Fresh Voices 30

Welcome to the thirtieth 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 30 features poetry by: Josephine LoRe, Anthony Purdy, Nan Williamson, Lee Ann Eckhardt Smith, donalee Moulton, Norma Kerby, Janis La Couvée, Hunyah Irfan, Angel Edwards and Marlene Grand Maître.

the burning of the dead By Josephine LoRe I never made a fire for you. I lit a candle, yes but not a torch, a conflagration. a soundless howl against incessant night. I could not burn your things: the lists you wrote the clothes you wore that held the secret of your scent. instead I tied these all together with the roughened rope of memory. made a raft. and some nights float out onto the sea of endless stars. listen for the way you play guitar, strains soft and sad your voice pure and light, an offering to gods. why then do I wake to ash adhering the lashes of my eye, ashes in the side-part of my hair, the grit of ash at back of tangled throat? Bio: a pearl in this diamond world … Josephine LoRe has shared her poetry live and in global zoom-rooms. Her words have been put to music, danced, interpreted in ASL, and integrated into visual art. She has two collections, Unity and the Calgary Herald Bestseller The Cowichan Series, and has been published in literary magazines and anthologies in fifteen countries and five languages. “The Tea Set” was shortlisted for the Room Poetry Prize, and “Enough” was selected for use in a Public Service Announcement for Feed the Children. She respectfully acknowledges that she lives and creates on the ancestral and traditional lands of the Piikani, Siksika, Kainai, Tsuut'ina and Nakota peoples.
Tricks of Air Over Water By ANTHONY PURDY Their voices carry clear across the pond, defy the gravity of what they say. Three fields away you can hear every measured word of their hushed exchange – articulated intimacy, shared only with sheep and crows, now rendered public through a trick of air over water. You feel ashamed to catch yourself eavesdropping on words achieved at such cost. Stories your mother told come back to you about how, high above the ground, when the balloon’s burners cut to sudden silence, the only sound that carries is the barking of dogs. Today their voices are your dogs, your burners the snorting of deer in the bracken, as they help themselves untroubled to late season apples. Already the goldenrod has faded. Bio Anthony Purdy lives on the South Shore of Nova Scotia with his partner and two dogs. He has been writing stories and poems for about four years, and his work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Antigonish Review, Contemporary Verse 2, The Dalhousie Review, The Fiddlehead, FreeFall, Fresh Voices, The Goose, Grain, Poem in Your Pocket, Poetry Pause, Prairie Fire, and Queen’s Quarterly. His poem “Mariupol” won the 2022 Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia Postcard Poem Contest. His story “Spoons” placed second in the 2022 Short Grain Fiction Contest. He recently completed a PK Page mentorship, funded by the League of Canadian Poets, with Margo Wheaton.
For Deborah By Nan Williamson Early morning, barbaric ice crazed the window in the bedroom where my sister came to us to die. Each day, the shadow of a blackbird crossed it - swoop and rise - circled in slow fluttering flight, then settled A dark silhouette on a bare branch. Deb woke at first light, eager for strong coffee laced with cream and honey. High on Dex , she marvelled at the cold pale light of winter’s sun, the grey and cloud-piled sky, changing hues and shapes, the snow-lined trees, finches, jays, seen from her window a frame for branches etched against the snow. I treasure her glad moments of delight- the sight of sun-rays striking blue bottles on the kitchen window sill, crystal goblets glinting, stems up on a red linen towel, or green pears in a deep blue bowl. From her window, she watched leaves frost-crisped, break from trees and fall, blackbirds feed below the barren maples. She left us at eleven Easter morning. All afternoon it was dark. It was snowing and showed no sign of letting up.   Bio: Nan Williamson is an emerging poet, 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, Nan plays with shapes, colours, and texture to wed form and content in paint and poetry. More than 70 of her poems have been published in Canada, the US, and the UK. For National Poetry month, April, 2023 the League of Canadian Poets sponsored a public reading featuring Nan and her small group of poetry writing colleagues.
WHITE QUILL PEN By Lee Ann Eckhardt Smith I wanted to write my life large on the face of the world its impact crater-deep, permanent as stone. I was given a white quill pen fragile as the songbird that lost it and I flung it away. I did not realize until years after fruitless chiseling: that frail feather held indelible ink. Bio Lee Ann is an award-winning poet, the author of two non-fiction history books, freelance writer of magazine articles, and a photographer. She has worked as a writing coach and taught workshops on how to write family history and memoir. She features poetry, photography and other writing on her website,
