Random Acts of Poetry - Biographies



October 3rd - 9th: A celebration of poetry and literacy in cities across Canada, the UK, and Ireland.


José AcquelinAcquelin, José - Montreal, QC
José Acquelin is the author of several collections of poetry including Tout va rien followed by Le piéton immobile (l’Hexagone, 2000) and L’Inconscient du soleil (Les Herbes rouges, 2003). His latest book is Mexiquatrains published in 2005 by Le lézard amoureux. He has participated in numerous literary and music festivals throughout Quebec, New Brunswick, France, Cuba, and Mexico, and won the “Grand Prix des Métiers d’Art du Québec 2000” for Jaune Rouge Bleu. He is a member of l'Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ).

Andy BrownBrown, Andy - Exeter, UK
Andy Brown is Director of Creative Writing & Arts at Exeter University. A poet and critic, he also writes and has published short stories. His most recent poetry books are: The Trust Territory (Heaventree, 2005); Hunting the Kinnayas (Stride, 2004) and From a Cliff (Arc, 2002). His forthcoming books are a New & Selected Poems: 1996–2006 (Salt, 2007), an anthology, The Allotment: new lyric poets (Stride, 2005), and a collaborative book of poems written with John Burnside (Salt Editions).

Terry Ann CarterCarter, Terry Ann, Ottawa ON
Terry Ann Carter is a teacher and poet working in Ottawa. Her first book, Waiting for Julia, was published by Third Eye Press in London, Ontario, 1999. An accomplished haikuist, Carter has won several international awards and has participated in the Basho Festival in Ueno, Japan. Her second book, Transplanted, is forthcoming from Borealis Press and a haiku collection celebrating the life of Emily Carr, such green, is forthcoming from Pendas Poets.

Gloe CormieCormie, Gloe, Winnipeg MB
Gloe Cormie is a poet with a secondary focus as a visual artist. Her first book of poetry, Sea Salt, Red Oven Mitts and the Blues, was a finalist for The Eileen McTavish Sykes Award in 2003. She was also a finalist for the Milton Acorn Award for Poetry, and she was nominated for the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Writer in 2003. Her poetry is widely published in Canadian literary magazines including Fiddlehead, Grain, Prairie Fire, in a number of anthologies, and she has won recognition for her work in several literary competitions. The oral aspect of her poetry is as important as the written aspect. Thus Cormie has read her poetry often in Winnipeg venues, and several Canadian cities, in Maine, and in the cities of Chicago, New York, Seoul and Tokyo. As well, Cormie has broadcast her poems nationally on CBC radio. With the support of a MAC Writer’s B Grant, she has just completed the poems for her second book of poetry, Under a Different Dark Sky. She is currently serving as the Manitoba Representative for the League of Canadian Poets, and she works in Manitoba Schools as a poetry reader and workshop facilitator.

Mary Ellen CsamerCsamer, Mary Ellen, Kingston ON
Since 1984, M. E. Csamer has been widely published in Canadian literary magazines from coast to coast. Her first collection Paper Moon appeared from watershedBooks in 1998. Her latest work is Light is What We Live In, an exploration of light not only as a physical presence but as a metaphor for the forces which clarify our emotional landscapes. A former board member of The ArtBar reading series in Toronto, she currently serves as President of the League of Canadian Poets. The mother of two grown daughters, Csamer lives in Kingston, Ontario with her husband Steve.

Mary DaltonDalton, Mary, St. John's NFLD
Mary Dalton has published three volumes of poetry, The Time of Icicles ( Breakwater, 1989 and 1991) , Allowing the Light (Breakwater, 1993) and Merrybegot ( Véhicule Press, 2003). Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies in Canada, the U.S. and Ireland, most recently in Open Field: 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets, just released by Persea Books of New York. Merrybegot was shortlisted for the 2004 all-genre Winterset Award, the 2004 Pat Lowther Memorial Poetry Award, and is the winner of the 2005 E.J. Pratt Poetry Award. Merrybegot is being released as a CD by Rattling Books in November of 2005. Dalton lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Fernand DureposDurepos, Fernand, Montreal, QC
Fernand Durepos has been writing poetry since the late 1970s. He has participated in numerous festivals and readings, and has published in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies throughout Canada, the United States, and Latin America. Durepos has read his work on television and on radio, most notably Radio-Canada. His sixth collection, mourir m’arrive, was published by l’Hexagone in 2004.

