In essence I am a storyteller who writes poems. Put simply, I write the poems I want to read.
My poems tell of falcons in Ireland, elephants being traipsed through the Queen’s Midtown Tunnel and stray island dogs. About beleaguered mothers and neglected toddlers and subservient wives. About small town cashiers, beauty queens, and neurosurgeons. I am always curious about how people navigate their lives and what it is they struggle with under the surface.
I am a Glasgow-born Canadian, a writer and poet, a Huffington Post Blogger, and a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee. I am the author of two books of poetry: The Music of Leaving (Demeter Press 2014) and Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered (2011). My third collection Icarus Also Flew (2017) which I hope to have published was a finalist in the 2017 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Contest, with the winner awarded book publication.
I am particularly proud to have won the poetry competition at goodreads.com a total of three times, along with an Honorable Mention in this monthly contest, one in which the winning poems are selected by the Goodreads’ members themselves.
Self-educated for the most part, I enrolled briefly at Canada’s University of Western Ontario, studying philosophy (not catnip, as it turned out, for potential employers). Most of my two years there was divided between the school’s seven cafeterias and traveling by bus to and from my unheated basement room a full two hours off campus, with a tendency to flood. My room, not the campus.
They were all delightful cafeterias.
My life since has been a series of incarnations, including stints as a house painter, nanny, bartender, wedding photographer, flight attendant, speechwriter, short order cook, corporate editor, freelance writer and, for two fragrant weeks out west in ’69, a shrimp de-veiner (sp). (This is not close to a complete list.)
I publish both online and off, wherever I can find good homes, blogging on Huffington Post about women’s rights, mental health, really bad jobs I’ve had (and they are legion), really bad dates (and they are legion), and naturally, poetry. Three of my poems were just published online in the poetry journal A Quiet Courage.
My short story “Clutter” won a Canadian national newspaper award for fiction writing. But my first passion remains poetry – it’s my retreat, my anchor – and even though my poems are about commonplace things, they are not necessarily simple. The abstract never drew me. I don’t think in those terms. The day-to-day world and all its supposedly mundane detail provides me more than I need. To me it’s not mundane. To me, it’s magic.
When not writing I am (borderline) consumed with social media, perfecting chocolate fudge, vintage black and white films, and pretty much anything circa 1940.
I can be also be found here online, and often:
Thank you for visiting.
Maybe you intended on coming here, a poetry lover hoping for poems that ring true for you, or you may have just wandered in “off the street.” Either way, welcome to my poetry and prose.
My hope is that you’ll see something of yourself in my words, see part of your life there, or at least shades of it. And just maybe you’ll come away with a flicker of understanding that wasn’t there before, a slightly different way of looking at what life throws at us. Better yet, you’ll find some indefinable comfort in my words.
Emily Dickinson sets a high bar, but it’s one that all writers should reach for. Away with all bewildering and indecipherable poems! Too often poetry seems like a fortress that says “Keep Out. You’re not smart enough to get in here.” It’s almost as if an unwritten rule exists about poetry that says: “If you understand it too easily, it can’t be good.” And it leaves you with the feeling that everyone else “gets it” but you.
I am here to deconstruct that. The poetry I enjoy most, and the pieces I aspire to write, invite the reader in. At its best it can be a shared language like no other.
Stay awhile, roam, browse, and enjoy the wonderful photographs.
And do something for me: Remember Emily’s words above and complain out loud to whomever will listen when you come across baffling, unfathomable, impenetrable poetry.
The world will be the better for it.
Meanwhile, I am happy that you came.
“It is not what the poet feels when he writes the poem that matters, but what the reader feels when reading it.”
Most people, myself among them, hear the word poetry, and their eyes glaze over. Or they feel an overwhelming urge for a quick nap.
“Poetry,” they grimace: “No! Please! Couldn’t I have eye surgery without anesthetics instead?”
That’s because we were force-fed the worst of what poetry is as kids. Remember the droning recitations, dissecting reams of the stuff in school, teasing it apart line by line as we blinked to stay awake, coming no closer to understanding any of it.
When I find myself reading a line of poetry over and over again and wonder what I am missing, I feel cheated somehow. And I think we all should.
Too often poetry seems like a building that says “Keep Out. You’re not smart enough to get in here.” It’s almost as if an unwritten rule exists about poetry that says: “If you understand it too easily, it can’t be good.” And it leaves you with the feeling that everyone else “gets it” but you.
I am here to deconstruct that. The poetry I love reading, and the pieces I aspire to write, invite the reader in. At its best it can be a shared language like no other.
Emily Dickinson set a high bar. She said: “I know it’s poetry if it knocks the top of my head off.” I’m with Emily.
Maybe you’ll see something of yourself in my words, see part of your life there, or at least shades of it. And just maybe you’ll find some comfort there. That is what I hope.