Garnett Weiss poem as preface to papers published on the theme of (Legal) Adaptation at the Dean Maxwell and Isle Cohen Seminar in International Law within McGill University’s Graduate Law Student Association 2022 Conference

JC was delighted to craft a found poem to preface research papers originally presented in May at McGill University as part of the Dean Maxwell and Isle Cohen Seminar in International Law. She attended the program virtually.

Writing as A. Garnett Weiss, the pseudonym JC uses for found poetry and her celebrated centos, the poem draws individual words and phrases unaltered from two papers which appear in Volume 2 of the research studies, just published.

Here’s a link to “A form of transparency”:

JC’s family established the Seminar to honour the many contributions of her parents to McGill’s Faculty of Law where her father taught and served as Dean.

“I thank the Graduate Law Student Association and particularly outgoing VP Academic Sandrine Ampleman-Tremblay and the co-editors of the research series for their work related to the Cohen Seminar,” JC concluded.

A Group of 7: JC Sulzenko read with Ottawa Poets on October 17 at Perfect Books, Ottawa

In spite of the rain, 7 intrepid Ottawa poets read from their recent poetry collections published by Thornhill’s Aeolus House.

The one-hour event took place at Perfect Books with an enthusiastic audience of poets and poetry-lovers.

Participating authors were: Miller Adams, Mary Lee Bragg, Brian Cameron, Blaine Marchand, Colin Morton, Claudia Coutu Radmore, and JC, writing as A. Garnett Weiss.

Copies of their collections are available from the bookstore at: 613 231 6468. Many thanks to Jim and Conyer at Perfect Books for the warm welcome and the great space.

JC read at Aeolus House Poetry Event in Toronto at the Supermarket on September 25, 2022

JC was very pleased that publisher Allan Briesmaster invited her to read from BRICOLAGE, A GATHERING OF CENTOS at the book launch he hosted. She read selections from her collection, published in 2021 and a finalist for the 2022 Fred Kerner Book Award from the Canadian Authors Association. She also read “I didn’t know what to do,” the cento she composed by reusing lines from BRICOLAGE, in memoriam the child victims of Kamloops Residential School as the September 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation approached.

Aeolus House published JC’s collection of centos in July 2021 under her pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss. The book was among five finalists for the 2022 Fred Kerner Book Award from the Canadian Authors Association.

The event launched new poetry collections from Kent Bowman, Peter Jailall, Mori McCrae, and Daniel G Scott.

“I was honoured to appear on the bill with these fine poets and to celebrate the launch of their new books,” JC explained. Books will be available for purchase at the site. BRICOLAGE also can be ordered directly from

JC opposed to the Griffin Poetry Prize elimination of a Canadian category

The GLOBE AND MAIL published JC’s letter to the Editor on September 13. She noted that the paper chose to include several letters pro the merger of the prize categories from two into a single English category and only one letter con, hers.

Here’s the link to the Letters page. The text, as published, follows below.

I am a longtime fan of the Griffin Poetry Prize’s Canadian and international categories. To posit that Canadians are up to competing with every poet writing in or translated into English seems more smokescreen than credible rationale for a single category.

It suggests to me that the prize process to date has coddled Canadian poets, which does them a great disservice. Their achievements in even getting published, within our country’s climate of diminishing publishing houses, restrictive retailers and flavours of the month, should be celebrated and championed at every opportunity.

I regret this decision to build up an already generous prize so that, in the end, the prize itself wins more profile on the international stage.

Silver Birch Press publishes Garnett Weiss in its Nancy Drew Anthology on October 1, 2016

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 fo the puzzle their favourite sleuth would unravel.

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 erasure appear in the collection.

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

Garnett’s second poem arising from Nancy Drew sources will be posted on her own website. “Siren” This uses bon-contiguous phrases, taken unaltered from”Nancy Drew: The Secret of Mirror Bay,” published in 1972.

JC Sulzenko’s poem “Scales” awarded Honourable Mention and will be published in the TOPS “Loves Lies Bleeding” anthology

JC is delighted “Scales” received an Honorable Mention and will appear in the upcoming “Loves Lies Bleeding” anthology from The Ontario Poetry Society (TOPS).

“I have found it difficult to sustain my equilibrium and my writing practice during the pandemic years and the upheavals in Canada and elsewhere. Although the poem begins with a dream, it moves on from that experience to my everyday reality: how current events weigh upon me in a debilitating way and force me to create a refuge of sorts,” JC explained.

“I thank the judges and TOPS for including “Scales” in the anthology and for giving the poem this award.”

FRAMED & FAMILIAR: 101 PORTRAITS anthology features 2 poems by JC Sulzenko

FRAMED & FAMILIAR: 101 PORTRAITS, is an international anthology of poetry and photography just published as an e-book by Hidden Brooks Press.

The collection features two of JC’s poems. Here’s a link to the book and to her poems:
“Long playing” (page 174) and “Self, imagery” (page 175.)

“I am delighted that Poetry Editor Antony Di Nardo chose to include my work in this stunning anthology. Among such fine words and images, my poems are in good company, indeed,” JC noted.

JC Sulzenko’s poem “Sleep, hiding” a finalist and published in Public Poetry’s PANDEMIC POEMS

JC’s memory of a dream prompted her to write “Sleep, hiding” which is rooted in her experience during the first year of the pandemic. She is delighted that Public Poetry (Houston, Texas) and Director Fran Sanders chose this poem as a finalist and included it in PANDEMIC POEMS, their new anthology, now available for purchase.

Public Poetry hosted a lively online launch featuring several poets reading from the new anthology on July 7, 2022.

“What struck me is how amazing it is to be ‘in the room’ with poets and poetry lovers from across the United States, to have the opportunity to hear the poems featured in Public Poetry’s new anthology read aloud, and also to share with that community thoughts and work that are memorable.”

JC was happy to receive comments and feedback on her use of the cento form after she read her cento in memoriam Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg as her second poem of the evening.

Here’s the link for a way to purchase Public Poetry’s new collection:

BRICOLAGE, A GATHERING OF CENTOS, is JC’s most recent poetry book, published by Aeolus House in 2021 under her pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss. The collection was a finalist for the 2022 Fred Kerner Book Award from the Canadian Authors Association.

Copies of BRICOLAGE are available from Octopus Books (Ottawa, Ontario), Books & Company (Picton, Ontario) and from

Poetry Super Highway Issue for Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 28, features JC’s poem, “Panorama”

Poetry Super Highway Editor and Publisher Rick Lupert released the 24th annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) issue for Thursday, April 28.

JC is honoured to have her poem “Panorama” appear in the issue which features the work of 104 poets from around the world. “Panorama” first appeared in the Canadian Jewish News and then in JC’s debut poetry collection, SOUTH SHORE SUITE…POEMS from Point Petre Publishing in 2017.

Here is the link to access this special issue on the Poetry Super Highway site:

National Poetry Month: JC interviewed Sunday, April 10 on The County Writes…The County Reads 99.3FM

Host Lynn Pickering embraces National Poetry Month by dedicating the April 10 broadcast of THE COUNTY WRITES…THE COUNTY READS to that celebration with a fine lineup of poets, including JC.

The program includes a segment originally taped around the launch of JC’s collection of centos, BRICOLAGE, written under her pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss. JC invites listeners to a poetry reading on the theme of Intimacy and Hope. Convened by publisher Allan Briesmaster, the event will feature eight poets published by his Aeolus House. To receive an invitation to the live-streamed April 25 event at 7:30 PM EDT, just email

Here’s a link the radio station’s post with information on the show tomorrow. Tune in and hear local poets and personalities read Purdy and their own poetry. The program begins after the noon news and runs until 1:00 PM EDT.

Great event April 25 featuring Aeolus House authors on the themes of intimacy and hope

Bricolage-front cover
Publisher Allan Briesmaster of Aeolus House welcomed a great audience to hear eight authors read from their recent books of poetry. JC, reading as A. Garnett Weiss, the pseudonym she uses for centos and other found poetry, chose 4 poems from BRICOLAGE and unveiled 3 centos written since the collection came out last summer. Many people stayed for the lively question-and-answer session which ended the evening.

“It was both an honour and a privilege for me to participate in this National Poetry Month celebration of fine poetry. I am grateful to Allan and to the League of Canadian Poets for making the event possible. I was delighted with how many of my friends and colleagues were able to attend. Great to ‘see’ them there.”

Signed copies of BRICOLAGE at $18 each are available from:, and from Octopus Books in Ottawa, and Books and Company in Picton,

Silver Birch Press publishes “Splendid terms” for New Year’s Eve

JC Sulzenko is delighted that California-based Silver Birch Press chose her poem as a New Year’s Eve toast in its current series on Thoughts About the Earth/Healing the Earth. Here’s the link to the post:

Written under JC’s pseudonym, A. Garnett Weiss, the poem draws individual words from death notices and obituary articles which appeared in the April 20, 2017, Toronto GLOBE AND MAIL. The piece is one of a full collection of such five-line poems now in development. “Splendid terms” also featured in the Poetry Leaves 2020 project (Waterford Township Public Library).

“BOXING DAY COLOURS” JC’s annual posting with her wishes for a healthy 2022


Three black pigeons found solace

in the too-warm puddles

They alone had not dreamt of a white Christmas

Did not regret the grim, gray slush

that bequeathed lines of salt to new leather boots

still stiff from packages, now crushed and

stuffed along with blue reindeer wrapping

and rivers of silver ribbon

into bulging green garbage bags

at the curb

of a new year

JC’s poem published in Silver Birch Press “How to” series

Here’s the link to JC’s poem, “How to find your voice,” in the current series offered by California-based Silver Birch Press (SBP).

“I took a quasi prose poem approach in this topic,” JC explained. “I love singing and had confidence in my strong voice and ability to sing on key. It came as a nasty surprise when I heard a melody in my head but couldn’t get the song out.

“This SBP series offered me the ideal opportunity to look at why and how I had come to this tuneless place. And to share how I dealt with it.

“Joining an online chapter of the choir Shout Sister gives me the chance to rediscover what I had mislaid. Even when we can return to in person practices, I hope virtual, weekly sessions will continue. I’m loving every moment.

“Thank you, SBP Editor Melanie Villines for featuring “How to find your voice” in this eclectic series and for selecting the beautiful Mary Cassatt portrait to accompany its publication.”

A. Garnett Weiss cento on display in the online exhibition “The Art of Conversation”

Here’s the link to the art show which launched today on Facebook. Once there, please click ‘discussion’ to access the works of art and commentary.

JC is one of 15 artists and writers contributing to this virtual show. The project, sponsored by the Prince Edward County Arts Council and the Community Care for Seniors Association, paired each participating artist with a local senior and encouraged them to hold up to five conversations. From that shared experience, the artists and writers produced a work drawing on what they learned about and from each other.

“Our telephone conversations took us to Waupoos Island, where my almost 100 year-old partner was born, and around the County as we talked about ancestors and landscape, family and friends, food and history.

“It was a delight to meet Catherine, even if only over the phone, and to find out how we shared a love of poetry and particularly the words of Al Purdy. Together, we read “In search of Owen Roblin” aloud and from that exchange came my cento, in honour of Al and of Catherine.”

Writing as A. Garnett Weiss, the pseudonym JC uses when she writes centos and found poetry, JC chose lines from Purdy’s long poem for her cento, “I am a screen through which the world passes.” JC thanked Martin Soldat for his advice about arraying the poem.

“My part in this innovative program connecting people during the pandemic brought me great joy. I am grateful to the organizers for giving me this unique opportunity.”

The show runs for two weeks. Please offer comments on the FB post about what you read and see.

Happy Birthday, Billy Collins

Writing as A. Garnett Weiss, JC was delighted to contribute her cento, “How the voices of light enter the body,” to the tribute video assembled for the former US Poet Laureate’s 80th birthday, March 22. The poem draws lines unaltered, apart for purposes of grammar or punctuation, from Billy’s collection, “Sailing Alone Around the Room.” Here’s the link to her reading you can cut and paste into your browser:

Billy and his spouse have brought his poetry and his thoughts about poetry to a regular audience of almost 400 for a half-hour, 5 nights a week during the last year.

