Poetry in December

Our December blog is from Brooklin Poetry Society founding member, Bradley McIlwain.

On one of my recent walks, I found myself in a clearing, fall’s fiery colours swirled around my feet, each leaf a line of verse or memory. I thought about what John Keats wrote, that “if poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.”

Then snow fell, creating a blank canvas. Like the seasons, it reminded me that poetry is always cyclical, and reciprocal. We are constantly changing and creating change through our writing. Words can instill magic, a sense of wonder of the mysterious magical language of nature and our place within it.

It is easy to imagine Romantic poets such as Byron or Keats, sitting alone in their study with little more than a candle and a decanter of wine, quill in hand, pouring out their melancholy in verse. But even Byron, mad, bad, and dangerous to know, needed company from time to time.

In 1816, Byron invited Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft to his home in Geneva, Switzerland and on a rainy evening, where Byron encouraged them to tell ghost stories. That evening planted the roots for Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein.

The story always fascinated me, and I realize that on dark, December nights, haunting cafés with my friends in Brooklin, poets gather, ideas are exchanged, stories created, tales told and inspiration is born.

Joining the Brooklin Poetry Society in 2008 has offered me an opportunity to grow the seeds of writing like Jack and his magic Beanstalk, and I have been continually inspired to seek the language of poetry in my daily life.


Poetry in November

President’s note: “This month, founding member Theresa Donnelly reflects on Brooklin Poetry Society’s origins, and on her own journey as a poet.”

In September of 2008, three poetic souls came together at # 6 Campbell Street in Brooklin, Ontario for the first meeting of the Brooklin Poetry Society. It’s hard to believe that here we are so many years later, still as passionate about poetry as ever. We have since grown in numbers and have tirelessly promoted the art of poetry in the region. So it was particularly satisfying to accept the grant from the Mayor’s Community Development Fund last month in recognition of that effort. We continue to move forward and it’s exciting that our second anthology is in the making and will be released for our very special 10th Anniversary in 2018.

When asked recently what does poetry do for me, a quote from  a First Nations’ Elder came to mind. ‘In your society everyone wears watches but no one has time’. Poetry allows me time. In an ever increasingly crazy-busy-world, my channel of creativity demands I offer it some part of my day or my week. Surprisingly enough, I usually find the time even when I think it’s virtually impossible!

My poetic journey probably began in my mother’s womb upon hearing the lyrical loveliness of her voice. When I was 10 years old, I fell in love with W.B. Yeats upon reading ‘The Stolen Child’. I was at the age when one is told to start to fold away childish things. That poem and others like it, gave me permission to hold on to the magic of childhood and honour what might be described as the purest place inside us. So as an adult, I could delve into the realm of imagination fervently.

I believe poetry, like the other arts, connects us to our humanity through beauty and emotional power. Whatever the style, whether it be colloquial, cathartic, evocative, elegiac, fervent, fanciful: poetry can help us deepen the relationship between mind, heart and soul. I believe it allows us to tap into the beautiful truth that lies within each of us.

It’s been said that man’s greatest fear is death, if so, let us be soothed with a quote from another favourite poet, Kahlil Gibran. ‘For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun, and when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance

Theresa Donnelly

Poetry in October

President`s note: This month, new member Ann Peacock blogs about the benefits of joining a poetry circle, and discovering her own love of poetry.

Ann’s October Blog Post for BPS website

“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.” — W. H. Auden

As a new member of the Brooklin Poetry Society, I’ve discovered a friendly, welcoming group of poets. It’s an opportunity to grow as a poet through encouragement and feedback. This group provides opportunities to share my work, and express myself with other members as well as online. I look forward to our anthology to be published in the spring. Belonging to the BPS also allows me to enjoy the poetry of other members.

In school, I disliked poetry because it was dissected to death. As a young adult reading poems on my own, I felt a shift. Suddenly, some poems started appearing to me – MY own poetry. As time passed, I realized that poetry could express my feelings about a variety of things. I could reflect on life in a unique way. An exciting discovery!

For me, poetry is a musical way to communicate. It’s a way for me to move to the heart of ideas and feelings about life. Some poems are hard-hitting, some lighthearted, and some between these extremes. I use poetry to share a variety of feelings and moods as well as comment on important issues.

If you wait until every poem you write is the best it can be, you might never finish one. In fact, you might be too intimidated to even get started. Paul Valéry, a French poet and author said, “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” Time for me to abandon this post and go write another poem!

Ann Peacock

Arts Funding Update

Brooklin Poetry Society is so pleased to announce it has received arts funding from the Mayor’s Community Development Fund, Town of Whitby!

Many thanks to past President John Di Leonardo for his work on initiating the request for funds, and especially to Don Mitchell, Mayor of Whitby and the Community Development Fund for their support of arts in our community!

mayor's community development fund

For information about the Fund, please go to: http://www.whitby.ca/en/townhall/Community-Development-Funds.asp


Poetry in September

President’s note: In August, our blog was written by Rod Stone, webmaster extraordinaire, and we’ll continue this practice of monthly blogs written by each of members. This month, the blog is from the Brooklin Poetry Society’s past president, John Di Leonardo.


