At First Light

Here’s Toronto’s Exultate Choir performing a morning meditation of mine, set for choir by Mari Alice Conrad. Her setting received the Stephen Chatman Award for student composition this spring at Podium, Canada’s national choral symposium, when this video was recorded. Here’s the original post of At First Light, which I wrote in May 2020 as…

The March This Time: a Collective Conversation

Looking back to 2014, it seems a kinder, gentler time. Dr. Cornett is a wise, genuine, passionate teacher who leads with spirit and vulnerability. Interesting to look back at his work, now that Dr. Jordan Peterson has risen to prominence; now that Me Too has had its moment, now that this kind of conversation feels…

On the Passing of Elizabeth the Great

She showed the world how to be a woman of worth, of dignity and of steady courage – to be clear, I place her beside and after my mom, my spirit mom and my aunties. They are the personal, she the societal image of what a woman needs to be – strong, grounded, gracious but relentlessly firm.

What a gift to live during her reign. May her soul pass through the Western Door and find its true reward for a life of service and leadership. God Rest Elizabeth the Great.

A view of the papal visit, Part 1: old ladies vs…

Behind the grill, a K9 officer, evidently as done with the pointless tension of the whole thing as we were, suddenly fired a volley of loud barks at us. In perfect tandem, we turned and roared back ‘Ah, shut up!’

Hey. Why you going to see the Pope, if you got such a chip on your shoulder, eh? Because this chip on my shoulder has a name. Because of the damned. Because of the rammed. The raped. The beaten. The killed. The blamed for their savage natures, they all had names. Because I remain. Because…

The Wild Keeps Quiet

Ducks write lines in water beaver testify all along shores Lakes like fingertips pressed into the living world for memory beyond our grasp And we wonder what they talked about, our ancestors, if We share tales of them all through trails pockmarked by horses, deer, dogs humans at leisure on foot and bike On our…

Choral Collaboration News

In just over 2 years of collaboration, Mari Alice Conrad has composed a number of remarkable settings for various of my poems. Beyond delighted to announce that Journey Song has arrived for purchase on Cypress Choral Music. Meanwhile, in Toronto, Exultate Choir will feature the Stephen Chatman Award winning At First Light on May 23rd…

Book Club Reflection: the Power of RISE

It has been 16 months since Humane launched, and what an amazing ride it’s been. Any time I wonder about the usefulness of writing a novel, I get sent wonderful messages from various sources. Here’s one that cropped up today while I was researching language resources (specifically, recorded examples of how to pronounce ‘Maengan’ –…

Journey Song Arrives!

After a pandemic-induced wait of about 16 months, it’s here! The World Premiere of composer Mari Alice Conrad’s SATB Choir setting of Journey Song, sung here in a live recording in Toronto by commissioning choir Babel, under the baton of Elaine Choi. I first published a version of Journey Song in my 2009 collection, Fifth…

Makushin Readings: From Russia with Love (of Books)

In May, it was my distinct pleasure to attend (via Zoom) the 12th annual Makushin Readings in Novo Sibirsk/Tomsk, Russia. Recently, the presentation was posted on Youtube. Many thanks to my friend Svetlana Pavlenko for arranging this opportunity.

Words made Song: another collaboration

Canadian composer Mari Alice Conrad’s latest piece, The Peculiar Dances of Shifting Minds, inspired in part by this poem of mine which honours my late mother. Also on the program, new works by composers Athena Loredo and Alice Ping Yee Ho; all performed by Vancouver’s Allegra Chamber Orchestra, under the leadership of Janna Sailor. Congratulations…

To Russia, with Love (of Books)

Well, today has opened with an amazing experience. I presented a talk at The Makushin Readings. http://www.spsl.nsc.ru/ Our topic: What is the role of Books as carriers of culture in our globalized, digital world? To summarize my answer: Books set down the limits of the known, and point at the possible. As well, by what…