“These poetry broadcasts offered regular followers, including me, a looked-forward-to, late afternoon gift—respite from the tribulations of the day. Billy’s unique voice capturing experience in an accessible and eloquent way, delivered without pretense in the surprising intimacy of his home, gave me such a boost. Every day!

“Here’s wishing Billy and his family good health and happiness for many, many, many years to come.”

Poetry Quarter in the Glebe Report in time for Valentine’s Day

Poetry Quarter (PQ) in the January/February Glebe Report published today features poems by eight local poets on the theme of “It Could Happen to You.”

Here’s the link to the paper

Scroll to page 24 for the poems JC selected for this issue and to see the submission call for the next PQ. The theme for May is tied to the sense of Spring–what it feels like: deliverance, relief, asylum and safety or the opposite. The deadline is April 26.

A. Garnett Weiss weighs in with a poem for today

JC writes found poetry and centos using her pseudonym, A. Garnett Weiss. “I decided to make a distinction between these found poems, particularly centos, and what I write of a narrative or lyric nature, which I sign with my own name. For me, the process of composing a cento, for example, is completely different from how I approach a free verse poem. By using my pseudonym, I gained the independence I needed to move forward with found poetry.

Given the cacophony of political rhetoric these days, JC offers “Loose in the cathedral.” This five-line piece uses individual words drawn from death notices and obituary articles published in the Toronto Globe and Mail on April 17, 2017. It first appeared on JC’s Facebook page in 2018 in response to US writer Anne Lamott. Her collection of such poems is making the rounds of publishers.

Loose in the Cathedral

Privileged to know
someone else’s pain,
grieving for an approachable place,

an open door around the world,
the degree of vitriol and hate defrocked.

HAPPY 2022 to all — Read JC’s “Boxing day colours” which she reposts each year


Three black pigeons found solace

in the too-warm puddles

They alone had not dreamt of a white Christmas

Did not regret the grim, gray slush

that bequeathed lines of salt to new leather boots

still stiff from packages, now crushed and

stuffed along with blue reindeer wrapping

and rivers of silver ribbon

into bulging green garbage bags

at the curb

of a new year

The Light Ekphrastic’s November issue features JC’s collaboration with Ron Tobey from West Virginia

JC thanks Editor Jenny O’Grady for pairing her with Ron Tobey and for publishing her two poems, “Luck. Now” and “From Sea to Sea.”

“I am grateful that my work has been favoured a number of times by The Light Ekphrastic (TLE) and that these poems appear during the Journal’s 10th anniversary year.”

Here is the link to their ekphrastic collaboration to paste into your browser:

“I take joy in writing poetry inspired by works of art and in what is unique about the TLE process. Each artist and poet pair chosen by the Editor receives several offerings from his or her ‘Artner’ from which to select one as the focus of new work.

“For the first time in writing such poems, I received videos, one of which included the voiceover by the videographer-poet. I hesitated. Accustomed to working from a still image or an object, I couldn’t see a way in, particularly because I didn’t want my work to be influenced by Ron Tobey’s words.

“I chose “Days Rise” and received permission from Ron to mute his poem so that I could concentrate upon images in the video. I asked him questions in an exchange of emails before I began to fashion “Luck. Now.” Only after I had completed the poem and sent it to TLE did I allow myself to listen to Ron read.

“After that, I waited to share “Luck. Now.” with Ron until he had submitted his piece in response to my poem, “From Sea to Sea.” While he chose to wait to read “Luck. Now” until when our work would be published, I couldn’t resist watching “Open your Eye” immediately.

“I remain spellbound by the synchronicity between “Luck. Now” and “Open Your Eye.” Each of us, responding to a different work of art by the other, came independently to an alignment that is nothing short of a wonder to me. Ron’s serendipitous choice of the title for his video and the wording of my last stanza in “Luck. Now” provide one example.

“Open Your Eye” misses none of the oceanic emotions embodied in “From Sea to Sea,” right from the video’s first sequences, staccato images and spectral footsteps. In my comments to Ron, I welcomed how the video moves from stark portrayals of loss into sunlight that streams around the construction of a new home in a landscape that welcomes two young people into its embrace.

“My participation in this ekphrastic collaboration has been a privilege and enriched my writing life,” JC concluded.

For information on imagistic poet Ron Tobey:

JC’s poem “Ode to a wine-lover’s friend” featured in Silver Birch Press series PRIME MOVERS

This new, online series from California-based Silver Birch Press gave JC the opportunity to write about someone she met in the context of restrictions imposed by the pandemic who is, in his unique way, a prime mover among ‘front line’ workers. She is grateful to SBP for favouring her work with publication.

Embarrassed about the boxes of wine bottles accumulated while recycling options were unavailable, JC learned about David and his family’s novel approach to raising funds for his favourite charities.They come to the house, take away the bottles, and donate the proceeds from the returns. David’s mother, enthusiastic and warmhearted, shared his story and championed her son’s services, with emphasis on his abilities and commitment.

In “Ode to a wine-lover’s friend” JC captured the moment of their meeting and this young man’s positive disposition. She hopes David and his family will welcome the tribute.

Here is a link to the poem to cut and paste into your browser:

Poetry Quarter: November, Besting the Bard and poems for January, 2021

JC curates Poetry Quarter (PQ), a regular feature in the community newspaper, The Glebe Report.

The November issues features work related to the works of William Shakespeare. “We received surprising and worthwhile riffs off Shakespeare bound to offset mid-November doldrums. To read the poems, please put this link into your browser. Go to

For the next PQ challenge, with a submission deadline of January 15, 2l21, here’s what the The Glebe Report seeks:

Roses are red, violets are blue” –- an over-used line to be sure, but we use it to launch our theme for February’s Poetry Quarter: It could happen to you!

Send us your poems on the theme of love to illuminate the long winter nights around Valentine’s Day.
Bring light, passion and joy – or their opposite forces – to bear on words you choose to share in poetic form about your loves, your hates and your in-betweens.

Local poets: Come one, come all!

Silver Birch Press Landmark Series feature’s JC’s poem, “At the South Rim”

JC is delighted that California-based Silver Birch Press has featured her poem about the Grand Canyon in its new series on landmarks.

Here’s the link to the post to paste into your browser:

“I thank Silver Birch Press Editor Melanie Villines for publishing “At the South Rim” along with my explanation of how that one-time visit to the canyon affected and continues to affect me. I hope one day to return. Sharing this poem takes me to the moment I first took in the spectacle that is the Grand Canyon and felt somehow I had been let in on a secret beyond my imagination.”

An anthem by JC Celebrates Canada Day, 2020


The Mountie sings “O Canada”—
a fine baritone in scarlet.
Odd how his stiff, brown hat stays put.

I strain to hear the others. Their singing jumbles
off high glass planes, transparent walls.
I make out “Des plus brilliants,

God keep,
Glorious and free.”
I hear my voice, small in the great room

“O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”
I will the words to be true,
fear we are not up to it.

Many don’t vote,
squander their choices, our democracy.
Grumble at leaders in power almost by default.

Our fault, really.
Centred in little lives, blind to our need
to protect our Canada — beautiful, fragile.

We ought to know better, to know
what to do for our country every day
and in times of flood, plague, war and fire.

Could someone tell us how
or should we go out there, start somewhere,
work not only for ourselves

but for our Canada.
A half hour a day spent by
each of the 37+ million of us

(minus the sick, the too-young)
would sure buy a lot
of standing on guard.

JC Sulzenko
(CBC radio broadcast an early version of this poem )

“The Jane Austen Society” by Natalie Jenner — JC’s new Bookends mini review

JC, a Jane Austen devotee, just finished this Oakville author’s 2020 novel. JC gives it an 8.5/10 rating. Go to Bookends to see the review.

Eva Holland’s “Nerve, A Personal Journey Through the Science of Fear”–JC’s Review

The June 12 Glebe Report carries JC’s review of this memoire by Whitehorse-based author Eva Holland. ALLEN LANE, an imprint of Penguin Canada published “Nerve” in May.

The review admits upfront that JC has known the writer since she was a child and has watched her career with an interest that is both a professional and personal.

If JC had reviewed the book on this site for her “Bookends” feature, what rating would JC have given “Nerve?” 9/10!

Here’s the link to the paper. The article appears on page 22.


Right after Editor Melanie Villines ended this California press’s hiatus, JC welcomed the opportunity to contribute her poem “Deadbolt” to its new, online series.

“The Editor’s choice of ’my front door’ for the current series’ theme strikes me as inspired and evocative. During the pandemic, what happens inside or outside open or closed doors, whether metaphorical or physical, offers poets such scope to explore experiences real or imagined,” JC commented.

Silver Birch Press has published JC’s poems in a number of its anthologies and in various online series. She is the only Canadian whose work appears in its 2015 chapbook anthology, IDES.

Here is the link to “Deadbolt” to cut and paste into your browser:

For the times — JC’s irreverent ‘haiku’

zoom once defined a lens
now opens conversations


JC was delighted that Editors at VALLUM chose her found poem “Whether or not transference occurs” for issue 17.1, which launched at an innovative, online watch party on April 24, 2020. Here is the link that will bring you her reading.

“Whether or not transference occurs” uses words drawn unaltered from death notices and obituary articles published on a single day in the Toronto GLOBE AND MAIL. The poem is part of a full collection seeking a publisher.

“I thank VALLUM’S Editors for including my piece in the ‘home’ issue. It’s a privilege to appear in the magazine and to be in the fine company of other poets whose work is featured there,” JC noted after the launch. She took the opportunity also to read two centos.

Here is a link to VALLUM’s whole digital issue 17.1:

JC writes centos and found poetry under the pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss.

Ellis Marsalis Tribute

JC offers her deepest sympathy to the family of patriarch Ellis Marsalis along with her poem,”Like father, like son.” Written in 2003 after the Marsalis family played together at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, the poem has been published elsewhere, most recently in VERSE AFIRE (The Ontario Poetry Society.)

May memories of Ellis, as was his life, be a blessing.


Ellis Marsalis caresses the keys, releases melody.
His sons trombone, sax, trumpet, drum
into the music, explore its geography,
improvise new routes to the source of sound.

They play together, yet play alone,
a composition so intimate it’s a surprise
when the jazz flows back to where it began.

What lingers is not only the music.
It’s Ellis. His voice soft,
he introduces each son
as though unwrapping a gift.

Did he know from the start how it would be,
sharing the same stage, each other’s rhythms
the joyful dissonance, harmonies?

He’d likely say luck had a hand in it, led
his boys past the usual rejection of a father’s
ways to choose such instruments
for the love of him, for the love of song.

JC’s new poem for the times, from a bleak place


First the children, immune to this assault,
their coughs and sneezes innocent for now.
Then their parents, our children —
not in the crosshairs, but still…

These tykes, their dads & moms feel well,
grateful for no symptoms, yet wide-aware
every breath’s a timebomb tick
if they’re carriers.

We, the elders/the old, keep distant, weave
sorry days around, away from those we love.
Cloistered, anxious, tethered to a hope for health,
we hold no expectation of normal.

Nowhere to run

A wall
transparent, translucent

Easy to walk through
if you dare

I don’t
I stare at the street

Sunlit, snow covered

Put my hands up to the wall
Feel cold, cold

cold as hard as my choices
Be exposed or cocoon

Hyper-vigilant, yet numb
I want to run, don’t know where

Spring to summer

JC is very pleased that her work will appear in upcoming issues of VALLUM: CONTEMPORARY POETRY and THE NAUGATUCK RIVER REVIEW. In May, Poetry Leaves, a poetry exhibition and anthology project of the Waterford Township Public Library (Michigan), was slated to feature her for the second year in a row.

“I’m delighted by the reception my found poetry has received and look forward, as well, to seeing an ekphrastic poem based on an image by Prince Edward County photographer Graham Davies in print.

JC continues to curate “Poetry Quarter” for the community newspaper,THE GLEBE REPORT, and serves on the selection board for, an online, monthly poetry journal.

HAPPY 2020 to all–Boxing day colours republished


Three black pigeons found solace

in the too-warm puddles

They alone had not dreamt of a white Christmas

Did not regret the grim, gray slush

that bequeathed lines of salt to new leather boots

still stiff from packages, now crushed and

stuffed along with blue reindeer wrapping

and rivers of silver ribbon

into bulging green garbage bags

at the curb

of a new year

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:

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.

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:

“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.”

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.

