Fresh Voices 22

Welcome to the twenty-second 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 22 includes poetry by: Angel Edwards, Lesley-Anne Evans, Meg Freer, Ryan Gibbs, Dharmpal Mahendra Jain, Paula Kienapple-Summers, Susan Ksiezopolski, Patricia Mackay, Rhonda Melanson, Nolic Nique, Kimberley Orton, Harry Posner, Sally Quon, Lindsay Soberano-Wilson, Roberta Ann Walker, Nan Williamson.

Something about the mosh pit toughness of moths Or maybe the coy blushing of venerated butterflies Something about the gypsy slam dancing with lampposts Or maybe the monarch flushed with pomp and glitter Something about the foxglove cravings of garden tigers Or maybe the admiral marshaling a troop of Black-eyed Susans Can a moth live with a butterfly’s precious nature? Can a butterfly withstand a moth’s lack of élan? Something about your firm grasp of light and death Or maybe my unforgivable ignorance of pistils and stamens Something about your willingness to chomp a leaf with gusto Or maybe my pollen smeared tongue as social embarrassment Something about wool sweaters made holey through hunger Or maybe the joy of nets and children waiting with boards and pins By Harry Posner Bio A member of The Writers Union of Canada, Writers Ink Alton, Headwaters Writer Guild, and Associate Member of the League of Canadian Poets, Harry Posner is the author of six books and two spoken word CDs. Harry is Dufferin County's Poet Laureate until 2022, 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, was the winner of the 2019 Ken Klonsky award, and he has recently released a collection of spoken word poetry, Blue is Bigger Than Brown. All of Harry’s books are available at

/fray/ By Kimberley Orton What if this (bird)life (bird)song is more, not because we are doing less, have more time, are paying attention, are listening more closely, but because we are gone. Left. Lessened. Our tread, lighter, and our desire paths faded blurred by new nature. Familiar language we don’t speak. Erasure is always the birth of something else. Murmur(ation)s of truth. Delighting themselves in the dawn-wind find their way tell their way with their closest seven. Flight and swoop. Everchange. Up go the flaps, down go the wheels… Gather on the(ir) runway (props), and jet beyond to the(ir) beach. Reclaim tarmac and tree, asphalt and stone, sand, come (back) together, loudly, stories incarnate into the fray. … Bio Kimberley Orton is a poet/stage poet, playwright and photographer who lives and works in downtown Toronto. She has been published by Playwrights Guild of Canada along with several other poetry publications, and her plays Raven, An Act of Ruth, and The Savage Lily have been produced in Toronto, Ottawa, New York and Chicago. Kimberley holds degrees from U of T in Theatre and English Literature, and is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC.

Climate Change By Meg Freer The heat in the school gym, thick as velour, gave me a headache, changed my breathing. It’s finally cooler back at home, but a few ants still stroll down the kitchen walls. The chemistry midterm report reads: “no significant weakness at this time.” But whole forests are on the move to higher elevations. It’s all the sitting that gets to you. I walk past a red lifejacket plastered against a broken upstairs window, ready for the owner to grab on the way out as floodwaters rise and escape becomes courage. If we have to, we will go, when the universe opens space and time for us to grasp one rope, climb out of our primordial stew again. Sometimes we spend more time trying not to annoy people than we do trying to please them. My sister declares, “We will never eat soup again.” Bio Meg Freer grew up in Missoula, Montana and studied musicology in Minnesota and New Jersey, where she also worked in scholarly book publishing. She now teaches piano and theory, takes photos, enjoys the outdoors year-round in Ontario, and wishes she had more time to write poetry. Her photos, poems and prose have been published in journals such as Ruminate, Vallum Contemporary Poetry, Arc Poetry, Poetry South, Eastern Iowa Review, and Rat’s Ass Review. In 2017 she attended the Summer Literary Seminars in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. Her poems have been shortlisted and have won awards in several contests in both the U.S. and Canada.

