Category Archives: Archive

Older, time sensitive posts

Erratum: “Hesitation marks” by A. Garnett Weiss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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At the end of the longest day, 2014

Sunset: Still waters

reflect the colour spectrum.

Later, fireflies.



A. Garnett Weiss


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

On parade

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

after the night before.


The Malahide Road was quiet,

immortal wheat standing from everlasting to everlasting.


Clatter of horsehoofs sounded from the air

where fallen archangels flung the stars,


bronze by gold. Just a flash like that,

a crumpled throwaway, Elijah is coming.


With ratsteeth bared, he muttered

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


worth double the money, the stars and the moon,

and comets with long tails.”



I tackled him this morning on belief

and the whole jingbang lot.


“What’s the best news?

Who could know the truth?”


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


the act of a hero,” he said.

“Who has passed here before me?”


His eyes looked quickly, ghost bright.

“All I want is a little time,”


smiled with unseen coldness.

“Shatter me you who can!”


He walked by the treeshade of sunnywinking trees,

where pigeons roocoocooed,


stood still in midstreet and brought his hat low.

The castle car wheeled empty into upper Exchange St.,


the most historic spot in all Dublin

swallowed by a closing door.


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Underneath my grains of sand

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


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


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


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


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


JC Sulzenko

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

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


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

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

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

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

Consult local listings for exact air times.

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


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

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

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

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

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

The event begins at 7:00 PM.

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

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

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

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

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Holiday wishes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cranberry Tree Press to Publish “Fairy Tales”

Cranberry Tree Press has selected the poem “Fairy Tales” for publication in its new anthology about luck, Happenstance, which will be published this autumn.
Written by JC under the name of A. Garnett Weiss, the poem brings forward moments from childhood to evoke the beauty and elusiveness of a mother figure. “I am delighted that this poem won a place in the collection and thank the judges and editors for including “Fairy Tales” among the works of such a distinguished group of poets. Here is the link to the list of contributing poets:

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New poetry from JC

JC has decided to post new poems that appeal to her to the line-a-day blog on this website. “I’ve worked on a number of writing projects over the summer months and have decided to share some poetry arising from this period of productivity from time to time.”

Starting today, Septembr 27, have a look at “Flight Immortal” which will be released line-by-line. This activity does not bring back the line-a-day project which JC undertook over more than two years and which came to an end once she felt posting a new line a day had become more of chore than a pleasure.

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JC Supports Efforts to Save the South Shore of Prince Edward County from Industrial Wind Turbine Farms

With her poem, “Spectacle” JC supports the fine work of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (see the poem at in the organization’s appeal against the Environmental Review Tribunal’s dismissal of arguments concerning the impacts on the delicate alvar environment and on bird populations in the internationally designated Important Bird Area as a result of a project to site industrial wind turbines at Ostrander Point. The ERT did revoke the Government of Ontario’s permission for the 9-turbine project to proceed on the grounds that such a project would cause serious and irreversible harm to the Blandings turtle, already a species at risk.
Each turbine would be 3 times the height of the Peace Tower.
“This project and like projects in South Marysburgh make zero sense.” JC urges Ontarians to check out the PECFN website and the website of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County to find out the facts and how to support the citizen-based movement to site turbines elsewhere, where they will not harm people, the environment and species at risk.

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JC Shared Hot Tips on Poem-building at July 31 Workshop in Picton

Local writers reveled in the key tips JC revealed during the workshop she gave at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. With her suggestions to enhance the power of poetry, the group wrote poems on the spot, which the Church has undertaken to post on its website.

This 90+ minute experience with a pro encouraged poets to use words in a disciplined fashion since every word in a poem counts. JC also suggested new ways to pair verbs and nouns to achieve unexpected and original language. Here’s the link to the Church’s site:

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Summer is a-comin’ in

As the song has it, summer brings good reasons to sing. Though weather ups and downs often confuse impatient worshippers of lazy, sunny days and meteor shower nights, fireflies, chorus frogs and distant whip-poor-wills create wonder.

Summer projects for JC include:
– editing the winning poetry from the 2013 Awesome Authors contest at the Ottawa Public Library and writing the foreword for Pot Pourri, the anthology of stories and poems to be published this autumn by the Friends of the OPL.
– crafting a commissioned poem on the 40th anniversary of The Glebe Report.
– refining her new play for children and families.
– creating a workshop for reluctant poets in Prince Edward County to free their voices — to be held in the evening of July 31 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church,Picton.
– anticipating the release of the Listen Up Ottawa commemorative book.
– smelling the roses, and getting the mites off them before they devour the leaves.