Martin FiguraFigura, Martin, Cambridge, UK
Martin Figura was born in Liverpool in 1956. He left school at 15 to join the Army. He left in 1997 after 25 years as a Major to become a photographer, which is what he still is. He is currently doing an MA in Writing The Visual at Norwich School of Art and Design. He is a member of the performance group The Joy of Six, with whom he has performed across Britain and in New York. Other books by Martin Figura: This Man’s Army (photographs) (Dewi Lewis Publishing) 1998. Foreword by Billy Bragg. Essays by Liz Wells and Anthony Beevor. The Little Book of Harm (Firewater Press) 2000 – Reprinted 2001, 2002 & 2003.

Kuldip GillGill, Kuldip, Mission, BC
Kuldip Gill is a social anthropologist and poet. She graduated in 2005 with an MFA in Theatre, Film and Creative Writing from The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Kuldip Gill's recent books are Dharma Rasa, (Nightwood Editions,1999), winner of a BC2000 book award ; and two limited edition small books: Cornelian, Turquoise and Gold, (Colophon Books, 2003), and Ghazals: Rai and Sohni, (Frog Hollow Press, 2003). Her book, Valley Sutra is forthcoming (Beach Holme,2005). She is working on a novel, Santi. She is published in many anthologies such as Down in the Valley (Ekstasis,2004), and Red Silk (Mansfield Press, 2005); and journals (Event, CV2, BC Studies). Kuldip received an honorary doctor of letters (D.Litt) from the University College of the Fraser Valley in 2005.

Lorri NeilsenGlenn, Lorri Neilsen, Halifax, NS
Lorri Neilsen Glenn’s first book of poetry, All the Perfect Disguises (Broken Jaw Press), is now in its second printing. Lorri is the Halifax Regional Municipality’s Poet Laureate for 2005-2009. Last year, her random acts took place on construction sites, streetcorners, and the waterfront, at bus shelters, in seniors’ homes and restaurants, with bikers, rail workers, antique dealers, florists, ferry travelers, and crosswalk guards.

Jen HadfieldHadfield, Jen, Glasgow, UK
Jen Hadfield was born in Cheshire in 1978. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2003 and was given a Scottish Arts Council Writer’s Bursary in 2002 to help her complete her first collection. She graduated with distinction from her Masters in Creative Writing at the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde. Jen has dual citizenship with Canada, where she just spent a year writing and travelling from the East to the West to the North Coasts. Her poems appear in magazines and anthologies including The Dark Horse, Grain, Hanging Loose, Magma, The Fiddlehead and Poetry Salzburg Review.

Kevin HigginsHiggins, Kevin, Galway, UK
Kevin Higgins was born in London in 1967, and grew up in Galway City. His poetry has appeared widely in literary journals. His work also features in the anthologies Short Fuse, Breaking The Skin: New Irish Poetry, 100 Poets Against The War & Irish Writers Against War. He has reviewed poetry for Metre, Books In Canada, Poetry Quarterly Review, Vallum, and Canadian Notes & Queries. He was a founding co-editor of The Burning Bush literary magazine. In April 2005 he was nominated for the Hennessy Award for Poetry; in May he was awarded a literature bursary by the Arts Council of Ireland. Kevin's first collection of poetry, The Boy With No Face, was published by Salmon Poetry in February 2005.

Nancy HolmesHolmes, Nancy, Summerland/Kelowna, BC
Nancy Holmes has published four collections of poetry, Valancy and the New World (Kalamalka Press), Down to the Golden Chersonese: Victorian Lady Travellers (Sono Nis) and The Adultery Poems (Ronsdale) and most recently, Mandorla from Ronsdale Press (2005). She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna BC.

Gary HylandHyland, Gary, Moose Jaw, SK
Gary Hyland is a Moose Jaw poet and arts activist. He has been short-listed for the National Magazine Award for Poetry and has won three manuscript awards. A founder of Sage Hill Writing Experience and the Saskatchewan Festival of Words, he is a member of the Order of Canada. The most recent of five books of poetry are White Crane Spreads Wings (Coteau, 1996) and The Work of Snow (Thistledown Press (2003).

Helen IvoryIvory, Helen, Norwich, UK
Helen Ivory was born in Luton in 1969 and has a Degree in Cultural Studies. In 1999, she won a major Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. Her work has been widely published in places such as in Staying Alive and Being Alive (Bloodaxe), New Writing 10 (Picador), Reactions 4 (pen&inc), and The Independent on Sunday, Her first collection of poetry- The Double Life of Clocks - was published by Bloodaxe in 2002 and she has a new collection, also from Bloodaxe, due in March 2006. She teaches Creative Writing for Continuing Education at the UEA, and also for the Norwich School of Art and Design. Formerly she has been responsible for 3000 free range chickens and has worked on building sites.

