National Volunteer Week 2023

The League of Canadian Poets is grateful to the dozens of volunteers who support our staff, our members, and our programs every year. This year, we’re excited to celebrate National Volunteer Week during our very favourite month – National Poetry Month! 

We’d like to recognize some of the incredible volunteers who have donated their time, energy, and expertise to support poets and poetry in Canada. 

Board of Directors 

Our Board of Directors supports our members and our staff in the governance of our organization, providing guidance in matters from policy to programming. Our current Board of Directors was the first to navigate our new governance structure as voted in at our 2022 AGM, and we’ve been so lucky to have such a generous and talented team of leaders. 

  • Tracy Hamon, President 
    • Read Tracy’s Latest book, Red Curls (Thistledown Press)
  • Rayanne Haines, Vice President 
  • Michael Andrews, Treasurer 
    • Michael is COO of Access Copyright. Learn more about Access Copyright’s important work in Canada’s Lit Industry at
  • Geoff Nilson, Secretary 
    • Read Geoff’s poem, How a Poet Gives, (previously published by rob mclennan as part of Chaudiere Books National Poetry Month 2019) in honour of National Volunteer Week!
  • Emilia Nielsen, Chair of the Membership Committee 
    • “As a long-term member of the League it has been a pleasure to give back to this wonderful organization that does so much to champion poetry and poets in Canada.” 
    • Read Emilia’s poem Indifferent Season, (previously published in Surge Narrows – Leaf Press, 2013) supplementary doc 
  • Stuart Ian McKay, Chair of the EDI Committee 

Community Committees 

Over the past year, we’ve had several committed groups of poets band together and form Community Committees, a new element of League community and leadership. Thank you to those lovely volunteers who have taken on the leadership of a Community Committee! 

  • Anne Burke, Feminist Caucus Secretary 
  • Jessica Coles, Parenting Poets Co-Chair 
  • Jennifer Bowering Delisle, Parenting Poets Co-Chair 
  • Diana Manole, Feminist Caucus Chair 
  • Diana Hope Tegenkamp, Indigenous Poets of the League Chair 

You can find out more about our Community Committees here: 

Contest and Award Volunteers 

Contests and awards for poetry are a cornerstone of the League’s programs and offerings, and it seems that every year we’re increasing the number of awards we present. While many of our jurors do receive a modest honorarium for their work, the time they spend reading, reviewing, and considering submissions often exceeds the honorarium provided. We are so grateful to the poets who have worked with us and donated their time to making our awards and contests possible while we’ve sought to increase our juror payments! 

  • Concetta Principe, 2022 Toronto Arts & Letters Club Foundation Poetry Award 
  • Stuart Ian McKay, 2022 Toronto Arts & Letters Club Foundation Poetry Award 
  • Richard-Yves Sitoski, 2022 Lesley Strutt Poetry Prize 
  • Cameron Anstee, 2023 Very Small Verse contest 
  • Hollay Ghadery, 2023 Broadsheet Contest 
  • Briar Craig, Broadsheet Artist 
  • Michael Lithgow, 2022 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize 
  • Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon, 2022 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize 
  • Winston Le, 2022 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize 
  • Mikko Harvey, 2022 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize 
  • Amy LeBlanc, 2022 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize 
  • Keith Inman, 2023 Poem in Your Pocket selection committee 
  • Frances Boyle, 2023 Poem in Your Pocket selection committee 
  • Jaclyn Desforges, 2023 Pat Lowther Memorial Award 
  • Elee Kraljii Gardiner, 2023 Pat Lowther Memorial Award 
  • Jody Chan, 2023 Pat Lowther Memorial Award 
  • Alvy Carragher, 2023 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award 
  • Greg Santos, 2023 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award 
  • Jannie Edwards, 2023 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award 
  • MLA Chernoff, 2023 Raymond Souster Award 
  • Marjorie Bruhmuller, 2023 Raymond Souster Award 
  • Evan J. , 2023 Raymond Souster Award 
  • Lillian Allen, 2022 Annual Poetry Bursary selection committee 
  • Bertrand Bickersteth, 2022 Annual Poetry Bursary selection committee 

Membership Committee 

Our membership committee is a dedicated group of volunteers who, in our 2022-2023 membership year, reviewed over 100 applications for membership. In addition to reviewing applications, these volunteers also provide League staff with insights, suggestions, and assistance in developing resources for new members and poets interested in joining the League. 

  • Kate Rogers 
  • Moni Brar 
  • Pearl Pirie 
  • Dani Spinosa 
  • Britta B. 
  • SPIN El Poeta 
  • Amoya Ree 

Spontaneous Poets 

Each year, an amazing team of poets volunteers their time to write spontaneous poetry in support of the League for our annual custom poem fundraiser! Thank you to our 2023 volunteers: 

  • Cathy Thorne 
  • Antonia Facciponte 
  • Jim Nason 
  • Michael Fraser 
  • Sharon Lax 
  • Josephine LoRe 
  • Grace Ma 
  • Maureen Hynes 
  • Susie Whelehan 
  • Anna Yin 
  • Laura McRae 
  • Kate Marshall Flaherty 

Book reviewers  

We so appreciate our reviewers and the careful reading, thoughtful words and perspectives that they contribute to Canada’s Literary Community through their reflections on poetry collections by LCP Members, other poets and Canadian poetry publishers.

