Category Archives: A. Garnett Weiss

Posts specifically by or about JC’s adult writing’s pseudonym

The Light Ekphrastic publishes 2 poems by JC Sulzenko

JC is very pleased that Jenny O’Grady, Editor and Publisher of The Light Ekphrastic (TLE), chose her to collaborate with Baltimore artist Leah Michaels for the August issue of the online journal.

The journal exclusively publishes ekphrastic collaborations.

JC is no stranger to TLE and welcomes the opportunity to write in response to works of art and to have her work interpreted by artists who use various media.

In “Recessional,” JC offered a poem originally written to incorporate words from a poetry challenge. Leah Michaels chose to create an image related to memory, relationship, language, and ruins in response.

In “I must bury sorrow,“ JC writing as A. Garnett Weiss, used the cento form and lines from Robert Browning to respond to Leah’s image of The Angel of Grief by 19th century US sculptor William Wetmore Story.

Here is the link to their work to cut and paste into your browser:
https://thelightekphrastic.com/august-2019-issue-39/michaels-sulzenko-august-2019/

JC thanked Leah Michaels and Jenny O’Grady for the chance to let art influence her poetry and for her poetry to influence art in such a forum.

“I find great joy in writing ekphrastic poetry,” JC admits. “I feel enriched by each experience.”

Working together, JC and writing partner Carol A. Stephen have developed a full collection of ekphrastic poems written collaboratively, some of which have been published. All they need now is a poetry publisher to help these innovative intepretations reach a wider audience.

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JC wrote Poems To-Go at the Birds and Bees fundraiser for the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO)

Poet JC brought her impromptu poetry-writing to the Birds and Bees Fundraiser on Saturday, July 27 during two, 90-minute time slots.

For a $10 fee, she interviewed willing nature enthusiasts and turned what she learned into a poem with a minimum of 3 lines, which the buyer received in file form after the event. All proceeds benefitted PEPtBO in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Use this link to access a poem JC wrote in response to a commission at the event by Tamara Segal:

https://www.facebook.com/324148114673039/posts/718871921867321?s=714679292&sfns=mo

“This tailored poem is a mini-version of the services I provide when I write poetry on commission,” JC explained.

JC only writes on subjects within the bounds of public discourse. There are no returns, and the copyright for each poem stays with JC.

“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. “That is why I launched “BESPOKE POETRY” to give me the chance to create new poems or poems to-go this way.”

JC began her love affair with poetry written on demand many summers ago at 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.

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. Each year, the price tag went up by a bit. The final year of her participation, she raised funds for 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.”

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New Bookends Review: “Suzanne” by Anais Barbeau-Lavalette

JC is back in book review mode at long last.
Go to Bookends on this website to read her take on the novel, “Suzanne”, a 2019 CBC Canada Read’s selection, to which she gives an unusual 8/10 score.

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JC appears on 99.3 FM radio on Father’s Day and at Arts Crawl with a poetry reading on Thursday, June 27

Just after the June 16 Sunday noon news, JC recommends a book that influenced her as part of a panel on Lynn Pickering’s The County Writes…The County Reads, 99.3 FM Prince Edward County.

Sworn to secrecy until the big reveal, JC welcomed the opportunity to hype her selection as a book from which every Canadian would draw benefits at many levels.

Selecting one title proved challenging. She almost chose Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” a book she revels in rereading. She also found it difficult to resist Anne Lamott’s “Bird By Bird,” which she considers one of the best primers on how to let oneself develop a writing process that is satisfying.
Tune into the show. Here’s a link: https://www.facebook.com/993CountyFM

On Thursday, June 27 JC joins in Arts Crawl festivities with a reading at the Armoury in Picton, Ontario at 6:30 PM.

The Prince Edward County Arts Council held its inaugural Wind and Water Writing Contest, which JC won. JC will read the winning cento, written using her pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss, and a selection from her debut collection, “South Shore Suite…POEMS,” from Point Petre Publishing (www.pointpetrepublishing.ca)

Here’s a link to the FB posting from the Council about the event and the Crawl around town.
https://www.experiencepicton.com/picton-art-crawl?fbclid=IwAR3Kh_BYE7_7jR01jx3OxTP1I6_N6jbYqxfS39qlSOX50naYTd5eA-vUaGs

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First prize for “Sacred place where each thing sings itself” by JC Sulzenko writing as A. Garnett Weiss

JC is very pleased that her cento “Sacred place where each thing speaks itself” won first place in the inaugural Wind and Water Writing Contest convened by the Prince Edward County Arts Council. She writes found poetry and centos using the pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss.