The Mind Transplant after Paul Durcan’s The Head Transplant By Lesley-Anne Evans My doctor said to me: Your mother needs a new mind. So I said to the doctor: You can give her my mind. My days were numbered—blocked goals, vertigo, metaphysical angst—so ‘Yes’ was his answer. Now I lie in my bed worrying away in my mind. What will the oul dear say with her new mind? Will she speak with a voice of an angel on a pin head? Or talk to herself in fragments of two voices? Or shriek when her tongue is unleashed in her mouth? Or become lamia, outcast for casting incantations of healing? Cold forged steel might bolster her neural connectors; her confusion will be a tailings pile. And all her dreams will be fluxed, and her doubts all quenched. Her friends will say; ‘Quite remarkable the change in Old Evelyn— Her new mind seems to be doing her the world of good. Bit of luck that daughter of hers buckled when she did.’ And I, when I’m dead, will become a standing stone freed from all thought, An elemental Irishwoman, iarann of the earth. Appendix of Irish Colloquial Phrases, the Irish Gaelic, and Sources oul dear = mom lamia = a dangerous woman with supernatural powers iarann = iron   Poet Bio: Lesley-Anne Evans is a poet and arts facilitator who dabbles in foraging and small batch jam making. She lives in Feeny Wood, a small woodland in Kelowna, British Columbia, where she writes and hosts spiritual retreats. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Lesley-Anne is energized by visits to wild coasts. Lesley-Anne’s poetry is published in literary journals and installed as Pop-Up Poetry. She won the 2019 Federation of BC Writer’s Literary Prize, and was long listed for the 2020 Canterbury Poet of the Year. Lesley-Anne’s first collection of poems is forthcoming in late fall 2021.

METAPHORICALLY SPEAKING By Patricia Mackay You say there are wild beasts in the forest. Indeed… in the forest there are wild beasts! You say they feast upon forest roamers. Indeed… on forest roamers wild beasts feast! Are these wild beasts merely metaphorical? Indeed…metaphorical are these wild beasts. Would you please refrain from using metaphors? Indeed…from metaphorical referencing I will cease… Metaphorically speaking… Biography Patricia is a poet with 18 years teaching experience (English and Creative Writing and Poetry) at the senior secondary level. She created several courses for BAA curriculum as well as prepared and presented Poetry and Creative Writing Workshops for Cowichan School District 79. Patricia has a large and diverse social platform; her poetry reaches readers of all ages and backgrounds across the globe. She has published in anthologies in Britain. Selections of her poetry have been featured on broadcasts in India, as well as in the United States. The most incredible aspect of this experience is that she presents a Canadian perspective of life. Patricia lives on beautiful Vancouver Island. Her life includes writing, music, travel, cooking and knitting. Online links Instagram (2019)

Giving My Womb Permission By Rhonda Melanson The Annunciation I never considered my betrothed womb had choices. my unpicked pomegranate its swollen seeds like blood-red eggs picked for the siege, yet even the great He asks permission: can you, will you? His whispers were sweet, furtive: who among us could resist blessed art thou chosen among women Flesh from your flesh. From my ribs? No, from your hips. I mean, your glorious, abundant hips! Oh, those hips. My betrothed hips. The ones not yet navigated because the Law prohibits premature pleasure for both me and him, but mostly me. The part that's open, wide open, trembling raw Mother of God! He groaned. What part of yes did I just understand? Bio A graduate of Queen’s University Artist In The Community Education Program, Rhonda Melanson has been published in several print and online magazines, including Juniper, The Boxcar Poetry Review, Quill’s, Philadelphia Poets, Ascent Aspirations, Lummox, and the Windsor Review. In 2011, she published a chapbook called Gracenotes with Beret Days Press, and she is also featured in the Encompass IV anthology, a publication from Beret Days Press and The Ontario Poetry Society. She was featured in Nasty Women and Bad Hombres, A Poetry Anthology, edited by Deena November and Nina Padolf (Lascaux Editions) and in Tamaracks, An Anthology of Canadian Poetry, edited by RD Armstrong. She also works collaboratively on a literary blog Uproar.

