn’t know beforehand, for the most part, to mark a birthday, an anniversary, a special event or person, or in memoriam,” JC admits. “I’ve now launched “BESPOKE POETRY” to give me the chance to create new poems this way.”

JC began her love affair with poetry written on demand many summers ago at what was then known as “Art in the park,” a showcase for artists, crafts people and assorted others in her neighbourhood.

Wearing a lot of sunscreen and with paper pad and pen, she set up a table and offered to write poems for visitors at $2.50 each, the proceeds of which went to a charitable organization. She cannot remember to which one the modest take went that first year.

She attached certain caveats to the process: payment upfront; she held the copyright to the poem; no one could dispute what she had written; she reserved the right to refuse to write on a subject with which she was not comfortable.

Those who dared to test her skills were interviewed briefly about the subject they had chosen, then sent away to wander among the artisans. When they returned, they picked up the poem in a neat scroll. More often than not, they unravelled the poem and read it on the spot. And commented. Almost all very pleased with the result.

Though not a big fundraiser, JC found the experience exhilarating. “I used a number of the poems written at that festival in “Fat poems Tall poems Long poems Small,” my ekphrastic book of poems for families and children to which Ottawa artists contributed interpretative illustrations.” Several other poems found their way into chapbooks.

For a couple of years, JC returned to the venue, adding a tent and chairs to facilitate the interviews and for the sake of privacy. Each year, the price tag went up by a bit. The final year of her participation, the funds raised were donated to a local hospital.

Then she stopped, overtaken by other writing projects including “Boot Crazy” and later by “What My Grandma Means to Say,” her book and play about Alzheimer’s disease.

Now she has taken up poetry on commission again with enthusiasm. The process begins with agreement on a base price for the poem, which can take the form of free verse or rhyme. The ‘buyer’ pays JC upfront. Then, there’s an interview which can take as little as 10 minutes over the phone or up to an hour face-to-face, where that’s convenient to the parties.

JC considers carefully what she has learned about the subject and writes the poem within the timeframe agreed to in the discussions. The length of the poem can vary depending the subject matter. Once she’s satisfied, she shares the poem and asks for comments as to accuracy only. If there are any factual inaccuracies, she corrects them and then provides a final text.

She asks that the poem not be published without her prior permission and then only with clear acknowledgment as to her authorship.

“I have written about a granddaughter’s graduation from high school on her birthday, the death of a child, a dog who dreams. It’s such an adventure, never knowing where a new poem will begin or to where it will take me.”

 

 

 

In honour of Leonard Cohen–“After ignorance, blessings” by A. Garnett Weiss republished

When Silver Birch Press (SBP) featured Garnet Weiss’s “After ignorance, blessings” in its Same Name Series, it gave her the chance to mark how as an undergrad she ‘bumped’ into Leonard Cohen at university and how she evolved into a devoted fan. Here is the link:https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/after-ignorance-blessings-poem-by-a-garnett-weiss-same-name-poetry-and-prose-series/

Given his passing yesterday at 82 and having seen a clip from the media conference at the September release of his last CD where he explained he was ready for death but rather would ‘live’ forever (and he will), it feels appropriate to republish that poem in his honour here.

After ignorance, blessings

Without much prompting, I return to that moment fifty years ago,

while we waited together for a book on reserve at college.

The librarian bellowed out my last name.

We both stepped forward, lightly bumping hips.

 

Shy as a virgin, I felt heat rush to my face

as the man at the desk glared through thick lenses.

“Leonard,” he harrumphed, dismissing me.

Just then, I realized who you were.

 

So did the other undergrads, the spectator chorus,

who stared as though it was my fault to carry

the same family name.

I bowed my head, rejoined their line.

 

Even as poems and songs brought you more fame,

I didn’t become a fan, though I recognized

some tunes, knew bits of lyrics from the CDs

my mother listened to every day till she died.

 

But after you had to come down from the mountain

‘cause someone had stolen away with your wealth,

after you started to tour, that’s when I fell for you.

 

I saw you perform live a first time, then again, and again,

just to hear you sing of love and loss and longing in that voice,

its low-growl purr seductive as the melodies that play in my mind.

 

Which is how I’ve come to regret having no kinship with you

either in blood or in the way you make your music turn words

into a benediction.

 

 

 

 

 

“Siren,” A. Garnett Weiss creates a found poem inspired by Silver Birch Press’s Nancy Drew Anthology, published October 1, 2016

Siren

 

When you feel like talking, tell

these stories.

In fine antique gallery paintings,

even those depicting angels,

a woman is seen gliding over the water

dressed in such a flimsy, evening-type dress

you will forget what happened,

if you capture her.

From somewhere nearby,

hear low singing

sounds like some fairy tales.

Refuse to follow.

Don’t look back.

Hunt for something luminescent—

the phenomenon of fireflies,

a flirtation

through a tangle of vines;

cold light

like a mirror,

calm as the water

a ways offshore—

absolutely true.

 

 

 Found poem key: all phrases are non-contiguous and are taken unaltered from “Nancy Drew: The Secret of Mirror Bay,” Carolyn Keene, Grosset & Dunlap, NY, 1972. Page references per line follow: Line 1: p.65; Line 2: p.107; Line 3 and 4: p. 95 – one phrase split into two lines; Line 5: p. 2; Line 6: p.138; Line 7: p. 8; Line 8: p.73; Line 9: p. 24; Line 10: p.65; Line 11: p.45; Line 12: p.60; Line 13: p.141; Line 14: p.22; Line 15: p.151; Line 16: p.61; Line 17: p.78; Line 18: p.157; Line 19: p.100; Line 20: p.23; Line 21:p.120; Line 22: p.105

 

 

 

Brick Books Celebration of Canadian Poetry Series features JC’s introduction of A. Garnett Weiss who celebrates Al Purdy and Friends

The day before Canada Day, Brick Book’s website featured JC’s article on A. Garnett Weiss’s use of the cento form to celebrate the writing of poets such as Al Purdy, Lorna Crozier, E. J Pratt, Monty Read, Molly Peacock and Leonard Cohen.