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Listen Up! Ottawa: A triumph for The Gryphon Trio, Andrew Staniland, Maestro Rob Kapilow, Featherston Drive Public School Students, the Ottawa Children’s Choir at “Featherston Days” Performance on May 29, 2013


That’s what JC had to say after the May 29 performance, under the baton of Rob Kapilow, who conducted the Gryphon Trio, students from Featherston Drive Public School and choirs under the direction of Jackie Hawley in the premiere of “Featherston Days,” an original suite arranged and composed by Andrew Staniland, based on music and poetry written by Grade 7 and 8 students at the school. JC was thrilled to have served this Listen Up! Ottawa project as poet-mentor.Go to the Ottawa Chambre Music Society Website for information on Listen Up! Ottawa.

“These young poets and composers show such promise. It has been wonderful to be associated with The Gryphon Trio’s project and with the school. The performance on May 29 provided a unique musical and literary opportunity to Ottawa audiences which revelled in these students’ creativity,” JC declared .

For her part in Listen Up! Ottawa at Featherston Drive Public School, JC spent many hours with participating classes and their teachers. She led a number of interactive workshops with each of the three classes involved, which focussed on building poetry-writing skills. She also offered individual coaching to students who wished to discuss their poems with her directly. Once all the poems were written, JC reviewed them and forwarded the students’ work to composer Andrew Staniland, who selected the poetry that would be incorporated into “Featherston Days.”

“I am hoping that Listen Up! Ottawa will publish a commemorative book on this project at Featherston Drive Public School. I look forward to seeing “Featherston Days” in print and salute The Gryphon Trio for enriching the project by adding this print dimension this year!”

In the autumn of 2012, the media advisory issued by the Chamber Music Society described Listen Up! Ottawa this way

“The initiative features Canadian composer Andrew Staniland and Ottawa poet JC Sulzenko, who will guide Featherston’s Grade 7 and 8 students in an intensive three-day creative writing and composition workshop. The three members of the Gryphon Trio (Roman Borys, cello; Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin; and Jamie Parker, piano) and percussionist David Schotzko will also be on hand to provide direction and inspiration.

“After the workshop is complete, Staniland will use the students’ collected ideas in a new musical arrangement, which the students themselves will perform on May 29, 2013 at Dominion-Chalmers United Church with the Gryphon Trio, the Cantiamo Girls Choir of Ottawa, the Ottawa Children’s Chorus, and members of Ottawa-based Leading Note Foundation’s Orkidstra. American composer and music commentator, Rob Kapilow, conducts.

“Listen Up! involves entire communities in a collaborative arts creation process. It teaches children to actively listen to music by engaging them in learning activities that combine music creation with poetry writing, music improvisation, movement, staging, and video creation. The program also offers parents the opportunity to re-engage with the arts, and it encourages local businesses and associations to support community arts initiatives.

“The Ottawa Chamber Music Society, whose mandate includes community outreach and arts education, is a funding partner and community host presenter of Listen Up! Ottawa. The Society will provide promotional, box office, front-of-house, and production support to the May 29 concert at Dominion-Chalmers.”

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Awesome Authors Contest Award Ceremony – Standing Room Only on March 26

Awesome Authors 2013

Awesome Authors 2013, photo by Rheal Doucette, Ottawa Public Library

JC awarded prizes to poets writing in English, aged 9-11, 12-14 and 15-17, at last night’s ceremony at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa. The 18th Awesome Authors Contest which the Ottawa Public Library holds and which the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library (FOPLA) sponsor attracted well over 500 entries in the English poetry. English short story, French poetry and French short story categories.

When JC asked all of the writers and poets who had submitted their creative work to the contest to stand, the crowd applauded widely. She spoke of the W-O-W-S/U factors she considered in selecting the top six poems in English in each age category and of how impressed she was by the originality of the submissions. She even admitted she wished she had written some of the lines.

“It is an honour and a privilege to serve as a judge for this contest. I am so happy to see how ALIVE poetry is for the young writers in our community,” she stated.

