Poem in Your Pocket Day 2022

Poem in Your Pocket Day – April 29, 2022 – is an international movement that encourages people to centre poetry within their daily interactions. On PIYP Day, select a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, coffee shops, street corners, and on social media using the hashtag #PocketPoem.

This annual initiative is organized by the Academy of American Poets, celebrated with a free downloadable PDF booklet containing contemporary American and – since the League joined forces in 2016 – Canadian poetry to share.

For your French pocket poem needs, check out the booklet created by La poésie partout for La Journée du poème à porter.

The 2022 Poem in Your Pocket Poets are: Ashley Elizabeth Best, Jaclyn Piudik, Keith Inman, Maureen Hynes, Bänoo Zan, Angela Cen, Callista Markotich, Harry Posner, Mark Kim, Annick MacAskill, Amy LeBlanc, Frances Boyle, Anna Yin and Marlene Grand Maitre.

2020

by Ashley-Elizabeth Best

We started the new year by keeping our eyes open.

I tape poems to entry ways, the space above my bed,

around the couch and dinner table

talismans against the kind of people we were afraid

to become. The year miscarried its first few months

and then, throb of spring, butterflies land in the snouts

of flowers.

We hike Frontenac Provincial Park so long and hard,

my toenail peels off at the end. Bugs huff at our

necks, a frenzy of garter snakes mating in cool spaces

between granite outcroppings.

A group of Tiger Lilies at the trail head; we prayed

for stars to fall and they’ve taken up in ditches.

From the point of empty

and we begin to fill.

Originally published in Grain Magazine, Issue 48.2

Ashley-Elizabeth Best is a disabled poet and essayist from Kingston, ON. She is the author of Slow States of Collapse and Alignment.


Clepsydra 

by Jaclyn Piudik

Come, let’s wash the rain

before it dies

        of thirst.

Winner of the League of Canadian Poets’ 2022 Very Small Verse Contest

Jaclyn Piudik is the author of To Suture What Frays (Kelsay Books 2017) and

three chapbooks, the corpus undone in the blizzard (Espresso Chapbooks 2019),

Of Gazelles Unheard (Beautiful Outlaw 2013) and The Tao of Loathliness (fooliar

press 2005/8). Another chapbook, Seduction: Out of Eden, written collaboratively

with Janet R. Kirchheimer is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in 2022. Her poems

have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including New American

Writing, Columbia Poetry Review, Barrow Street and CV2. She received a New

York Times Fellowship for Creative Writing and the Alice M. Sellers Award from

the Academy of American Poets. Jaclyn holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from

the City College of New York, as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Studies

from the University of Toronto.


Famine’s Feast

by Keith Inman

A sparrow hawk swoops —

glides up to the high wire

clutching his harvest mouse

as spare row crops stoop

outside under the skies fire

crutching this hard-set house

Originally published in The Saving Bannister (2003), Synapse (2006), Canadian Cuba Literary Alliance (2013).

Keith Inman’s poetry was compared to Atwood, Boyden and Itani in Canlit 223. He

generally writes about characters searching for identity. Though, he’s also written

in the ‘I’ perspective, and that of a rock. His favourite class was on Joyce in Ireland;

best reading, a cafe in Spain; coolest invite, LA; swankiest due, Swiss Embassy;

largest reading, opening for Niagara Symphony; poignant moment, his mentor

Tsigane pointing at an impressionist painting in a major gallery and saying, ‘you

should write like that in your blue collar style;’ best rescue, Dr. Elspeth Cameron

telling him that it is all worth it. Inman has six books of poetry published. Home

is Thorold, Ontario.


For Your Head

by Maureen Hynes

make a halo, a wreath, a circlet

of bright green aspen leaves. Crown your dismal

thoughts & unruly feelings with a tiara of thyme.

Find small red things, a cranberry or rosehip or yew berry

to trim your sorrow-filled week, to be the eyes

that your eyes can’t see out of. With grass dew,

paste a rose petal on your forehead, and smear

a lick of honey on each earlobe to sweeten

whatever you hear. Breathe in jasmine scent

to intensify your memories. Pick four small leaves—

one for Fear, one for Trust, one for Rage,

the last for Desire. Lay each briefly on your tongue,

to taste but not swallow. Open your mouth

and let their power beam outward.

Maureen Hynes lives in Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Territory/Toronto,

and has published five books of poetry. Her most recent is Sotto Voce, a finalist

for the League of Canadian Poets’ Pat Lowther Award and the Golden Crown

Award in poetry (U.S.) for lesbian writers. Her first book won the League’s Gerald

Lampert Award, and other collections have been shortlisted for the Raymond

Souster Award. Her poems have been included in over 25 anthologies, including

three volumes of Best Canadian Poetry in English.