Here’s the link to the article:  http://www.brickbooks.ca/category/news/celebrate-canadian-poetry/

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.

 

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.

Irresistible prompt to write online erasure poem (April 27, Greg Santos in FPR)

imageerasure

I will return to April 28’s fine prompt from Jenni B. Baker in FPR which warrants far more time than one day provides.

Instead, I chose one of Greg Santos’s from yesterday to: “Go to Wave Books’ Erasures website to find online source texts…The cool website lets you click on any word or punctuation mark to make it disappear. You can save, print, or email the newly sculpted text when you’re done.”

Well, I went to the site, which, indeed, worked as he suggested. In fact, I felt a ‘frisson’ of power as I erased parts of the source text “Pointed Roofs,” by Dorothy Miller Richardson.

I failed dismally, though, when I attempted to save and email the poem, though I could print it.

So you see, above how “Home Schooled” appears, to which I added punctuation by hand, though I seem to have mislaid the period at the end. Sigh.

Here is how it reads:

Home schooled

Bright faces collected misery.
Dreadful experiences at home had swollen
until she worked her trembling wrists and hands,
elbowed the bottle of green Chartreuse on the tiles.
Full of angry discomfiture, she had poked fear,
and burning nervousness twice
had astonished her day.

 

April 27 Impromptu from Greg Santos in Found Poetry Review to write a reversal poem

Though it proved hard to select which of Greg Santos’ April 27 prompts to follow, I chose this one: “Find a draft of a poem you’ve already written. Rewrite your new poem backwards, writing the last stanza first and so on. The new order might reveal something new and exciting.” I began with a piece I had posted in response to the day 6 FPR prompt to create a poem comprised of a single sentence, spread across at least seven lines of no fewer than five words each, in which I had to repeat one of the lines three times, but not in succession, and include specific vocabulary.

Here is my April 6 original.

Uncle

You make me do what I don’t want to
but I can’t pretend I don’t understand —
you: Self-satisfied, self-pleasured, self-absorbed, self-ish Sam—
you speak to me in dialects I wish were foreign
or that I’d need a cochlear implant to hear
but I can’t pretend I don’t understand
which is to say I’m like helianthus facing south and west
as when the sun goes down toward Ecuador
and I turn, too, because you make me do what I don’t want to
but I can’t pretend I don’t understand.

Here is the first reversal I tried, where I simply began with the last line and worked back to the first (with one minor word change, some line break adjustments and the addition of punctuation.)

I can’t pretend I don’t understand,
but I turn, too, because you make me do what I don’t want to,
as when the sun goes down toward Ecuador,
which is to say I’m like helianthus facing south and west.

But I can’t pretend I don’t understand,
or that I’d need a cochlear implant to hear
you speak to me in dialects I wish were foreign,
you self-satisfied, self-pleasured, self-absorbed, selfish Sam.

But I can’t pretend I don’t understand
you make me do what I don’t want to, uncle.

Here is a variation on the first reversal,with line breaks all changed and a surprise reversal of victims in the last line. Who would have expected that?

But I can’t.
Pretend I don’t understand.
But I turn, too, because you make me.
Do what I don’t want to,
as when the sun goes down toward Ecuador,
which is to say
I’m like helianthus, facing south and west.
But I can’t pretend.
I don’t understand.
I’d need a cochlear implant to hear you, uncle.

Speak to me in dialects I wish were
foreign, you self-satisfied, self-pleasured,
self-absorbed, selfish Sam.
But I can’t pretend.
I don’t understand.
You make me do what I don’t want
to uncle.

April 26 prompt: Write a call-and-response poem

This prompt from NaPoWriMo.net resonated with me. Here’s what was suggested:“Calls-and-responses are used in many sermons and hymns, in which the preacher or singer asks a question or makes an exclamation, and the audience responds with a specific, pre-determined response….as a sort of refrain or chorus that comes up repeatedly, while the call can vary slightly each time it is used….Think of your poem as an interactive exchange between one main speaker and an audience.”

For once, I allowed myself to have a good time trying something new without setting expectations that were too high. I wrote two poems as a result.

Psalm for Hestia

Let him persuade you, let him cajole you!
I’ll not listen, I’ll not heed.

He has love to offer, let him show you!
I’ll not listen, I’ll not heed.

He will want you always, let him please you!
I’ll not listen, I’ll not heed.

He will hope and hope, let him win you!
I’ll not listen, I’ll not heed.

Let him persuade you he has love to offer.
He will want you always. He will hope and hope.
I’ll not listen, I’ll not heed.

Let him cajole you. Let him show you.
Let him please you. Let him win you.
I’ll not listen. I’ll not heed.

 

Imaginary numbers: A song

How many rings on the tree, on the tree?
How many rings will there be, will there be?
Too many, too many, too many to count.
Too many, too many for me.

How many birds on the wing, on the wing?
How many birds will there be, will there be?
Too many, too many, too many to count.
Too many, too many for me.

How many drops in the rain, in the rain?
How many drops will there be, will there be?
Too many, too many, too many to count.
Too many, too many for me.

How many moments in a life, in a life?
How many will there be, will there be?
Too many, too many, too many to count.
Too many, too many for me.

April 25 Impromptu Found Poetry Review Challenge — a homophonic interpretation

This prompt from Nancy Chen Long “involves reading a poem in another language that you do not speak. The language of the poem you select must be one in which you don’t know what’s being said, so that your imagination has greater room to play… Find a poem in its original language….Sound out the poem and “translate” it based on what you hear. Of course, your translation won’t be exact—getting words anywhere near the ballpark of what you think you hear is good.”