The list of winning stories and poems are available from the Ottawa Public Library. These poems and stories will be published by FOPLA in an anthology, “Pot Pourri,” in October. FOPLA is running a contest for a new cover design for the publication and encourages all young artists to come forward with their concepts. Here’s the link to a photo of some of the winning poets:

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Vaunted by the Past!

It’s not often that a request comes along to share insight into what you did when you began your career. In fact, that era, now surprisingly many years ago, seemed to JC to be part almost of another lifetime.
JC worked for more than thirty years in the Government of Canada. When she retired early, she embraced the writing life 100% and rarely looked back.
An email from Ed Conroy, founder of Retrontario (, brought her back to the past and to one truly creative accomplishment from those early days about which she still talks enthusiastically.
Here’s the link to the story which resurrects TV public service announcements in the 1970’s that featured aliens from outer space (puppets Binkley and Doinkel) as part of a program to teach children about hazardous product symbols on labels of household products so that they would not be tempted to play with such materials. Many adults who were children then still remember seeing the ads and the puppet shows in playgrounds and schools and learning of such dangers from them.
JC continues to take delight in knowing that Binkley and Doinkel’s exploits were not in vain!

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JC’s Poetry Blog Evolves

The Line-a-day poem blog began on this site one October as an experiment in disciplining JC to write and post each day. It continued through two Octobers in this mode, until February, 2013. At which point, JC gave herself permission to write and post, not necessarily on a daily basis, but rather when lines come to her. In such a way, she also frees herself to pursue new and enticing directions in her work.

When she does post, JC will only add one line at a time and will retain the tanka form for the posts, as she interprets it. In such a way, the poetry blog project will still carry its given ‘name,’ at least for now.

JC welcomes your feedback on either the process or on the evolution of her writing.

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The Alzheimer Society of Canada now lists “What My Grandma Means to Say” among resources for children

JC is delighted that the Alzheimer Society of Canada has included “What My Grandma Means to Say” on its list of resources to help children and families talk about dementia. Here’s the link to the Society’s listing: (see page 1 for the Discussion Guide and page 6 for the storybook.)
Recent appearances at local elementary schools on behalf of the Alzheimer Society of Lanark County (ASLC) gave hundreds of students the chance to talk about dementia in the context provided by JC’s reading of the play or the storybook. “These educational tools are effective because they are so child-centred,” JC emphasizes. “Many hands went up from among the 200 students at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Carleton Place when I asked whether anyone knew someone living with Alzheimer’s disease. These students raised excellent questions and greeted ASLC’s invitation to enter a contest to write a poem about dementia with real enthusiasm.”
“What My Grandma Means to Say” is all about bringing children into the dialogue about Alzheimer’s in a way that helps them build their understanding and strategies to handle whatever comes their way. With the Alzheimer Society of Canada’s listing, families, who could find “What My Grandma Means to Say” helpful, will now know how easy it is to access the material.
The Discussion Guide can be downloaded free from this website. The storybook is still available from General Store Publishing House ( or from e-book retailers.

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JC’s visited an elementary school in Perth, Ontario, with the Alzheimer Society of Lanark County

“I was thrilled with the number of students who were interested in
touching base with you and doing some follow up. We greatly appreciated
the format of Friday’s visit and have now completed the play and book as
a class read aloud and have begun practising dramatic readings of the
play in partners.It has been very helpful to many students who have had
to deal with Alzheimer’s in their family.” Sean Christy, teacher, Grade
4, Perth, Ontario

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JC Welcomes Awesome Poets at January 19 Workshop in Ottawa

At 2:00 PM on Saturday, January 19, JC leads a workshop for young poets at the Ottawa Public Library’s Greenboro Branch, 363 Lorry Greenberg Drive.
“February brings the deadline for the OPL’s 2013 Awesome Authors Contest, which is open to short story and poetry submissions from writers aged 9-11,12-14 and 15-17.
“The workshop for 9-14 year-olds will share my 5-top tips about writing poetry that leaves readers with a WOW! Participating poets will also be able to share a poem they have written for feedback.”
Preregistration at the Branch is required.

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JC featured in December “Ottawa Woman” at newstands now

“Ottawa Woman” celebrates the achievements of women in the region. JC is among a wonderful community of “Women on the Move” featured on the page dedicated to mini portraits (page 18,

Along with a photo, the paper highlights JC’s writings, with emphasis on “What My Grandma Means to Say,” the play, the Discussion Guide for teachers, available free from, and the storybook, now also in e-book form.