JC read her winning cento at Art in the County

The Prince Edward County Arts Council’s inaugural Wind and Water writing contest gave JC the opportunity to submit her cento, “Sacred place where each thing speaks itself” for consideration. JC writes centos and found poetry using her pseudonym, A. Garnett Weiss.

She read the poem, which won the competition, during the Picton Art Crawl on Thursday, June 27 at the Art in the County exhibition.

JC thanked the jury for selecting her poem. “The cento is a poetic form which gives me great pleasure to write. It’s like a puzzle when I choose and use lines from the fine work of other poets from many eras to create a completely new work which both respects the original material yet takes its own path.”

JC’s centos have been successful in many contests and appear in a number of anthologies. Her lyric and narrative poems appear in “South Shore Suite, Poems.”

Information on the Suite is available from the publisher,

JC’s suite of poems for children takes 1st place in the WrEN Award for Poetry

JC is delighted that the poems she submitted to the 2019 Writers-Editor’s Network WrEN Award for Poetry took first place in the poetry for children category.

JC had put forward 5 poems from her suite, “Pelican Circus,” also the lead poem. The other titles were: “The Pelican and the pirate”, “In the Everglades”, “Signs and Wonders “, and “The Rescue.”

Here is a the link to the announcement: .

The reason for the award? “Strong observation, skilful use of description and environmental awareness mark these poems.”

In addition to the comments posted there, Judge Mary Harwell Sayler wrote JC a letter in which she noted the following: “I appreciate your introducing a sense of story… Poems often excel when they help readers to ‘be there’, which your poetry certainly does.”

She added, “This type of writing will surely help young people to care about nature, and, hopefully, become actively involved in positive ways throughout their lives.”

JC thanks Judge Harwell Sayler and the Writers-Editors Network for honouring her work with this prize .

“Now all I need is a publisher to come forward so that children and families can enjoy the whole suite of poems which follows a child from the North country on his first visit to the south in winter.”

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:

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 (

Here’s a link to the FB posting from the Council about the event and the Crawl around town.

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:

Poetry collection “For the Birds” launched in Picton, Ontario on May 11, 2019

County readers and nature enthusiasts celebrated the release in print of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory’s 46-page, full colour poetry chapbook “For the Birds,” first published on its website in January, 2019.

The collection of 20 winning poems written by 17 poets from the County and away and complemented by fine images taken by local photographers Ian Dickinson and Hélène Tremblay came together as a result of the Observatory’s first poetry contest. Poems by County writer and publisher Brian L. Flack and by Walter H. Watt of Richmond Hill shared first place in the contest.

As part of PEPtBO’s May 11- 20 Spring Birding Festival programming (, this special event included the awards ceremony and readings by poets whose work appears in “For the Birds.” Prince Edward County Public Library CEO Barbara Sweet welcomed the poets and friends to the launch and spoke of the value of the relationship the Library enjoys with PEPtBO. PEPtBO Vice-President and Municipal Counsellor John Hirsch awarded prizes to the winning poets.

Copies of “For the Birds” @ $12 each are available at the Observatory during the festival, from PEPtBO’s online store and at Books and Co. and the Local Store in the County. Net proceeds from the sale of each chapbook benefit PEPtBO’s migration monitoring and reporting work at the County’s South Shore.

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.

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.

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”

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.

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.

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.


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”

Poetry contest chapbook—now online—celebrates Prince Edward County

JC Sulzenko welcomes “For the Birds,” the 46-page collection of winning poems in the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory’s first contest, complemented by full-colour images taken by local photographers.

Published online ( by the Observatory (PEPtBO) on January 15, the words of 17 poets and photos by Ian Dickinson and Hélène Tremblay offer a unique celebration of bird life in the County. Poems by Brian L. Flack and Walter H. Watt took the top prize in PEPtBO’s first poetry contest.

“We held this contest and are publishing this beautiful chapbook online to keep a focus through the winter on the importance of bird migration and habitat to Prince Edward County, “ PEPtBO President Peter Fuller explained.

JC judged the entries and edited the chapbook. “”For the Birds” features poems about songbirds and raptors, waterfowl and scavengers which honour the wonders of nature in the County in a unique way,” she added.

“I thank PEPtBO for this opportunity and appreciate, in particular, how Borys Holowacz’s elegant layout and Peter Fuller’s webmastery contributed to making this fine collection a reality.”

PEPtBO will hold an award ceremony and public reading from “For the Birds” in conjunction with programming during the Spring migration period.

[PEPtBO, a registered charity, has the mandate to monitor and report on bird migration along the South Shore of Prince Edward County. The organization’s volunteers also act as official caretakers of the South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) through which millions of birds and thousands of Monarch butterflies migrate.]

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.



Deadline: October 31 for PEPtBO Poetry Contest submissions from adults and students

Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory’s (PEPtBO’s) poetry contest, “For the Birds” closes at on Halloween at midnight.

Prince Edward County poets and visitors are welcome to enter poems in some way related to birds and birdlife on October 31st.

In January, PEPtBO plans to publish a chapbook of winning poems with photographs taken by local enthusiasts on its website and will celebrate the chapbook launch with prizes for the top poem in each age category (9-16) and adult.

As JC Sulzenko, who serves as contest judge and chapbook editor, explains: “It’s a great way to ring in 2019 by focusing on birds and nature with poems rooted in Prince Edward County.” For full contest details, go to

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

Abbotsford House in Ottawa, welcomed JC Sulzenko on October 31

JC led an interactive discussion of why, when and how she writes award-winning poetry under her own name or using a pseudonym.

She read from her collection, South Shore Suite…Poems, which Point Petre publishing in Prince Edward County published in late 2017 ( and gave an overview of her experimental writing and experience in judging poetry contests and in editing.

She also responded to questions about her use of the pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss and about the challenges of writing for children. Participants used the occasion to pour over her books and even to purchase copies.

JC thanks Abbotsford House for the opportunity to speak to its members.




Submission deadline today, Oct. 19, for poems on the theme of a pivotal moment for “Poetry Quarter” in the GLEBE REPORT

What’s the theme for poems for the November “Poetry Quarter” with a deadline of midnight, October 19, 2018?

“The pivotal. The gamechanger.

“To turn on a pivot, to ricochet off in a new direction, to live a pivotal moment that changes everything.”

Or does it?

Open to poets in the NCR who write in English. Go to www.glebe for submission guidelines.

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 ( 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.


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:


JC Sulzenko’s “What My Grandma Means to Say” key to Alzheimer Society of PEI’s 2018-2019 School Outreach Programs

JC  welcomed the September 21 launch of the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward Island’s awareness campaign that features her book What My Grandma Means to Say and materials related to it, including the one-act play from which the book is derived. This website features a video performance of the play, as well as a PDF of the Discussion Guide which can be downloaded for free.

This is the third year the Society has used JC’s story for elementary school-aged children and their families in its educational outreach programs. Here’s the link to local media coverage at the start of the new school year:

JC explains: “I wrote the story and the play to encourage discussion among children and their families about dementia when it affects someone dear to them.

“So often,  adults find it hard to include kids in conversations about health issues. The story and the play enable the openness so important to children who otherwise may feel left out in the cold. Reading it gives children the chance to learn more about dementia and to develop their own strategies for coping with changes that affect their relationship with someone living with such diseases and conditions.

“I wish success to the Alzheimer Society of PEI’s campaign in schools in 2018-2019 and am very happy that What My Grandma Means to Say plays a part  in it.”

JC curates August “Poetry Quarter” in The Glebe Report; next submission call

The August “Poetry Quarter” in The Glebe Report released on August 17 features eight poets with unique ‘takes’ on the theme of water. The submission call referred to water as critical to sustaining life and as one of the ancient Greeks’ four elements that make up the world.Up 60% of the human body consists of water.

“Such a long, hot, humid summer made this theme a fine choice for August,” curator JC Sulzenko explained. “I can’t resist saying we received poems that covered the ‘waterfront!’

“We welcomed submissions from well-known local poets, such as Michelle Desbarats and Carol A. Stephen, from poets new to “Poetry Quarter,” and from contributors whose work we have published on other occasions.”

Print copies of the paper are available throughout the Glebe. Here’s the link to the online page to paste into your browser:

What’s the theme for poems for the November “Poetry Quarter” with a deadline of midnight, October 19, 2018.

The pivotal. The gamechanger.

“To turn on a pivot, to ricochet off in a new direction, to live a pivotal moment that changes everything.

“There’s no turning back. Or is there?”

JC to appear on 99.3 County FM, Friday July 13 at 12:30 with Vanessa Pandos

To preview the opening of County CollAboRaTive, arts commentator Vanessa Pandos interviews JC and artist Richard Leach who designed the chapbook that captures this 25th Anniversary ekphrastic project for the Prince Edward County Studio Tour.

On Friday July 13, tune in at 12: 30 PM to 99.3 FM or listen live on the device of your choice.

JC’s poems in County CollAboRaTive–where art meets the written word

Ramesh. JC

Photo credit: Ramesh Pooran

JC is delighted her poetry plays a part in the Prince Edward County (PEC) Studio Tour’s 25th Anniversary year celebration. The Tour takes place in September throughout the County.

At the art show and book launch on Friday July 13 at Bloomfield’s Town Hall, JC read aloud her two poems which evolved from artwork by members of the Studio Tour. “Lens,” based on Richard Leach’s mixed media-gliclee print,  “The Space Between,” and “Where Chagall met Gaugin and Dali,” arising from Holly Sedgwick’s acrylic “Sun Dance,” appear in the commemorative book published to mark this unique ekphrastic collaboration between County artists and writers.

Coverage of the event is featured at

Another chance to see this work followed on the weekend of August 11-12 at Wellington’s Town Hall.

Photo credit: Ramesh. JC

Photo credit: Ramesh. JC

“This is my second opportunity to write poems that evolve from artwork by County artists. I was honoured to co-curate Ekphrasis at Blizzmax Gallery in 2016 and truly welcome such creative synergies in my writing life. Patrons will be able to purchase copies of the book with reproductions of each piece of art in the show and read for themselves how county poets and writers responded in ways which complement/compliment them,” JC explained. “The cost of the book with full-colour reproductions is $20 and makes a fine souvenir of the County.”

Here’s the link for further information on the exhibition and book:


Preview Changes

Preview Changes

Sunday, July 8 interview with JC about “What My Grandma Means to Say” on 99.3 County FM

Lynn Pickering’s Sunday July 8 program, The County Writes/The County Reads, featured a 20-minute interview on how and why JC came to write the play “What My Grandma Means to Say” and then the book for children/families about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

The program aired on 99.3 County FM after the noon news.

This website has information on the tools designed to give children the opportunity to learn about Alzheimer’s and what strategies they and their families can develop when dementia affects someone in their circle.

The website also gives free access to a video of the play performed by PECI students for elementary schools in Prince Edward County in 2010 as part of the educational outreach programs of the then Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward County. The Discussion Guide, also available free on this website, contains the play’s script. JC is updating its Q’s and A’s and welcomes the assistance of the Alzheimer Society of Hastings-Prince Edward in this review.



JC’s new piece for Mother’s Day, 2018

We lose our mothers

Not on street corners

or in parks or grocery stores

though we may be mislaid


Today, I wear a dead-woman’s coat

Not my mother’s

Hers were too large


I lost myself in their embrace

as I combed through her clothes

their old-woman scent still strong on

what she wore until she couldn’t stand to dress


I pushed deeper into that closet, touched

garments she chose in middle age to flatter

her long legs, to hide her extra layers

Then Channel No. 5™assaulted me


I rushed outside

onto the balcony that

overlooks the city


breathed in that view

just as she did

until she could not

Home and homelessness themes in Poetry Quarter in May Glebe Report; new submission call issued for August

Shelter, home, homelessness…

Serious subject matter for Poetry Quarterin the May issue of the Glebe Report.

Cut and paste this link into your browser to access the page published on May 11.

JC curates the selection from local poets and found this quarter’s offering rich.“We received many, fine poems.  A connection to home came into sharp and soft focus in a number of them. Street people figured in others.

“We were honoured to receive such sensitive and original work from poets whose poems have not appeared in PQ before and from other writers Glebe Report readers will recognize from previous issues.“

A call for submissions for the August Poetry Quarterhas just been announced. It’s all about water—critical to life; one of the Ancient’s four elements that make up the world; around 60% of the human body.