A very difficult process. I could feel my brain trying to make sense out of sounds. I had tried to channel Lewis Carroll, but I admit what I came up with is close to nonsense. Still, an experiment worth trying.

Candidates

 Come here to the village, men. All cast votes = your loss, pain.

Be easy on how to do a man’s profession. Looting – must do that,

wear that? Worse? Do what? Not run.

Come here to the village, men. I concoct tests

from ocean banks and

propose to you, hellmen, power. Come here. Let me like ya.

 

 

Here are the first 6 lines of the original by Finish poet Olli Heikkonen

 

Kumarra pihlajaa. Sen alle kasvot ylöspäin

veljesi on haudattu. Maan povessa luut

mustuvat, yrtit versovat nikamiin.

Kumarra pihlajaa, sen ihonkaltaista kuorta, oksan hankaan

ripustettua helminauhaa. Kumarra latvan liekkiä.

Juuret lävistävät veljesi rinnan.

Juuret lävistävät veljesi otsan.

Pihlaja on ääniä täynnä, jotka keväällä

puhkeavat lehdiksi.

 

 

© 2000, Olli Heikkonen

Uit: Jakutian aurinko

Uitgever: Tammi, Helsinki, 2000

April 24 Craig Dworkin’s Impromptu challenge (FPR) to recreate a text from an erasure poem

Craig Dworkin’s prompt through Found Poetry Review: Take an erasure poem and then add “words to fill in the empty spaces in order to create a new text that flows naturally and coherently. Words should fit exactly — to the letter — so that the result appears to be perfectly justified prose.” He added: “Don’t cheat by kerning.” ‘Kerning: ” a printing term, which means “setting of two letters closer together than usual by removing the space between them.”

I may not have followed the instructions to the letter in filling in the blanks when I based my frivolous prose poem below on Austin Kleon’s erasure poem, “The light of the universe” (available on the FPR site.)

 

If the gods wanted telescopes in heaven, would it be to see past and through evil, immorality, depravity to where the light of goodness, morality, civility shines brightly? Such a tool would let the deities close in on stories and lives of the true believers who follow their teachings through the universe toward whatever heaven awaits them. Using this trick, we might think the gods would feel sympathy for the fates they had meted out. This would not be so.

They would recognize the poor specimens, to them known as glass, because of the way fate had chipped or broken them. The creators could take pity on these victims, though it is far more likely they would spurn them. Instead, they would favour the strong, to them known as crystal, because it is easier to love where beauty and triumph dwell.

Therein lies the sad truth about the gods: It is not mercy that guides them. When we come into their view, and we appear lowly in their sight, our faith in them will not bring rewards or good fortune. To understand our place in their universe is our job, whereas to them they have only to turn toward what they wish to see, because they know where to look for the strong among us.

Day 23: Daniel Levin Becker’s prompt in The Found Poetry Review

Daniel Levin Becker suggested writing a truncated version of  the récapitul  ” a fixed poetic form created by Jacques Jouet in 2010.” For this “petit récapitul portatif:

  1. The poem consists of 10 lines total, in a 3-3-3-1 stanza distribution.
  2. Each line is 9 syllables long. No meter is required.
  3. The lines do not rhyme.
  4. After each three-line stanza comes a list, in parentheses, of three words taken from one of each of the lines in the preceding stanza.
  5. The poem is dated and addressed to a specific person (someone you know or someone you don’t).

Since I do not enjoy such formulaic exercises, I developed my own approach, based on DLB’s prompt to use random articles from Wikipedia, in which each line comes from a different article used in the order they were found. I kept to the language of the article rather than paraphrasing or /interpreting improvising from it and cited the title of the article in italics at the end of each line.

BTW: I admit I am no math genius, but I do not understand the 3-3-3-1 when ten articles actually would produce an even number of lines, given the formula. So, WTH, I offer instead  a 3-1, 3-1, 3-1 = 12 lines. Plus a day late, again. Sigh.

April 23, 2016 Choreography for Albert Einstein

One can see the continuity.                                                Nikilaos Lavdas
Stop in the borough of Media,                                           Olive St., SEPTA Route
deprived of maintenance, and again                                Autodrome de Linas-Montlhery

(see media again)

there would be no consolation to                                     Mukesh Kapila
a player who specializes,                                                    Lineman (Gridiron football)
does not want to believe the earth is                               The Kid from Hell

(no player does)

associated with tango music,                                             Orquesta tipica
an interactive environment                                                Katonah Museum of Art
to absorb or adsorb molecules.                                          Sorbent

(tango interactive molecules)

Day 22: Earth Day poem challenge

Once again a day late. Since I found the challenge in the Found Poetry Review forced me to admit how poorly I understand that kind of ‘computerspeak,’ I turned again to NaPoWriMo.Net. Here’s the prompt from Gloria Gonsalves: Write a poem in honor of Earth Day, which led to two poems. The one below and on the page “For Readers”,  click on “Read this to a child,” you will find a ditty for my grandson.

I wish I could save her, single-handed.
She’s so lovely, so delicate, at least what I perceive.

What lies beneath her skin, that’s more mystery
than I can master on a given day.

But give me this Earth day, not my daily bread,
just the guts to do something for her.

She’s aging; too many potions poison her,
scrape at her beauty in the name of booty.

Promises to honour what she alone provides forgotten,
now everything’s for profit, her nature forsaken, too.

She deserves better, but I don’t know what to do.
So shame-faced little me does gutless nothing.

