Susan McMaster Poems

Ottawa poet Susan McMaster is the Past President of the League of Canadian Poets and author or editor of some two dozen books, magazines, and anthologies, including recordings with First Draft, SugarBeat, and Geode Music & Poetry. She is the founding editor of Canada's first feminist magazine, Branching Out, and has organized such projects as "Dangerous Graces: Women's Poetry on Stage" (Great Canadian Theater Company); and "Convergence: Poems for Peace", which brought poetry and art from across Canada to all MP's and Senators for the millennium. (See also Bio & List of Works, and Reviews & Quotes.)

Paper Affair: Poems Selected & New (Black Moss, 2010) provides a comprehensive overview McMaster’s published and new page poetry from 1986 to 2007, drawing from collections Dark Galaxies, The Hummingbird Murders, Learning to Ride, Uncommon Prayer, and Until the Light Bends.

Janice Kennedy, Ottawa Citizen: "Whether exploring love and loss, navigating the passages of time, or singing in the sensuous joy of the moment, Susan 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: "Susan McMaster's purview is the world entire, with all its mystery, heartbreak and magic. 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'. There is rhythm and verve in every dimension Susan McMaster explores."
Heather Spears, GG award winner: "Winsome, muscular, candid, intimate yet universal. Susan McMaster has an open, seemingly effortless control of her craft and the genius to bring each poem to a startling, inevitable (and beautiful) conclusion."

Crossing Arcs: Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me (Black Moss, 2009/10), a finalist for the Acorn-Plantos People's Poetry Award, the Ottawa Book Awards, and the Archibald Lampman Poetry Award, weaves Susan's poems with quotes from her mother, Betty Page, and photos by Marty Gervais. Things You'll Never Know: Selected poems and music from Crossing Arcs (recording with Jennifer Giles) is in production.

Robert Sealey, Open Minds Quarterly: "Poem by poem, Susan gently show us her mother’s world... [and its] pithy, powerful and poignant insights."
Lara Henderson, The Campus: Bishop's University: "Lighthearted wisdom... put[s] a voice to a difficult experience by fracturing it into small observations, which convey emotion without overwhelming the reader... both straightforward and honest."
Reader comments:"The right complex of sorrow, anger, and even joy... a balance of gentle pathos and wry humour." "Couldn't put it down... relevant to anyone who has a family member or friend suffering from dementia." "Simple and yet evocative... the scenes build one upon the other... like an intimate play." "Thoughtful, honest, funny, eye-opening..." "How can heartbreak be so lovely?... it’s the tenderness of each word." "A tour de force."

Pith and Wry: Canadian Poetry (Scrivener Press, 2010) collects vigorous 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.

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, small moments between writer and reader... [in] the clock-stopping mesmeric call of these voices."
Rob McLeod, Canadian Bookseller: "[The poems] leap out at the reader and grab hold of the gut... An anthology full of variety, bite, and hard-hitting imagery."

Three poems in Desperately Seeking Susans (Oolichan, 2012), edited by Sarah Tsiang. See Maclean's magazine.

Poem and essay in Basements and Attics, Closets and Cyberspace: Explorations in Canadian Women's Archives (Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2012), edited by Linda M. Morra and Jessica Schagerl. See WLU press.

Five poems in I Feel Great about My Hands and Other Unexpected Joys of Aging (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011), edited by Shari Graydon. See D&M press.

Poem (HM) in Our Lakes Shall Set Us Free, edited by Roger Nash, introduction by Margaret Atwood (Scrivener, 2012).

Recent Events 2012-13 (See also Recent Events)
April 2013, Ottawa: AB Series program at VERSE FEST.
29-30 September 2012, Kingston, ON: Kingston Writers Fest, launch of Desperately Seeking Susans, (Oolichan 2012) with Susan Golding and Susan Gillis; and moderator of panel "Only Connect" with Stephanie Bolster, Don McKay, Ken Babstock, Phil Hall.
28 September 2012, Ottawa: Reading at Poet's Hill to support the Poet's Pathway, Beechwood Cemetery.
25-27 July 2012, PEI: Black Moss Poetry Tour of Prince Edward Island at libraries in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague, with poets Marty Gervais, John B. Lee, Marilyn Gear Pilling, and Hugh MacDonald.
15 July 2012, Selma NS: Reading at Gallery 215 at 1:30 pm.
9-12 May 2012, Toronto to Cobalt, ON: Readings and events with PoeTrain Express to Spring Pulse Poetry Festival, Cobalt, Ontario.
2 March 2012, Ottawa: Poetry reading by Susan McMaster, Bruce Taylor, and Pearl Pirie, at VERSE FEST, Arts Court Theatre, Ottawa.
16 February 2012, Ottawa: Geode Music & Poetry, with Susan McMaster, Alrick Huebener, Jennifer Giles, David Broscoe, John Higney, Mike Essoudry, and Dean Steadman, AB Series, Avant Garde Café.
Recent events   Read a poem   Hear a poem   Geode Music & Poetry   Bio & List of Works    Reviews & Quotes   Bookstores & On-line Purchases   On-line Links   Sumac Editing & Writing   Contact the Author

PHOTOS: Working on Gargoyle, France, 2007 (ph: M. Gervais); Ottawa, 1990; with "Geode Music & Poetry", 2000; with Betty Page, 2009 (ph: M. Gervais); with manager Stephane Sauve at Glebe Meat Market, 2008 (ph: A. Huebener); at Leacock Poetry Festival, Orillia, 2010 (ph: Mark Tearle); outside the National Gallery, 2009 (ph: Ian McMaster). Request hi-res or additional photos at contact Susan McMaster. Also check Facebook.

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 last updated 9 January 2013 by SM.