This is how the Arts Council website describes the Jury’s rationale for selecting “Sacred place where each thing speaks itself”:

“The winner was chosen from dozens of entries in a wide variety of genres, yet Sulzenko’s piece stood out for eloquent use of imagery, a clear and confident voice, and unique line breaks that made for a stunning and powerful read. Sulzenko’s creativity perfectly captured our theme of Exploring, creating an image that speaks to anyone familiar with the County and nature itself. JC Sulzenko has published poetry widely, in national and local award and has published in many other literary magazines.”

JC thanks jury members playwright Marianne Ackerman, publisher Leigh Nash of Invisible Publishing, and writer Sarah Selecky for choosing her work and local author Kelly Thompson for short-listing the poem.

Here is the link to the Council’s site, where the cento is posted:
https://countyarts.ca/wind-water-writing-contest/

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JC attended the May 14 awards ceremony for the National Capital Writing Contest (CAA, Ottawa Branch)

JC congratulated the finalists at the May 14 Awards ceremony in Ottawa. Here’s the link to the Canadian Authors Association (Ottawa Branch) announcement of winning writers and poems.
http://canadianauthors.org/nationalcapitalregion/contests/ncwc/

JC felt honoured to judge the poetry entries in this year’s writing contest. “I recognize how idiosyncratic the process is: one judge’s selections are particular to that judge.

“Judging the work blind is a blessing, so that the identity of the top entrants remained unknown to me until the announcement. I was delighted with the results! The winning poems by Sylvia Adams and by Susan Atkinson were both memorable and incomparable, which is why I recommended, and the CAA accepted, that these poets share first place in the competition.”

Texts of the winning poetry and short stories will be published in “Byline”, the Branch’s newsletter.

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Patrick Lane, IN MEMORIAM

With sadness, JC read today of the death of master poet Patrick Lane.

JC, writing as A. Garnett Weiss, created a cento for her manuscript which uses lines from individual poems in Lane’s collection of 40 poems, “Winter.”

She offers the poem here to pay homage to Lane’s legacy and in his memory.

In that certain darkness decided

He is the dream man, given to her by the snow;
a sharp, lean hero, immaculate and alone
where the weak have no place.

She knows their flesh is a repetition.
It is the story about grief and music
scored with myriad tiny cuts
so perfect no one will ever know
to listen to their singing, the voices,
the shouts, the lamentation after
their wild impossible crying for more.

Everything is ready to begin
that impossible dream of beauty
because it resembles the unfolding we call love.

Cento gloss: In that certain darkness decided
Title: Patrick Lane, “Winter 4”*
Line 1: Patrick Lane, “Winter 40”
Line 2: Patrick Lane, “Winter 43”
Line 3: Patrick Lane, “Winter 32”
Line 4: Patrick Lane, “Winter 36”
Line 5: Patrick Lane, “Winter 35”
Line 6: Patrick Lane, “Winter 8”
Line 7: Patrick Lane, “Winter 21”
Line 8: Patrick Lane, “Winter 10”
Line 9: Patrick Lane, “Winter 42”
Line 10: Patrick Lane, “Winter 11”
Line 11: Patrick Lane, “Winter 6”
Line 12: Patrick Lane, “Winter 22”
Line 13: Patrick Lane, “Winter 29”

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All for the love of books and reading: March 1 in Beaufort SC

JC is thrilled to participate in READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY in Beaufort.

Here’s a link to what is spearheaded by the United Way of the Lowcountry from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM on the anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

https://uwlowcountry.org/read-across-america-3/

The free program of readings, games and food is aimed at children from Pre-K to Grade 3 and takes place at 801 Carteret St., the Center for the Arts at the University of South Carolina Beaufort.

JC learned about this celebration through local author Elizabeth Belenchia and welcomes the kind invitation of the United Way to share her poems and stories with Lowcountry children and their families.

Wait ‘til you see what JC wears to help her explain what makes a poem a poem and as she reads from “Boot Crazy” and “Fat poems Tall poems Long poems Small.”