 

Day 21 prompt: Fairy tale skew

The April 21 prompt from NaPoWriMo.net appealed more than what was on offer at The Found Poetry Review, which has suggested a number of prompts that would require a week’s efforts. Here’s the prompt: “Write a poem in the voice of minor character from a fairy tale or myth.”

Of course, always blame the woman
with hair growing out of her mole,
which is as old as I am, which is…
pointless for me to quantify. I’m forever.

Can’t help it that I’m always dressed in rags.
When you’ve lived as long as I have
you outlast the threads.

And the hair, well, how would your hair look
after centuries of dust and lice? Exactly!

Ah, my hair: Long, to my waist,
blond almost to silver
it caught sunlight and moonglow
once upon a time.

.Well, no point dwelling in the past.
What’s done is done.
That ancient troll’s curse made me
what I am and will stay.

No wonder I spike apples with
my special brand of wormwood
and slick it on needles in haystacks,
thorns, spindles, whatever sharp will
pierce the soft, white skin

of anything young, anything happy.
Wouldn’t everything lovely
make you angry, too?

Day 20 Challenge: to write a Kenning or two

Today’s prompt through NaPoWriMo.net comes from Vince Gotera, who suggests a “Kenning” poem. “Kennings were riddle-like metaphors used in the Norse sagas.” Definitions: “A Kenning is a two-word phrase describing an object often using a metaphor. A Kennings poem is a riddle made up of several lines of kennings to describe something or someone.” The structure: Several stanzas of two describing words. It can be made up of any number of Kennings.

Amusing and surprisingly difficult. Here is a poem made up of Kennings that relate to two different subjects. Can you guess what they are? Let me know.

Cellar-dweller.
Flag-maple.
Dwarfs’ girl.
Top-stopped.
Transparent-apparent.

Emotion, commotion.
Life sign.
Paper greeting.
Dead end.
Rhythm section.

 

Day 19: Lost in translation in response to Michael Leong’s prompt in the Found Poetry Review

Here is Michael’s prompt. “When we speak of “translation,” we usually refer to the process of turning a text that is written in one language into another language. But if think about translation more broadly, we can imagine a diverse range of experimental processes that can spark new writing. All you need is to find a source text and invent a method of transforming, altering, or changing it.”

This is an interesting challenge, which I only tackled in part. First I provide the text from which I removed articles and nouns, plus a few other words, to come up with a short ‘translation’ of sorts. I will bank this approach for future consideration when the pressures of time are less.

“But much more importantly, even if there had been such a contract, what would it prove? We could hardly maintain that it explains the political obligations of exiting citizens. After all, no reasonable legal system allows one generation to make a contract which binds succeeding generations. Yet this is exactly what the doctrine of the original contract seems to presume. “p. 44 Justifying the state, An introduction to Political Philosophy, Jonathan Wolff 1996 Oxford University Press

Lost, in translation

But much more importantly,
even if there had been such,
we could hardly maintain that
explains existing after all.

‘No’ allows, binds, succeeding
exactly what seems.

 

Day 18: To incorporate in a poem the “sound of home” (from NaPoWriMo.net)

NaPoWriMo optional prompt for April 18: To write a poem that incorporates the ‘sound of home,’ figures of speech, ways of talking people around you may have used and you may not hear anymore. “Coax ear and voice backwards.” Which is what I did, though I deliberately didn’t seek to abandon adult words as had been suggested. What surprised me? That the sound that came to my ear was my Austrian’s mother’s voice speaking in German when I was a child. I was bilingual until I was about eight. but now there is no one in my life now who speaks the way she did. (I apologize for the crude attempts at phonetic rendering of what I remember.)

 

Liebe kind remembers

The black Bakelite phone rings, once, twice.
My mother always answers on the third brrrring!
“Ya, vie gehtes; ya, alles ist in ordnung.
Was ist passiert? So etvas? Das kannicht sein….”

My head cupped in my hands,
I’m glum at six years-old, because I know
that’s how a l—–o—–n—–g conversation begins.

My mother talks with her best friend
for at least one hour every afternoon
just when I come in from Grade 1,
which makes me feel as though I’m not there.

Ich kann alles verstehen.
At least from my mother’s end of the conversation,
I understand what’s going on.

Though I couldn’t write the language then
and cannot now, I could speak it well.
Aber ich vill night is what I would say.
Whenever and however sweetly my mother asks,
I refuse to talk German on command.

Except when I lose patience
with my mother’s telephone chitchat/chitchat/chitchat:
That’s when I pick up the extension down the hall.
“Kann ich mit meine mutti sprechen, bitte”—
I muster as polite a demand as I can.

After which my mother usually sighs and signs off
with auf wiedersehn, as though she and her friend
had been speaking face-to-face,
and then she turns to me.

Day 17 Prompt from Jeff Griffin through the Found Poetry Review

The prompt from Jeff Griffin took me to the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology. As suggested, I read it through and transcribed chronologically and without punctuation what words or phrases I found “remarkable.” I then copied the text into Google Translate through a cycle of 5 different languages and then back to English. I’m afraid the chronology and substance of what I first noted remained more or less in tact in spite of Jeff’s prediction of translations going awry. Perhaps I was inept at the process. Would not be the first time. The poem below uses unaltered words and phrases which keep faith with the order in which I noted them originally.

Misspent

How the feminine gains strength
smelling of silence, prayers wearing out,
old thoughts—unbroken, never corralled.

To keep us from home, now I expose
the ironed life in ‘glorious’ childhood
which did not heal with time.

Nothing passed between us
but, under this wing, hard love,
possibility, memorable patience.

Day 16 Prompt from NaPoWriMo.net — choosing words from a specialized dictionary

Instead of the April 16 prompt from The Found Poetry Review, which may have provided a constellation of possibilities to others but left me cold, I followed, instead, the optional prompt for April 17 from NaPoWriMo.net, which both intrigued and amused.

