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Welcome to the Brooklin Poetry Society

Welcome!

Welcome to the official website of the Brooklin Poetry Society! We are a small poetry collective located in Brooklin, Ontario, dedicated to furthering the spaces for poets and poetry on the shores of Lake Ontario and surrounding areas. Our site is currently a work in progress, but we hope you’ll enjoy the poetry you find here. Please feel free to find us on Facebook (@Brooklin Poetry Society), Instagram (@brooklinpoetrysociety) and Twitter (@BrooklinPoetSoc).

Please be aware that the contents of all web pages on this website are protected by copyright law and may not be used in whole, or in part, without the express consent of the authors.

The Brooklin Poetry Society gratefully acknowledges the generous financial support of the Town of Whitby’s Performing Arts Community Development Fund. https://www.whitby.ca/en/

Thanks for visiting!

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September is for poetry

As the leaves begin to turn yellow orange and red, our thoughts begin to turn to poetry again!

With that in mind, we offer our congratulations to the winners and honourable mentions of the 4th annual Brooklin Poetry Society writing contest.

On the theme of renaissance, interpretations were scintillating and diverse!

The complete text of all the finalists’ works are now available for your reading pleasure:

4th Annual Poetry Contest Shortlist

Just mid-way through the summer and we already have a shortlist for our fourth annual poetry contest, with poets chosen by our very talented judge and previous year’s winner, Anna Yin.

Thank you to everyone who submitted and congratulations to everyone on the list! Winners will be announced at the end of this month.

In alphabetical order, our shortlist:

Moni Brar

Debbie Okun Hill

Sara MacDonald

Nilofar Shidmehr

Pamela Yuen

On a June’s Day

The last blog before our summer break was written by BPS member Connie Pompilii. Connie is also an artist, and the creator of the lovely, summery pictures accompanying the blog.

The arrival of June brings with it a gentle reminder to enjoy the simple things. Whether it’s having a cup of coffee on the front porch, reading a book under a shaded tree, or walking in the park, June, like poetry, is full of many treasures just waiting to be discovered.

On a June’s Day

In fields of green

dandelion wishes appear

as

morning glories rise

to greet the sun.

Rows of lavender and marigolds

grace the garden

as sweet cherry tomatoes…

Tra La It’s May

This month’s blog writer, Gail M. Murray, explores the month of May as it appears in both history and verse.

 May reminds me of Scarborough Music Theatre’s production of Lerner and Lowe’s Camelot. I’m securing silk daisies in my hair before bursting on stage to perform our dazzling production number “The Lusty Month of May”. As members of Lady Guinevere’s court, we frolic among the flowers, as we go a-maying. Guinevere, more sensuous earth goddess than regal queen, meets celibate Lancelot at the end of this romp.

Tra la, it’s May, the lusty month of May                                             

          That darling month when everyone throws self-control away

          It’s May, it’s May that gorgeous holiday

          When all the world is brimming with fun, wholesome or un-

Earliest known May celebrants…

National Poetry Month

Join Brooklin Poetry Society in celebration of National Poetry Month by attending our fourth annual poetry workshop. Hosted by Whitby Public Library, this year’s event will take place online due to the pandemic.

Interested individuals should sign up through the library’s system. We look forward to writing with you!

For sign-up details, click here.

An Acorn in the Desert

Just as we move into another Whitby spring, we get one last gust of winter, with snowfall this April first. Appropriately, Patrick Meade‘s blog for this month is the deceptively simple and wonderfully charming tale of a little Snowflake falling from Earth to sky and living a thousand lives all the way down.

Hey, Little Snowflake, what are you up to?

Hi, Grand Snowflake. Not much. Like you, I’m just falling.

I know you’re falling, but what else are you doing?

Oh, nothing. Just waiting, I guess.

For what?

Until I reach Earth.

Would you like to play a game while we’re falling?

Sure, which one?

How about a game of What If?

Oh, I like that. But do we have time?

Sure, we have plenty of time, Little One, before that happens.

Who goes first?

YOU, LITTLE SNOWFLAKE…

We offer refuge

The blog for March is written by veteran BPS member Jenny Sorensen

I remember some years ago listening to an interview with an acclaimed literary critic on CBC radio and he pointed out something both simple and true:  books – and literature – provide companionship.

