Debbie Okun Hill confesses that she once went to a Halloween party dressed as a bookworm so she could sit in a corner and read.
“Call me an introvert with a thirst for knowledge. For the first five years of my life, I lived on the prairies in a three-room house with no running water or working toilet. That serene life (books, words, open rural spaces and unscheduled play) is something I still treasure. My interest in poetry developed much later.”
What started as a writing career in print journalism and public relations in her twenties and thirties has evolved into a poetic journey spanning over the last eleven years.
Today, she is a professional poet currently on tour with Tarnished Trophies (Black Moss Press, 2014) her first full collection of poetry by a trade publisher. She is the Past President of The Ontario Poetry Society, a Member of The League of Canadian Poets, The Writers Union of Canada, Sarnia’s AfterHours Poets and the recipient of two Writers’ Reserve grants from the Ontario Arts Council. She loves promoting the work of other writers and for eight years she has been a co-host of a monthly open mic event in southwestern Ontario.
To date, over 290 of her poems have been published in over 110 different publications/websites including the Literary Review of Canada, Descant, Existere, Vallum, The Windsor Review, and Other Voices in Canada plus Mobius, The Binnacle, Thema, and Still Point Arts Quarterly in the United States. She has read her work throughout Ontario including the Fringe Stage of the 2011 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival and during the 2012 PoeTrain Express/Spring Pulse Poetry Festival in Cobalt. Several of her poems have won awards.
In addition to her Black Moss Press book, she has two chapbooks published by Beret Days Press and is part of EnCompass I, a 75-page anthology featuring the work of five Canadian poets. Between touring, she hopes to polish two new manuscripts. Next spring she will be editing Mindshadows, a 2015 membership anthology for The Ontario Poetry Society.
Follow her website/blog Kites Without Strings and on twitter @OkunHill.
Click here for event info.
But what does it mean? See James' blog for his descriptions of how his drawings, including this one, evolve, and how he creates them.
From Stan Burfield Blog:
#1. House Fly Dancing to Mozart
(This is the first in a series of little stories of leaving hearth and home.)
I don’t know how old I was. Maybe four. Maybe five or six. I was sitting on the couch in the living room, feeling totally safe and cozy. My mother was sitting close on one side and my dad on the other. Mom was probably just sitting with Dad, who was reading his Braille, his fingers moving across the page and his eyes looking up into the warm air. I was feeling so good because I had never sat between them before. I know I hadn’t because I can still remember seeing the space there and wanting to sit in it, hesitating, then finally actually doing it. Read More
A nearly full house of 58 showed up Nov. 5th to listen to the poetry open mic and featured poet Julie Berry. For the second London Open Mic event in a row there were very few empty chairs in the terrace of Mykonos Restaurant.
The evening opened with the music of the folk/jazz/blues trio called The Aforementioned, consisting of lead singer/composer Noelle Hall with Dean Thompson and Helen Thompson.
Susan Downe, our featured poet from one year ago, introduced St. Thomas poet Julie Berry who read from her two collections to rapt attention and laughter from the audience. Her descriptions of school teaching and small town and rural life managed to combine simplicity, mystery and humour with a powerful sense of poetry.
Fifteen open mic poets from all ends of every spectrum read late into the evening, punctuated by the sound of forks on plates of Greek food and the sipping of wine.
Photos by Brie Berry.
Julie Berry interview and poems
Musicians’ bio for The Aforementioned
Nov. 5th London Open Mic:
Scroll down for:
Frank Davey: new interview and poems, for Nov. 30th book launch
Frank Davey will read from his new collection of poetry Nov. 30th at Mykonos Restaurant, as Mansfield Press launches books by four of its authors, including poets Nelson Ball and Laura Farina, and novelist Christine Miscione.
The four are beginning a tour of Southern Ontario. Davey will read from Poems Suitable for Current Material Conditions, Laura Farina from Some Talk of Being Human and Christine Miscione from her novel Carafola. (Nelson Ball won't be at this event. Someone else will present his poetry collection, Some Mornings.)
Mansfield Press publisher/editor Denis De Klerck and editor Stuart Ross will host the event, which begins at 7:00 pm.
FRANK DAVEY: Current resident of Strathroy, Ont., poet, former Coach House Press editor, co-founder of TISH newsletter in 1961, co-founder of e-mag Swift Current in 1984, editor of poetics journal Open Letter, 'author' of Bardy Google in 2010, author of the tell-much biography of bpNichol, aka bpNichol 2012. Davey, in Sept. 2014, was elected to the Royal Society of Canada, "the highest honour a scholar can achieve in the arts, humanities and sciences." The Royal Society said Davey is "an internationally recognized scholar and a leading figure in exploring alternative and experimental theories of Canadian literature. His critical studies have transformed our understanding of language and discourse in the study of Canadian texts. Professor Davey’s sustained efforts – as critic, theorist, editor and poet – to enlarge and redirect Canadian literature studies have been essential contributions to its contemporary diversity and self awareness."
London Open Mic Poetry Night's new interview with Frank Davey follows the poems below.
Five New Poems by Frank Davey
This is going to be a real game changer.
If you’re tired of the game you’ve been playing
or hunting or following
then this is the one for you. A ree-al
game changer. It will change
any game you want, baseball into crokinole
antelope into muskoxen
politics into table tennis—you remember that one
right? Even if you play the poetry game
with this game changer you can convert
villanelles to limericks, free verse
to conceptual verse, Galway Kinnell
to Ron Silliman. This is the one you need
a game changer to change all game changers
don’t get stuck in the same old game
this will change the game of bonds to the game
of derivatives, a bear market to a bull
equities into sparkling futures
parlour games into war games
sex games into video games
rupees into bitcoins
pyjama games into arcade games
X-Box into MP3
chess into Red Dead Revolver
it will change the game of thrones
to the game of deck chairs, the game of life
to the game of death, the game of love
to whatever you want, what could be better?—but wait
if you buy our guaranteed game changer in the next five minutes
we will send you our new life changer absolutely free
so don’t wait, change everything today
get a leg up on the future, be game not gamey, be protean, mercurial
be way far out ahead of the changing game
Calls for Progress
Substitutes recommended for religion.
New treatments tested for sex offenders.
Alternatives sought to racism.
New approaches considered for child molesters.
Answers suggested to suicide bombers.
New procedures mooted for terrorism.
Mother hits out against family violence.
New methods investigated for executions.
Solutions required for acid attacks.
New thinking needed for gang rape.
Other means considered for war.
Slide Show of Nov. 5th event HERE
Open Mics will be quieter from now on.
Having live music at the open mic is a nice idea, but it has a negative side effect: It tends to be too loud for easy, enjoyable conversation amongst audience members. And we've noticed that most people try to talk during the music. Few are listening to it.
So we've decided that, beginning at the next event, on Dec. 3rd, we will only use musicians who don't mind just providing accompaniment to the conversation, and on those times we can't find any we'll just go with the restaurant's piped-in music.
We understand that many of the readings in Toronto have no music at all, just the buzz of conversation. After two seasons, we also have reached the point of not having to provide entertainment to get people to come to our events.