Here’s the prompt: “Use ten words from a specialized dictionary in a poem.” The source I consulted: “Foyles Philavery,” by Christopher Foyle, 2007. (The 10 words appear in bold.)

Hunting season

Sophomania sufferer, I hear
your insufferable banter in the name of venery:
Your lust for a fitchew’s fur, mellisonant to your ears,
your craving for inchpin, sweet as the sorbite you seek
to drain from a breathing creature you dissavage
with death by pheon and crossbow.

It’s otiose for me to argue, I know.
As the black vulture circles free above us,
I turn remontado and disappear.

 

Day 15 Found Poetry Review Prompt from Joel Katelnikoff: Love what you hate

Joel Katelnikoff’s prompt took me to the reading list my book group set for 2015-2016 over my own objections to a sole focus on fiction and non-fiction related to Canada’s aboriginal or indigenous peoples. I felt the weight of the choices but read the books, on occasion with gritted teeth. What follows, then, is my take from those sources on finding “love within what we hate,”  which to be honest surprised me.

In this partially found poem, I’ve used the actual titles of books, exhibits and reports that I’ve experienced. They appear in italics, and I can supply footnotes, as necessary.

Manifesto

The World Until Yesterday before I learned to read
was a child’s playroom filled with toys and possibility
under skies, cloud-free.

The World Until Yesterday before I chose to read
about Riel and Dumont, A life of Revolution,
residential schools, Indigenous Healing,
was a simpler place, where conscience slept
in comfort, largely undisturbed

until the day a little Birdie sang Celia’s Song to me,
to expose the present day’s ugly past,
to show Truth and Reconciliation as necessities.

Walking with our sisters, I inched down
a corridor of moccasins, beaded or plain,
each one for a woman missing or murdered
because she was The Inconvenient Indian,
or from the Métis Nation: Hiding in Plain Sight.
So easy to overlook, to forget till now

failed governance, broken promises,
abuse, and deprivation, which make
The Comeback of indigenous peoples
a triumph of will, talent, patience
over settler greed and duplicity.

Never thought of myself as a colonizer before.
Never assumed my share of the shame for
the suicides, attempted or successful,
of Extraordinary Canadians,
though they might not self-identify as such.
Extraordinary because they were here first.

Time now
to embrace justice,
to listen,
finally to learn
we can’t be white tourists
in an indigenous land.

Now The Reason We Walk
toward An inconvenient truth
is that at long last we begin to see our future
as one to share.

Day 14: Prompt from Brian Oliu Re: The Found Poetry Review Challenge

Brian Oliu suggested setting aside “about twenty minutes of your day with the intention of “doing research” for a piece. Do not allow yourself to write about anything that you do not experience firsthand….Allow yourself to be immersed in your project & only trust “first hand research” take notes, but don’t let the notes dictate your experience. After you have concluded your “research” begin writing immediately & without prejudice–don’t stop, don’t worry about linebreaks or punctuation, or word choice:capture whatever fleeting magic you have conjured until the feeling is gone.”
Well, it’s not ‘magic’ that characterized the firsthand experience captured in the piece, below. Again, a day late.

Cliché Ritual

Papers come out of my ears. More than I imagined all over the carpet. Raked charge card slips, bills, receipts, form into neat, little heaps just days before the deadline! Still cross- referencing, double-checking, collating, misplacing what I’ve just seen, I have to dig for it. Rather be doing anything else, except visiting the dentist. I pay my accountant through the nose to submit my return. A relief, frankly. Though I wish I could give him the piles as they are, let him work his magic in that high glass palace. Though I’d have to pay double, which would piss me off. Instead, I struggle to hold onto the string from where the story of each category begins before the whole darn shebang unravels, and I have to start from scratch. En route, I slice fingertips on sharp sheets and bleed, and then I mis-staple till I figure out a stack’s too thick and use a clip instead. That’s expensive, too: I use coloured ones, ‘cause ‘silver’ clips stick like rust, make me cringe as if I had chalk on my hands. Only then do I assemble the still-fluttering papers and stuff them into a giant envelope with a blank cheque, dated April, owing.

Day 13: Prompt from the Found Poetry Review

The April 13 prompt from Senna Yee had a light-hearted side: “Travel websites have always intrigued me with their language– visual, lush and sometimes a bit dramatic and naive. Browse and write down any words/phrases that interest you….Craft a poem using only these words/phrases. You may arrange them in any way you wish.”

Of course, a variation appealed more than the strict letter of the prompt. What follows is a poem drawn from words and phrases found in the winter 2016 magazine of the Canadian Automobile Association. Each found word or phrase is non-contiguous and so appears on separate lines.

Milestone

I had a mission
to feed
the fantasy,
explore
trails that lead to
hard-to-find,
forehead-slapping
experience;

to cross the river,
embrace
hours of daylight,
diamond-quilted
thermal
danger,
caught by sunlight.

Don’t panic!
You’re like me,
driven,
hoping for
biodiverse
quirkiness,
tango lessons,
ruins,
bazaars,
almost any kind of trinket,
cheese and chocolate.

Take the two.
Life happens,
pays tributes to the gods
I’m craving.

Day 12 Impromptu poem through the Found Poetry Review

Oh dear. Another day late. Well, can’t be helped. Here is the prompt from Robert Fitterman, borrowed from Steve Zuttanski: “Collect found language from individuals who articulate how they feel, specifically, in their bodies…physical symptoms in the body (neck, head, stomach, feet, etc). Use at least 20 different posts from different speakers. Modify, arrange, modify.” Which I modified, as you will see below.

