National Poetry Month Day 6

Thanks to Debbie Strange for this tanka, which won 1st Place at the 2018 Tanka Society of America Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest

Debbie Strange is an internationally published short form poet, haiga artist and photographer whose creative passions bring her closer to the world and to herself. She maintains a publication and awards archive at which also includes hundreds of haiga, and reviews of her books. 

National Poetry Month Day 5

Many thanks to acclaimed poet Jane Hirshfield for allowing this poem to be reproduced in honour of National Poetry Month. Some poems strike a resounding note with the reader, as this one did for me.

Jane is the author of eight collections of poetry, including, most recently, The Beauty (longlisted for the National Book Award ); Come, Thief; After (shortlisted for England’s T.S. Eliot Prize and named a “best book of 2006” by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the London Financial Times); Given Sugar, Given Salt (finalist for the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award); The Lives of the Heart; and The October Palace, as well as two books of essays, Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (Knopf, 2015), which was awarded the Northern California Book Award for Creative Nonfiction, and the now-classic Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry. She has also edited and co-translated four books containing the work of poets from the past: The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Komachi & Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Japanese Court; Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women; Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems; and The Heart of Haiku, on Matsuo Basho, named an Amazon Best Book of 2011. This poem was previously published by

National Poetry Month Day 4

Glide through Day Four of National Poetry Month with this soaring poem by Mary Ann Moore, a Nanaimo poet dedicated to the sharing and enjoyment of poetry and community.

From “Fishing for Mermaids” (Leaf Press, 2014)

Mary Ann Moore is a Nanaimo poet who leads writing circles which have been described as places where unsuspecting poets are born. She offers a mentoring program called Writing Home: A Whole Life Practice and writes a blog at

Day 3 National Poetry Month

Words and image by Cendrine Marrouat

Thanks to Cendrine Marrouat for this Day Three NPM19 submission.
Cendrine is a French-born Canadian photographer, poet, author, and French instructor living in Winnipeg. She specializes in nature, black-and-white and closeup images.
Cendrine has released 12 books in several genres: poetry, photography, theatre, and social media. Her latest is titled Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volume 1) 

National Poetry Month, Day Two

It’s Day Two of National Poetry Month 2019 and the theme of “Nature” is beautifully reflected in this poem by Nanaimo poet, publisher and maker of beautiful books, Ursula Vaira. The poem was born on Newcastle Island when Ursula was deciding whether to continue along the beach or take the path through the forest. She says she “has a thing for signs that say “You Are Here”—so existential—so I followed that road.”

Ursula Vaira’s  writing is strongly located in landscape; her paddling journeys attempt the wilderness within. She’s published three long-poem chapbooks, and Caitlin Press published her first collection And See What Happens. Her current manuscript is  non-fiction. Ursula is the founder and publisher of Leaf Press, publishing poetry since 2000.   Just now she is the guest editor for Wordworks the magazine of the Federation of BC Writers.

Photo and image by Joanna Streetly

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month and this year the theme is Nature. So who better to inaugurate this daily poem NPM initiative than the late, brilliant Pat Lowther, who so often spoke of nature as a source of inspiration?

“For 35 years, the late Pat Lowther has played an emblematic role for women poets in our country. In spite of a demanding domestic life, she committed herself to words, dared to be a better writer than her husband and, on the page, wouldn’t shut up. She made her poetry matter. Her passion for life shines from the first poem to the last.”
—poet Lorna Crozier, the Globe and Mail

Storm Force! a west coast tango, of sorts

This poem was published at the Tourism Tofino website in December.
Poem and photos by Joanna Streetly

dance with me

nods the wind, with all the intent
of a milonguero, hungry for the tryst
and so it begins, glances exchanged
the first chord strummed, the unmistakeable ruffle
as an ocean gathers her skirts, flourishes them
at the fluttering fan of the trees, branches sighing, tempted
by the thrill of it, innocent
still innocent

Ocean storm, Tofino

and so it begins
pressure falling, stormwind rising
rushing the ocean in sudden runs of steps
the sea’s skin darkening with every gust
air like blood squeezing through the bellows of winter
and the wind swings wild, wilder
singer and dancer surging together, apart
crescendo, glissando, and oh! the supple backbends of the trees
bark peeling, branches spinning from the strong arm
of the wind, whirling toward the climax, the deep
red centre of the low, the sudden silence
before the roar
heave, surge, spill, devour
sea-licked channels penetrate the shore, reach for the dark
rim of the forest, each groove deepened by the in-and-out
swell, the in-and-out tide
all eyes on the dancers now
the reaching sea, windmilling sky
the whipped-up shrapnel of froth, jetsam,
tangled mounds of dark coiling kelp
and oh! the shooting spark of a white bird, emerging
soaring through the tunnel of waves, the dips
and curves of the dance, and the weighted fist of clouds
unclenching, falling open

and after in the forest, the wreckage of trees
finery of branches far-strewn in
the chaos of rapture
oh! the chaos

©Joanna Streetly

Ocean storm, Tofino

Milonguero—title given to a man who embodies the essence of tango.
Cabaceo—the invitation to dance, usually a nod or a glance.
Bandonéon—musical instrument, like an accordion used in tango dancing.
Abrazo—the embrace.
Cortina—the end of the dance, the parting of dancers.

Walk for the Wild Things, Tofino Style

Locals came together on November 30th to mark their concern for vanishing wildlife as part of an international series of events (see website: )
In Tofino the event was marked by a walk from South Chesterman Beach to Frank Island, a reflective opportunity to challenge the creative mind to act with hope in our commitment to nature.




The walk was followed by a beach fire at which Pacific Rim National Park warden Tanya Dowdall shared information about locally endangered species and the need for all of us to keep pushing for better and setting examples of excellence for others to follow.
Poet Sherry Marr reflected on the event with this poem:

Locally endangered species identified by the park include:
Basking Shark
Edwards’ Beach Moth
Southern Resident Killer Whale
Northern Abalone
Pink Sand Verbena
Sand Verbena Moth
Red Knot
Seaside Centipede Lichen

It is significant that the list of threatened and endangered species in Canada is many pages long.
Thanks to Toby Theriault for the photographs

Your feedback is welcome. I’m seeking ways to make this event more inclusive and meaningful in future years.