The Brooklin Poetry Society, by its very nature, offers companionship.

Through words.

Through ideas.

With the evocation of feeling in poetry, the walls are down.

We can create a tapestry of meaning out of who we are anytime, anywhere.

This has always been the shaman in the human.

This ability to transcend, to reinvent, to overcome and recreate– we are bird, fish. We are river, rock, history and future.

The Buddhists speak of sangha, a community of the devout, where we take refuge. In this sacred place, we take refuge. I like that–this sense of sheltering in something.

Everywhere, life seeks its soil, its air, its water, and we, we lift ourselves, long needles seeking meaning. How we thread it through our lives–the patterns, the threads we choose, the gaps and material we bring together. The cable and satellite we string with face and voice and thought. We weave a blanket with our reaching.  Far and wide. Near and present.

when the moment is quiet and still in the mush of night and the slide of day when you look inside the fabric you have made this is the blanket here is warmth here is sacred here is companionship here is shelter

March is upon us, that time of year when we feel and see that even that which has been closed, that which has been dormant, hidden, has seeds and life and potential, waiting to sing. It surrounds us

each and every single bud on the great tree

the individual in the sacred

woven together with presence and intention

even when we feel alone, birds fly overhead

trees grow in the space between leaf and limb.

There is a lift in in the fabric we are part of, the spaces inside the weave full of hope and faith, intelligence, need and ambition, kindness. We take refuge. We keep each other warm. I am in this. You are in this. We stand not part of it, but within it. All around us, this great, leaping, deeping happening is our refuge.

If we were to take a moment and think about what we value, what’s important, here are some dates to consider for this month:

  • March 3rd – World Wildlife Day
  • March 6th – National Oreo Day
  • March 12th – World Sleep Day – why is that on a Friday??? 
  • March 17th – St. Patrick’s Day
  • March 21st – World Poetry Day
  • March 27th – Passover
  • March 27th – NAACP Awards
  • March 28th – Palm Sunday

Five Minutes a Day

The blog for February, 2021 is written by our own Past President, Renée M. Sgroi.

I was in a Zoom meeting the other day with a group of beginning writers, and was asked about providing some advice for those just setting out on a path towards something that could be called capital W, “Writing”.

I think as writers, everyone comes to “Writing” differently. For some, writing is a hobby, or one they have returned to after an absence of many years.

For others, writing is something they have continually done all their lives, but inconsistently so, sporadically, while for others, writing is a necessity, a passion, the source of all inspiration.

While I make no claims to being an expert on living a “writer’s life” (whatever that may be, in any case), being further along the path than some of the participants in the meeting, I offered the following suggestion.

Especially as poets, perhaps one of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to be consistent. That is, to write every day. And yes, right now, that might be an even greater challenge than it was in a pre-pandemic world, for so many reasons.

So what if you only have five minutes to spare? That’s okay! Five minutes a day is five minutes towards a person’s engagement with their own creative practice. The world’s greatest poem may not be written in five minutes, but then, ignoring one’s own creativity won’t produce that poem either.

And that five minutes can be whatever you want it to be. Freewrite, focused writing, journaling, whatever. But the more consistent it is, the easier it will be to write, to flex that part of the brain that loves to write, that can write.

Fortunately, I think poetry lends itself to shorter time frames. Not because poems are shorter than other types of writing, but because the economy of language that a poem relies on, means that those five minutes could be spent on just one line. Think about that for a sec: one day, one line.

So as we head into a February still circumscribed by pandemic restrictions, try it out. Take advantage of a solid five minutes each day. You might be surprised by what you will create!

Photo by Giallo on Pexels.com

When the Creative Spirit Stirs

This month’s blog is written by long-time BPS member John di Leonardo.

January lingers as a proper time to faithfully reflect on the previous year and a unique opportunity to make fresh starts. I personally like making New Year’s resolutions regarding creative projects, specific goals I would like to achieve in the next twelve months. I routine manage this, while sipping my morning espresso, by reading new poets, perusing my art book collection or, later at night, by mining YouTube for influential artists’ programs, exhibitions and interviews.