I have no fuse

How do you cope with fear
You get used to it

I don’t get thrown by it
don’t sound like an idiot saying
I was invisible when I was underneath
massive rifts
some minor slippage

Trying to go out every day
hearing voices
troubles
being good to others
just didn’t work out

Honestly
I suffered a lot of nostalgia

People who do not believe
shouldn’t be surprised
it’s a workout

To cry or think of something sad for a while
really takes off and catches

 

(Phrases or words (and the title) which constitute within a single line are non-contiguous and taken from about 20 different articles or reports from different sources in the April 9 paper edition of The Toronto Star. )

 

Day 10: Catch up impromptu poem

Instead of taking the cue from the Found Poetry Review for April 10, turned to NaPoWriMo.net and the lead from Lillian Hallberg’s challenge: ” to write a “book spine” poem. This involves taking a look at your bookshelves, and writing down titles in order (or rearranging the titles) to create a poem…. that is seeded throughout with your own lines, interjections, and thoughts.  Here’s what emerged:

Behind the second shelf

After the falls galore
and running with scissors
she broke into the school of essential ingredients
to ‘edit’ the accidental indies,
those festival films
awaiting her cuts, her fearful
symmetry about the big why
for her virgin cure

 

Key:  “After the falls,” Catherine Gildiner
“Galore,” Michael Crummy
“Running with Scissors,” Augusten Burroughs
“The School of Essential Ingredients,” Erica Bauermeister
“The Accidental Indies,” Robert Finley
“Her Fearful Symmetry,” Audrey Niffenegger
“The Big Why,” Michael Winter
“Virgin Cure,” Amy McKay

April 11: impromptu poem from another prompt

Fell off the wagon yesterday (April 10) and didn’t write a poem in response to Found Poetry Review’s prompt. Perhaps will have a chance to catch up later today. Perhaps not.

Didn’t really feel any affinity for today’s prompt from that source which had to do with astrological signs and other stuff. Instead, attempted a response to this Day 11 optional prompt from NaPoWriMo.net: “…write a poem in which you closely describe an object or place, and then end with a much more abstract line that doesn’t seemingly have anything to do with that object or place, but which, of course, really does….An abstract, philosophical kind of statement closing out a poem that is otherwise intensely focused on physical, sensory details.”

 Waiting for the axe

She’s like a tree—all bark, no sap
inner rings wrung out

pre-leaf, as if leaves could limp out of buds
discouraged by April frosts

Winds sigh through her branches
arthritic, sore, stiff limbs
outstretched toward a pale sun in a pale sky

till, in the notch of a heavy bough
a robin lands, strands of grasses in his beak

Back-and-forth he flies
all day and the following day, too

to form a nest at shoulder-height
A messy pile takes shape
Hope flows to her roots

underwater, without Noah

Impromptu poem 9 (Found Poetry Review)

Here’s the prompt for April 9 from Frank Montesonti about a novel (for Garnett) and intriguing way to approach erasure poetry and the start of a poem employing the new approach:

“Erasure poetry in its essence….is just the idea of selection. Highlighting the words you do want to keep instead of erasing the ones you don’t ….creates new possibilities in poetic dialogue and polyvocal erasure texts….Think in terms of creating a dialogue. Highlight some phrases or words in one color, then feel if there might be a response to those words somewhere else in the text. How many voices do you hear in the text….What is the conversation…?”

Since importing colour to this post seems impossible, after the full text, are notes to show the three voices that emerged from colour-coding on the original text, which is:

“Nothing fills the spirit and lowers stress hormones like taking a walk in a nature preserve and connecting to the natural world, or sitting by the seashore and listening to the sound of crashing waves. We are surrounded by movement in nature, and yet, in this high-speed world, we have become disconnected with ourselves, from our ancestral ways of life, from our own sense of internal movement, and from gut rhythms. “Happy Gut”, Vincent Pedre, 2015, p. 207

A first ‘voice’ emerged as:

Nothing lowers nature
listening to ourselves
our own sense

A second ‘voice’ emerged as:

the spirit connecting sound
disconnected from movement, rhythms

A third voice emerged as:

our ancestral ways of life

The piece as a whole:

Nothing lowers nature
listening to ourselves
our own sense

the spirit connecting sound
disconnected from movement, rhythms
our ancestral ways of life

 

 

Impromptu poem 8 (Found Poetry Review)

Harold Abramowitz suggested this prompt: “Write something you cannot remember: a memory of something – a story, an anecdote, a song, another poem, a recipe, an episode of a television program, anything, that you only partially or imperfectly remember. Write multiple versions, at least 6, of this memory.”

What came to me were distinct ‘verses,’ using the syllable discipline of the tanka form and relating to the same TV broadcast, parts of which I remember, though not all of it.

Reflections: “On the Beach”

                                                     (after Nevil Shute’s novel and subsequent films)

Black and white flicker:
men, women, well-dressed,
standing on Florida sand.
They face west, the ‘mushroom’ cloud,
armageddon, now upon them.

*

Unwilling witness,
my eleven year-old self
watches the action;
cannot tear myself away
from panic or acceptance.

*

Services all off,
a woman on insulin
sees her future
without electricity:
A two days’ supply of life.

*

What happened to them,
the characters in that play?
I do not recall.
It could not end well for them
as their world, their lives collapse.

*

I’ve walked that shore since,
never thinking of the outcome,
of their hopelessness,
but I’ve shuddered in my dreams
at how being trapped would feel.

*

What I can’t forget:
The anguish of no way out;
scavenging, begging;
my survival unlikely;
desperation palpable.

April 7, Impromptu poem (Found Poetry Review)

Simone Muench  suggested the following prompt: “write a cento that is a self-portrait, or anthology of your life, utilizing lines and fragments from your own work,” an intriguing and somewhat daunting task.

 

You’re lost if you look, if you listen, if you follow

 

Austere, without edges or colour,
small-smiling, she looks down,

watches, waits for a sign, any sign,

listens for the story
as cardinals sing a requiem among apple blossoms.
Otherwise, she feels invisible.