PQ seeks poems that will make readers “sink or swim.”

“Climate change, days or nights by a shore, access to clean drinking water, tears of laughter or sorrow—I cannot wait to learn what local poets will say.”

The deadline for the August issue is midnight, Friday July 27, 2018. Submission guidelines appear at:



Ottawa Launch of “South Shore Suite…POEMS” on June 5 — “A fine occasion”

On Tuesday, June 5 at 7:30 PM, JC Sulzenko read selections from her poetry collection, South Shore Suite…POEMS, published by Point Petre Publishing.

JC welcomed the SRO audience and thanked publisher Brian Flack for coming to celebrate this first full collection of her narrative and lyrical poems. She also thanked Octopus Books for its gracious hosting of the event.

JC explained how the book contains poems written over the course of her adult life. The collection takes its title from its first section, with poems rooted in the nature and landscape of Prince Edward County, about which she wrote and which she posted a line-a-day for over a year on this website. Its second section brings a wider lens to the natural world, while the third part of the book includes poems on life choices made by people in diverse professions, from carpenter to composer, from lightkeeper to librarian.

“I held interviews in Ottawa and elsewhere with people I knew and sought out others whose line of work interested me. South Shore Suite…POEMS offers samples from both categories. One of the people in these poem portraits was at the Ottawa launch. Recognizable or incognito, do you think?”

The collection concludes with poems that illuminate moments ‘from cradle to grave.’

Why did Point Petre publisher Brian Flack choose this particular book? “To me, many poems in South Shore Suite use language beautifully and capture the universality of experience in an accessible way, which is not often apparent in contemporary poetry.”

This award-winning Glebe poet and writer is well known through her workshops and poetry residencies for emerging, young writers. She has published six books for children.What My Grandma Means to Say takes a child by the hand and explores how to handle dementia in the family. She also writes centos and found poetry for which she uses a pseudonym.

This summer JC’s work will be featured in County CollAboRaTive, the 25thAnniversary celebration of the Prince Edward County Studio Tour, and she takes part as a guest artist in the Redenersville Road Art Tour on Labour Day weekend.

With Carleton Place poet Carol A. Stephen, she has co-authored two chapbooks, Breathing Mutable Air and Slant of Light. Together, they seek a publisher for their new collection of ekphrastic poems inspired by works of art.

Copies of South Shore Suite…POEMS are for sale in Ottawa at Octopus Books, 116 Third Avenue, as well as at Perfect Books. Singing Pebble Books and Books on Beechwood. In Prince Edward County, Books and Company, The Local  Store and Half Moon Bay Winery carry the collection.



April 20 Deadline: Poems about shelter, home, or homelessness

Glebe Report Editor Liz McKeen asks this question: is shelter a right?

The May Poetry Quarter will feature poems by local poets that touch on themes of home, shelter, or homelessness.

JC  Sulzenko, who curates the quarterly collection, looks forward to what these writers consider in approaching notions of belonging or being outsiders.

Cut and paste the following link to reach the Glebe Report’s home page for details on submissions DUE BY MIDNIGHT, Friday, April 20, 2018.

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:

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.

Can you write poetry like Rupi Kaur? Do you want to? JC’s April 10 Poetry Workshop for the Canadian Authors Association (Ottawa Branch)

JC was delighted by the lively discussion that included a romp through selections of poems from Rupi Kaur’s two, best-seller collections of poems.

JC read from her first, full poetry collection, South Shore Suite…POEMS, which came out in November ( and touched on aspects of her writing life from works for children to self-publishing, from writing collaboratively to assuming a pseudonym.
When asked about writing collaboratively,  JC revealed “it’s 85% pleasure, 15% pain.”

She has been working together with Carleton Place poet Carol A. Stephen for about 5 years. They have published two chapbooks, Breathing Mutable Air and Slant of Light, the latter all poems inspired by works of art.

“Carol and I are finalizing the manuscript of a full collection of ekphrastic poems to send out to publishers.” The works from which these poems depart include sculpture, multimedia, textile and visual art.



Review of “South Shore Suite…POEMS” in the March issue of The Glebe Report

J.C. Sulzenko’s South Shore Suite: poetry to celebrate

review by Deborah Tunney

J.C. Sulzenko tells us in the introduction to her soulful and varied poetry collection, South Shore Suite … POEMS, that the inspiration to gather her poems together from the past four decades was Canada’s sesquicentennial celebration. These poems not only celebrate this Canadian milestone but also one Canadian woman’s life, her appreciation of nature, her empathetic recording of other lives and her awareness of time’s passing.

To do this, she divides the collection into four segments, the first and second being a meditation on the role of nature in a life spent in observation and appreciation, the third illustrates her keen observation of character in a segment appropriately entitled “Cameo Appearances,” and in the fourth she looks at aspects of time, creating a sense of closure for the collection as a whole.

Sulzenko sees in nature and in particular the landscape of Prince Edward County, the symmetry and wide, overarching beauty that defines and limits our lives. Many of her poems are inspired by the quiet certainty of haiku, by its ability to slow life to an image that points to the miraculous and capture the frozen essence of a moment. Her touch here is gentle and fine, and perfect for the intent of poem:

it’s alright, okay
to become much like the sand:
water-weary, sun-bleached
reduced to grains that glimmer
as waves advance and waves withdraw.

One of the longer poems of the first section gives us the demise of a man in the very nature that the poet has glorified. His death stills the beauty – this place where he can “find no wonder” so that by morning he is reduced to “an object to recover with a boat and body bag.” The language here shifts from the wonder of nature to the blunt and painful reality of death, and it is this shift that stops readers and makes them, with a renewed reverence, appreciate the encompassment of nature, holding both life and death.

Although the poet’s approach in “Cameo Appearances” is to give us unique personalities, the underlying questions and concerns are the same as in the rest of the collection: the meaning, appreciation and mystery of life. Listen to the economy of this poem as it paints with quick, deft strokes a portrait of a doctor:

Coat off, computer on, patients
questions, examination, diagnosis, injections

Prescription, referrals, reports
No excuse if she runs late

These are the moments that occupy a life, give it its shape and resonance. In the poem “Light on Bay,” Sulzenko gives us an empty lighthouse, bereft of keepers, as a soulless entity: “those lighthouses, empty now, still shine/a safe course for ships, but without a soul”. This poem is an exploration of the family that lived there, of the era that allowed that life choice and both are strikingly eulogized in the calm sadness captured by those closing words.

One of the most poignant poems in the last section chronicles the loss, through euthanasia, of a beloved pet. It describes in almost clinical terms what the vet must do, but ends with the human need for comfort. “He returns to the living room/Places his hand on the spot/where she died/Still warm.” It is here that Sulzenko is at her strongest. She leads us with fine, careful but stripped-down language to a place where we must contemplate the savage, uncompromising emptiness that remains.

The poems in the first section and half of the second are not titled or numbered and the resulting sense of flow and inclusion will either make the reader feel the unity of the work or be annoyed by its formlessness. I found it on first reading a bit disorienting, a feeling that lessened with each reading as I came to appreciate how each poem leads to the next and leans on its neighbouring poem for increased poignancy. However, a small quibble with the book production: the font was a sans serif, which I did not enjoy, and the kerning for certain words seemed clumsy.

This is a collection that rewards the reader with its careful, precise and often-beautiful rendition of those elements in life that enclose us: nature, other people and the progress of time. As she writes: “when it falls to death, the line between/what’s real and what you hope for/breaks you.”

As readers we thank Sulzenko for honouring Canada’s 150th by gathering her poems into this enlightening collection and for her clear-sighted vision of our human condition.

Deborah-Anne Tunney is a former communication officer and a writer of both prose and poetry whose work has appeared in many literary journals.

South Shore Suite … POEMS,
by JC Sulzenko
Point Petre Publishing, 2017 (Milford, Ontario)
Available at Octopus Books (116 Third Ave.), Singing Pebble Books (206 Main St), Books on Beechwood (35 Beechwood), Perfect Books (258 Elgin), from the publisher and

JC Edited “Nature Matters!”– a calendar of nature events published by Prince Edward County Bird Observatory

“I was very pleased to assist the Observatory (PEPtBO) in bringing out this second annual booklet, which highlights events around and about the County’s South Shore that celebrate its unique habitats, flora and fauna, and history,” JC noted. (She serves on PEPtBO’s Board.)

This is the second year JC worked on the project, which lists some 24 events ranging from bird walks, excursions and tours to a 100 km. bicycle ride, from fish fries to graveyard walks, from fishing derbies to fossil hunts.

“Nature Matters!” has been published online at 7000 hard copies of the glossy book will be available throughout the County starting in April.

The booklet also launched a poetry contest for a chapbook PEPtBO will publish on its website.”For the Birds” invites poets aged 9-16 and adult poets living in or visiting the County to send in poems that relate in some way to birds native to the County or migrating through it. Specific information on the contest appears in “Nature Matters!” on line and in print.

(PEPtBO is a not-for-profit, registered charity with a focus on monitoring and providing information on populations of migrating birds at since Edward Point National Wildlife Area during spring and fall. PEPtBO acts as official caretaker for the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), designated as globally significant and comprised of over 40 kilometres of Lake Ontario shoreline and 90 square kilometres of land and water habitats.)

JC republishes her “Boxing Day Colours” and sends her wishes for a happy 2018


Three black pigeons found solace

in the too-warm puddles

They alone had not dreamt of a white Christmas

Did not regret the grim, gray slush

that bequeathed lines of salt to new leather boots

still stiff from packages, now crushed and

stuffed along with blue reindeer wrapping

and rivers of silver ribbon

into bulging green garbage bags

at the curb

of a new year


JC’s interview Sunday, December 10 after the noon news on 99.3 County FM, Picton

Listen to Lynn Pickering’s feature interview with JC about South Shore Suite…Poems on her weekly program “The County Writes…The County Reads” on Sunday, December 10 right after the newscast at noon.

Go to to live stream the program from the FM station that speaks with the ‘voice’ of Prince Edward County, Ontario.

This first collection of JC’s poetry takes its title from its lead section, “South Shore Suite, ” with poems rooted in her experience at the County’s fragile south shore. “I committed to posting a line-a-day of poetry on my website for over a year, and the poems in “South Shore Suite” are the result of that undertaking,” JC explains.

During the interview, JC has the opportunity to read a few poems from the collection and openly discuss why poetry matters to her.

“South Shore Suite” with poems honouring Prince Edward County launched on November 18

An enthusiastic crowd attended the November 18 launch of South Shore Suite, JC’s first collection of poetry from Point Petre Publishing. Hosted by Books and Company, 289 Main St. in Picton, the event featured a reading by JC, fine wines generously offered by Half Moon Bay Winery, nibbles, and brisk book sales.

“The launch was exactly as I hoped it would be: the chance for poetry-lovers, friends and neighbours to celebrate the release of this collection and become acquainted with my work. I chose to read five poems from the collection to give a taste of each of the sections of the book, which begins with the “South Shore Suite” that lends the book its title. The “Suite” consists of poems rooted in nature at Prince Edward County’s south shore and influenced by forms of Japanese poetry, such as haiku and tankas.”

The story in November 15th’s The Wellington Times profiled South Shore Suite. Cut and paste this link into your browser to read the article.

Lynn Pickering’s interview with JC on The County Writes, The County Reads aired on 99.3FM Picton after the noon news on either December 3 or December 10, 2017.

Go to the icon on the right of this website ( for information on how to order the book from JC or from the publisher, Point Petre Publishing. Books and Company in Picton also stocks the book. (

Launch of JC Sulzenko’s SOUTH SHORE SUITE, November 18, 2017 in Picton, Ontario

Point Petre Publishing (PPP) launches JC Sulzenko’s first full collection of poetry in Picton, Ontario, on Saturday afternoon, November 18, 2017.

South Shore Suite cover

South Shore Suite cover

Prince Edward County publisher Brian Flack gives his reasons for electing to publish JC’s lyric and narrative poetry in PPP’s inaugural publishing program. “In our current political climate, the need for ‘something’ that speaks to the unspoiled uniqueness of the southernmost reaches of our County was not just needed, it was demanded!

