Susan McMaster Poems

Ottawa poet Susan McMaster has published some 30 books, magazines, anthologies, wordmusic recordings with First Draft, and spoken word recordings with SugarBeat, and Geode Music & Poetry. She is the founding editor of Canada's first feminist magazine, Branching Out (see Rise Up Feminist Archive, and dissertation/bookUAP: Tessa E. Jordan), and has organized and anthologized such projects as "Dangerous Graces: Women's Poetry on Stage" (Great Canadian Theater Company) and "Convergence: Poems for Peace" (see Waging Peace), which brought poetry and art from across Canada to all parliamentarians for the millennium. Recently a finalist for the Ottawa Book Awards, Acorn-Plantos People's Poetry Prize, Arc Magazine's Best Poem of the Year and Archibald Lampman awards, and Montreal International Poetry Prize, McMaster is a former president of the League of Canadian Poets, and a member of PEN, TWUC, FSNA, CWILA, and TOPS.

Hot off the press! Haunt (Black Moss, 2018)

Great launches, at home in Ottawa on May 5th with scores of friends; at the Spring Pulse Poetry Festival, Cobalt, May 31-June 2 including a "Hard Editing" workshop; at Artfest in Kingston, June 30; at a tribute to father Gordon G. McClure in Fred Hamilton Park, Toronto, June 12; in Truro NS at Noveltea Bookstore & Café, 9 August; and at Barrie Manor, Barrie ON, September 22. Coming up (see below), Haunt launches at Wordstock, Sudbury, 2 November; and in 2019 at the Art Bar, Toronto, April 9; London ON Public Library, April 11; and Windsor ON April 12-13. Available from Fitzhenry & Whiteside or the author.

New Poetry & Art! Lizard Love: Artists Scan Poems by Susan McMaster (Borealis, 2017)
A collaboration in which "Art opens the eyes of poetry," Lizard Love presents 45 paintings, drawing, collages, sculptures, and photographic interpretations of the poet's words selected from three decades of collaboration with 18 contemporary Canadian artists. Each of the 32 poems is accompanied by one or more artworks by Ellen Drennan, Claude Dupuis, Pat Durr, Gwen Frankton, Garage Gallery, Marty Gervais, Alrick Huebener, Roberta Huebener, Peter McClure, Juliana McDonald, Morel McMaster, Betty Page, Heather Spears, John Tappin, Marie Tappin, Mary Tougas, Robert Verrall, and Paula Zoubek. Full colour, 8 X 10 in., $15. Available from Borealis or the author.

Crossing Arcs: Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me (Black Moss, 2009/10)
Weaves Susan's poems with comments from her mother, Betty Page, as they together face her decline. Photographs by Marty Gervais. Shortlisted for the Acorn-Plantos, Ottawa Book, and Lampman Awards. Recordings include Things You'll Never Know: Selected poems and music from Crossing Arcs (2014), with composer Jennifer Giles; and Crossing Arcs: Gift to be simple (2015), with composer Barbara Dyck (2017). See Words Aloud (Youtube) and Souncloud/susanmcmasterpoet.
Reviews:
Robert Sealey, Open Minds Quarterly: "Pithy, powerful and poignant insights."
Lara Henderson, The Campus: Bishop's: "Put[s] a voice to a difficult experience by fracturing it into small observations, which convey emotion without overwhelming the reader."
Readers:
"The right complex of sorrow, anger, and even joy..."
"Struck by the beauty of this book: its... insight, clarity, intimacy, understanding, honour of person, love and angst."
"Couldn't put it down... relevant to anyone who has a family member or friend suffering from dementia."
"Simple and yet evocative... like an intimate play."
"How can heartbreak be so lovely?... it’s the tenderness of each word."
"Thoughtful, honest, funny, eye-opening..."
"A tour de force."

Paper Affair: Poems Selected & New (Black Moss, 2010) surveys page poetry from 1986 to 2007, drawing from Dark Galaxies, The Hummingbird Murders, Learning to Ride, Uncommon Prayer, and Until the Light Bends.
Reviews:
Janice Kennedy, Ottawa Citizen: "Whether exploring love and loss, navigating the passages of time, or singing in the sensuous joy of the moment, McMaster seduces with a juggler's grace, a sorcerer's dazzle and a stubborn passion's sweet and insistent throb."
Carolyn Smart, editor McGill-Queen's: "This extensive and revealing volume displays her range and her heart, in equal measure."
Dave Margoshes, director, Sage Hill writing program: "These are deceptively simple poems, but there’s nothing deceptive about their craftsmanship or their honesty. The best ones ease up to you, then sting."
Jan Conn, writer: "These deeply felt poems embrace domestic scenes and the dense, complex weave of human relationships, then whirl us away to the quantum world, where they 'admit the draw of starlight'."
Heather Spears, GG award winner: "Winsome, muscular, candid, intimate yet universal. McMaster has an open, seemingly effortless control of her craft and the genius to bring each poem to a startling, inevitable (and beautiful) conclusion."