Heart chakra By donalee Moulton More than merely to the left of lungs. More than mere muscle mass. This is centre stage – spiral of chest, ribs, spine; bridge between bodily needs and spiritual quests, however small or intermittent. Joy resides here. On a good day/week/life, you’ll find this place when you see green, not with envy or garden prowess, not with gooseberries or gills, in moments when the air is still, when the blood beating through your body, stops. You find it here watching some random kid walking, Eyes half shut/ Adidas unlaced Gliding an imaginary bow across an imaginary violin With the passion of Paganini, And you hear the music. You find it when a giant cockroach skittles across a wall and you hesitate, awed for a spilt second before you lift the heel of your boot. Bio donalee’s poetry has appeared in Arc Poetry Journal, Queen’s Quarterly, Canadian Literature, Prairie Fire, The Dalhousie Review, Atlantis, The Antigonish Review, South Shore Review, Carousel, and Whetstone, among others. She is also a former publisher and editor of The Pottersfield Portfolio and editor of Atlantic Books Today. She is the author of the book The Thong Principle: Saying What You Mean and Meaning What You Say. donalee lives in Halifax happily surrounded by family, friends, pets, and words of all shapes, sizes, and syllables.
summer sausage what you see is a real person no artificial colours or flavours or preservatives a properly sun-dried sun-wrinkled never used skin cream jogger full of excitement on a sunny day a jalapeno pepper sauce of a day with no apologies for flakes of spicy distain blended into sun-ripened tomato sauce ripped with paprika and chili sauce and ground garlic of a laugh as rhubarb juice spiked by carbonated ginger-ale gurgles out of the shade and we lean over your phone to look at pictures of your latest this one might be serious a truly no-fat lean hamburger of a honey who rides a mountain bike but those sausages being barbecued at the sausage stand all natural sausages made from shaggy buffalo who graze on ragged wild grass those sausages waft odours so deep down ranch home tasty we put fitness aside and bite into spicy remnants of a bulky herbivore saliva glands spilling out passion for flavours all natural flavours captured in a special multigrain submarine bun repurposed as a sausage glove excitement for summer all we remember is excitement for summer forgetting seven months of rain and wind and snow and tepid lovers left melting behind us Bio Norma Kerby has been published in journals, e-zines, magazines, and anthologies, most recently, the anthologies, Heartwood (League of Canadian Poets), Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem (Mansfield Press), Seed Dreams (Writers North of 54), Tending the Fire (League of Canadian Poets), Leap (League of Canadian Poets) and (M)othering Anthology (Inanna Press), as well as her chapbook, Shores of Haida Gwaii (Big Pond Rumours Press). Shortlisted (2021) and longlisted (2022) for the Federation of BC Writers Poetry Literary Contest, she writes about environmental, ecological and social issues, in particular those affecting rural and northern Canada.
At Barber’s Hole For Frances By Janis La Couvee sheer green pools and the river strong and clear tumbling over rock and ledge on sandstone shelves quiet on rocky shore sun worshippers bronze children dabble in shallows while intrepid adventurers leap from boulder to boulder launch into pillows of foam float and bump, buoyed by currents treachery lurks, not far from the surface perched above, on the path a plaque and lifesaving ring dedicated to a young friend held, too long, in a watery grasp Bio: Janis La Couvée (she/her) is a writer and poet with a love of wild green spaces, dedicated to conservation efforts in Campbell River—home since time immemorial to the Liǧʷiɫdax̌ʷ people. Her work is published or forthcoming in Paddler Press, dipity literary magazine, Dreamers Magazine, Litmora Literary Magazine, Book of Matches, New Feathers Anthology, Pure Slush, among others, and has been anthologized in New York Writers Coalition’s Common Unity. Her poem The Man is Not was short-listed for the inaugural Van Isle Poetry Collective contest.
The Hands with Experience By Hunyah Irfan I had to go with dark and light on both ends. Where there was joy there was pain. I had to go find myself to seek peace, and solace in a place where the spirit dwells. And in a deep meditation I trained to take away the suffering with these hands. I have seen much disturbance when I came. There was conflict, fighting and interference and yet I stayed true to myself to seek enlightenment and strength. Everyday I fear more, I fear less because my body is now my spirit forming a new bond, a new inner strength with these hands. The Hands with Experience Bio Hunyah Irfan is a 31 year content creator, author, chef, poet and pageant competition You can find Hunrah at Hunyah Travels Blog and Youtube Channel  
          BOOK COVER
From the book
"Lust Unfiltered By Love"
By Angel Edwards
(silver bow publishing)