I Call This Trauma By Lindsay Soberano-Wilson The trauma unfolds in between the folds of the tapestry tattooed in my living room of silence I howl, but nothing comes out until a new square weaves itself onto there as the old squares start to unravel into a loose spool of thread choking me asleep I somehow become emboldened in golden and begin to look — to actually study how the threads morph into knots and bows and loops and holes and knots and bows and loops and holes and knots and bows and loops and holes… --and forget me nots Sometimes you make a patchwork that you work on tirelessly and needlessly until the trauma unfolds in between the folds of the tapestry It’s arduous work carrying this thing around like an old wet blanket but I think I’m finally comprehending that it needs to be housed in a museum and framed and reframed and observed and studied and, well, displayed like an artifact It’s arduous work carrying this thing around like an old wet blanket but I think I’m finally comprehending that it needs to be housed in a museum and framed and reframed and observed and studied and, well, displayed like an artifact So that if and when I am forced to confront the lava erupting from the sleeper cell of a volcano I can Wear it, I can Speak it, I can Preserve it-- I can let it hit the air so that its power diminishes over me or perhaps it can be plastered into some sort of sculpture: a live, living vulture to be placed on a pedestal with the inscription-- “I survived.” Bio Lindsay Soberano-Wilson is a poet, teacher, and freelance writer who lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and three sons. Her debut chapbook Casa de mi Corazón: A Travel Journal of Poetry & Memoir (Poetica) is coming soon. Her poems and articles have appeared in journals, anthologies, and magazines, such as Quills Erotic Canadian Poetry Magazine, Canadian Woman Studies Journal, Running with Scissors, Travel Thru History, Scary Mommy, Canadian Jewish News, and Poetica Magazine. She holds a MA (English Literature) and a BEd from the University of Toronto, and a BA (Creative Writing and English Literature) from Concordia University. Follow her on Medium, Instagram, or Twitter @Poetry Matters to explore a myriad of topics such as motherhood, mental health, travel, education, and sex-positivity.

The Gulls By Ryan Gibbs they shriek louder than alley cats in heat tearing apart my garbage their white plumes soiled in carnage how different these vermin appear from the gulls I remember by the lake the majestic birds with eagle wings gliding as kites across endless skies I will follow the gulls these raucous scavengers remember too better days are good omens to wary sailors foretelling nearby land hidden treasures Bio Ryan Gibbs is an English professor who lives in London, Canada. His poems have appeared in Pollux Journal, Blueline, Tower Poetry, The Windsor Review, and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century. His children’s poetry has been included in the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness. Twitter: @RyanGibbsWriter

I made this poem for you By Nan Williamson I made this poem for you, from which you might gather my pain. - Catullus to his lover, Licinius Calvus Morning in the garden a row of slender bamboo stalks yellow banners waving flank the archway reminds me of Apollo’s sentries Delphi’s ancient kouroi naked sanctuary youths caught in sculpted marble and I recall the famed archaic kouros smile it conjures yours somehow knowing and amused Those lazy afternoons we played at writing scribbling verses juggling metres lines delighting in our voices giddy with Santorini wine Drunk on words we played at loving wanton lips and hands The night you left me restless I tossed wild sheets possessed by charm and curiously uncommonly your mind Among the Doric columns for weeks I stalked the Sacred Way half-crazed haunting Apollo’s shrine I threw my deranged poems to gaping tourists waiting for a Delphi photograph Madness burning at the base Meaning almost grasped Even now I dream the north wind carries cries hear howls in bells mourning most of all my barefoot boy how coiled braids restrained unruly curls curious eyebrows arched sly lips implied dark questions and I hear drumming drumming maenads carouse trample the ground in frenzied dance Here in my garden I mourn alone The sun god warms my numbed cheek One persistent green shoot pushes through cold stone Bio Nan Williamson is a teacher, artist and author living in Peterborough. She is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, Toronto, 2013. Her chapbook, leave the door open for the moon, was published by Jackson Creek Press in 2015. Always interested in the verbal-visual connection, she plays with shapes, colours, and texture to wed form and content in paint and poetry. More than 50 of her poems have been published in juried literary journals and anthologies in Canada, the US, and the UK. She has had 4 poems accepted in the past 3 months She is also the illustrator for Delicate Impact, a Canadian anthology of poetry, A Beret Days Book, The Ontario Poetry Society, 2018 For National Poetry month, April, 2021, she will be leading a weekly course, “Poetry 101” on Zoom.