Hafez (1)

by Bänoo Zan

I stood at the gates—

The Roknabad Stream murmured through

Mosalla Gardens (2)

Roses scattered the morning breeze

The sea kissed the boat

and waved at the palace

The king smiled at sycophant ghazals

I was the bard—

the blood of the city—

the breath of God—

Centuries later they would say

that I loved Shiraz (3)

But I feared tempests

and remained true to the past

Open my book

and read your future

1. The fourteenth-century Iranian poet (ghazal writer). Iranians call him “The Mouthpiece of the Divine” and perform divinations with his Divan (collected poems). On important occasions, they form an intention or question in their mind, open the book, and interpret the ghazals on the page metaphorically according to their personal circumstances. The questions are usually about matters of significance, fate, love, etc.

2. The Roknabad Stream and Mosalla Gardens were popular outings during Hafez’s times

3. It is said that Hafez’s fame travelled beyond the boundaries of his hometown, Shiraz. A king sent him an invitation to board a ship and join his court. Hafez started preparations but in the last minute changed his mind. He is said to have never set foot outside Shiraz.

Originally published by Verse Afire A Tri-Annual Publication of the Ontario Poetry Society

Bänoo Zan is a poet, librettist, translator, teacher, editor, and poetry curator with

numerous published poems as well as three books. Songs of Exile (Guernica

Editions) was shortlisted for The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award by the

League of Canadian Poets. Letters to My Father was published by Piquant Press.

She is the founder of Shab-e She’r, Toronto’s most diverse poetry and open mic

series (inception: 2012)—a brave space bridging the gap between ethnicities,

nationalities, religions (or lack thereof), ages, genders, sexual orientations,

disabilities, poetic styles, voices, and visions.


How to Write a Poem

by Angela Cen

Begin carefully

as you approach your writing with empirical rigor.

Dutifully perform linguistic algebra

to solve for each unknown stanza.

Slice open etymological cadavers to replicate

their emotion-generating genome.

You, a logician cloaked in artistry,

have mastered the mechanics of poetic calculus.

Stifle a sigh

when your calculations and dissections bear no fruit.

Run your tongue along self-made

foreign melodies buried in archived epics.

Feign indifference as elusive eloquence

slips through your grasp.

Swallow this dissonance

and taste the sting of a long-forgotten language.

Find solace

in literary cacophonies.

Carve a shadow out of text and

fall into its abyss.

Learn to sketch a sunrise with similes

and carve characters out of consonants.

Train your fingers to dance across a page

and leave behind a trail of words.

Etch life

into each written piece.

Hide the warmth of a friend’s laugh

behind crackling onomatopoeia.

Camouflage the memory of an old home

in frames of ornate imagery.

Immortalize moments in writing

and seal them with rhyme.

Begin again

but this time slower.

Savor the sticky-sweet sensation

of the sentences you summon.

Listen as the click-clack click of your keyboard

metronome becomes an iambic drum.

Allow your cluttered thoughts to unfurl

into rows of tidy Times New Roman.

And maybe then you’ll remember,

how to write a poem.

Winner of the 2021 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize, Senior Category

Angela Cen is the winner of the 2021 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize for young

poets, in the senior category for grades 10, 11, and 12.


Ocean

by Callista Markotich

You who loved the daisied fields, behold this calving.

No bleat, no blood on the straw, no salt-warm lick

to life-affirming, long-legged wobble. This is ice,

her abandoned spawn, her sundering cleavages

brilliant under the sun, the thunderous drop,

the plunge, bucking and rearing in aqua

slurry, now groaning in the violence

of labour, now the slap

of spindrifts, now

susurrating

lullaby.

You who dwelt by waters-edge, look. Waist-deep your iron benches,

curlicues splash-spangled, patient as birthing chairs, laps lapping

gentle. Wet beckon: shuck your shoes, you nymphs in molt,

peel off your socks, skin-shedding serpents of the sea. Sit.

Rest in the sun-warmed shallows. Beneath the ripples,

cross your ankles, twine your calves as one,

as mermaids’ curves, your follicles

her scales. Thirty million years it

took from fins to arms and legs

to pedicures and manicures in

Pink Tutu or French. Now

glide you deep

with torque of tail,

your hair like trailing weed. From lungs

to lips to wavelets, stream your changeling song.

Slide into ocean’s turquoise hush. On your cheeks there’ll be no rime

of salt.

