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. In the meantime, please feel free to find us on Facebook and tweet us @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.
April was an exciting month for us at Brooklin Poetry Society! We hosted another amazing poetry workshop at the wonderful Whitby Public Library https://www.whitbylibrary.ca/ and we also showcased our wonderful anthologies and work by our members at the Brooklin branch of the Whitby Public Library in celebration of National Poetry Month 2019!
As we move forward through May, we are pleased to announce that we are launching our second annual poetry contest! Our judge this year is the wonderfully talented David Stones https://www.davidstonespoet.com/ who was our first place winner last year.
No poet coined such a stone of a word, a blotch of ink that we invite others to step in so they can seep the world from our colour. Feet in ink. A bodiless soup and swimming.
What would e.e. cummings do with the word “blog”? Perhaps something like this:
the bodiless blanket lets me sleep, it is my bed, my waking, the warmth that pulls me from the hushed hello of all darkness and creaking forest mystery, to the tinkering tatatata of eyelashes brushing day, of you and wonder and word and yes and word and yes…bodiless blog of thinking, trying to catch the river in its net of words to say: “here here here… is beauty, is living, is the never-again-crystalized moment of wonder.” Where we meet has always been sacred space.
The Brooklin Poetry Society … and all places where poets, writers, artists, lovers meet is sacred space. My hope is that we all venture into such sacred space. It graces us with a kind of divine presence and sharing that together is beautiful.
I joined the BPS I forget when now which is a comforting thought, like so many family visits: you forget who brought the casserole two years ago.
It is my first poetry club and this, my first blog.
New beginnings, the pushing of new growth through crusty bark, stiff limbs, dormant heavy soil, feeling newness leak in… a kind of calling that says you can grow, you can be more. Poetry is like that too. Poetry is April.
I suppose you could say poetry is the raspberry that sings like opera in your mouth in June… the room that keeps you warm in winter, the letting-go leaf that shows time has come in Autumn. So alas, poetry is for all seasons, all reasons and why not especially now, in the surge of Spring?
April will ask us to heed new voices, new branches, to let go of what is past, and to flower each and every one of us in whatever colour/shape/size/space we come upon; let us flower.
We always welcome new members to the BPS, perhaps this will be the April of our Club too. And April is #National Poetry Month.
And the first step to celebrate that is with our own feet, our voices, our attention, our own participation.
Check out the League of Canadian Poets for events:
by BPS co-founder and long time member, Theresa Donnelly
With just days to go, our guest readies himself to depart. I usher him to the front hall with feelings of gratitude for the open-fire rooms that filled us with ourselves; the fragrance of a ginger and cardamom infused kitchen; pristine larger-than-life snowflakes; the lunar eclipse of the Blood Wolf Moon and yes, even the cracks and peels of February’s feet.
I welcome this month of March: the bridge between two seasons; changeable as it may be, for a variety of reasons. The main one being it was the birth month, many years ago, of our eldest son John. That was the month in which my understanding of what it was like to love unconditionally began; it was the springboard that catapulted me on a journey of exquisite encounters with the power of love, selflessness and awareness.
For many of
us March signifies the return of the light: resurgence of curved radiance over
skeletal trees and withered vines.
Emerson wrote ‘Life is March weather,
savage and serene in one hour.’
We can thank
March’s windy reputation throughout the years for blowing some much-loved poets
into our lives: those born during this blustery month include some of my
Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
Mar.6th 1806 ‘Light tomorrow with today.’
‘Write in recollection and amazement for
Lady Augusta Gregory: Mar.15th
1852‘The way most people fail is in
not keeping up the heart.’
Mar. 26th 1874‘A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a
sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.
Mar. 26th 1911 ‘The violets in the mountains have
broken the rocks.’
usually finds me returning home, visiting with much loved and greatly missed
family members and frequenting favourite places of my youth. One such place is
an old bookshop, in an even older part of the city that, much to my delight, continues
to remain open in this ‘Digital Age’ where all too often; too many small
bookshops have closed their doors forever.
threshold is like entering Narnia. I glide past latest editions placed high on
centre tables. I swerve around deeply engrossed customers; wave a quick hello
to the Brendan-Behan-lookalike cashier and find my way between aisles to the very
back of the shop to the creaky elevator that will take me to the second, often
third-hand, poetry section. It’s windowless, usually stuffy with the scent of
moth balls and old lace. The shelves bend under the weight of books vying for
my attention. My eyes and fingertips compete as they run over still vibrant,
multicoloured spines. With an abundance of titles written by well and lesser-known
authors; I always say the book chooses me, not I, it.