Penn KempKemp, Penn, London, ON
Enthusiastic sound poet Penn Kemp performs and publishes everywhere: online and in Brazil! Penn’s publications include twenty-five books of poetry and drama, eight CDs of Sound Opera and Sound Poetry as well as Canada's first CD-ROM. Since Coach House published her first book in 1972, Penn has been pushing text and aural boundaries, often in participatory performance. She presents her Sound Operas in happy collaboration with actors, poets and musicians. Her videopoem won for best performance (Voice Award), Vancouver Videopoem Festival. Through Pendas Productions, Penn edits and publishes poetry book/cds, The League of Poets proclaimed her one of the foremothers of Canadian poetry.

Sonnet L'AbbéL'Abbé, Sonnet, Toronto, ON
Sonnet L'Abbé, daughter of a Guyanese visual artist of South Asian descent, and a Franco-Ontarian potter, won the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award in 2000 for most promising writer under the age of 35. She has lived in Alberta, Manitoba, and Southwestern Ontario,and now lives in Toronto. L'Abbé earned a BFA in film and video at York University in Toronto, and a masters degree in English literature at the University of Guelph. Her work has appeared in a number of literary journals and several anthologies including Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Canadian Women Poets, and Open Field: 30 Canadian Poets.

John B. LeeLee, John B, Brantford ON
John B. Lee is the only two-time winner of the People's Poetry Award. He has received over sixty prestigious international awards for his work including the $10,000 Tilden Award (Canadian Literary Award) for poetry, CBC Radio/Saturday Night Magazine. His work has appeared internationally in over 500 publications and the most recent of his nearly fifty published books is Poems for the Pornographer's Daughter, 2005. He was named Poet Laureate of Brantford in 2005, he won the Canadian Poetry Associations' Life Member Award in 2005, and he received first honourable mention in the Shaunt Bajmajian Award in 2005 and he was named winner of the Eric Hill Award of Excellence in Poetry in 2005. He lives in Brantford, Ontario and works full time as a writer.

Hugh MacDonaldMacDonald, Hugh, Charlottetown, PEI
Born 24 July, 1945, Hugh MacDonald retired after 31 years of teaching high school and now writes full time. He has a B.A. from Saint Dunstan’s University in Charlottetown. He lives with his wife Sandra, and two of six children, in the community of Brudenell in eastern PEI on the bank of the beautiful Montague River. He has nine books to his credit: Chung Lee Loves Lobsters (Annick Press, 1992), Looking for Mother (Black Moss Press, 1995), The Digging of Deep Wells (Black Moss Press, 1997), and Tossed Like Weeds from the Garden (Black Moss Press, 1999) and Cold Against the Heart (Black Moss Press) 2003. He also co-edited with Brent MacLaine: Landmarks:An Anthology of New Atlantic Poetry of the Land (The Acorn Press, 2001), and with Alice Reese A Bountiful Harvest: Fifteen Years of the Island Literary Awards (The Acorn Press, 2002). His new novel, Murder at Mussel Cove will be released in September of 2005 along with a third anthology, Letting Go: An Anthology of Loss and Survival. Chung Lee Loves Lobsters won the LM Montgomery PEI Literature for Children Competition in 1990. He was the recipient of the Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Literary Awards on PEI in 2004.

Wendy McGrathMcGrath, Wendy, Edmonton, AB
Wendy McGrath's first novel, Recurring Fictions, was published in 2002 by the University of Alberta Press. Her first book of poetry, Common Place Ecstasies, was released in 2000 by Beach Holme Publishing. She has teamed with Edmonton printmaker Walter Jule, in collaborative exhibitions of prints and poetry. McGrath has numerous other publication and broadcast credits.

Wendy MortonMorton, Wendy, Victoria, BC
When Wendy Morton's first book of poetry, Private Eye, was published in 2001, she knew she had to find some way to turn her poetry into currency. One day she called up WestJet airlines, suggested she read poems for the passengers, write them poems in exchange for flights. And so she became WestJet's Poet of the Skies. She has turned her poems into the currency that has provided her with a PT Cruiser from DaimlerChrylser, luxurious hotel rooms from The Fairmont Hotels, vitamins from Prairie Naturals, a digital camera from Fuji. She has two latest books of poetry from Ekstasis Editions; Undercover and Shadowcatcher. She is currently at work on a memoir, 6 Impossible Things Before Breakfast. In her day job, she's an insurance investigator.

