Fresh Voices 19

Welcome to the nineteenth edition of Fresh Voices, a project from and for the League’s associate members, edited by Joan Conway (Check out her personal blog!) and Blaine Marchand. The League’s associate members are talented poets who are writing and publishing poetry on their way to becoming established professional poets in the Canadian literary community. We are excited to be taking this opportunity to showcase the work of our associate members in this series!

Fresh Voices 19 features poems by Harry Posner, Shayne Coffin, Kelly Madden, David G. Malcolm, Corina Gugulus, Danny Peart, Graham Ducker and Tony Brathwaite!


Poem title: Blue Is Bigger Than Brown Poem author: Harry Posner Poem: I want to say blue is bigger than brown I want to tuck it shade by shade into the manifold curtain that slides across my mind when I wake at 3 in the morning and the world is an untenable thing I want to pull the indigo flecks out of the shadows that snap at my harried heels like hungry hounds and use them (unsuccessfully) to pay for coffee at the French Press I want to watch teal do a lap dance for cobalt coins because it’s always so damn oh I don’t know sedate but that isn’t very likely I want to run my fingers across the blue ridge mountains of a blue baby’s heart scar and think of the fragility of Time I want to pile robins eggs into a giant pyramid in the centre of my overly furnished psyche then shuffle around it chanting om mane padme hummmmm to the beat of an oom pa pa band I want to salute a naval-haired Prussian admiral whose been hung out to dry like an old ship in dry dock and tell him it’s not so bad being invisible I want to suck on a cerulean sky and spit out the celestial toxins maybe save a swallowful for myself but overall the whole sapphire foofaraw peacocking around the joint like a feather boa wrapped round a choochy queen well, just thinking about it gives me the blue suede hues sometimes I think this whole blue business is just a pigment of my colour blind imagination and what I really want to do is lock my cynical self away inside a lacquered vermillion box (invisible to an azure heaven) the surface of a cyanide pill lapped at by a tired pebbled tongue. End of poem. Author info: A member of Words Aloud poetry collective, the Headwaters Writers Guild, Writers Ink Alton, and Associate Member of the League of Canadian Poets, Harry Posner is the author of six books and three spoken word CDs. He is Dufferin County's Poet Laureate, organizer and host of the annual Day of the Poets festival in Orangeville, Ontario, and co-host with Peter Noce of The Sill podcast ( His novella Peggy Lee’s Delicious Lips, the winner of the Ken Klonsky Novella Competition, was published in December of 2019 by Quattro Books. Poem title: Ascension at the Browning Household Poem Author: Shayne Coffin Poem: Singing those same songs of Theocritus, Sharing that strain which severed the humdrums of Wimpole with a sonnet, Survivor of pained spinal column, lungs of consumption, marinated in morphine, Shamefully shaded bloodline of slavery, mingling with lust and forced extinction, A poet in pomegranates and early ecstasies of Shelley, Gently absconds with the greatest love story of Portugal, Over the mountains, on selflessly inferior shoulders, Preserving delicate artistic temperament, Protecting single important source of support, The nurturer of all dear monologues, Mother of Casa Guidi, visited by the same shade that seemed destined to claim, Bookends, from beginnings of first bedroom liberation to last, Final breakthrough of broken body, Held by silver voiced love, supervising gentle golden breathed death, Partners of poetry, Never again a shadow of melancholy, doubts beyond flesh and bone, Two lips of generous creation glimpse glorious reality, Heaven is every reaching corner, life and death are borderless. End of Poem. Author info: Shayne was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario. While studying Theatre Arts at Fanshawe College in London, Shayne released his first collection of poetry, New Year’s Resolution, which was printed privately through and sold to family, friends, and colleagues. Following his graduation, and a few years of professional acting on stage and screen, he returned to Guelph, where he self-published three further collections of poetry through Volumes Publishing: Issues of a Boarder (2017), Words for Maureen (2018), and Joe Batt’s Arm and Other Islands (2019). Poem title: Garment Poem author: Kelly Madden poem: Nice sweater, goes nice with those pants and so affordable made in Bangladesh a week before the fire thin fingers that pushed the garment through are buried under rubble now End of