      silhouette in the doorway
                fills up the whole space
      slender too thin beauty
            shadow stretched
             incognizable face

          sheer short skirt
           long legged
           by shadow exaggerated 
      her form is reflected
       her head is tilted
   lust is expected
       possible danger
        lust in primal mode

    there is so much more
     dark succumbs to light
    if you read the book
      love enters in spite
       Open the book
    read it 
     take a look

Angel Edwards (Her/She) has performed as a solo artist singer songwriter guitarist around the Vancouver area for over 35 years. Prior to this Angel was a singer in many cover rock bands and pop rock duos. Angel as a solo musician has an extensive repertoire of vintage country,classic rock folk and original indie rock pop music.
She has written 4 books of poetry published by Silver Bow Publishing.
Her short stories have been published by "Our Canada Magazine","More of Our Canada Magazine", "Vancouver Weekly "
and "The Galway Review" in Ireland. In 2022 numerous publications of her poetry and short stories  by "The Lothlorien Poetry Journal "
from Paris France and the UK. Her poetry has been published in numerous ezines including "Spillwords" from New York New York,as well as numerous E zines  from Toronto, New Westminster,the USA and the UK.

Angel is a long time member of SOCAN and BMI a member of The League of Canadian Poets and Vancouver Musicians Association branch of the AFofM.
Angel is a vegan,an animal lover and an ardent bird watcher.

The Angel Edwards Music ®
Interior Walls

By Marlene Grand Maitre 

Interior walls relish chaste daytime trysts with ceiling and floor,
woo them with hollow-voiced lingo: stud, joist, plumb bob.

Their stance military, walls are 24-hour border guards. Shapely 
floor lamps, plush cushioned couches fail to seduce them.

Windows are walls' spies to track what they keep at bay:
the always-in-flux hinterland muscling in.

Daily, they watch how we primp and lament. Self-effacing, walls 
are baffled by the spell mirrors cast. By our facade-shifting.

Flesh punctured to hang paintings and mirrors, walls remain stoic, 
relive their making: thud and whine, hammer and saw. 

Keepers of secrets, of fear’s scent, they quake in the kitchen as plates
are thrown. As a fist punches a wall, inches away from a face. 

All night, sensing an insomniac’s struggle to sink 
into their bone-deep swaddling, bedroom walls edge closer.

They have a dim memory of kinship with limestone caves,
paintings of buffalo chased by half-human hunters, tailed or beaked.

Honoured to be used by sun as canvas for its abstracts, they are wistful 
at night. Living room walls shiver in thin coats,

covet night skies—to be crowned by stars, 
close at hand to feather and pelt, paw and wing.

Marlene Grand Maître has had two chapbooks published, most recently Wild Kin
(Raven Chapbooks, 2023), and Cancer’s Rogue Season (Frog Hollow Press, 2020).
Her poetry has also appeared in many literary journals and in ten anthologies, 
including I Found It At The Movies (Guernica Editions, 2014), and Worth More
Standing (Caitlin Press, 2022). One of her poems was selected for the LCP’s Poem In
Your Pocket, 2022). She is on the Board of the Planet Earth Poetry Reading Series
Society in Victoria, BC.