Mary Ann MulhernMulhern, Mary Ann, Windsor, ON
Mary Ann Mulhern is a Windsor, Ontario poet who has been published in numerous literary journals and broadcast on CBC radio. The Red Dress, published by Black Moss Press, went into second printing within four months of the sell-out launch at the University of Windsor, Oct. 2003. The Red Dress is narrative poetry that “tells the story” of convent life in the fascinating decade of the sixties. Mary Ann Mulhern was interviewed by Mary Hynes of Tapestry,a national CBC radio program. More recently, The Red Dress has been introduced in the U.S. where it is being received with keen interest.

James NashNash, James, Leeds, UK
James Nash is Writer in Residence for Leeds University, Faculty of Education, and for High Schools in Calderdale. He is a freelance writer and edits a poetry column in The Leeds Guide. His third collection of poems ŒComa Songs¹ was published in 2003 to great acclaim. He has had several short stories published over the last year. He cycles everywhere and tries not to garden.

Barbara PelmanPelman, Barbara, Victoria, BC
Barbara Pelman teaches at Reynolds School in Victoria B.C. where she tells her students (only partly tongue-in-cheek) that they can’t graduate until they love poetry. Born in Vancouver, she has lived in several small towns in B.C., as well as two rich years in London England and two years in Toronto, studying for her MA in English. She won first prize in the BC Federation of Writers Literary Writes contest and has been published in several literary journals. Mocambo Café is where she hangs out on Friday nights, when she’s not otherwise marking papers. Her first book, One Stone, is published by Ekstasis Editions. She has a daughter who has been teaching in Japan; plays flute (badly), and longs to return to her first love, dancing.

Marilyn Gear PillingPilling, Marilyn Gear, Hamilton, ON
Marilyn Gear Pilling is the author of two collections of stories: My Nose Is A Gherkin Pickle Gone Wrong (Cormorant, 96) and The Roseate Spoonbill Of Happiness (Boheme, 02), and one book of poetry, The Field Next To Love (Black Moss, 02). Pilling’s stories and her poetry have won several national awards. She lives in Hamilton.

Jane RouthRouth, Jane, Lancashire, UK
Jane Routh is a photographer and writer who lives in North Lancashire where she manages woodlands and a flock of geese. Her Circumnavigation (Smiths/Doorstop 2002) won the Poetry Business Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection.

Eva SalzmanSalzman, Eva, London, UK
Eva Salzman holds degrees from Bennington College and Columbia University. Her Double Crossing: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation in England, where she’s won Society of Authors and Arts Council Awards. Her poetry, non-fiction and fiction have appeared in the Guardian, Times, TLS (UK), and the New Yorker and Kenyon Review (US). Her writing frequently appears on BBC radio and she regularly tours the UK, US, and Europe. She co-devised Start Writing Poetry for the Open University (UK) and has held Royal Literary Fund Fellowships at Warwick University and Ruskin College, Oxford. At Wesleyan Writers’ Conference, she was a visiting Fellow two years running. Currently, she is editing an anthology for Seren Press.

Glen SorestadSorestad, Glen, Saskatoon, SK
Glen Sorestad is a well known Saskatoon poet, author of more than fifteen books of poetry, a Life Member of the League of Canadian Poets, and a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal. His poems have appeared in over 40 anthologies and textbooks and have been broadcast on the national networks of Canada, Norway and Slovenia. Sorestad has given readings of his poetry in every province of Canada, in 15 states of the U.S. and in France, Norway, Finland and Slovenia. His latest book of poems is Blood & Bone, Ice & Stone (Thistledown, 2005).

Carolyn Marie SouaidSouaid, Carolyn Marie, Montreal, QC
Carolyn Marie Souaid is a teacher, book reviewer, and the author of four collections of poetry. Her work has been produced for CBC-Radio, and has been published both nationally and internationally. She has appeared at many literary festivals across Canada. More recently, she has become involved in projects aimed at moving poetry off the page and into public spaces. She is the co-producer of two major Montreal events: Poésie en mouvement / Poetry in Motion (the poetry-on-the-buses project, 2004) and Cirque des mots / Circus of Words, a multilingual cabaret of performance poetry (2005). Carolyn Marie has been a guest on Global TV, CBC Radio (This Morning, Arttalks, Home Run, All in a Weekend) and on TVO’s More To Life. A French translation of Snow Formations, her meditation on the intersecting worlds of natives and non-natives in Arctic Quebec, is forthcoming from Les Éditions Triptyque in 2006.