Dharmpal Mahendra Jain POETRY FOR THE CAUSE A poem must be simple, like counting. You utter a number and the next follows on its own. On and on it goes, linking one to the other until reaching Infinity. Like counting, a poem should be clear to us all: we must glean the value of each digit, and that value remains unchanged anywhere in the universe it may explore. Odds and evens, as in numbers, both carried in each poem, and whatever the digit is becomes an integral part of the number. As in counting, a poem gives value to zero with its digits, and from the front lead the people who are declared insignificant. ________________________________________________________   Bio Dharmpal Mahendra Jain Born (1952) and raised in tribal reserve of Jhabua, India, Dharm is a Toronto based Author. He writes in Hindi and has five published books- three collections of satirical essays and two collections of Poetry. He is a columnist for two prestigious journals Chankya Varta and Setu. His works have appeared in prestigious Hindi journals across the world. He is currently working on a full-length collection in English. FB: Web page –

When By Susan Ksiezopolski when I am still here but can no longer hear sing me hummingbird songs in the silence I will listen when I can no longer see show me the splendor of a sunrise through the sound of your voice when I can no longer eat or drink feed me your parched words To quench my hungry thirst when I can no longer speak listen to my teary eyes whisper treasured tales of my tender devotion when I am weary and ready to leave this place let me go hold on to the part of me that is yours always, my heart Susan Ksiezopolski, is an award-winning writer of two poetry books “My Words”, “Writing for Change”, and two writing aides “The Writer’s Workbook” and “Fuel Your Creativity”. Her poetry has also been featured in various anthologies, the Canadian Immigrant Magazine, Alt-Minds Magazine and FreeLit Magazine as well as on other online platforms. A graduate of Humber School for Writers, Susan has developed and delivers expressive writing workshops across the GTA. Visit for more information, follow her work on Instagram @writewell_2020 or on YouTube .

19 Reasons To Keep Living By Sally Quon fragrance of morning mock-orange blossoms cascade down canyon walls rain fattened clouds smoky grey drums, drums rhythm of heartbeat thunder in the sky bittersweet longing call of the loon sweet kiss of rain brushing skin water and willow on an episodic wind wet grass in the aftermath of storm bird-song, chorus of frog, coyote calling silent mind slant of evening sunlight, falling in the forest low, golden glow dusty shadows shifting moon-rise, star-shine stillness of night emerald ribbons ripple midnight sky predawn light of cobalt blue earth and sky rising the inevitable dawn   Sally Quon is a back-country blogger, dirt-road diva, and teller of tales. Choosing to express herself through poetry, photography, and creative non-fiction, Sally has been published in all three. Look for her in these upcoming anthologies: • A Journey Across New Westminster by Word – A Poetry of Place, Poet Laureate Alan Hill in conjunction with the City of New Westminster, 2021, “Woodlands Memorial Garden” • I Don’t Cry Anymore Poetry Anthology, Liminal Press, 2021, “#me” • The Abstract of Time Anthology, The Rudderless Mariner, 2021, “Cobwebs” Facebook: Sally Quon Instagram: @SallyQuon Twitter: @QuonSally Website: Sally Quon is a back-country blogger, dirt-road diva, and teller of tales. Choosing to express herself through poetry, photography, and creative non-fiction, Sally has been published in all three. Look for her in these upcoming anthologies: A Journey Across New Westminster by Word – A Poetry of Place, Poet Laureate Alan Hill in conjunction with the City of New Westminster, 2021, “Woodlands Memorial Garden”; I Don’t Cry Anymore Poetry Anthology, Liminal Press, 2021, “#me”; and The Abstract of Time Anthology, The Rudderless Mariner, 2021, “Cobwebs” Instagram: @SallyQuon Twitter: @QuonSally Website:

Sunrise Over the Grand River By Paula Kienapple-Summers the pink sky yawns above my morning commute white clouds lengthen across the horizon the sun floats my car dips toward the river valley mist hovers around thickets of maple, stout conifers grassy mounds and leafy shrubs pad the banks crossing the bridge, a glance at the dark moving water on the rise, the road widens three lanes of highway curl east, two west a narrow patch of greenery at the junction approaching my exit two deer dash out red flare the car in front brakes brown fur hurtling across fender and hind legs collide crack the youngling tumbles and spins into the ditch I brake in staccato jerks the car spasms left, right in the lane tea sloshes, purse slides migrating traffic vacillates a moment then rolls on like the river   Bio Paula Kienapple-Summers is a writer from Kitchener, Ontario. Her poems have been published in journals such as Existere, The Nashwaak Review, Tower Poetry, and Spadina Literary Review as well as anthologies including Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poetry Anthology (Mansfield Press: 2018) and Voicing Suicide (Ekstasis Press: 2020).