Callista Markotich, retired teacher, principal and Superintendent of Education,

lives gratefully at the source of the great St. Lawrence River in Kingston, Ontario,

on the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-

Wendat. Her poems appear in Arc (Awesome Award, June 2021), Grain, Prairie

Fire, Riddle Fence, The New Quarterly (Honorable Mention, Nick Blatchford

Occasional Verse Contest, 2021), The Nashwaak Review, Saddlebag Dispatches,

Pilgrimage, in a few ezines and anthologies, and in Room (Poetry Award, 2019).


by Harry Posner

On this Buddha quiet

Autumn morning

A bird lands

In the dead Austrian pine.

How useful will I be

After the curtain falls?

Originally Published in In The Event of True Happiness

A member of The Writers Union of Canada, and Associate Member of the League

of Canadian Poets, Harry Posner is the author of six books and two spoken word

CDs. Harry was Dufferin County’s Poet Laureate from 2017-2022. He organized

and hosted the annual Day of the Poets festival in Orangeville, Ontario. Harry

is co-host with Peter Noce of The Sill podcast (www.thesillpodcast.com), and is

reachable through www.posnerbooks.com.


Seaweed Soup and a Happy Birthday

by Mark Kim

A tradition for life,

for death, and everything in between.

Narrowed into a warm bowl,

with an emerald glow,

and dark leaves.

My vision is adjusted to the shades,

the intricacy of the recipe,

and history.

A year of life passes,

another bowl filled,

and the aroma of vitality pollutes the day.

The broth of sea,

greens of the water,

and a reminder of my past, present, future.

The surface is broken,

ripples undulate,

and I’m back.

Mom asks how it tastes,

it’s good. A little salty.

It doesn’t matter.

Good morning,

good night, and everything in between.

Winner of the 2021 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize, Junior Category

Mark Kim is the winner of the 2021 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize for young

poets, in the junior category for grades 7, 8, and 9.


Small Warblers

(after Doireann Ní Ghríofa)

by Annick MacAskill

I did not know that’s why they were there,

suddenly, and everywhere, in the trees and on

the sidewalks, inconsequential and familiar,

yet sparkling, like perfect round jewels

with the most remarkable prismatic calls. Like a brook, winding

through winter and spring, spilling

across cities and mountains and along the Atlantic

and before every window I would find. I started noticing,

as if blinking through a mist, searching,

thinking of God or romantic love, their sounds

like noise or music, and sometimes

these things were indistinguishable, as in a baby’s cry.

Their ordinariness does not diminish them.

Now I tilt my head, and listen.

Originally Published in Shadow Blight (Gaspereau Press, 2022)

Annick MacAskill’s most recent poetry collection is Shadow Blight (Gaspereau

Press, 2022). She is also the author of No Meeting Without Body (Gaspereau Press,

2018), longlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and shortlisted for the

J.M. Abraham Award, and Murmurations (Gaspereau Press, 2020). Her poetry

has appeared in journals across Canada and abroad, and in the Best Canadian

Poetry anthology series. She is currently serving as Arc Poetry Magazine’s Poet-in-

Residence. She lives in Kjipuktuk (Halifax) on the traditional and unceded

territory of the Mi’kmaq.


Spatial Awareness

by Amy LeBlanc

The kitchen window is on the left

with the sink in front—

you could draw an outline in chalk,

on the cushioned tile

(with: arms, pinky toes, appendix,

intestines, hemoglobin, ferritin)

but it may not help in the end.

Turn the room on its side

to shift your heart into a new

position                              one where blood

either pools or flows

like a river                         that runs both

ways.                  With the room in

view, move the chair a fraction

   to the right. This will place you

closer to the sun,                        nearer

                            the airport,

closer to tenderness.

On second thought, draw

the body in chalk on the floor

but make it your own. Solid lines

for impenetrable membranes,

dashes for DNA, stars for

cytokines. A space

on the left            for a heart that pumps

blood toward an airplane

moving                                overhead.

Amy LeBlanc is Managing Editor at filling Station magazine and a PhD student

at the University of Calgary. Her debut poetry collection, I know something you

don’t know (Gordon Hill Press 2020) was long listed for the 2021 ReLit Award and

was selected as a finalist for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry. Her

novella, Unlocking, was published by the UCalgary Press in June 2021. Her work

has appeared or is forthcoming in Canadian Literature, Funicular, Room, and the

Literary Review of Canada among others. Her third chapbook, Undead Juliet at

the Museum, was published with ZED Press in August 2021. Amy is a recipient

of the 2020 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award and a CGS-D

award for her doctoral research.


Strange Scattered Year

by Frances Boyle

I cobble together some shape like stars,

gas cloud of spangles, sensory noise

a beautiful typeface of serifed

angels and italicized galaxies. That year

declines to cohere. I’m out of practice

even at reaching for the right shelf

to take down fragments rattling

in their sealer jar. Bright ring

and clamouring disk with its ovoid dance

on tabletop or dark drift of space.