Andrea ThompsonThompson, Andrea, Toronto, ON
Andrea Thompson has performed her poetry at festivals and events across North America for over a decade. She has been featured on CBC radio, on Daniel Richlers' Book Television, Carolyn Weaver's Fine Print, and in the feature film Slam Nation. Andrea has hosted CITR radio's spoken word show Hearsay and has conducted writing workshops with youth across Canada. Eating the Seed (Ekstasis Editions, 2000) is her first collection, One her debut CD. She is currently working on her follow-up collection, and a performance poetry-based one woman show.

Tracey, Shelley, Belfast, IRE
Shelley Tracey is a South African who lives, works and writes in Northern Ireland. She wrote her first poem, about the sea, when she was eight years old, and is still writing about it. She has participated in a number of exciting writing projects, including a collection of children’s stories illustrated by local artists in South Africa, and a book/CD compilation by the New Belfast Community Arts Initiative. She teaches adult literacy tutors, and is committed to promoting poetry in literacy classes. Shelley’s association with Random Acts of Poetry originated from her contact with Sheila Stewart, whose poetry she really admires.

Marion Francis WhiteWhite, Marian Frances, St. John's NFLD
Marian Frances White is a writer who has published in many different genres. Her published works include ten editions of A Woman’s Almanac, (1987-1996), Voices of Atlantic Canadian Women (1987-1996). In 1997 a collection of Almanac interviews was published in The Finest Kind, a compendium of Almanac stories. In 1994 White published the biographical book Not A Still Life, the art and writings of artist Rae Perlin. In 1995 she published a History of Newfoundland and Labrador with Grolier Ltd., as part of their Canadian series on the provinces. In 1996 it was translated into French. In 2000, White was named Artist of the Year by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council. In 2002 she wrote and directed the documentary Fool Proof, a film which takes a light-hearted look at the art and craft of clown and circus life. White’s second book of poetry, Mind Your Eyes, was released by Killick Press in 2003. In June 2004 White did a reading tour in Montreal with the League of Canadian Poets and at the Toronto Poetry Art Bar. She is currently working on a sensual feast of a novel called Ah Paris! set in the 1960's and based in Newfoundland and Paris, France.

Sheri-D WilsonWilson, Sheri-D, Calgary, AB
The Mama of Dada - Sheri-D Wilson is widely acknowledged as one of the most progressive and experimental poets in Canada, eloquently confronting the roles of women in contemporary society with a jazz sensibility and a dangerous wit. Of the beat tradition, in 1989 Sheri-D studied at Naropa (The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics). In 2003 she won the Heavyweight of Poetry, USA in a Bumbershoot Bout against Andrei Codrescu. Sheri-D Wilson is the founder and Artistic Director of the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival.

Wolf Tree GroupWolf Tree Group, Fredericton, NB
The Wolf Tree Group consists of nine poets including: Shari Andrews, Maureen Bilerman, Virginia Bjerkelund, Heather Browne, Jean Burgess, Mary Louise Luck, Kathy Mac, Janet Patch, Jane Tims.The term wolf tree comes from those who look to the forest for their livelihood. Unlike a financially useful tree, a wolf tree is wild. It has wide-spreading branches that reach for the sun. It twists and moves in many directions, the wrong shape for the saw blade, the wrong species for the pulp mill.

Elizabeth ZetlinZetlin, Elizabeth, Owen Sound, ON
Liz Zetlin is a visual artist and nature poet with a twist. She plants words with garlic cloves, grassy punctuation marks on rocky pastures and creates poetry videos about limestone. Zetlin's publications include The Thing With Feathers, Taking Root, and Said the River. Her poetry has won a Stephen Leacock Award, the Canadian Poetry Association's Shaunt Basmajian Award, and has been featured on CBC radio. Zetlin is also a teacher, editor and member of the poetry collective Words Aloud and the Advisory Board for Ginger Press’ poetry imprint, Wild Ginger. Last year she co-directed the Words Aloud Spoken Word Festival in Durham. Zetlin’s poetry videos, The Limestone Ghazals, were exhibited in Canada and Ireland as part of the Limestone Barrens Project. She lives in Markdale, Ontario.