PATTERNS By Roberta Ann Walker Creation replicates patterns that perform The plant above ground reflecting the root system beneath Winter-bare branches of two deciduous trees mirror the circulatory system of a set of human lungs. Winding rivulets of a delta river system wend their way seaward spread like tresses of long hair across a blanket of sand or threading like nerve bundles wrapping the spinal cord. The pig's snout or a tapir's proboscis reflect the engineering marvel of an elephant's trunk. Every bird, beast and fish in the ocean possesses a muscular, beating heart that circulates blood and perpetuates Life. Yet alone of all Earth's creations, can one human being without a single, physical touch Break-- or heal---another human's heart.   Bio Roberta Ann self-published a book of her family history, complete with old photos, which has been well received by family and friends, "My Grandmother's Journey and other tales". In 2016 she self-published "A Poetry Collection: Psalms, Seasons, Memories" of 3 short booklets into one. Another poem, "Fragile Legacy" can be found in the Women's Literature collection of UWO. A Catholic magazine published her poem "Stages" as part of their reflection on the Psalms, and in 2016 she set that piece to music, 4-part harmony for a choir. One of her song lyrics represented Ontario in a commissioned collection of writers invited to celebrate Canada's 150th celebration.

 BROKEN DOLL By Angel Edwards They gathered up all of the pieces of her collected all of the broken bits of her Broken doll they fed her soothing syrups injected calming medicines (she waited helplessly a long time seemingly for surgery) doctors sliced her arms open fixed her broken bones pins and plates replaced a part terrified her heart Broken doll stitched her open skin closed the wounds braced and wrapped her arms hospitalized released Broken doll traumatized forsaken still Broken doll still broken Bio Angel Edwards is a singer songwriter, guitar player, short story writer, poet and short story writer from Vancouver BC She has worked as a solo artist for the past 12 years around the Vancouver area guitar and voice acoustic. Her style of music is original rock pop with undercurrents of blues and country Angel is a long-time member of SOCAN BMI and VMA local 145 She has had four books of poetry published by Silver Bow publishing located in new Westminster BC. She has had numerous poems and short stories published in Canada the United States the UK and Romania Angel is working on a book of collection of short stories and a young adult novella following a tragic accident where she broke both of her arms December 20/17 she is still recovering and learning to play the guitar again The COVID-19 situation set her back even further, but she continues to persevere in her career as a singer songwriter, guitarist poet and writer

Subconscious Industrialization By Nolic Nique 1.) Punch the Clock: How the Mechanized Cuckoo-Bird Systematizes your Cortex with a Steam-Whistling Beak ( Never let a clock look you in the eyes lest your nature get systematized to the mechanized cuckoo-bird’s time-zone. A steam-whistle in every second, his robot back-up dancers behind your thoughts, rewiring your cortex with routine to the small-mindedness of factory equipment. When the instrument you work, works you, and hardwires your freewill to think in machine language. 2.) You Never Stood a Chance: The Workhorse Against the Capitalist with Chainsaw Jaws ( In this piston-shaft merry-go-round of routine, to the darkness of the factory of your mind. You’re a working man, a superman, you turn it on and even the machines can’t keep pace with your breakneck craftsmanship. I respect that, I seethe with the same fire. I define myself by the skills I’ve acquired. But the machine uses that against you. In this world, every second costs a cent every day, a dollar. The cigar capitalist with chainsaw jaws will count his money as your hunch-back becomes his desk, until you’re worthless. A wheel-of-pain awaits these workhorses’ numbered days. Industrialization would have the life-force of mankind line-up to the subconscious assembly line of cloned ideas. A clockwork paganism of consumerist items a pantheon of man-eating machines. Its ironic these good men resemble the playthings they slave for, but reassembled. 3.) When Entertainment Loses its Enlightenment: How the System of Control Cures the Insane Pain of Freewill ( Now, Imagine if the make-believe freedom of thought became electric shock-therapy. They want to stop eunoia. Entertainment must lose all sense of enlightenment, predetermined as the plotline of a 9 to 5. Imagine if looking away from the television caused insane pain. That’s what they want. No-more shall the storyteller’s toyshop of mythological spare-parts speak in tongues of mind-bending metaphor. Now, a dark-age of frameworks. Art, a system of control, a reoccurring dream spoon-feeding you white noise until you get back to work. Bio: Nolic Nique is an emerging poet and Arborist. His industry is seasonal which allows him to spend his winters writing and reading. He ran an Arboricultural company for the past two years in Toronto, but just shut that down to move back to Ottawa.