Pith and Wry: Canadian Poetry (editor) (Scrivener Press, 2010) collects new poetry by 45 living authors, renowned and emerging, from sea to sea to sea. Contributors include Atwood, Moure, McKay, Crozier, Reid, Kemp, Nash, Eichhorn, Dalton, Lee, and Klassen.
Reviews:
M.E. Csamer, Antigonish Review: "The voices, emerging and mature alike, are strong, full of compassion, insight, intelligence. Everywhere I find words that stop me in my tracks, ... [with their] clock-stopping mesmeric call."
Rob McLeod, Canadian Bookseller: "Leap[s] out at the reader and grab[s] hold of the gut... full of variety, bite, and hard-hitting imagery."

See Bio & List of Works and Reviews for more on publications and recordings.


Wordmusic 2:1981 First Draft 2007 CD; First Draft First Annual Show, cast party R&R, l-r, (front) Shannon Lee Mannion, Stephanie Martin, Andrew McClure, Joan Charpentier, (back) Claude Dupuis, Susan McMaster, Glen Carruthers, Elizabeth Griffiths, Ruth Pincoe, Michael Phelan, David Peebles; First Draft members David Parsons, Andrew McClure, Colin Morton, Susan McMaster; SugarBeat CD; recording with Jamie Gullikson; Geode CD; (clockwise) Alrick Huebener, Jennifer Giles, Susan McMaster; recording at Hot Stove studio with James Stephens, Mark Molnar, Jennifer Giles; Jen, Alrick, Sue, Ottawa Folk Festival; Until the Light Bends CD (Pendas); with Geode Music & Poetry (ph: Graham Thomson).

Events 2018-2019
(See also Recent Events.)
April 12-13, 2019, Windsor: Details to be announced.
April 11, 2019, London ON: Public Library, details tba.
April 9, 2019, Toronto: Art Bar, held at Free Times Cafe, 320 College Street (Spadina/College), 4 readers, 8 pm.
November 6, Ottawa: Heartwood Launch, 7-10 pm.
November 4, Sudbury: Wordstock, tba.
October 14, 2018 Ottawa: Poets' Pathway Awards reading, Old Ottawa South Community Centre, Sunnyside, 2 pm.
September 22, 2018: Barrie Manor, Barrie ON, with xxx 2 pm.
August 9, Truro NS: Noveltea Bookstore & Café, 9 August, with xxx 7 pm.
June 12, 2018, Toronto: Tribute to Gordon McClure, Fred Hamilton Park, with xxx reading 6-7 pm.
June 30, 2018, Kingston: Poetry Tent, reading, City Park.
May 30-June 2, 2018, Cobalt: Spring Pulse Poetry Festival, reading and workshop.
May 5, 2018, Ottawa: Launch of Haunt (Black Moss 2018), author's home.
March 6, 2018, Toronto: "Crossing Arcs: Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me”, w. Barbara Dyck (piano) artist, Tony Luciani.


Lac Vert 2017 (ph: Aven McMaster); Newfoundland, League of Canadian Poets 2010 AGM; Kingston Writers' Festival; Random Acts of Poetry with Jack Layton (ph: Ian McMaster); with bill bissett, AB Series (ph: Adeena Karasick); performing with Penn Kemp at Gallery 101 (ph: Gavin Stairs); with Paula Quick at Cube Gallery; with manager Stephane Sauvé, Glebe Meat Market (ph: A. Huebener); #NSFW concert 2017 (ph: C. Morton).

Recent Anthology Publications
Heartwood: Poems for the Love of Trees (League of Canadian Poets, 2018), ed. Lesley Strutt.
Beyond Forgetting: Celebrating 100 Years of Al Purday (Habour, 2018), eds. Howard White & Emma Skagen.
150+: Canada's History in Poetry (Acorn Press, 2018), ed. Judy Gaudet.
150 Canadian Stories of Peace (Walking for Peace, 2017), eds. Gordon Breedyk, Mony Dojeiji, Koozma J. Tarasoff, Evelyn Voigt.
1000 Poets for Change (The Hellbox Press, 2016), ed. Bruce Kauffman.
50+ Poems for Gordon Lightfoot (Old Brewery Bay, 2014), ed. Fred Addis.
Global Poetry Anthology: Montreal International Poetry Prize (Véhicule Signal Editions, 2013), ed. Mary Dalton et al.
Jack Layton: Art in Action (Fourfront, 2013), ed. Penn Kemp.
Whiskey Sour City (Black Moss, 2013), ed. Vanessa Shields.
Desperately Seeking Susans (Oolichan, 2012), ed. Sarah Tsiang.
Our Lakes Shall Set Us Free, ed. Roger Nash, intro. Margaret Atwood (Scrivener, 2012).
Basements and Attics, Closets and Cyberspace: Explorations in Canadian Women's Archives (WLUP, 2012), eds. Linda M. Morra and Jessica Schagerl.
I Feel Great about My Hands and Other Unexpected Joys of Aging (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011), ed. Shari Graydon.
>2: An Anthology of New Collaborative Poetry (Sugar Mule 2007), eds. Sheila E. Murphy & M.L. Weber.

Recent events   Read a poem   First Draft Wordmusic   Geode Music & Poetry   Bio & List of Works    Reviews & Comments   Buy a Book or Recording   Links & Resources   Sumac Books   Contact Susan McMaster & Soundcloud

I am grateful for support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Ottawa (RMOC), the League of Canadian Poets, and the Writers' Union of Canada.
This website is hosted by the National Capital Freenet, a community-run, non-profit organization. This page updated 2 October 2018 by SM.