Dust of that year toxic to breathe, I need

particulate mask to filter it from my mouth

and nose. That year, melded by star-shine,

stuck to those before and aft, adhesion

of moist exhales. Trial and tributary, ribbon

of spilled milk, and I gather it in handfuls,

sop it up, recap the edgewise static,

staccato tumbling voices, and eerie dance

of half-memory. Monitor dial inching along

through situations half-heard, a moving line,

a pointing finger. Evidence in star systems

we pretend are fixed—his belt, her chair.

Try to slake my thirst with what, I believe,

is a firm grip on the ladle’s hilt.

Frances Boyle‘s third poetry collection, Openwork and Limestone, will be

published by Frontenac House in fall 2022. In addition to two earlier poetry

collections, she is also the author of Seeking Shade, an award-winning short

story collection, and Tower, a novella. Frances’s writing has been selected for the

Best Canadian Poetry series, nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the

Net, and appeared throughout North America and internationally. Recent and

forthcoming publications include work in Blackbird, Paris Lit Up, QWERTY and

The New Quarterly. She lives on unceded unsurrendered Algonquin Anishinaabe

territory, colonially known as Ottawa. www.francesboyle.com.


The Hollow Tree

by Anna Yin

There are days we live

as if death were nowhere

in the background; from joy

to joy to joy, from wing to wing,

from blossom to blossom to

impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

“From Blossoms,” Li-Young Lee

You stand at the threshold

to the west coast forest.

In the sky, wild geese align south-bound flight;

on the ground, wind gusts thresh dried leaves.

Hesitating, I shake free my windbreaker

and flesh your hollow with my warmth.

My foolhardy intention can only

bar the cold fleetingly,

I wonder what would save you

from the bitterness of blizzards

after late autumn.

The sunlight softly strokes you,

deepening our shivering shadow.

In my dream I return

to a red cedar tree, as hollow

as you. I fill in stardust

with the moss and dew

of myself—the hot harsh skin

of my despair cooling—I lay down

worldly deliberate disguises,

lips whispering to leaves of grass

in the twilight kingdom.

Trembling with tenderness,

the cedar embraces me

instilling womb-warmth.

From joy to joy, from wing to wing,

at dawn, we break into blossom.

Winner of the League of Canadian Poets 2022 National Broadsheet Contest

Anna Yin immigrated to Canada in 1999, authored five poetry collections and

edited/translated Mirrors and Windows (Guernica Editions) in 2021. Anna

won the 2005 Ted Plantos Memorial Award, two MARTYs, two scholarships

from USA and three grants from Ontario Arts Council. Anna was appointed to

be Mississauga’s Inaugural Poet Laureate in 2015. Her poems/translations have

appeared at Queen’s Quarterly, ARC Poetry, New York Times, China Daily, CBC

Radio, World Journal. She performed on Parliament Hill, at Austin International

Poetry Festival, Edmonton Poetry Festival and universities in China, USA and

Bangladesh. She teaches Poetry Alive. Her website: www.annapoetry.com


Vanishing Point

by Marlene Grand Maitre

She finds the last chinook, washed up

on Sombrio Beach, carries it home

to ink its body, cover with rice paper.

Blue gyotaku: her hands

stroke the scales and ridges,

lift the prints. By nightfall,

a ghost school of chinook shimmers

on every wall.

In home’s uncharted depths,

she wakes underwater, pierced

by an orca call, a pulsebeat

of mourning, as the last

cow and calf glide

through the bedroom, drawn by hunger

to the phantom salmon.

She will wake

five thousand years ago,

on a Norwegian shoreline,

mesolithic woman, the first carver

of whales on rock.

Originally published in Refugium: Poems For The Pacific (Caitlin Press, 2017).

Marlene Grand Maître’s chapbook, Cancer’s Rogue Season, was published by

Frog Hollow Press in April 2020. Her poetry has also appeared in many literary

journals, most recently in Prairie Fire, CV2, Event, and Freefall. Poems have also

been published in eight anthologies, including I Found It At The Movies (Guernica,

2014), Refugium: Poems For The Pacific (Caitlin Press, 2017), Sweet Water: Poems

For The Watersheds (Caitlin Press, 2020), and Voicing Suicide (Ekstasis Editions,

2020). She has won poetry prizes, and had a poem longlisted for Best Canadian

Poetry In English (Tightrope Books, 2011). She can be heard reading her work

online in Planet Earth Poetry’s Poets’ Caravan.