She may even try out some new poems to get feedback from the kids.

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Homage to Mary Oliver

When JC read of the death of poet Mary Olive, she paused to remember very fine words by Oliver that will stay with her always.

“As A.Garnett Weiss, I wrote the following cento a few years ago, which I offer in recognition of Oliver’s craft and soul as a poet. May her memory as was her life be a blessing,” JC stated.

HOW DOES ANY OF US LIVE IN THIS WORLD

In every language, there is a word for it—
the dark heart of the story that is all.

Like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of a song
about the great wheel of growth,
the world offers itself to your imagination,

aches to be peaceful finally and at any cost—
a dream that would never breathe air.

How the mind clings to the world it knows, rushing
by the notion of oblivion:

all those gleaming and reasonless lives
in the crease and spasm of the thing about to be done
in those dark halls of honey,

with the reason for the wind forever a secret.

Cento gloss: How does any of us live in this world
Title: Mary Oliver, “Consequences”
Line 1: Mary Oliver, “The River”
Line 2: Mary Oliver, “The Chance to Love Everything”
Line 3: Mary Oliver, “Dogfish”
Line 4: Mary Oliver, “Stanley Kunitz”
Line 5: Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”
Line 6: Mary Oliver, “Members of the Tribe”
Line 7: Mary Oliver, “The Swimmer”
Line 8: Mary Oliver, “Robert Schumann”
Line 9: Mary Oliver, “Bowing to the Empress”
Line 10: Mary Oliver, “Whispers”
Line 11: Mary Oliver, “The Shark”
Line 12: Mary Oliver, “The Moths”
Line 13: Mary Oliver, “Orion”

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Ottawa’s Sawdust Reading Series launched “Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology” from Mansfield Press Nov. 21

JC’s poem “Right Here” was chosen by editors Meaghan Strimas and the late Priscila Uppal for this anthology, which was launched by Mansfield Press in Toronto on November 8, 2018 and in Ottawa at the Sawdust Reading Series on November 21.

Written to capture the hopefulness of her mother’s friend, this 5-stanza poem exists in a rich collection that takes cancer on with no holds barred. Not for the faint of heart, these offerings have a life and soul-affirming quality that is surprising.

JC is honoured to have her work appear in “Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology,” which features poetry from well-known and emerging poets.

 

 

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JC’s poem receives award and is published in Lampman Challenge chapbook from the Poets’ Pathway

Ontario poets joined together to celebrate the legacy of Canada’s Confederation Poets on Sunday, October 14 at the Old Ottawa South Community Centre for the Poets’ Pathway awards in response to the 2018 Lampman Challenge. Each winning poem related in some way to Ottawa and to Archibald Lampman’s sonnet,”Winter Uplands,” written in 1899. Poets’ Pathway Press released the chapbook of winning poems at the event.

The Poets’ Pathway honours Ottawa’s 19th Century poets on the land that inspired them. Copies of the chapbook are available through the Poets’ Pathway (poetspathway.ca) for $10 each.

JC’s found poem, “Winter@Uplands,” sourced from Lampman’s sonnet and submitted under her pseudonym (A. Garnett Weiss), received Honourable Mention in the competition.

Poets’ Pathway committee members Jane Moore, Ben Glossop and Carolyn Malchy organized a full and satisfying afternoon which began with the presentation of awards. Participating poets read their work, and Ronnie R. Brown hosted an open mic session.

Music by Ben Glossop and by Noah Landers provided moments for reflection. Excellent nibbles created by Carolyn Best spiced up the proceedings.

 

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Poetry contest “For the Birds” has closed; JC now selecting poems for publication

Contest judge and chapbook editor JC Sulzenko welcomed many fine entries from Prince Edward County poets and visitors. She is in the process of selecting poems for the collection and in contacting the poets who submitted their work. “We received poems of such quality. I look very forward to seeing them in print.”

PEPtBO monitors and reports on bird migration along the County’s unique South Shore and acts as official caretaker of the IBA (Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.)

In January, PEPtBO plans to publish For the Birds, a chapbook of winning poems with photographs taken by local enthusiasts, on its website and to celebrate the chapbook launch with a prize for the top poem. The winner will be announced upon publication of the virtual chapbook.