“Rendered in language that is evocative of place, time, and sensation–yet straightforwardly affecting, many of the poems will transport you body and soul to the South Shore of the County, addressing head-on, as they do, issues both natural and ‘man-made’. These poems will inspire in any reader a wondrous appreciation for the area’s land, its birds, the water …”

JC responds. “I am honoured PPP chose South Shore Suite for this publishing season and gratified that poems in this collection turn the spotlight on Prince Edward County’s fragile South Shore. My work also speaks to the power of life-cycle events, whether mundane or momentous.”

The 100-page book takes its title from the first of its four sections, which contains poems rooted in the landscape of Prince Edward County and posted a line-a-day over the course of more than a year. Its second section brings a wider lens to the natural world. Poetry that reflects on life choices made by people in diverse professions comprises the third part of the book. The collection concludes with poems closest to JC’s personal experience on subjects ‘from cradle to grave.’ County artist Susan Straiton created the arresting cover art.

The launch takes place from 4:00-6:00 PM on Saturday, November 18, 298 Main Street, upstairs in the Lipson Room in Picton. JC will read from the collection at 4:30 PM.

JC serves on the Board of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO) and will donate a Loonie for every copy of South Shore Suite sold at the launch to PEPtBO.

For further information about the book and the event, email




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.

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.

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

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

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:

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.



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

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

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

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

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


JC Reviews “Jonagold” by Peter Blendell

JC has been reading steadily but not caught up on her mini-reviews, which use up to the same number of words as characters for a tweet. Go to “Bookends” to read her review of Prince Edward County author, poet and artist Peter Blendell’s “Jonagold,” published in 2014.

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

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

Boxing Day Colours


Three black pigeons found solace

in the too-warm puddles


They alone had not dreamt of a white Christmas

Did not regret the grim gray slush

that bequeathed lines of salt to new leather boots

still stiff from packages, now crushed, stuffed

along with blue reindeer wrapping

and rivers of silver ribbon

into bulging green garbage bags


at the curb

of a new year


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– “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:

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.


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:

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.






JC Reviews “On the Outside Looking Indian” by Rupinder Gill

Go to the Bookends tab for JC’s most recent review of Rupinder Gill’s 2011 memoire, “On the Outside Looking Indian.” She gives it a 6.5/10 rating.

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 The publisher’s price per volume is $15. Here’s the link to Silver Birch Press’s release:

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.

“What My Grandma Means to Say” — lynchpin for the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward Island’s outreach program in PEI Elementary Schools

JC is thrilled that the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward Island (ASPEI) chose to anchor its 2016-2017 education program in schools with “What My Grandma Means to Say,” JC’s play and storybook for children and families about Alzheimer’s disease.

With the province’s Department of Education and input from JC, ASPEI developed a resource kit for teachers which puts a copy of the book, plus JC’s Discussion Guide, into every elementary school in the Province. Here’s a link to the CBC’s report:

“As I wrote in my op. ed. piece published by papers across Canada (go to the Archive table to read the article), I feel it’s essential for kids to be part of the discussion when Alzheimer’s affects someone they know and about whom they care. Understanding what they can and cannot hope for is one way to get at the fears this disease raises,” JC believes.

A number of Alzheimer Societies in Ontario incorporated “What My Grandma Means to Say” into their programming. With the new program launched on September 21, World Alzheimer’s Day, PEI’s Alzheimer Society is the first to take “What My Grandma Means to Say” province-wide.

“I look very forward to whatever feedback comes my way from the use of this story and play in schools. I know that having an open and safe environment to talk about Alzheimer’s can really build awareness and dispel myths, without sugarcoating what people living with the disease face.”


Globe and Mail prints JC’s letter to the Editor: “Dead Birds Cannot Sing,” 17/09/2106

JC responded to the Partners in Flight report in the Globe on the large decline in bird populations with a scathing indictment of governments that site industrial wind turbines in environmentally sensitive areas on bird migration routes and in habitats of endangered species, such as the Blandings turtle. The Editor included a verse from “Spectacle,” for which is she is grateful. The verses first appeared on this site. Here it is:

Dead birds cannot sing,

their melodies lost to winds

that rouse high towers

to our great hades of steel

that churn songs and soft feathers.

Here’s the link to the edition:

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.

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!

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.

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.

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:

“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:

New Bookends Reviews: Bryson, Boyden, and Scofield

Finally returning to review some of the readings from the spring. I begin today with the posts under “Bookends” tab of three books in two reviews: See my thoughts on Bill Bryson’s “*A Short History of Everything.” I’m a huge fan of Bryson’s books, and this huge volume didn’t disappoint.

And then look at how I contrast Joseph Boyden’s book “Extraordinary Canadians Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont” with  Gregory Scofield’s “Louis: The Heretic Poems.” Both worth a read.

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

I accepted the day 29 prompt in 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 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 ( 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)


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.


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 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.


 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 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 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.

Dwarfs’ girl.

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 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.


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 — 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, 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.


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.


I had a mission
to feed
the fantasy,
trails that lead to

to cross the river,
hours of daylight,
caught by sunlight.

Don’t panic!
You’re like me,
hoping for
tango lessons,
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
being good to others
just didn’t work out

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 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 “…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.”


 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.



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

JC’s New Cento Honours Award-winning Poems in the 2016 Awesome Authors Contest

JC delighted in announcing the winning poems and identifying the poets who entered the winners’ circle at the 21st Awesome Authors Awards ceremony on March 29 at Centrepoint Theatre, Ottawa.

Then she shared her decision to step down as English poetry judge after more than a decade of serving in this capacity, for which the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) awarded her the Order of Friendship in 2010.

“I love the contest and will remain its biggest fan,” she promised.

She asked everyone who had submitted a poem to the contest in English or French or English and French to raise their hands and declared it awesome that so many emerging writers aged 9-17 had the courage to do so.

In the autumn, winning poems and short stories will be published in the anthology, Pot Pourri. Copies can be ordered directly from The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library.

To honour the poets who won awards this year, JC has created a cento (pronounced ‘sento’), a form of poetry, which uses lines or parts of lines written by different poets and combines them into a poem, which is new in form and meaning. JC (often writing as A. Garnett Weiss) is focusing now on this form, and a number of her centos have been published and won awards.

Ask me anything you want takes lines or parts of lines, unaltered from how they appeared in the winning poems in this year’s Awesome Authors Contest. The gloss links to the source of each line, including the title of the poem and the poet’s name.

Ask me anything you want

Drunk on madness and intoxicating fun,
head spinning, feeling awfully faint,
I wish for you in my dreams,

wishes long forgotten
where all birds sing as if it were the same song
if only they could be heard.

I have too many names, I can’t even count them,
and, having no one to turn to for love,
to withstand any enemy
my candles and matches do nothing to fight against,
something blocks all open gates,

moving with sudden purpose
a mixture of your blood with the waters.
However no one can know except for you and me.
Wherever you go, whomever you meet,
no one understands who we are.


            Cento gloss: Ask me anything you want
             Title: Alyson Moncur-Beer, “Girl Power”
             Line 1: Shannon Noah, “Awakened”
             Line 2: Irine Stripinis, “Fall from Grace”
             Line 3: Maariya Toman, “Breathless”
             Line 4: Julia Dolansyky-Overland, “Lost”
             Line 5: Owen McKibbon, “What’s Around You and Living in Love”
             Line 6: Mitra Dadjoo, “Summer”
             Line 7: Francine Stripinis, “Eternally Cursed”
             Line 8: Kara Cybanski, “The Mistake of Solitude”
             Line 9: Lucy Boyd, “Lily flies”
             Line 10: Belinda Xu, “Pins and Needles”
             Line 11: Maleeka Ellaithy, “Hand in Hand”
             Line 12: Lily Inskip-Shesnicky, “Solo”
             Line 13: Sara Rwentambo, “Creativity”
             Line 14: Leah Sullivan, “The Seamstress”
             Line 15: Shannon Creelman, “Fly like a bird”
             Line 16: Zara Hewson, “Powerless or Powerful”


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

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

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

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

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

Silver Birch Press features “After ignorance, blessings” in its new Same Name Series

California’s Silver Birch Press (SBP) features Garnett’s recent poem in its new Same Name Series. The poem, based upon Garnett as an undergrad bumping into Leonard Cohen at a university library, goes beyond that moment to capture her evolution into a fan. “I am honoured to be included in this innovative series and thank the editor for choosing this poem,” Garnett states.

The post by SBP includes a photo of Garnett around the time of the incident, plus notes on Garnett’s creative process. Here is the link:

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

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

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

For information on the contest, go to the Awesome Authors Contest page on OPL website:

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

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

Poems should be:

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

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

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

Please email submissions to

JC’s post-Christmas reflection with the annual posting of her “Boxing Day Colours”

Boxing Day Colours


Three black pigeons found solace

in the too-warm puddles


They alone had not dreamt of a white Christmas

Did not regret the grim, gray slush

that bequeathed lines of salt to new leather boots

still stiff from packages, now crushed and

stuffed along with blue reindeer wrapping

and rivers of silver ribbon

into bulging green garbage bags


at the curb

of a new year


A. Garnett Weiss


Best wishes to you all for a healthy, happy 2018 in which peace is given a chance.


JC’s Guest Post for Mike Stewart, the OPL’s first Writer-in-residence

When Mike asked JC to write a guest post about poetry for his blog in December, she was delighted.

The piece appeared this week at:

What way did she choose to give tips about how poetry works? She used song titles of the top singles from the week of November 27-December 3. What tips about writing poetry can song titles offer? “It always surprises me that poetry isn’t considered ‘mainstream,’ when songs are poems with music,” JC laments. “Just listen to Adele’s “Hello” as an example. There’s a hit song, made memorable not only for its compelling melody, but for its words which remind me of a ballad.”

“It’s great that I had the chance to write a post for teens and ‘tweens’ now, because the Ottawa Public Library’s 21st Awesome Authors Contest just opened on December 1.” The deadline for submitting short stories and poems in English or French for young writers aged 9-17 is February 15, 2016. Winning entries will be announced in the spring and be published by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library next fall.

“I sure hope students across our city will swamp the judges with fine poems and stories.” JC returns to judge English poetry entries. Governor General Award winner Caroline Pignat will choose winning stories from 13-17 year-old writers, while Catherine Austen will judge stories by 9-12 year-olds. Sylvie Frigon has poems and stories in French as her focus. Entrants must have a valid OPL card.

The OPL is hosting workshops to give young writers a chance to hear from the judges and ask them questions. JC’s poetry workshop for 9-12 year olds takes place at 10:30 AM on a PD day, January 22, 2016, at Beaverbrook Branch. For information on the other workshops, go to the Awesome Authors Contest page on OPL website:

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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



A Mountie sings Oh Canada

A Fine baritone in scarlet

Odd how his stiff brown hat stays put


I strain to hear the others –their singing jumbles off

high glass planes, transparent walls

I make out Des plus brilliants

God keep

Glorious and free


I hear my voice, small in the great room

Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee


I will the words to be true

Fear we are not up to it


Many don’t vote

They squander their choices, our democracy

Grumble at leaders in power almost by default


Our fault, really

Centred in little lives, blind to our need to protect

our country — beautiful, fragile


We ought to know better, to know

what to do for Canada every day

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

or should we go out there, start somewhere

Work not only for ourselves

but for our Canada


A half hour a day

times the 34 million of us or so

(minus the sick, the too-young)

would sure buy a lot


of standing on guard

“Breathing Mutable Air” launched at Railroad, Oct. 18

JC appeared with Carol A. Stephen to launch their collaborative chapbook, “Breathing Mutable Air” at the pop-up poetry series, Railroad. Award-winning poet John Pass previewed poems his new collection of early poems, “Forecast.”

Carol and JC created 17 poems for this chapbook using a variety of structures, for example: in some poems, alternating lines; in others, alternating stanzas. Each poet contributed two of her own poems to the collection. Carol describes the collection this way: “17 poems, 2 poets, 1 voice.”

JC found the experience of writing with Carol enriching. “I found the process to be surprisingly satisfying, at times frustrating, but never dull. We are working on a new chapbook of ekphrastic poems in which each poem arises from a work of art in the National Gallery of Canada’s holdings. ”

Their next chapbook, “Slant of Light,” from which JC read three teasers, is in the final editing phase and uses ekphrastic poems to explore artwork held by the National Gallery of Canada.