Armed with my
collection, I head to one of the worn-leather armchairs and ready myself to
enter the poet’s world, where the poem can be a simple storybook or a
reflective journey to the deepest caverns of the poet’s mind. Always an
expression of emotion engaging the heart; it can help me see the world from an
entirely new perspective. It can stretch the imagination. It can send me on a
delirious dance; beckon me to a dimly lit attic; have me walk through a dubious
fire; deprive me of a justifiable ending; have me spin myself into a black hole;
make a saint or sinner of me; allow me feel compassion for human anguish: grow
intoxicated on the scent of an overly-ripe mango or a misty Monday afternoon.
poetry is bread. Bread is life; each mouthful nourishment for the naked soul.
For this month’s blog, we here at Brooklin Poetry Society took an online look at poems written about the month of February. There were the inevitable poems about Valentine’s Day, and even one about February 29th, that elusive extra day. There were poems written by Boris Pasternak, Anne Bronte, Hilaire Belloc, Denise Levertov, Coleridge, and Margaret Atwood (to name just a few).
For those of us living in Canada, February can be bleak. Snow, cold, sometimes sleet, or an endless number of grey and cloudy days. But there’s always poetry. And there’s always time to fall into poetry in a way that is similar to falling in love.
So while the snow may fall around you, or your thoughts may turn to that special someone, we challenge you to spend some time falling into poetry. What poems will you fall in love with?
2019 marks the start of the second decade of the Brooklin Poetry Society, and we’re thrilled to continue creating a presence for poetry in the Durham Region!
We have more exciting projects and plans for this coming year, including another free poetry workshop in April at the Whitby Public Library to celebrate National Poetry Month! We’re going to continue improving and updating our website in 2019 (thanks to our fabulous webmaster, Mr. M!), and we’re also planning to host another poetry contest (details to be posted on the website soon).
We also have plans for more readings, more events, and more poetry at our regular scheduled monthly meetings! We hope to be able to celebrate with more publications by our fabulous BPS members, and to that end, I wish to direct you to BPS poet Patrick Meade’s inspiring short story, “Swimming With Sharks‘ as a way to begin your 2019 writing life on the right foot!
Most of all, we look forward to the start of another amazing decade of sharing and building a community of poets and poetry on the GTA’s eastern edge. So, from all of us at the Brooklin Poetry Society, here’s to a 2019 filled with poetry!
December is such a good time for festivities and celebrations, so for this month’s blog, we thought we’d celebrate what we’ve accomplished in 2018!
2018 proved to be a busy and exciting year for us. Our first major accomplishment was the publication of our latest anthology, Written Tenfold. This was our first anthology in several years, and we were thrilled to be able to publish another anthology.
The spring saw our first poetry workshop at the Whitby Public Library in celebration of National Poetry Month (#NPM2018), as well as the official launch of our anthology in May.
Of course, allof our poets have continued to write poetry (an accomplishment in and of itself!) and to share their love of poetry through readings and events, including our monthly meetings.
So, for this month of celebrations and festivities, we here at the Brooklin Poetry Society raise a glass to poets everywhere. Whether you’re published or not, a first time poet or a seasoned one, kudos to all those who continue to believe in the importance and relevance of poetry and its creation!
President’s note: When we decided to host our Inaugural Poetry Contest this year, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect in terms of the submissions we might receive, or the number. As our contest judge, Debbie Okun Hill, wrote in our October blog, the quality of submissions was outstanding, and I think it reflects on the quality of persons who took a chance and submitted to our contest.
Our contest winner, David Stones, is one such fine person. Not only has David generously returned the proceeds from the 1st place award back to our organization, but he also surprised us recently by attending our October monthly meeting. What a pleasure to meet our contest winner in person!
For our November blog post, it made sense for us to ask David to write some encouraging thoughts about poetry writing in general, and about entering poetry contests. David has obliged us with a small vignette of his personal poetry experiences , which we’re so pleased to share below.
Once again, to all those who submitted, we thank you for entering our contest. We hope you find David’s piece encouraging, and we urge all poets to make time for entering poetry contests, and most importantly, make time for some poetry writing!
Renee M. Sgroi
I won my first poetry contest in grade four. I was a nerdy and shy British lad just learning to let my pen do some talking. My creative efforts earned me an entire nickel, which I hastily flipped into 15 tooth-destroying, soot coloured candy spheres fittingly and lovingly known as Black Balls. Never had candy tasted so sweet. I had put some words on a page, won praise and got paid for it. I was exhilarated…and I was hooked.
That was a few years ago. I’m mostly retired now, still putting pen to paper, still shipping my work around, albeit on a limited and strategic basis. Poetry contests provide great opportunity for artistic gratification, quality/ professional feedback and, who knows, even a few bucks now and then. I really encourage my fellow poets to give them a try. It’s always a little daunting to have your work judged, to say nothing of sobering, but the rewards sure outweigh the tension.
So hearty congrats to the Brooklin Poetry Society on your inaugural poetry contest. Thanks for acknowledging Landscapes…and a bigger thanks for bringing back for me that delightful sense of grade four exhilaration.
David Stones, Brooklin Poetry Society Inaugural Poetry Contest Winner