JC explains.”It’s a great way to ring in the winter of 2019 by focusing on birds and nature with poems rooted in the County.” For questions about the contest, write to: info@peptbo.ca.

 

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League of Canadian Poets published Garnett Weiss in its April “Fresh Voices” post

“Where, watching life through windows” appeared online in this April offering from the League of Canadian Poets. The cento originally appeared in Oratorealis in 2017 and draws lines unaltered from poems by George Barker, Louis MacNeice,  Dylan Thomas,David Gascoyne, Ronal Bottrall, Edith Sitwell, Cecil Day Lewis, Ezra Pound, William Epsom, and Stephen Spender.

Here is the link to paste in your browser to access the post:

http://poets.ca/2018/04/17/npm18-fresh-voices-norma-kerby-martha-swinn-a-garnett-weiss/

Using the pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss for found poetry and centos gives JC Sulzenko the distance she needs to distinguish such experimental forms from the narrative and lyrical poems she writes using her own name.

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Oratorealis publishes two centos by A. Garnett Weiss

BC-based Oratorealis, which focuses on spoken word and experimental poetry in a triannual literary journal, published two centos by A. Garnett Weiss in Volume 2/Issue 2, which came out at the end of the summer.

“Reflection, stained glass” welcomes lines from poets such as Toi Derricotti, Beckian Fritz Goldberg, Brenda Hillman and Alicia Suskin Ostriker. “Where, watching life through windows”* takes its words from poems by some of the greats of the 20th century, including Dylan Thomas, Ezra Pound and Stephen Spender.

Weiss finds great joy in creating centos. “Living with the poems I read until individual lines or partial lines dictate the way a new work, original in form and meaning, evolves is an exciting and humbling process. Each piece both pays homage to and honours the poems from which the lines have been selected. There such such energy inherent in crafting poems in the cento form.”

*The title of this poem regrettably was misprinted in Oratorealis.

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New Bookends Review: Henning Mankell’s “Italian shoes”

JC gives this 2006 novel by prolific master of the ‘dark’ Swedish tale, Henning Mankell, 7/5/10 even though she couldn’t put the book down. Why? Go to Bookends to read her mini-review.

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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.”

 

 

 

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Silver Birch Press features A. Garnett Weiss poem in new ‘lost and found’ series

Garnett’s prose poem “When Johnny came marching” appears online in the newest series from Silver Birch Press (SBP) in California.

This is how Garnett described her creative process: “I’m always intrigued by subjects Silver Birch Press suggests for a series. I read the cue, then waken as though from a dream to revisit experiences I hadn’t thought of in many, many years. The title for “When Johnny came marching,” comes in part from a war song. The song led me to recapture in prose poem form rather than in free verse circumstances and details around the disappearance of my favourite doll when I was five years-old and to situate that doll in my life today. I am grateful for the prompt.”

The photo, which complements this poem, shows Johnny still in Garnett’s hands and favour.

Here’s the link to Silver Birch Press:

https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/when-johnny-came-marching-poem-by-a-garnett-weiss-lost-and-found-poetry-and-prose-series/

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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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Two poems by A. Garnett Weiss in the 28th issue of “The Light Ekphrastic”

Editor Jenny O’Grady paired Garnett with Maryland artist Gina Pierleoni as co-contributors to the 28th issue of the online journal “The Light Ekphrastic, ” now celebrating its 7th anniversary.

Garnett chose The Deepest Sleep from among the extraordinary works of art on the website featuring Pierleoni’s art– http://ledbaltimore.com/featured-on-the-board/gina-pierleoni/. “Given the range of work Gina exhibited, so much of her art called to me, but the instant I saw The Deepest Sleep, I had to write to it. Surrender is the result,” Garnett noted.