Her life lies on her lips like a mystery,
like the ice that coats trees when you thought it would rain.

And I begin to understand
the legacy of those cruel shards,

to be herself
what will shatter with her
in a way both welcome and not.

                                     

Cento Gloss: Each line in this ‘self-portrait’ poem is taken unaltered from the following poems written over the past decade+: “Panorama,” “Woman of ice, woman of glass,” The April Dead II,” “Fairy Tales,” “Nero fiddled while Rome burned,” “Huis clos,” “The days of billy boy bad,” (a line from which furnished the title for the cento,) “Debut,” “Elegy for a Thrush,” “Post Partum,” “Vanishing point, “ “Where does it hurt”, “No regrets.”

 

 

 

Impromptu poem: Day 6 (Found Poetry Review)

In response to Noah Eli Gordon’s prompt to “write a poem comprised of a single sentence, spread across at least seven lines of no fewer than 5 words each. Repeat one of your lines 3 times, but not in succession. Include the following: the phrases ‘as when the,’ a scientific term, a flower’s proper name, the name of a country in South America, a person’s proper name, the phrase ‘which is to say,’ something improper.”

Uncle

 You make me do what I don’t want to

but I can’t pretend I don’t understand —

you: Self-satisfied, self-pleasured, self-absorbed, self-ish Sam—

you speak to me in dialects I wish were foreign

or that I’d need a cochlear implant to hear

but I can’t pretend I don’t understand

which is to say I’m like helianthus facing south and west

as when the sun goes down toward Ecuador

and I turn, too, because you make me do what I don’t want to

but I can’t pretend I don’t understand

Impromptu poem: Day 5

Here’s Garnett’s response to Sarah Blake’s prompt in the Found Poetry Review Impromptu series for National Poetry Month. She suggested choosing a song and having its dynamics open the door to a poem.  The song Garnett chose is Carole King’s “You’ve got a friend, ” which Garnett sang and read until this poem happened. Perhaps Garth Brooks will be taken by the lyrics and turn them into his next hit! LOL!

Country, western

So it’s a dark day, and a darker night
And the rain’s still coming down

You wanna put down the bottle
but instead you take another swig

And when I call you say you love me
And I hesitate, oh I hesitate

‘Cause it’s hard to believe, so hard to believe
after all that you’ve done, done to me

I wanna say I love you, too, because I do
But I hesitate, oh I hesitate

So I ask, “is it still pourin’? Are the streetlights all on?
Do they shine up the pavement? Ain’t they pretty”?

You take another swig
Then you tell me again you love me

And I wanna say I love you, too, because I do
Still I hesistate, oh I hesitate

till it’s late; time to get off the phone
watch the rain through my tears

 

April 4 Impromptu Poem through the Found Poetry Review

The prompt from Woody Leslie involves meanings that have multiple words. He said “write a word, make list of other words related to it, combine these words into a woodblock sharing letters, keep rearranging, adding or subtracting words till you have a woodblock you like aesthetically both visually and linguistically… it can stand alone as a one-word poem or….)” Garnett began with one word: ‘reconciliation.’ This is what resulted.

Afterwar

image1

April 3, Impromptu Poem

 

Kay lied to us. She
couldn’t cope with such colour.
Her vision shattered
like stained glass, kinetic: An
apocalypse on that day.

 

Here is the prompt: “Stare at a word until the letters start to discorporate. You will find that letter cohesion, the letter glue that keeps letters stuck inside a word, is disrupted and dissolves. Fragments of letters will dislodge too. You are then free to visually interpret or document the life of letters outside their word existence as loosely or succinctly as possible.”

While the idea was to dissociate the letters and come up with a visual interpretation/imagery that departs from the word, here’s what happened to me. Having chosen the word ‘kaleidoscope’ and having stared at it for quite a while, I found the components of the word suggested the lines above. I also tried to import a visual to add a view through the instrument as background, underneath the words, but couldn’t find a way to do that. So the short piece above appears untitled and unadorned. And I used the syllabic discipline of the tanka, BTW.

April 2 Impromptu ‘Lite’ Poem in Response to Found Poetry Review’s Prompt of the Day

Drunktime is even more spectacular

Whatever your potion
it’s all here
in the liquor cabinet
packed with endless blends
perfect proofs and an unrivalled flood
of possibilities.
There are so many drinks to discover
everyday this way.

 

Prompt: go to an ad, take out the nouns and add others as you will.

Source: Ad for the Cayman Islands, The Globe and Mail, Section T, page 1, April 2, 2016

Original text: “Paradise is even more spectacular when it’s up to 50% off. Whatever your passion, it’s all here in the Cayman Islands. Packed with endless activities, perfect beaches and an unrivalled culinary scene, there are so many reasons to discover Cayman this summer. “

A. Garnett Weiss to write a poem-a-day in Found Poetry Review’s April challenge

Starting yesterday, (yes, is a day late, explanation to follow), JC, using her pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss, will follow prompts from the Found Poetry Review (FPR)  to create a poem a day during National Poetry Month.

She intends to post them on this website at a minimum. “What can I say? I am a luddite and have as yet to figure out how to participate in this challenge on FPR’s website, except by adding the poem to my ‘what’s new’ page each day,” she sighed. “That’s why I’m a day late starting out.” She sighed again.

“This is my first experience with writing to a regime imposed by such relentless cues. I may decide some of the ‘output’ should stay as drafts, in which case, I’ll post a ‘gap’ message, just to keep me honest.”

