I am thrilled to announce that my first full-length collection of poetry, Get Closer to Where We Began, is going to be published by Tightrope Books! This is a lifelong dream come true for me. Check back for updates, as well as news about the launch, scheduled for March 2017 in Toronto.
I’m very excited that my application to become a volunteer facilitator for the Toronto Writers Collective, facilitating writing workshops for under-served communities, has been accepted. Looking forward to the three-day training in the Amherst Writers & Artists method I’ll be receiving, and having the opportunity to help people from diverse backgrounds tell their stories.
Happy new year! Though it may be a little bit late, I still think it’s worth reflecting on 2015, which was a momentous year for me, personally, professionally and creatively. I got to feature at the Art Bar, the longest running poetry series in Canada. An anthology that accepted one of my poems was published in the U.S., released in August. I did lots of teaching. Lots and lots of it. I volunteered. Started getting a bit more disciplined again with my writing. And best of all, my poem “Where the Old Road Begins” was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. Though it didn’t make the shortlist, I am still honoured and humbled by the fact that I made it as far as I did, the first time I ever entered the contest.
These days, I’m getting greedy with poetry. This month alone, I’ve subscribed to The New Quarterly (one the country’s finest literary journals), my holds at the library are overflowing with books on craft as well as poets I’m excited about reading (Patricia Young, Kim Addonizio, Spencer Reece, Cassidy McFadzean, to name a few). I’m going to be working with a writing coach this year, and am also excited to be starting with a new workshop group of talented writers shortly. It would appear 2016 is off to a good start.
Today, I finally got to publicly share this incredible news: my entry for the 2015 CBC Poetry Prize, a suite of poems entitled “Where the Old Road Begins,” has made the longlist! I worked hard on these poems, inspired by a mysterious photo album discovered one summer day in Trinity Bellwoods Park in downtown Toronto, full of iconic images of mountain peaks and BC wilderness, a landscape I had the privilege of glimpsing during my time living out west from 2009-2010. Regardless of whether or not I make the shortlist or even—dare I say it—win the CBC Poetry Prize, I am so honoured to be included in such a hugely talented group of poets.
I am deeply honoured to have my poem, “Breaking the Ice,” which was based on my experiences teaching ESL to immigrant women in the Regent Park community of Toronto, Ontario, featured in this new anthology, published by Rowman and Littlefield in the U.S. The anthology itself is a great read, full of poetry and personal essays that combine my three greatest passions: education, social justice, and the written word. It’s available now for sale on the publisher’s website, and hopefully soon in libraries too. Check out the Rowman and Littlefield website for details. Special thanks to Paul C. Gorski, one of the editors of the collection, for inspiring me with his scholarship and activism in the field of social justice, both as a writer and teacher as well. His educational web site, EdChange, as well as many articles he has authored, have helped me greatly, not only with my own students, but as an adult learner myself, while pursuing my Bachelor of Education in Adult Education at Brock University.