“I am very pleased that “Ottawa Woman” included me in this month’s roster of women on the move. During the holiday season, the challenges that Alzheimer’s disease brings to the lives of families can be lost in all the celebrations. Yet Alzheimer’s causes changes not only to the person living with it but to the lives of those who care for and about them.

“Giving a gift of “What My Grandma Means to Say” is a good way to help families and the children in them build their understanding of dementia and develop their own strengths and strategies for handling relationships now in the shadow of such diseases.”

The book is available at Kaleidoscope Kids Books on Bank at Lansdowne Park, from the publisher ( and from e-book retailers.

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Welcome Winter Reading of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” a Huge Success

On November 24 at Glebe-St. James United Church in Ottawa, Rob Clipperton read the Dylan Thomas classic, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” to a rapt audience that filled the sanctuary. The event netted $2000 which was donated to the Acquired Brain Injury Program at The Ottawa Hospital’s Rehabilitation Centre in honour of Allison Woyiwada. For the past four years, Allison served as musical director and co-producer of the event. At the 2012 performance, Allison was a member of the audience as she continues her recovery from brain surgery.

This year’s Welcome Winter featured music from Robert Palmai, Marya Woyiwada, Canterbury High School’s Vocum, and the Canterbury Trebles. The one-hour show was greeted with a standing ovation from everyone who chose to herald the holiday season with this program of fine words and music.

“The 2012 presentation completed the cycle of our commitment to bring this wonderful story to Ottawa audiences. Welcome Winter has benefited over the years from the support of many amazing artists, performers and good people at Glebe-St.James United Church to whom I remain most grateful. I hope another community group will take up the delightful challenge of sharing “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” with Ottawa families for many years to come.”

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November 24: “Welcome Winter” Returns to Ottawa for the Fifth and Last Time

The annual reading of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” written by Dylan Thomas, returns to Glebe-St.James United Church in Ottawa. The hour-long performance features Rob Clipperton as the storyteller, with seasonal music from Robert Palmai,organ, Maria Woyiwada, soprano, Vocum 9Canterbury High School) and the Canterbury Trebles.

“This is the fifth time I have produced the program which heralds the holiday season in the best possible way,” JC explained. “In the first four years, Allison Woyiwada, retired music teacher extraordinaire and former Music Director of the Savoy Society of Ottawa, joined me as co-producer and also directed the show. Since Allison is recovering from brain surgery, she won’t be behind the scenes this year but hopefully will be in the audience. To honour her, the net proceeds from “Welcome Winter” will be donated to the Ottawa Hospital’s Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation program.

“We’ve raised thousands of dollars over the years for local not-for-profit organizations including Reach Canada, The Ottawa Food Bank, and dementia programs at The Glebe Centre.

“The program has benefitted year after year from the amazing support of Glebe-St.James United Church and from the talents of Rob Clipperton and the musicians and singers who have graced the stage and volunteered their time. I think, with this performance the cycle of our collective commitment will be complete. Perhaps another local group will decide to present “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” and continue to delight Ottawa audiences with its rich language and its magical capture of a boy’s winter holidays in a small town and now long ago.”

The one-hour event takes place at the church at 650 Lyon St. South on Saturday, November 24 at 4:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased from: Compact Music stores, the church and at the door. $15 for adults; children 10-12 enter free (donations will be appreciated.) The show is best suited to children aged 9 and up. For further information:

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October 1: the Second Anniversary of JC’s Poetry Blog

What does it take to write a line of poetry a day? Should be an easy task, or so JC thought when she started the line-a-day poetry blog on this website on October 1, 2010.

“I first had intended to write a line each day that would capture the core experience of that particular 24-hour period, much as a diarist would do but in a far more concentrated and focussed fashion. That is not what happened, though. Rather, what suggested itself to me were experiences that could best be captured in the form of Haiku.

“I didn’t resist. As I became more engaged in the process, I realized that the Tanka structure would give me more scope and so continued for most of the two years using the discipline of that verse form.

“What has evolved surprised me. Some stanzas stand alone. Others link to each other by virtue of subject matter or repeated words or phrases.

“What has compelled me to continue for a third year? The discipline of writing such verses so that a line appears each day is the only writing ‘routine’ I have established successfully. I am not ready to give it up. When I read back over the last year’s verses i appreciate how they reflect what influenced my every day. That’s still a novel experience for me.”

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