Celebrating National Poetry Month During the Pandemic
Now in its twenty-third year, National Poetry Month takes place from coast to coast to coast and is an initiative of the League of Canadian Poets. To honour the fortitude and resolve that everyone—from the elderly in long-term care, to essential workers in grocery stores, to grade-school children attending class over Zoom, and to poets working quietly at their desks—has had to find within themselves to rise to the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired, the has League chosen “resilience” as its theme for National Poetry Month this year.
As the League says, “resilience is the courage to start each day anew.” May everyone who watches this video take strength from the poems read by the four marvellous Victoria-based poets John showcases in “The Resilient Muse.”
Shane Book’s first poetry collection, Ceiling of Sticks, won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. His second collection, Congotronic, won the Archibald Lampman Award and was a Griffin Poetry Prize finalist. He is also a filmmaker whose work screens at festivals worldwide. He was educated at New York University, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Stanford University where he was a Stegner Fellow. An associate professor in the Department of Writing at the University of Victoria, he will publish his third collection of poems, All Black Everything, this year.
Rhonda Ganz’s first book of poetry, Frequent, Small Loads of Laundry was a finalist for the 2018 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the Victoria Butler Book Prize. Her poems have appeared in The Malahat Review, Rattle, Harvard Design Magazine, on city buses as part of Poetry in Transit, and in many anthologies, including Poems from Planet Earth, Force Field: 77 Women Poets of BC, Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds, and Voicing Suicide. She hasn’t been writing during the pandemic.
Eli Mushumanski is a Writing and English Honours double major in their fourth year at the University of Victoria. Their work has been published by The Albatross, The Warren, Her Campus at UVic, and Flare: The Flagler Review. They are a fiction editor at UVic's literary journal, This Side of West, and the senior editor for Her Campus at UVic. When not caught up in schoolwork or reading, Eli plays Stardew Valley and chats with their mom on the phone.
Read Eli’s “in the night was the beetle” and “but if you leave me for spain, who will feed the goldfish.”
Terence Young recently retired from teaching English and creative writing. He is a co-founder and former editor of The Claremont Review, a journal for young writers. He has published several books: The Island in Winter (poetry), Rhymes With Useless (stories), After Goodlake’s (novel), Moving Day (poetry), and The End of the Ice Age (stories). In 2008, he was awarded the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2018, he received a National Magazine Award for his poem “The Bear,” and was the 2019 winner of The New Quarterly’s Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest. Smithereens, his third book of poetry, was just published this spring.
The Resilient Muse: Celebrating National Poetry Month during the Pandemic is organized by the City of Victoria. John Barton extends his thanks to the City’s Engagement Department and its Arts, Culture & Events Department.