  • Padmaja Battani
  • David C. Brydges
  • Louise Carson
  • Cynthia Coristine
  • Nancy Daoust
  • Michael Edwards
  • Sean Arthur Joyce
  • Patricia Keeney
  • Philomene Kocher
  • Chantel Lavoie
  • Rion Levy
  • Dawn MacDonald
  • Carol MacKay
  • Stephen Morrissey
  • Emma Odrach
  • Kamal Parmar
  • Marguerite Pigeon
  • Pearl Pirie
  • Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews
  • Vanessa Shields
  • K.V. Skene
  • Lynn Tait
  • Elana Wolff

How a Poet Gives 
by Geoffrey Nilson 

previously published by rob mclennan as part of Chaudiere Books National Poetry Month 2019 

In Banff Fred told me of Bob’s generosity  
to the young. how he once squeaked  
silently a glass & burning cigarette  

under Fred’s arms like theatre sports  
after overhearing snow & the craving 
liquid a stiff mash finger at the rim 

curled staircase of blue smoke.  
some things don’t help so much as numb 
blitz the leftover soul when a season  

wipes its hands with the sun. out with it.  
this is a story about winter when it’s not cold.  
six months drinking alone thinking  

about Kroetsch, everywhere I look there are holes. 
what counts in this landscape makes my feet hurt.  
there’s no replacement for the support of a good poet.  

Note: “everywhere I look there are holes” is a paraphrase from Robert Lecker, “Robert Kroetsch’s Poetry,” Open Letter 3, no. 8 (Spring 1978): 82. 

Indifferent Season
by Emilia Nielsen 

previously published in Surge Narrows (Leaf Press, 2013) 


Down-at-heel, undone: the weather, galvanized. 
There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues. 
Yellowjackets held with- in their skin’s slim bars. 
Migraine’s fluorescent hum; a cloudburst, a flash flood.  


Fire, water, a stainless kettle. Pungent tea: blessed thistle, passionflower, angelica. 
Give me a moment to Ophelia, to float– summer’s too much in love with its own heat. 
Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith. Artemisia absinthium: aphrodisiac, bitter stimulant? 
Kiss my collarbone, my someday tattoo: blue water lily. Offer me one breast. 


Pray for a life without plot, a day without narrative. 
This kick of gas flame, weeping willow, for taprooted melancholia. 
Monotony, straight country gravel, traffic jeering past fallow fields. 
A millstone, a horse on the road: Slow Down and Circle Wide. 


Cherries, black plum, blood orange: my breakfast vividly carnivorous. 
The turkey vulture’s wings a scythe, dihedral; its aerial circumambulation. 
Wild carrot: umbel of white needlepoint lace, tiny central flower a red pinprick. 
A mouthful of mad chickenpox berries, tongue an itching curse–calamine, ice!  


Rain-barrel drinking water heady with yellow pollen. 
The body’s brash reflex: antler flush; summer’s rut. 
Neither for me honey nor the honey bee. 
My mouth, obtuse: no spark of new love. 


Full moon’s zenith; an aster gone to seed. 
Spent the hot morning reinventing the wheel. 
Curios: moondog, halo, opal, howl, dog star… 
Garden plot chock-a- block with dandelions. 

the great gift of the etruscans is memory 
by Stuart Ian McKay        

it's not so simple     she admits     as much as one afternoon is 
knotted into other afternoons     as much as every precisely filled up 
sketched out hour is of the kind she has satisfied: 

last night's dishes     still in the sink     the ziggurat of books 
in the corner of the room below the window      that lean -to of 
her paintings against the wall     drawing a finger through dust 
layered around the photographs arranged on her desk     calling a 
friend       some big news   the trees in the park are flowering today. 
okay.              some other time. 

her yellow dress slipped over her shoulders     the velvet brocade hat she 
keeps near the door      passing the corner store    the owner smiles    waves 
the old man in the brown suit     shuffling along towards a bench      birds 
feed at water's edge       one song's dominance      picked at bread crusts 

this long attentive interiority of every noun's provisional clarity at 
day's end     her straining if if to reach its zenith sent now  

keening off ecstasies      off her adoration     

ravel on cbc, a sunday in the right light is freedom 
by Stuart Ian McKay 
but what about the briefest knowing of 
bp Nichol's late night summer poem when 
the fragrance of beeswax on my fingertips, 
for weeks now, is as bravely redolent as 
all the cedars on vancouver island? 

or if we're outside one night and the 
hours pass without either of us saying 
a word and then you claim that no 
sacrament is worth having if its heat 
doesn't bleed into the next moment. 

what happens when i say                let the sun do it. 

                             he never lets us down. 



                                                           see those flowers?! 

pull one out you get a cave! 
who could refuse a secret like that? 


                                                 i swear                  it's so open it hurts.