“My poems have appeared before in “The Light Ekphrastic,” and I am grateful to the editor for publishing them in this fine journal. It’s always an adventure when I embark on a new partnership with an artist who will interpret my poetry and whose art will prompt me to write a new poem. I never know what to expect of the artist or of myself. That is the ‘magic’ of the ekphrastic process. That’s why I welcome opportunities to be surprised by each, such collaboration.“

In response to Garnett’s poem For Nathan Cirillo, soldier, Gina created Lamentation, a poignant collage that captures indelibly the relationship between the soldier’s death and an aged mother’s response. Here’s where to find these works: https://thelightekphrastic.com/2016/11/25/november-2016-issue-28/

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Comments about A. Garnett Weiss’s winning centos in The Banister Niagara Poetry Anthology

For the second time, Garnett’s centos took top honours in The Banister, the annual anthology featuring “ an eclectic mix of Ontario voices,” in the words of Poetry Chair Keith Inman.Here’s what award-winning poet and author Keith Garebian, who judged the entries, wrote: ” Never mind the first unicorn is an expert cento—a form that is a level ahead of the found poem as a poetic mode because its inspiration comes from multiple poetic sources. For a good cento, the poet’s mind must never merely wander across quotations. It needs to keep a firm focus on unity of theme, tone and rhythm—which this one does superbly, using surprising images in order to channel the poet’s melancholy reflection.”

“I am most grateful to Keith Garebian for these comments, which align closely with what I set out to accomplish in each cento I compose, “ Garnett noted. “I find joy in this form of poetry, Though considered by some poets and editors as ‘experimental,’ writing centos has become my mainstream.”

Never mind the first unicorn received second prize. Honourable mentions went to We lie down in each other, we lie down alone, and to The only song I know.

Garnett’s cento Nothing is eternal. Not even the trees won the 2013 contest judged by Gregory Betts. He also awarded honourable mentions to Against a guttering candle, written dreams and to Psyche.

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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“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

 

 

 

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A. Garnett Weiss featured in Silver Birch Press’s Nancy Drew Anthology

For kids of many generations, Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene hooked them on reading. Whenever a new book came out, the local bookstore (and there were several independent! bookstores in my neighbourhood!) would sell out very quickly, as young readers couldn’t wait to follow their favourite sleuth as she unravelled threads of the next puzzle.

Garnett is pleased that Silver Birch Press of California chose her erasure poem “With original mystery” for the anthology, published on October 1. This poem extracts words from titles of Nancy Drew books in the order they appeared on the the page preceding the inside title page of “The Hidden Staircase,” published in 1930 and reprinted in 1995. The poem and the page showing the erasures both appear in the collection.

Copies of the anthology will be available through the publisher and from Amazon.com. The publisher’s price per volume is $15. Here’s the link to Silver Birch Press’s release:

https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/new-release-nancy-drew-anthology/

Garnett’s second poem arising from Nancy Drew sources has been posted under the A. Garnett Weiss tab. “Siren” uses non-contiguous phrases, taken unaltered from”Nancy Drew: The Secret of Mirror Bay,” published in 1972.

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Next Bookends Review

Go to Bookends to read JC’s review of Plum Johnson’s 2015 memoire, “They Left Us Everything,” which won the Charles Taylor 2015 Prize for Non-fiction. A review and rating with reservations.

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New Bookends Review: The County Murders J.D. Carpenter, 2016

Again, it gives JC a kick to keep her reviews within the same number of words as twitter allows characters per tweet. Focuses the mind. Adds discipline. Makes her not yak on and on with thoughts about a book.

Go to Bookends to read JC’s review of J.D. Carpenter’s 2016 mystery, “The County Murders.” She gave it 8/10!

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Bookends Review: “Little Bee” Chris Cleave, 2008

Go to “Bookends” to read JC Sulzenko’s mini-review of Chris Cleave’s 2008 novel, “Little Bee.” Why does she give this best-seller only a 7/10 rating? See for yourself.

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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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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/

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“Ekphrasis at BLIZZMAX” show, co-curated by JC Sulzenko, closes

This ekphrasis show at BLIZZMAX Gallery in Prince Edward County that JC co-curated with Alice Menacer closes on July 24. Featuring works of art inspired by poetry and poetry inspired by works of art, the show paired nine local artists with  nine local poets.

“I am thrilled with the feedback received about the show from gallery visitors and the artists and poets who participated. A good number of the works of art sold which is also a measure of the quality of the exhibition. My thanks to Alice and Peter Mennacher for embracing the concept, ” JC noted.

Ekphrasis at BLIZZMAX included sculpture, multimedia and visual art. A copy of the poem that either gave rise to each artwork or responded to a work of art was sold with each work of art.

A chapbook with high quality, full-colour reproductions of each work of art and the text of each poem has virtually sold out.

Here’s the link to the story about the show: http://wellingtontimes.ca/developmentApril16/nine-poets-nine-artists/

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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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