Here is the first piece for April 1

 

they came in May on
the breeze; blown like tumbleweeds
dandelions seed

 

Prompts: word–tumbleweed; First 5 words–“They came in May on”

Source: ad for Fibre Containers in Oct. 1918 monthly Magazine

A. Garnett Weiss: Sole Canadian poet in Silver Birch Press’s “Ides” collection of chapbooks

The past has a habit of not only of catching up but also of having a future.

A few years ago, JC Sulzenko began interviewing people whose choices about what to do and who to be in life interested her. In many cases, she spoke with friends and acquaintances. She also sought out strangers in lines of work she thought could offer possibilities for reflection and subject matter for her poetry.

Her purpose: To assemble up to forty ‘portraits’ as the basis of a volume of poetry which would capture what she learned and from which she could draw out the essence of her subjects through free verse.

She met with more than two-dozen individuals and wrote poems arising from each of these discussions. Several poems appeared in such publications as Maple Tree Literary Supplement and various volumes of The Saving Bannister.

Then, JC admits she allowed the project to be overtaken by other events, including the production of her play and later her book for families about Alzheimer’s disease, “What My Grandma Means to Say.”

That is until Silver Birch Press offered her the chance to have 15 pages of thematically-linked poetry included in its 2015 chapbook anthology, “Ides,” which was released on October 16, 2015.

Published under her pseudonym, A. Garnett Weiss, “Cameos, appearances” features poems informed by the lives of a doctor, a puppeteer, a passenger train engineer, an adjudicator, a jewelry artist, a librarian, a lyricist, a friend, a teacher, a composer, an innkeeper, a chef, a volunteer and a naturalist.

Here’s the link to the excellent video trailer Silver Birch Press produced for “Ides.”

https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/ides-a-collection-of-poetry-chapbooks/

The collection is available from Amazon.com at a cost of $ 15.

Silver Birch Press tells all about JC’s multiple identities

Today, Silver Birch Press has featured “What’s in my name” by A. Garnett Weiss in its ALL ABOUT MY NAME poetry series.

Here’s the link to the post:
https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/whats-in-my-name-by-a-garnett-weiss-all-about-my-name-poetry-series/

The poem and additional biographical and explanatory notes reveal choices JC has made to govern how she is called and calls herself.

“Yes,” she admits, “I have multiple identities that serve my purposes well, professionally and personally.” I enjoy being whoever I am at the time!

“Vallum” features Weiss’s “Hesitation marks” as its poem of the week

Garnett is delighted that the magazine’s editor has chosen “Hesitation marks” for the poem of the week. This poem first appeared in Vallum among the selections on the topic of speed.

“The piece is a cento that I wrote using lines from different poems by Robin Robertson. I am honoured that Vallum features it again this week.” Here’s the link: https://vallum.wordpress.com/

Death of Nobel Laureate Tomas Transtromer – a cento in homage by A. Garnett Weiss

When no one was looking

It happens in this or maybe that way:
Inside you opens up, vault after vault endlessly.

I am not empty. I am open
and grow milder and wilder than here.

Time streams down from the sun and the moon
with journeys in its claws.

While the sleepless days relieved one another,
I have paid for what I ought to and have receipts for everything
heavier than life.

I know the deep. Where one is both prisoner and guard,
everything living sings, stoops, waves, creeps.

 

Cento gloss: When no one was looking

Title: Tomas Transtromer/Don Coles translator, “Epigram”
Line 1: Tomas Transtromer/Don Coles translator, “Indoors is Endless”
Line 2: Tomas Transtromer/Don Coles translator, “Romanesque Arches”
Line 3: Tomas Transtromer/Don Coles translator, “Nightingale in Badeluna”
Line 4: Tomas Transtromer/Don Coles translator, “Six Winters”
Line 5: Tomas Transtromer/Don Coles translator, “Vermeer”
Line 6: Tomas Transtromer/Don Coles translator, “Flyers”
Line 7: Tomas Transtromer/Don Coles translator, “The Longforgotten Captain”
Line 8: Tomas Transtromer/Don Coles translator, “Streets in Shanghai”
Line 9: Tomas Transtromer/Don Coles translator, “Lullaby”
Line 10: Tomas Transtromer/Don Coles translator, “Yellowjacket”
Line 11: Tomas Transtromer/Don Coles translator, “Madrigal”

New WEBSITE Dedicated to the Work of A. Garnett Weiss Launched

Although information on A. Garnett Weiss is available from www.jcsulzenko.com, an independent Web presence has now been established.

“Since Garnett’s work is receiving attention and being published in literary journals and on-line, it seemed a good moment to create a site dedicated to Weiss’s poetry. ” Go to  http://www.agarnettweiss.com to access the site, which will be updated on a regular basis.

Cento by A. Garnett Weiss featured by Silver Birch Press

Silver Birch Press has honoured Garnett Weiss by publishing “Had a window” on September 4 in its series of found, free verse poems, based on an interview with a celebrity.

The source from which Weiss extracted words and phrases for the four-stanza piece was Richard Ouzounian’s “The Big Interview: Ryan Reynolds,” which appeared in the Toronto Star on August 23, 2014.

As Weiss explains, “I read the source material, extract phrases or words of interest, then live with them until a sequence emerges and then the poem clicks. I am delighted that “Had a window” has gained a place in the series which this imaginative press is posting through the whole month of September.

Here’s the link to the poem and the series: http://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com

 

June 16: Embrace BLOOMSDAY 2022 with this found poem drawn from James Joyce’s “Ulysses”

On parade, JC Sulzenko’s poem, written under her pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss, draws on phrases taken directly from Chapter 10 of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Why this poem for this day?

“Bloomsday celebrates Thursday 16 June 1904, the one day captured in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The day is named for Leopold Bloom, the central character in Ulysses. The novel follows Bloom’s life and thoughts 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,” JC notes. “What came clear to me from Joyce’s words was the parade 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.”

What do you think about this found poem? Let the poet know.