Susan McMaster Poems

Hot off the press! Haunt (Black Moss 2018)

A great launch in Ottawa on May 5th with scores of friends, conviviality, readings and sales. Coming up:
Spring Pulse Poetry Festival, Cobalt ON, May 31-June 2, Haunt launch and "Hard Editing" workshop.
Peace, Poetry, Family, Friends, Laughter, Toronto, 12 June 2018, 6-7 pm. An informal reading at "Gordon's Tree" in tribute to her father, Gordon G. McClure (1929-2013), noted Quaker and peace activist, and the person who first inspired her to write poetry. Contributions of a poem, song, words, etc. welcome. In Fred Hamilton Park, just south of College, on Shaw, two short blocks east of Ossington. Sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets Readings in Public Places program with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.
Other launches and readings t.b.a.

Ottawa poet Susan McMaster has published 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 parliamentarians for the millennium. Recently her work has placed for the Ottawa Book Awards, the Acorn-Plantos People's Poetry Prize, Arc Magazine's Best Poem of the Year and Archibald Lampman awards, and the 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.

Lizard Love: Artists Scan Poems by Susan McMaster (Borealis,, Ottawa) 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 artwork is accompanied by its matching poem. Full colour, 8 X 10 in.

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.
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."
"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 McMaster’s page poetry from 1986 to 2007, drawing from 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, 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: "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 McMaster explores."
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.
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."

Events 2017-2018 (See also Recent Events.)
June 12, 2018, Toronto: Tribute to Gordon McClure, Fred Hamilton Park, reading 6-7 pm.
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.
November 26, 2017, Ottawa: Poets' Pathway collaborative concert at GigSpace with John Armstrong (Guitar) "Improvisions;" Barb Dyck (grand piano) "Gift to Be Simple".
March 6, 2018, Toronto: "Crossing Arcs: Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me”, w. Barbara Dyck (piano) artist, Tony Luciani.
November 25, 2017, Ottawa: CKCU interview and reading w. Chris White.
November 3, 2017, Sudbury: Wordstock Festival, reading.
October 24, 2017, Kingston: Modern Fuel Gallery, reading w. rob mclennan, Elizabeth Greene.
October 23, 2017, Kingston: Novel Idea, reading w. Bruce Kauffman, Chad Norman, Eric Folsom.
September 9, 2017, Ottawa: Poet's Pathway Celebration reading, City of Ottawa Archives.
August 26, 2017, Ottawa: NSFW series guitar/poetry concert with Adam Cicchillitti, guitar, composer Julian Boolean Bertino.
August 13, Ottawa: "Poetry in the Park" with Poets' Pathway.
May 9, 2017, Ottawa: Launch of Lizard Love: Artists Scan Poems by Susan McMaster (Borealis 2017), Tree Reading Series, Black Squirrel Café.
February 2, 2017, Ottawa: "Memory & Loss" anthology launch, w. Ronnie Brown, Kate Flaherty, Blaine Marchand, musicians Anne Hurley (voice), Jim Videto (voice/guitar), St. Patrick's Home.
January 15-22, 2017, Banff Centre for the Arts: Independent Artist's Residency (Writing); poetry reading.

Ottawa Archives 2017 (ph: ML Bragg); Lac Vert 2017 (ph: Aven McMaster); Newfoundland, League of Canadian Poets 2010 AGM; #NSFW concert 2017 (ph: C. Morton); Kingston Writers' Festival, 2013; Random Acts of Poetry with Jack Layton (ph: I. McMaster); with bill bissett, AB Series (ph: Adeena Karasick); in Nova Scotia, 2014 (ph: I. McMaster); with Paula Quick at Cube Gallery, 2015; with manager Stephane Sauvé at Glebe Meat Market, 2008 (ph: A. Huebener); with Geode Music & Poetry, 2000.

Recent Anthology Publications
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.

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For information and hi-res images 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 28 March 2017 by SM.