poem. Author info: Kelly B. Madden writes poetry, fiction, children’s stories and songs. Her work has appeared in Island Writer’s Magazine, Reckoning 2 and elsewhere. She lives in the Comox Valley, BC. Poem title: A Journey poem author: David G Malcolm poem: Diagnosis? The words – you have cancer, put me on death row. The cold grey iron foe lurks just behind the door, a hide-and-seek monster with a face of darkness and dismay. Waiting for the ax to fall, for the pale bloodless skin of death Cancer – evil incarnate, trails a long black cloak, smothers each victim. Sexless – not man or woman, outside time and space. Yet – wind and oak whisper, cherish the mistletoe, a mystery healer. Choose life, hope – believe and thrive – each day a blessing end of poem. Author info: Dr. David G. Malcolm holds BE and MSc degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, and a PhD in Engineering Science from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. He is a member of NorthWords NWT, the Saskatchewan Writer Guild, the League of Canadian Poets and the Writers Union of Canada. He is a Stage 4 Renal Cell Carcinoma cancer survivor, which has prompted on-going writing projects on providing hope in cancer recovery. David has spent many years writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry, including non-fiction in a number of natural science and social science disciplines in the Circumpolar North. The Trees are Shaking in the Rain   By Corina Gugulus  Water pours along the pavement and it washes the people’s black shoes.  The city smells like rain.  People rush along the streets while  they cover their heads under umbrellas.   A woman in a black velvet dress strolls quietly down the street. She has no umbrella and her long blond hair drips.  In the rain, she saunters. While the trees shake down their wet. The woman stops, looks at the sky, then at the trees.   Water drops from her hair, pours into each wrinkle of her face along the edge of velvet, down deep into her heart.   The woman smells the rain while the trees discreetly watch and then stop their shaking in the rain.    A graduate of York University (2011), Corina Gugulus holds a Certificate in Creative Writing from University of Toronto (2017). A collection of her poems, Optical Illusions (Timpul, 2016), was published in Romania. Her poem “Sour Cherry” won Honorable Mention in Prairie Fire’s competition in 2015.  Poem title: BLESSED poem author: Danny Peart Poem: “Count your blessings boy.” Grandma Lena Peart The older lady across the street from us walks directly up to me, looks me in the eye, says “You are blessed.” Then turns back to her home. At Figaro cafe, Beatrice comes to my table, says, “Evermore thanks.” She has heard that I am the poet, this note ends my recent book. We talk of music, Leonard Cohen, I sign the book she buys. She looks at me, voice trembling, “You are blessed.” This gives me pause - am I more blessed than others? Can this blessing last? Both of my parents alive and well, my brother and sisters held close in love with my wife, two healthy and interesting sons. No one wants to hear : “There’s a call for you.” “You’ll need to be brave.” Brave enough to say goodbye to one or more of my blessings. End of poem. Author info: Danny Peart currently resides in Vancouver, B.C. In 2012, he published a slim volume of poems, cheerfully titled Ruined By Love. The collection was guided by Aislinn Hunter. (Milagro Press) In September 2014, his poem Elder Raven was selected in a competition by BC Transit and the Association of Book Publishers of BC to be posted in bus shelters for the month of October. In 2016, he published a collection of stories and poems titled Stark Naked in a Laundromat. This book was edited by Zsuzsi Gartner. In 2018, he published a collection of poems titled Another Mountain to Climb. Edited by Aislinn Hunter. He is most comfortable reading and writing in a quiet café. Though he seeks the mountains often for hiking, skiing and snowshoeing. Poem: the whiff of a dream lingers a faint scent taunts memory whispers of a past forgotten crispness of now dampened End of poem. By Tony Brathwaite Author info: Tony Brathwaite was born in Ontario and spent most of his life moving around the province. Now based in St. John’s, he has been exploring and living in Newfoundland since 2005. Arranging words with varying degrees of intensity for most of his life, he has had poems printed in several publications. He has released one solo collection of poems, Fragments (2002) and a collaboration of artwork and poetry, “an other being” (2017) together with his partner. He has performed at readings in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.