“There is a mystery in everything,
it matters not where you may go;
there is a mystery in a drop of rain,
or in a flake of snow.”

–David Graham Burns (I860 -1922), Brooklin Poet

I was asked by a friend, a visual artist, what I thought about poetry and why I write.

Poetry asks us to consider our quality of life, the deeper perceptions of what lies before us, be it nature, people, emotions, morality or ideas. Poetry is one antidote to the “whatever” sentiment prevailing in contemporary culture.

Pascal said “the heart has its reasons that reason can only guess at.” To write poetry, to read it, to attend readings is a way of living emotionally in the world. There will always be those who are suspicious of poets who express a “divine madness”, as Plato called it. To those, I repeat the old adage “yes, there is no money in poetry but then there is no poetry in money.”

The general public’s assumption is that poetry is dead or at least in a coma. The truth is that this form of expression has managed to thrive and evolve in the face of social media. I’m happy to report that poetry is thriving in Durham Region and right here in our “little apple” of Brooklin, Ontario. It is a privilege to be part of The Brooklin Poetry Society team.

John Di Leonardo

Poetry in August

First of all, the art of living; then as my ideal profession, poetry and philosophy, and as my real profession, plastic arts; in the last resort, for lack of income, illustrations. – Paul Klee

Hello BPS members. Well summer is almost over and we’re fast moving into the autumn season, a very evocative time for poets. I’m sure whatever you’ve been up to this summer – whether puttering in your garden, relaxing by the lake, hanging out with loved ones over a BBQ or visiting new and exciting places in foreign lands – that you’ve been gathering impressions that will end up in many fine future poems. After all, that’s what poets do because we’re sponges of experience – the raw material of art. The trick of course that transmutes this into poetic gold is seeing things in a fresh new light (often helped by the removing of familiar context by a change of scenery) and having the language tools to express it skillfully. Remember that the great Swiss painter Paul Klee had to leave home and go to Tunisia to really see color. So many beautiful paintings flowered out of this experience.

Some of our members though not traveling by camel in exotic places have been busy indeed this summer. Theresa Donnelly had three poems: Disturbing Linens, St. Stephen’s Green 1783 and The Midwife’s Curse published in Buried Horror – Frightful and fresh voices in horror, speculative fiction, and poetry – a website edited by our own Bradley McIlwain. She also had one poem Flowering published in the May to Sept 2017 edition of Verse Afire published by The Ontario Poetry Society. John Di Leonardo had a poem About Your Smile When We Kiss published there and three poems: Awareness, On the Death of a Friend and Retired published in Buried Horror. He’s also working on a chapbook of poems as is our president, Renée Sgroi. Two of Bradley’s poems Necropolis and Flying Dutchman are also posted on Buried Horror so check it out. He also had a poem Time Before published August 1 in naturewriting.com. Finally, I was pleased to have one of my pieces Happy Daddy published in the May to Sept 2017 edition of Verse Afire.

I would be remiss in not thanking Renee for the wonderful job she is doing informing BPS members of poetry contests, events, festivals, workshops and such like via social media. Let her know if you participate in any of them and what the benefits were. We will be posting new poetry of our members in early September. The material already there will be moved to the Archive section. It’s still not too late to have some of your stuff posted if you get it into us right away. Maximum number currently allowed per poet for a single post is 3 poems. Please do send us your best work. Hope to see you all at our next event tentatively scheduled for late in August and certainly in the early Fall when our regular monthly meetings start up again. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the summer and we hope you enjoy reading our latest poetry.

Rod Stone


Poetry in July…

Here we are, several days after Canada’s 150th, initiating a new online space for poets on the eastern edge of the GTA. It’s a good place to begin, and I’m excited to officially announce the launch of our website. As a small poetry collective, the Brooklin Poetry Society (BPS) wouldn’t continue to exist without the efforts of past president John Di Leonardo, and Bradley McIlwain before him. And we couldn’t achieve all that we do without the energy and support of all our members.

Our website’s intent is to provide a forum for our members’ poetry, as well as to open spaces for new and emerging poets. With that in mind, we are currently at work collecting poetry for a new members’ anthology which we hope to publish early in 2018, with additional plans to post an open call for a poetry anthology (open to non-members) in the near future.

So as I sit and write this first official blog post as the recently inducted president of the Brooklin Poetry Society (BPS), I’m thinking about poetry in July, and what that means. Wherever you are reading this, whether it be from the comfort of a Muskoka chair by a lake,  in the middle of a busy subway train, or in your favourite air-conditioned public library, take a moment to contemplate what a gift it is to be able to read, write, and discuss poetry at all. And, wherever you are, remember that poetry in July, December, or any other month, is meant to be shared with others. I hope you will enjoy reading the small sample of work from Brooklin Poetry Society (BPS) poets as much as we enjoy sharing our work with you.

Thanks for stopping by. Now for some poetry in July…

Renée M. Sgroi, President

Welcome to the Brooklin Poetry Society


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!