Rayanne Haines is an award-winning fiction author and poet, and the co-host of the poetry podcast, Let’s Get Lit. She was executive director of the Edmonton Poetry Festival from 2012 to 2019. In 2018, she was a feature artist for Capital City Press with Edmonton Public Library. In January 2019, she was the Writer in Residence at Audreys Books. In both 2017 and 2019, Rayanne was shortlisted for Edmonton Poet Laureate. She’s had work published in Canada, the USA and the UK. An engaging reader, Rayanne has showcased from coast to coast. Stained with the Colours of Sunday Morning, her debut novel-in-verse (Inanna Publications 2018) released to positive critical acclaim.
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How to tell Heart Stories
by Rayanne Haines
Mia Nonna taught me how to fall in love.
She taught me to tell heart stories.
My Grandmother’s life was song.
Her music made men weep.
Her story told through 10,000 steps
on the streets of Firenze, floating naked
in the Black Sea, painting her skin
with the spices of Bombai, drinking
red wine from the bottle in Paris.
Vero Amore, she would say,
dances in the street in the evening air,
forgives with the rise and fall of the moon.
Vero Amore, she would say,
are fingers covered in flour, a tattered apron,
the kiss of cherries on your child’s chin.
My Grandmother’s hair hung to her waist.
Grandfather would pause to inhale whenever
she was close. Stand bewitched.
Even then, when their love had aged,
his fingers would curl with the memory
of getting lost in the scent. Her hair
smelled like cinnamon and the coffee cake
she baked every Sunday morning.
Adorare Vita Bambina she would say,
as she kneaded the dough.
This is love.
Copyright © Rayanne Haines. Originally published in Stained with the Colours of Sunday Morning (Inanna Publications, 2018).
What does poetry mean to you?
Right now, poetry means finding a way to be in the world. Poetry offers me solace, celebrates the joys of living, asks the hard human questions, makes me gasp with awe, and reminds me of what language can do.
What is your favourite thing about the Alberta poetry community?
The Alberta region is rich with poetry! The artistry in this province is fantastic. I think what I love most is seeing the connections between the different poets. Page and Stage, professional and emerging, have all found a way to be in this together. Alberta is beautifully close. We celebrate each other. We are each other’s ambassadors.
Members should contact me…
For any questions about the different organizations in parts of the province. Though I’m from Edmonton I intend on reaching out to poetry peers in Calgary, Red Deer and other smaller communities to get the lowdown on what’s up in each area. I’m here to help poets get the word out about what they are doing and where they are doing it. Have questions about the League of Poets? Ask me! Have questions about poetry across Canada? Ask me. I may not have all the answers but I’ll help find them.