The other day I was flipping through my many sketchbooks and inevitably began reading notes I had randomly jotted down concerning the creative process. These handwritten notations, quotes and sketches gave me some pause and possible ideas for future paintings and poems. I thought I’d share the notes with you, with the earnest hope to stir the muse or creative juices and to explore novel ways of creating. I am not just interested in technically proficient artwork, but also work that assumes risks, and inevitably leads to that in flow moment where everything feels harmonious, unified, and effortless until you look up six hours later and smile.

Sketchbook Notes: Art/Poetry

  • Let your imagination roam free. Be receptive to all things; embrace risk and failure– this is part of the creative process!
  • Trust your inner voice. Your gut feeling has evolved over millions of years, so dismiss the inner voice that whispers “They will think I’m foolish.”
  • Give risky ideas time for your unconscious mind to mull over a solution. Sleep on it.
  • Recombine ordinary words and images. Be open to new possibilities of ideas, words, images in new and unpredictable associations.
  • Question the rules that govern the art form. Know the rules. Bend them, then break them! Break them! Even if people tell you they like your old work better.
  • Break away from current narrative forms. Experiment with meter & syntax; seek new purity in word & phrase. Lower the tone to a whisper. Slow down the pace. Fill each pause with meaning.
  • Be technically proficient but go well beyond the page or canvas. That is where art resides.
  • Always keep an eye on form & content, the what and the how. What am I saying? And why am I saying it this way? Unity and harmony is a must in any artwork!
  • Be aware of your culture’s needs and wants, the beautiful and the dark. Read ideas; read artists; read philosophy and read things you are not interested in. Have an opinion!
  • Explore new subjects and create new genres in the art form.
  • Imply a visual or word puzzle that makes you ask, “What is going on?”
  • Strive to attain an essential, literal and visual language that is both ephemeral and deep, one that fosters associative feelings and meanings.
  • Strive for layered, ambiguous work. Multiple viewpoints offer fresh meanings with each new reading or viewing.
  • Show what a new art or poetry could be. The process is everything.
  • And finally, have fun!
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Canyon Year

This month’s blog is written by BPS member Jennifer Sorensen.

December 2020.

A canyon year.

A tightrope year.

An acrobat year in an empty tent.

Evidence that time is not a line

but a pool

and we are swimming in it alone

together

stressed, over-drunk explorers,

observant, this year, of the purple lips on the weeds beside our homes

the flowering bud held sacred within its green praying hands.

Hallelujah to the pregnant seed.

This a December when the candle is held by tight hands in the wind.

The train arrives as usual and carries its passengers in more quiet.

December 8th:   Bodhi Day, the celebration of Buddha’s enlightenment.

December 10th:  Hanukkah, a festival of lights and a commemoration of Jewish history.

December 21st:  Winter solstice, pagan festivals that mark the turn of the darkest day in this dark year.

Dec 25th: Christmas, rebirth and giving.

Dec 31st: we pretend things change and start all over again.

There’s no stopping the train.

What do we celebrate?

How do we honour?

Candles, dance, gifts, reverie?

Poetry

our frankincense and myrhh.

Our torch to idea,

holding glass to the sun so long

it burns.

We all do this in our kaleidoscope ways.

Hold a glass to the sun.

Be a glass to the sun.

Festivals, celebrations

holding glass to the big beyond

to the ocean light that touches the inside seed

and withdraws.

Or that we touch

and withdraw.

Pulling to leave us with the golden sunset yearning

for what else?

for what love?

December

The darkest month.

The treasure chest month.

And poetry sitting inside us too like that secret seed,

like the thousand Christmas lights on a suburban lawn.

    Lit up

    Lit up

    Lit up.

Be parade

Be winter

Be the single clean shirt in the laundromat

just when I thought

I had nothing to wear.

**

Quite apart from these words to honour poetry, the season, and this difficult year…

May I add too a mindfulness that many have lost much this year; loved ones, employment, friendship, value, safety.

So I add a reverent prayer for those who have endured losses of any kind.

If you would like to donate and find a way to help, this site offers lots of options: