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Join us Wed, May 18 at 7:30 Virtually for Natalie Lim and Jude Neale

Natalie Lim is a Chinese-Canadian poet living on the unceded, traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Peoples (Vancouver, B.C.). She is the winner of the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize and Room Magazine’s 2020 Emerging Writer Award, with work published in Arc Poetry Magazine, Best Canadian Poetry 2020 and elsewhere. Her debut poetry chapbook arrhythmia is now available from Rahila’s Ghost Press.

Jude Neale has written ten collections of poetry. Her book, A Quiet Coming of Light, was a finalist for the LCP Pat Lowther Award and her manuscript, Splendid in its Silence, won publication in the UK. Her poem, “Blue Bowl”, was finalist for the prestigious Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Award and “Emptiness in the Garden” was chosen by Britain’s Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion, to ride the buses in the Channel Islands for one year. In keeping with her musical background, she collaborated with violist, composer and visionary, Thomas RL Beckman, to write a poetic prose narrative for his orchestral composition, the St. Roch Suite, which was performed live by the Prince George Symphony Orchestra.

You can pre-register for this event, Wednesday, 18th May at 730pm, via Zoom, by clicking on this link:

Introducing April Open Mic Poetry Contest Winners

Our open-mic contest was a smash success.  Judges Fiona Tinwei Lam, James Gifford and Kevin Spenst had a tough job judging this contest.  The poems covered the gamut of poetic topics.  We heard about Sunflowers, Noma Bulbs, the Nanaimo Harbour and even a Beloved Buddhist Monk.  Here are our winning poems:

Winner Christine Shah!

Christina Shah lives in Vancouver and works in heavy industry. Her poetry has appeared in The FiddleheadVallumArcGrainPRISM internationalEVENTThe Malahat ReviewThe Antigonish Review and elsewhere.  Her poem, ‘they canned a good man today’, was shortlisted for The Fiddlehead’s 2021 Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize Her poem, ‘interior bar, 1986’, was selected for Best Canadian Poetry 2022. She is one-fifth of the Harbour Centre 5 poetry collective, and has some strong opinions on soft pretzels.

Here is Christine's winning Poem:

they canned a good man today (for Super J)
 first thing monday– a hydrogen zeppelin of political dogshit. your office stripped of its habs memorabilia. we can’t find you. some back-east jackass flies in to finger-gun us while we burn. they canned a good man today. left your bereft flock in the pleather desert, marooned in the boardroom of the sweathog branch during a plague, a heatwave and a price war– it was a corporate apocalypse with ashen spectators. your splintered protégés suddenly rudderless. we sit– fishes eviscerated, fidgeting over your dead body, and this stable genius asks us how we feel about this. we are treated to his greasy megalomania over industrial-park szechuan takeout on a vacant shop floor. frothy jocularity, boorish erasure. fake laughs and nominal notetaking in this kool-aid cavitation. let’s circle back to lunacy (hell, let’s spiral down): delusions of dystopian datafication/ how he cleverly hid assets from his ex-wife/ his backcountry derring-do (portaging a canoe solo somewhere among the blackflies)/ his MBA. we thank him for his service and wish him luck with his future endeavours. all I know is shit runs downhill and payday’s friday.

Here are our Runners Up:

Kate Marshall Flaherty
That fox—
her streak of amber fur
and black-tip tail slip by, 
her shyness and pricked ears
soft and tense at once—
let her cross your path
on the slanted cobblestones
heading for the ravine, 
an omen circling back—
somehow her tawny-ness
warms up cycles of grief,
her fur tuft reminding you 
of that coyote who killed your cat—
let yourself exhale, release 
the stink of spring rot,
breathe in weak February sun
recalling your cat who left 
such wispy signs of struggle: blood-hair-skin
in smears on the grass, a patch of hide
and string
her remains folded into the ground,
a wooden rosary the kids placed in her grave
Sniff out kinship
with this, the other, creature—
a fox can smell a mouse under snow
loving fox is easy—but
forgiveness is hard
for the wounded, you have so 
much coyote within, you 
know you do

Lucy Yang

Graham McGarva

Our Viewers' Choice Is:

Silverfish I have known
By Claire Davis
there seem correlative elements
between finding a muse 
and silverfish
both can be found in overstuffed 
rental apartments of artists
look for disarray
a good muse is almost always
found in disarray 
like a kitchen god smeared 
with grease splatter
overlooking a cluttered sink
it goes perhaps without saying
a muse must be imperfect
must remain wrinkled after hanging
corners untucked, a too-small bank account,
delayed politics, wayward hair
– it has been deemed
that beautiful people
receive less eye contact
their symmetry read too fast
signifying butterfly:
beauty without endurance –
they keep boxes of useless things on high shelves
spine worn novels
a life's doodles on napkins
a body's weight in commemorative lighters
garbled mix-tapes with handwritten liners
–it is important however
that they are confused by what they keep
sort through them in both 
charm and disgust to select a pittance of release:
a hemimetabolous is
after all, one stage short
and discards itself perpetually
to remain mostly unchanged –
silverfish have a curious mating ritual
one worth mentioning 
as a token of entomological interest
though of no real purpose here
save to say a muse must run
must not be too close
must leave between connection and action
admit the necessity of disappearance
though they remain hopeful in their plight
I find hope 
makes me mad with art
like humid baseboard cracks
and cereal spilt 
between cabinet and stove
like a bathtub, cold and clinical
in the morning

One Minute Poem Series 

Head to our YouTube channel to watch our Open Mic Series.  Yvonne Blomer reading "Pangolin" and Manahil Bandukwala reading "Root".

Click here for Yvonne's poem
nd here for Manahil's

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