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

The deadline for submitting poems to be featured in the first of The Glebe Report’s new feature, Poetry Quarter, is October 9, 2015. Here’s the link to the website for specifics on how to submit.

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

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

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

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



Save Ostrander Point Website Features JC’s Lament

The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) website now features  JC’s “A voice for the turtle,” her protest poem against the construction of 9 plus 27 industrial wind turbines (each 450 feet high) at the the environmentally fragile south shore of Prince Edward County.

“It’s a travesty: the Government of Ontario willingly supports the construction of these huge wind farms which will destroy species at risk, including the Blandings turtle, and cause irreversible and serious harm to migratory birds and the delicate alvar terrain. All in the name of the toxic Green Energy Act which subsidizes with Ontario taxpayer’s $’s the production of electricity that cannot be stored, that Ontario cannot use and therefore sells at a loss to the US. It’s madness,” JC declares.

The poem is part of JC’s Prince Edward County Suite and first appeared as “Spectacle.” Here’s the link:

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:

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!

JC Sulzenko and Carol A. Stephen launch “Breathing Mutable Air, “their collaborative chapbook June 13 at the Small Press Fair, Jack Purcell Community Centre in Ottawa

Ottawa’s Small Press Fair tomorrow saw the launch of the first collaborative chapbook by JC Sulzenko and Carol A. Stephen.

Stephen describes “Breathing Mutable Air “in this way: 17 poems, 2 poets and 1 voice. ”

JC admits it is the first time she has partnered with another poet in writing such poetry together. “This has been a rich experience for me. I believe the poems we wrote together carry a distinct identity, unaffected by what we craft when we write as individuals. I enjoyed the challenge so much. It’s no surprise that I look forward to seeing how the next collaborative work, now underway, will unfold.”

The Chapbook, published by BC’s Nose in Book Publishing, costs $10.

Silver Birch Press Publishes “Solo for a princess” by A. Garnett Weiss

Silver Birch Press has been running an amazing series with the theme of  “Me as a child.” The quality, depth and variety of poems which have appeared to date bring the series into the realm of  ‘spellbinding’ reading.

Among the offerings which appear today is Garnett’s “Solo for a princess.” Garnett is honoured to have this poem published in this series. Here’s the link.

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”

A poem by JC Sulzenko appears this spring in a new poetry anthology for children: Book launch on March 29 in Montreal

JC is delighted that her poem, “City Garden, ” appears in a NEW poetry anthology for children eight to twelve years of age, “Dear Tomato,” which was launched in Montreal on Sunday, March 29. “Dear Tomato: An International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems” can be ordered NOW through Here’s the link:

“This collection offers children and families something novel, as its subtitle suggests. I am happy that editor Carol-Ann Hoyte included my poem about a rabbit and a pansy flower in the same back yard. It’s one of my favourites!” JC claims.

Here’s what’s said about the anthology on the book’s back cover: “Featuring a wide assortment of styles, from haiku to acrostics to free verse, these poems touch on topics that range from lighthearted to seriously thought-provoking. Whether the focus of the poem is a child’s battle over eating peas or a celebration of fair trade, this collection introduces kids to a fresh, new view of where their food comes from… Throughout the anthology, each entry’s words and ideas are brought to life by Norie Wasserman’s stunning black-and-white photographs…”

And here’s a fine quote from Kenn  Nesbitt, US Children’s Poet laureate (2013-2015): “From farm to market, from garden to table, and from fork to mouth “Dear Tomato” serves up a bumper crop of delicious (and healthful!) poems that are sure to leave you hungry for more.”

Further information about the anthology can be found at

“Where I live series” features A. Garnett Weiss poem on March 10

Here’s the link to Garnett’s “Through My Window,” published on March 10 by Silver Birch Press. as part of its series entitled “Where I live.”

Garnett is delighted that the editor chose a photograph of the Rideau Canal in winter to complement the poem occasioned by Ottawa, Canada, having  the dubious distinction of being the coldest capital in the world on one frigid day in February.

The Light Ekphrastic publishes two poems by A. Garnett Weiss today

How does a piece of poetry inspire an artist? What does a poet take from a work of art? That process is what lies at the core of the on-line journal, The Light Ekphrastic.  Its February issue features two poems by A. Garnett Weiss, linked to two works of art by Isabelle P. Laureta.

“The selection process is ‘blind'”, says Weiss. “That’s its charm. I submitted a few poems to the Editor and heard that my work had been selected and would be forwarded to the artist with whom the editor linked me. In return, I would receive a number of artworks by that artist.

“It was left to each of us to select to which piece we would respond. Neither Isabelle nor I knew what the response would be until we saw the journal published.”

Garnett’s poem, “Woman of Ice, Woman of Glass” inspired Laureto to create the image of a woman that is striking in its use of lush tropical flowers, water, and crystals. In turn, Garnett’s poem “Antigua” riffs off Isabelle’s portrait of a woman floating among Men-of-War jelly fish to address matters of the heart.

“I have never had the opportunity to work with an artist in this reciprocal way before. I’m hooked and look forward to other such collaborations.”

Garnett thanked the editor of The Light Ekphrastic and Isabelle Laureta for the experience.

February 16 deadline for Awesome Authors and Poets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information on where and how to enter is available from:



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.”

“Allison’s Brain” taking readers by storm

Allison Woyiwada and Bob McMcMechan’s amazing book, “Allison’s Brain” continues to attract the attention it so well deserves.

See my review through their recent tweet at

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

Although information on A. Garnett Weiss is available from, 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 to access the site, which will be updated on a regular basis.

“Allison’s Brain” by Robert McMechan with Allison Woyiwada — a triumph

I will post my review of the book on Amazon, etc., but offer this teaser here now to encourage people to buy the book by husband and wife team, Bob McMechan and Allson Woyiwada.

“Allison’s Brain,” available through on-line retailers and the publisher, Friesan Press, follows this remarkable couple as they team up with healthcare professionals, family and friends to support music dynamo Allison through very complex, dangerous surgery for a brain aneurysm and the long recovery period after the 12-hour operation.

JC was one of the friends who followed this odyssey closely and helped out whenever she could. “The book represents the triumph of this woman who faced such odds in risking the surgery and in surviving the aftermath setbacks. The narrative is sequential and includes notes from MDs, nurses, and therapists. It reproduces the regular updates which Allison began to send to her friends and family as the operation approached and which Bob continued to provide during all the many months of her recuperation. In annexes, there are ‘essays’ from speech and music therapists which illustrate powerfully how such programs can bring back brain function. There are telling anecdotes from some of the regular visitors to Allison during the stages of her recovery also in that section of the book.

“Most important to read, though, are two contributions: At the end of the book, Allison shares her own feelings and fears about what she has gone through. She is candid about what she remembers and what she cannot. Particularly revealing are her observations on her capacity to say what she meant: she always thought she was communicating clearly what was in her mind when in fact it would take a long period of her time and many therapy sessions for her to regain the ability to find the right words. Then, the last annex gives daughter Marya’s views on surviving the experience as the child who must parent her mother, not knowing whether and how all the efforts she, Bob, friends, and medical experts were making would play out.

“The book represents the best of the human condition: a triumph of science and spirit, of devotion, friendship, and hope. Allison’s perseverance and her family’s unrelenting efforts to bring her back to herself make for compelling reading for everyone, but particularly for anyone who has been exposed to the effects an acquired brain injury can have on an individual and the people who care about him or her.

“You come away from reading “Allison’s Brain” with respect for everyone involved in her story and a sense of awe about how the brain can renew itself,” JC concludes.

Here’s the link to the site where the book can be ordered:

Something funny happened on the way to today

The film JC saw last night reminded her of the truth in the cliché about laughter being the best medicine.  A comedy in French, “Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu” (“Serial Weddings”), is both funny and human and absolutely the best comedy I’ve seen in ages, ” JC claimed.

Why write about the movie on this website? “I rarely write poetry that is humorous, ” JC laments. “I often asks myself why, when laughter brings such pleasure, I don’t celebrate humour in my writing? Because there sure is a need for comedy as an antidote to all the oppressive reality that screams from new headlines.”

JC has given herself a challenge: to find humour in her every day and bring what she discovers  and writes about to this site when she does. Will she succeed? Comments?


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.”


Silver Birch Press Blog features “In the third person”

Silver Birch Press’s focus in August is on self-portrature.  A. Garnett Weiss’s “In the third person” appears on August 9 at:

“It’s grand that Silver Birch Press published this piece, which uses the syllable count and form of the tanka, ” Garnett Weiss notes.  “The poem examines how the brain is central to our individual human-ness and what vulnerability in the brain brings home to a person.

“The Editor chose an arresting image that complements the poem so well,” Weiss added. Artist Sandra Silberzweig created “The Truth is Reflected.” “Based on this experience, I wish I could involve Silberzweig in creating visuals that would complement my whole poetry collection. ”

The Silver Birch Press series feature two poets/poems per day by contributors from Canada, Australia, Austria, Colombia, India, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.


At the end of the longest day, 2014

Sunset: Still waters

reflect the colour spectrum.

Later, fireflies.



A. Garnett Weiss


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

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.


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


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.

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.

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.

Holiday wishes

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

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.

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

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.

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:

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.”

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:

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!

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.”

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:

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.”

For Alzheimer’s Action Day, Sept. 21, 2012: Launch of E-book of “What My Grandma Means to Say”

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, with September 21 designated as Alzheimer’s Action Day.

To mark the day and the month that increase awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia, General Store Publishing House ( launched the e-book of “What My Grandma Means to Say,” JC Sulzenko’s storybook for children in grades 3 – 6 and families, in which someone is living with Alzheimer’s.

“The timing is deliberate,”says JC. “By making the storybook available in a form that is accessible across Canada and world-wide, I hope that families affected by Alzheimer’s disease use the story of Jake and his grandma to launch a positive discussion with their children about dementia. Rather than avoiding conversations about challenges such diseases bring to the lives of families and the children in them, I encourage families to take the big step: use “What My Grandma Means to Say” to build understanding and strategies that support the person living with the disease and each other.

“Children often are drawn into the role of caregivers. They need the chance to find their place in the life of their family as relationships change with the progress of the disease.”

The e-book, which can be ordered through Kindle, Kobo, Sony, Barnes and Noble, as well as independent e-book retailers, completes the cycle which began in 2009 with JC’s ten-minute, one act play for children “What my grandma means to say.” The play’s script is contained in the Discussion Guide for teachers, now available in downloadable format FREE from this website, along with FAQS, sources of further information, activities for the classroom and home and a bibliography. A performance of the play by high school students can be screened on this website, as well.

“I still believe the experience of reading “What My Grandma Means to Say” is most effective when family members hold the actual storybook in their hands. Sitting together, feeling the book in their hands, brings them closer as they, through the story, learn about Alzheimer’s and what they can and cannot hope for as they deal with how the disease affects the life of someone about whom they care.

“I’m a realist, though: the e-book has the potential to many more families in such situations than a hard copy of the book. I am thrilled with the way General Store Publishing House adapted the original book for e-readers. I hope families and children benefit from “What My Grandma Means to Say” wherever they are and whenever they find themselves in such a situation.”

The 48-page storybook, first published in 2010 and illustrated by Gary Frederick, is available from General Store Publishing House (1 800-465 6072) at a retail cost of $12.95. The book includes answers to frequently asked questions and lists sources of further information.

Five-Star Review of “What My Grandma Means to Say” on About.Com

JC welcomed a five-star review by Susan Adcox on About.Com.
Here are some excerpts from the review which can be found at

“Although children can’t have Alzheimer’s, millions of children suffer from it, as they watch beloved grandparents descend into dementia. Other family members may struggle to explain what is happening. Help is at hand with this book, which tells the story of Jake, his mom and his grandmother, who sometimes needs Jake to explain What My Grandma Means to Say.

“Written by Canadian author JC  Sulzenko and published by General Store Publishing House, the book is a high-quality paperback. Not exactly a chapter book, it is divided into readable chunks. A dozen or so illustrations by Gary Frederick add charm.

“It wouldn’t be accurate to say that this is the first book for children with Alzheimer’s in their family… What sets this book apart is the voice of the narrator, a voice which author Sulzenko said pushed her out of the way when she began writing the play. In addition, few books for children have factual material of the breadth of that which Sulzenko includes.

“Just so that you won’t be caught unawares, the informative nature of What My Grandma Means to Say does not negate its emotional wallop. It’s a rare reader who won’t shed a few tears before the final page.”

On this Website Soon: the updated Discussion Guide for “What My Grandma Means to Say,” the Play

Within the next weeks, the Discussion Guide for teachers and community leaders, which complements JC’s play for children about Alzheimer’s disease, will be available in downloadable PDF form from this website.

“This updated version will be user-friendly and interactive with direct links to organizations and sources  that can be helpful to families, teachers and healthcare workers,” JC notes.

The Discussion Guide contains the script of the one-act, ten-minute play, along with information on how to stage it and how to lead a discussion based upon “What My Grandma Means to Say.” Answers to FAQs, helpful websites and books, as well as suggested activities for the classroom, at home and during visits with someone who is living with Alzheimer’s disease also can be found in the Guide.

“Once the Guide is available on-line, I hope that more people who are facing the challenges posed by Alzheimer’s in the family will be able to make use of such information, ” JC noted.

The e-book of the storybook published by General Store Publishing House will follow by the autumn. Remaining hard copies of the book are still available from the publisher ( from Chapters/Indigo and Amazon Canada.

Verses just published in Florida: JC’s Poem Targets Industrial Wind Farms’ Threat to Species at Risk in Ontario

The May 11 issue of The Island Sun, the weeklypaper on Sanibel Island, Florida, carries verses from JC’s Line-a-Day poem at (for mature readers). Using the tanka form, JC’s observations in “Spectacle” begin with watching a fox at the shore. The focus then moves to the destruction of sensitive habitats and species at risk, particularly birds such as the Whip-Poor-Will and Loggerhead Shrike, posed by plans to site almost 40 wind turbines, each up to 400 feet high, in an area which carries the international designation as an Important Birding Area (IBA.) Read these verses in Don Brown’s Poetic Voices column on page 38 at:

Capital Parent profiles “What My Grandma Means to Say,” the video

In the March/April issue of Capital Parent Newspaper appears a great feature on the YouTube video of the pilot performance of “What My Grandma Means to Say.” The paper is available free at Ottawa-area newsstands and also can be read on-line at Go to page 6 to read about the play.

JC’s interview about the new video on Channel 22, February 6

Daytime, a talk show on Channel 22 in Ottawa featured an interview with JC on Monday February 6. The show aired from 11AM-12 noon, at 5:00 PM and at 11: 00 PM. Here’s the link to the interview: The co-hosts explored with JC how the new video of a performance of the play “What My Grandma Means to Say” by high school students for elementary school-aged children enables both age groups to discuss Alzheimer’s disease. To screen the new video of the play, see below.


One-hour Internet Radio Feature on “What My Grandma Means to Say” January 17, 1:00 p.m (EST)

On Tuesday, January 17, at 1:00 p.m. (EST)  Dr. Gordon Atherley from Toronto interviewed JC  to learn how “What My Grandma Means to Say”, the play and the storybook, can enable family discussions about Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia.   Here is the link to the broadcast on VoiceAmerica:

Dr. Atherley invited JC to come on his program after reading one of her articles in the national media about the importance of including children in family discussions when someone in that family is living with Alzheimer’s disease. So often, families find it very difficult to speak among themselves about what is happening to someone about whom they care.  So often, the need of children to understand their place in such a situation is not given attention by health care providers.

The discussion was far-ranging and included the important perspective offered by Kristen Irvine, a professional personal care worker who is very involved in supporting her own grandmother who is living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Having education programs in schools that focus on Alzheimer’s and the use of “What My Grandma Means to Say” in training health care providers were some of the issues which arose during the discussion.

At the site for the program is an e-mail address for comments on the broadcast which Dr. Atherley welcomes.

Canadian Authors Association Panel, January 10

JC participated in a panel on January 10 that focussed on marketing and promotion but gave her the chance to talk about how she came to write “What My Grandma Means to Say.” Here is the link to executive member Arlene Smith’s blog on what struck her about JC’s comments.

CAA Evening Panel: Tuesday, January 10, 2012

JC joins Sharyn Heagle, President, Ottawa Branch of the Canadian Authors Association,  Emily-Jane Hills Orford and Dave Mullington for a ‘get your hands dirty’  panel: The Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing your work.

After brief presentations from each panellist, Sharyn will broker a discussion among them about issues they have addressed —  what works and what doesn’t — in promoting what they have written. A question and answer session with audience participation will follow.

A great way to get and share tips.

In the auditorium, Main Branch, Ottawa Public Library (See the CAA, Ottawa Branch, website for details.)

Season’s Greetings

A time for reflection about 2011 and wishes from JC for a happy New Year, one filled with poetry, creativity, hope and good health.

The Board of The Glebe Centre Welcomed JC’s Reading of “What My Grandma Means to Say”

JC was pleased to accept the invitation Lawrence Grant, Executive Director of The Glebe Centre, extended on behalf of the organization’s Board of Directors, to give a dramatic reading of the play on November 28.

JC confirmed to the Board how the Glebe Centre partnered on “What My Grandma Means to Say” from when it was first being test-read in 2009, through the development of a Discussion Guide for teachers, the premiere of the play at the Ottawa International Writers Festival in 2009 and the publication of the storybook adaptation in the spring of 2011. She expressed her particular gratitude to Jen Dare, Pat Goyeche and Karen Joynt for their support throughout the evolution of the project. Most recently Abbotsford hosted a tea for healthcare professionals and for educators to demonstrate how the book and the play can enable families and children discuss Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia and can help them develop strategies to support someone they know who is living with such diseases.

Members of the Board were touched by the play and posed a number of questions after the presentation. One Board member asked whether JC had thought of writing about what happens as Alzheimer’s disease progresses, with a focus on the end of life.  JC had not considered that but would.

She advised the board that junior students at her recent reading at Hopewell Avenue Public School had encouraged her to write about other diseases. When JC asked which ones they thought she should target, here were some of their suggestions: diabetes, cancer and ALS.  The fact that these children between the ages of 8 and 12 already have such illnesses on their radar screens proved to JC how important it is for families to include children in conversations when such situations affect the life of a family.

Welcome Winter Delights a Sell-out Crowd on November 26

A full house turned out for the fourth annual reading of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas at  Glebe-St. James United Church on Saturday, November 26! Many members of the audience spoke to JC after the performance with wonderful comments and pleas that the tradition of presenting this unique story to herald the holiday season continue for many years to come.

Rob Clipperton returned as the gifted storyteller. At this performance, Rob was surrounded by student actors and singers of the Hopewell Avenue Public School Junior Choir. Dressed in PJs and slippers, these students from Grades 4,5 and 6 had speaking parts from the story and sang seasonal songs that picked up on the themes of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” The program began with an evocative organ solo by Robert Palmai, Minister of Music at Glebe-St. James  which Marya Woyiwada, Soprano, followed with an aria from Die Fledermaus. Canterbury High School’s Vocum, women in the vocal music program at Arts Canterbury, who were directed by James Caswell, left the audience spellbound with their music.

JC thanked the talented performers and musicians for lending their presence to the show, Glebe-St. James United Church for hosting Welcome Winter, volunteers who assisted at the event and Compact Music for advance ticket sales.

Net proceeds (over $ 2300) from the one-hour of performance, presented by JC and Allison W0yiwada, benefit Reach Canada ( this year.


Capital Parent Newspaper Features JC’s Article in October/November Issue

Just noted:  Please go to to find JC’s article, “Children have a place in the Alzheimer’s picture.”

JC Appeared at Two Schools for the Ottawa International Writers Festival, Fall 2011 Edition

JC presented “What My Grandma Means to Say” over 100 students from grades 3 and 4 at Bayview Public School in Ottawa on November 9,2011. After reading from the book and explaining how she adapted the play into story form, JC welcomed questions that covered aspects of Alzheimer’s disease as well as the process of writing she uses. Student participation was great and the questions very thoughtful. She enjoyed her first visit to the school thoroughly.

On November 10, JC returned to Hopewell Avenue Public School and met 200 students from grades 3-7 who were crammed into the Library. This enthusiastic group was interested in talking about writing. Several students encouraged JC to write  a series which could address other diseases. When she asked which ones, they came up with a strong list: diabetes, cancer, ALS and polio were raised.  JC explained to the students how she had launched her first book for children, “Annabella and The TyCoon” in their library thirteen years ago and that the book raised over $2000 for the music program at the school. She also told them that the poem which she wrote which has gone through the most number of drafts was based on an experience she had leading a workshop for Hopewell students during with she met Alice Erwin, an amazing young woman who touched her deeply. “Beholder” is probably my favourite poem,” JC admitted. When asked which of her six books for children she likes the best, she suggested that the question was rather like asking a mother which of her children she likes best. Impossible to answer.

New Website for Grandparents: a feature on JC’s book and article

Check out this brand-new website for Grandparents that profiles “What My Grandma Means to Say” and reprints JC’s article from City Parent (Toronto).

It’s great that talking with kids about Alzheimer’s is featured there. Hope that families who could use the book  learn about it  this way.

JC’s article as part of Vancouver Province’s coverage of dementia

In a special supplement on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, the Vancouver Province gave my article today a place of prominence. Check it out:

Line-a-day Poetry Project Extended for Another Year

The Line-a-day Poetry Project began in October 2010, on this site under the “for Mature Readers” tab. JC imagined the challenge as an opportunity to distill into one line some element from her daily experience.  It was both surprising and not to her that the project took a different road than she had foreseen. Instead of lines of free verse linked to one another, at least in chronology if in no other way, stanzas emerged. First haiku; then tanka forms dominated. JC often used the repetition of a word or related subject matter from one stanza to another to enable the flow of her ideas.

While, JC admits she  found herself impatient, at times, for this commitment to write for a year to end, the anniversary date passed without her notice. When she realized the year was over, instead of sighing with relief, she felt regret. So she has decided to continue the process for another year without any preconceived notion of whether the lines will follow the pattern set to date or not.

JC welcomes comments on the Line-a-day Project on this site.

“What My Grandma Means to Say” at the Ottawa International Writers Festival, October 20, 2011

Here’s the link to the special ’roundtable’ event  which was presented with Mother Tongue Books as part of this autumn’s edition of the Ottawa International Writers Festival.

The downpour-afternoon did not dampen enthusiasm for this topic. The conversation was wide-ranging. It went beyond a focus on how families develop ways in which to support each other and the person they know who is living with dementia.  The importance of music and visual art for people living with Alzheimer’s, new treatments and research, and personal experiences also were raised.

Thanks to Laura and Evelyn at the bookstore and to Caitlin Brydges from The Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County for their contributions to the event.

The Festival will also sponsor JC’s visits to a number of area schools in early November.

“What My Grandma Means to Say” in performance October 5 and 6 in Prince Edward County Elementary Schools

Here is the link to an excellent article from Prince Edward Collegiate Institute writers about “What My Grandma Means to Say,” the play, which was performed for 8-12 year-olds at three County elementary schools on October 5. The troup travelled to three more schools on October 6.

With the guidance of PECI head of drama and native studies,  Matt Sheahan, students from that high school take on the roles of Jake, Grandma, Jake`s mother and the nurse for the ten-minute play, which kick-starts a discussion about Alzheimer`s disease.

This initiative represents an innovative community partnership between the school and the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward County. It gives effect to JC`s vision to have senior students perform for younger ones so that both groups can grow their understanding about dementia and develop strategies to support someone they know who may be living with it.

For PECI website coverage, go to

Interview on September 18 on CFRA 580 Talk Radio

Rabbi Bulka interviewed JC for an hour-long segment of his Sunday night talk show. Here’s the link to listen in on their conversation about “What My Grandma Means to Say”. On the target page, select the September 18 show.

Rabbi Bulka with JC Sulzenko

JC’s Article in Fall Issue of Healthwise Ottawa in Time for World Alzheimer’s Day, September 21, 2011

A three-page feature on “What My Grandma Means to Say” appears in the fall issue of Healthwise Ottawa, “Your local guide to improved health and well-being.” The story traces how “What My Grandma Means to Say” developed from a play into a storybook for children and families in which someone is living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia and overtook JC’s writing life.

Healthwise is delivered to home subscribers of the Ottawa Citizen in selected areas. 40,000 copies of each issue are published.#Alzheimers…


September 12:High Tea for health care professionals and educators in Ottawa about “What My Grandma Means to Say”

Photo by Lois Siegel

On Monday, September 12 from 4:00-5:30 p.m., the Glebe Centre hosted a sumptuous High Tea to introduce area educators and health care professionals to “What My Grandma Means to Say,” the storybook and the play for children and families about Alzheimer’s disease.  Those attending the event had the opportunity to see first hand how “What My Grandma Means to Say”  (in both drama and storybook forms) enables children and families in which someone is living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia to discuss how to handle the challenges such conditions pose. Over forty professionals attended the tea at which representatives of The Glebe Centre and the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County spoke about the use of the material in their work and at which JC Sulzenko gave a dramatic reading of the play.

What My Grandma Means to Say reviewed in Resource Links

Here are some of what Resource Links writes for schools and libraries about the book in a recent on-line issue : “Through the first person narrative, Sulzenko draws us into Jake’s inner journey. This book would serve as an excellent stepping-off point for discussions about dementia as a health issue that affects families.”

JC performed “What My Grandma Means to Say” at ASORC Volunteer Appreciation Event on June 13

On Monday, June 13, the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County ( ) held its annual event in appreciation of the efforts of all its volunteers. JC gave a brief introduction to the play and the storybook. She then presented “What My Grandma Means to Say,”  the play, to volunteers, Board members and staff of ASORC. (In the photo, taken by Debbie Seto: left to right – Kelly Lumley-Leger, JC and Caitlin Brydges.) Afterwards, she had an opportunity to chat with many guests and received a very positive response to the reading. Among those honoured that afternoon were people who had volunteered with the organization for over twenty years. JC salutes all the volunteers who assist families and persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

JC at ArtsPark with impromtu poetry

JC wrote poems for a loonie or toonie as part of the ARC Poetry Factory at ArtsPark in Hintonburg on May 29. To read the story in the Ottawa West EMC, go to: And see this about a poem for the foodies twosome: And this link to Pearl’s photos:

JC on Daytime on Rogers Cable 22, Thursday, June 2 11:00 a.m. till noon

JC appeared on Rogers TV for an interview about “What My Grandma Means to Say,” the storybook just launched at the Ottawa International Writers Festival. JC divulged first-hand what drove her to write about Jake and his grandmother, how the story emerged first as a play, and how it evolved  in storybook form.

Poetry Chapbook Launched on Sunday, June 5

JC is a member of the Ottawa CAA poetry circle, Licence to Quill, which launched its first chapbook, Tangled Strands, at Collected Works last Sunday. The subtitle, “Combing the Muse,” says it all: every poem has something to say about hair ! Contributing poets are: Carol A. Stephen, Lesley Strutt, JC Sulzenko, Rona Shaffran, Laura Etherden, Donald Officer, Elise Hynes. JC’s poems,”Joy Waiting” and “En route,” appear in the collection. Copies of Tangled Strands are available at Collected Works, 1242 Wellington at Holland, in Ottawa or from JC.

Book Signing and Reading at Collected Works Bookstore: Sunday, June 5,1242 Wellington at Holland

Here’s another chance to meet JC and buy a signed copy of What My Grandma Means to Say. JC will be at Collected Works Bookstore 1242 Wellington at Holland on Sunday, June 5, from 1:30-2:30 PM to talk about and sign copies of What My Grandma Means to Say. Come by and chat with JC.

JC Addressed Wedgewood Authors Series in Brockville

On May 25, JC drove to beautiful Brockville on the St. Lawrence River and spoke at the Wedgewood Authors Series about her experience with What My Grandma Means to Say. She described how she came to write the one-act, ten-minute play for children and how that experience led her to writing the storybook adaptation of the play. She also explained how the play and book are valuable educational tools for families and children. She gave interviews for local media through Series organizer Doreen Barnes and met representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Leeds-Grenville and from public libraries in the area. The Alzheimer Society has purchased copies of What My Grandma Means to Say for each library in the region. “Making copies available at libraries and in schools is exactly the kind of response I hoped the book would receive, ” JC commented. “I am most grateful for the interest shown by the Alzheimer Society in the book and the play.”

JC’s book launched on May 1 at the Ottawa International Writers Festival

The Ottawa International Writers Festival Spring Edition featured the launch of  “What My Grandma Means to Say”  at Collected Works Bookstore on Sunday, May 1.  JC spoke of how she came first to write the one-act play about eleven year-old Jake and his grandmother who is living with Alzheimer’s disease and then of the journey that led her to  capture Jake’s whole story in the book and to seek funding for a video production of the play for use in schools and by community groups. Check out interviews in The Orleans Star, Metroland’s Ottawa This Week–children-s-book-sheds-light-on-mystery-of-alzheimer-s and on Nightcap on EZ ROCK  (99.7 FM) at

Children Need to Know in the National Post

My article, Children Need to Know, on talking with kids about Alzheimer’s is on page A 19 of the March 28  National Post.

JC and “What My Grandma Means to Say” on YouTube

“What My Grandma Means to Say” explores how relationships change when someone in the family is living with Alzheimer’s disease. Videographer Kate Morgan and sound guru Hollis Morgan of Constant Sound Studio caught JC’s reading at a branch of the Ottawa Public Library on video, which is now posted on YouTube.

Get a taste of how the play led to the storybook and hear how the book captures the story of Jake and his grandma. Listen to JC talk about writing.  She also explains why it’s important that children, who are often are drawn into the role of caregivers, gain the chance to understand what is happening when a health issue affects someone they love, so that they can develop their own strategies for supporting that person and their family.

JC: the sole poet on CD “Dancing Kites,” launched March 20

At the happy launch of the CD on March 20, JC was thrilled to read “Seasoning” and  “Hummingbird Rest”  from Fat poems Tall poems Long poems Small. “Hummingbird Rest,” with original background music by Claude Naubert, is the only poem on  “Dancing Kites,” which features performances by 17 other Canadian artists. The Ottawa group, Grammas for Ambuyas, compiled the CD to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Copies can be ordered from Artists who donated their work to the project include Charlotte Diamond, Raffi, Valdy and Connie Kalder. Ted Harrison provided artwork for the CD’s cover.

JC was delighted to share the stage with performers Maggie G. and Razzmatazz at the launch. She also performed a new work, “A garden and a tree and a giant and me.”

JC read new poetry for children at the Sunnyside Branch of the Ottawa Public Library

On Friday, February 11, JC  read new and favourite poems for elementary school-aged children. She set the scene with poetry from “Fat poems Tall poems Long poems Small,”  illustrated by thirteen Ottawa artists. Students from two classes at Hopewell Public School had the chance to hear several new works and works in progress and shared their comments with JC in a ‘writers’ circle.’ ” I always enjoy test-reading my work with children and listen carefully to their feedback. Whenever I can, I take into account in my writing what I have learned from these sessions.”

January was Alzheimer’s month

An exciting month for JC. She welcomed the opportunity from the Ottawa Public Library to give a dramatic reading of her play for children about dementia, What my grandma means to say, at two branches. On January 11, she met 75 grades 3,4 and 5 students from Jockvale Public School at the Ruth E. Dickinson Branch, and on January 12 the St. Laurent Branch arranged for her to visit Queen Elizabeth Public School, where all the students from grades 4, 5 and 6 had the chance to hear her perform her play and to ask questions and comment after her presentation. JC also gave both groups of students a ‘sneak’ preview of the prototype of  the book adapted from her play. For children in grades 4-6 and their families, this 46-page, illustrated book  tells the whole story about eleven year-old Jake, his mother and grandma in Jake’s own words. Written to encourage families to discuss the challenges that face them all when someone dear to them is living with Alzheimer’s disease, the book includes frequently asked questions and answers, as well as sources of more information. The storybook will be published by General Store Publishing House ( Download an order form and send or fax it to GSPH if you want a copy for you or someone about whom you care.

Ottawa Public Library’s Awesome Authors

JC was quoted in Ottawa This Week’s coverage of the Ottawa Public Library’s Awesome Authors Contest: see–last-chance-to-become-an-awesome-author

A busy time as winter overtakes us all in Ottawa

  • The storybook adaptation of my play, What my grandma means to say, has been illustrated beautifully by Gary Frederick (, and is now with the publisher’s designer. This book about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias is written for children in grades 4-6 and their families. It lets Jake share his own story from the time he first notices how his grandma is changing from awesome traveller, bird watcher, and brownie-baker to someone who doesn’t remember his name or where she lives. After she moves to a long-term care residence, the story follows Jake and his family as they adjust to how different their lives together have become.

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“Welcome Winter” with Dylan Thomas and music on Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Child's Christmas In Wales 2010

A Child's Christmas In Wales 2010

JC, together with Allison Woyiwada, produces the third annual reading of the Dylan Thomas classic, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, featuring Rob Clipperton, with Ciana Van Dusen and Scott Olson.
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An Evening of Mystery

On Saturday, October 23,  at 7:30 p.m. at Glebe-St. James United Church, JC joins a panel of local celebrities in Would I lie to you?  a benefit organized by the “Ladies’ Killing Circle”, during which “audience members test their deductive powers against panelists, who may or may not be lying through their collective teeth. Highlights of the evening include wine and refreshments, readings, discussion and much more whodunit fun. The Ladies’ Killing Circle is a group of Ottawa crime writers whose seven anthologies of short stories include Menopause is Murder, When Boomers go Bad, and Going Out with a Bang.“

Chairing the panel is the indomitable Mary Jane Maffini, who pens three award-winning mystery series. Proceeds from the evening will go to the Doug Davidson Building Fund and People, and Words and Change Literacy Organization. Tickets: $35. per person. Call 613-236-0617 for information.

Awesome Authors Contest 2011 and “pot pourri” 2010

pourri cover 2010JC served as a judge of the English poetry submissions to the 2011 Awesome Authors Contest. The awards ceremony on March 29 was wonderful! JC congratulated all the poets who entred the contest and looks forward to the 2011 pot pourri anthology which will publish the winning poems.

On October 9, the OPL hosted the launch of that year’s pot-pourri 2010, the anthology of winning stories and poems from writers 9-11, 12- 14 and 15-17. JC wrote the foreword to the 178-page book. “You have to read these winning entries for yourself to believe just how talented these young writers are. pot-pourri 2010 is an outstanding collection of stories and poems in English and in French. It makes a fine gift for emerging writers and thoughtful readers of any age,” JC commented on the back jacket. To order copies ($12.95 each), please go to:; or contact the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library at 613 580 2424, extension #14383.

JC Honoured by Ottawa Public Library

JC was thrilled to receive the Order of Friendship Award from the Ottawa Public Library at the June 14, 2010 meeting of its Board. The award recognizes JC’s work as a judge for the OPL’s Awesome Authors Contest for over 6 years. As chair of the Board, Councillor Jan Harder explained in her citation, “The OPL Order of Friendship is awarded to individuals, groups or institutions in recognition of outstanding volunteer contributions to the Ottawa Public Library. The individuals we are honouring this evening certainly have gone above and beyond in their volunteer efforts for the OPL.

“The Awesome Authors’ contest has been a cornerstone of children’s and teens services at the Ottawa Public Library since amalgamation. This bilingual program promotes the importance of writing for young people from ages 9 through 17.

“Each year our judges make their way through hundreds of short stories and poems to weigh their merits and award prizes and honorable mentions. The judges tell us each year that the task is enjoyable, if daunting, and they are continually amazed by the quality of the prize-winning entries. In the past four years these judges have looked at over 1400 entries.

“In addition, the judges take the time to attend our awards ceremony to personally hand out the prizes and give the audience a glimpse into why the winning entries deserved merit — teaching all present what makes a good poem or short story.”

JC has focused in recent years on the English poetry submissions from local, emerging writers and co-edited Pot Pourri, the annual anthology of winning poems and short stories published by the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library (FOPLA.)

In accepting this award, JC expressed thanks for the honour and for having been given the opportunity to be involved in the OPL’s excellent annual contest.”It’s both a challenge and a privilege to read the submissions: a privilege, because of the creativity demonstrated by these young poets; and a challenge to choose the winning entries from among so many original submissions. I look forward every year to the surprises between the lines.!”