CAA-NCR What’s Up in Ottawa Literary Events for October, 2016




Need more information on CAA-NCR?  Visit us at

 TO ALL READERS: Please send all submissions & event notices in the body of an email; (the text needs to permit copy and paste. Exceptions: Accompanying images such as photos and book cover) to Carol Stephen at


 Tuesday, October 11, 2016     MEETING TOPIC: Better Late Than Never, with Sonia Tilson

7:00 p.m. McNabb Community Centre, 180 Percy Street, Ottawa

 We will hold a brief annual general meeting to review our financial statements and vote in the new executive. Standing for election or re-election are: Chair, Arlene Smith; Treasurer, Frank Hegyi; Recording Secretary, Phyllis Bohonis; Program Chair, Debbie Rose; Membership Chair, Francois Mai; Branch Historian, Gill Foss.

DETAILS: At the point of retirement many people know they would like to write but feel it’s too late to start. Sonia will talk about the circumstances that led to her experience as a late-bloomer in the world of publishing.


CAA-NCR FALL WORKSHOP  First Page Challenge In cooperation with the Ottawa branch of the Editors Association of Canada

 Date: Saturday, November 19, 2016 Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Place: Ottawa Public Library, Main Branch, Meeting Room B125, 120 Metcalfe ST., Ottawa, ON

Ottawa Public Library's Main Branch, designed ...

Ottawa Public Library’s Main Branch (Wikipedia)

Cost: $45 for members of the CAA-NCR, $60 for non-members.

Registrants will need to SUBMIT their best “first page” by Friday, October 28

Register: Contact Arlene Smith at

One of the most popular sessions at the 2016 Canadian Writers Summit was the “First Page Challenge.” Writers submitted the first page of their work to editors and publishers and received feedback on whether or not those savvy literary professionals would want to turn to page 2.  Workshops | Canadian Authors National Capital Region


 All Writer Workshops (online workshops)

Premier Workshops for the Beginner Writer, All Writer Levels & Indie Published Writer. An AWW online workshop is a real class that is taught on a custom website that you attend with the use of your computer or electronic device. All you will need to attend these workshops is a credit card and an Internet connection.   You’ve never taken an online workshop before? No problem.

We’ll walk you through our program and show you how easy it is to learn more about writing from the comfort of your home, lunch breaks at work or anywhere, because our program is nothing like other online course sites. Details:

WRITESCAPE Upcoming 2016 Workshops:

 November 5 Villains, Vendettas and Vagabonds Come to the dark side of character development and put some “bad” into your story. Find a new villain or add more nasty to an old one with Ruth E. Walker. Location TBA: Durham Region, Ontario. For more information on Writescape and to register for a retreat or workshop, visit:

 Fern ResortNovember 4, 5 & 6, 2016 Turning Leaves Featuring literary agent Hilary McMahon  Want to get your manuscript to the head of the line with agents and publishers? Hilary McMahon of Westwood Creative Artists gives you insights and advice from the other side of the desk. Here’s your chance to chat with one of Canada’s top literary agents and learn how best to pitch your query in her workshop. Turning Leaves Brochure 2016   REGISTER NOW A $250 non-refundable deposit will secure your place in Turning Leaves 2016




Links to contests and submission calls visit CAA-NCR website here:



DEADLINE:  The 15th of every month for the following month’s issue. considers previously unpublished poetry from emerging and established poets for our online monthly magazine. We consider work by current and former residents, students and workers of Ottawa. We also publish poems by contributors to our predecessor, the Bywords Monthly Magazine.  FOR SUBMISSION INFO:  and click on Guidelines.  Amanda Earl, Managing Editor. Ottawans & former Ottawans, we want yr poems. guidelines @ #wewantyrbywords #ottpoetry #613local #submissions PRT’s literary events calendar here: with up-to-date info on NCR readings, book signings, writers’ circles, literary festivals, spoken word showcases & slams. Event submissions can be sent to

MFA, Creative Nonfiction, University Of King’s College, Halifax:

Image result Now in its fourth year, this unique writing program has already received praise across North America. The prestigious international magazine Publishers Weekly has described the King’s MFA as “the only program of its kind in Canada” and “ideal for students who are continuing their careers while completing their degrees.” The MFA also attracts writers who are in mid-career; the average age of our applicants is 45.  One of our first graduates, Pauline Dakin of Halifax, says the program has “opened doors to the publishing industry that often seem closed.” Indeed, Pauline now has a book contract with Penguin Canada for her memoir, which will be published in 2017. Jessica McDiarmid (Class of 2016) has a contract with Doubleday Canada for her true-crime narrative, and a separate contract for this project with Simon & Schuster in New York. Her classmate, Helena Moncrieff, has a book deal with ECW Press in Toronto for The Fruitful City, to be released in 2018.

Our low-residency program focuses on the art and craft of writing under the mentorship of award-winning writers in Canada and the United States. We also prepare graduates for the practical work of being a professional writer by introducing them to publishers and agents in New York and Toronto. The MFA is supported by an advisory team chaired by Anne Collins in Toronto. She is the award-winning publisher of the Knopf Random Canada Publishing Group.

You will not have to relocate to complete this graduate degree. In fact, there are only six weeks when writers need to be in Halifax, New York, or Toronto. If you have a non-fiction book idea you want to pursue seriously – regardless of where you live – we  hope you will consider the University of King’s College.    We’ve got your book.  

Don Sedgwick, Executive Director, MFA in Creative Nonfiction, University of King’s College (Halifax) P: 902.422.1271 ext. 282  E:






 Tuesday, Oct. 11 2016 Tree Reading Series, Gallery 101, 51B Young Street Ottawa, 8:00 p.m. Open Mic and Featured Readers Joe Denham + Vanessa Shields.  More about the poets, videos of previous featured readers and info on upcoming events:


 Sunday October 16th, 2-4 pm University of Ottawa. Alex Trebek Alumni Hall, 157 Séraphin-Marion Private, Ottawa, ON, Johnson Hall Main Floor Book Launch for: Smart Aging for Women: A Guide to Living a Healthier, Longer, and Happier Life, Elizabeth Rigley, author RSVP by Oct. 7 to:

10616147_719512231476757_4644385450363778813_nWednesday, Oct. 19 Sawdust Reading Series Presents: Roland Prevost at 7 PM – 9 PM, Pour Boy – 495 Somerset St W Ottawa.  Come one, come all for an exceptional night of poetry featuring incredible Ottawa poet Roland Prevost and our newest contest winner, TBA. Don’t forget your poems for the open mic! Pour Boy features on-street parking, direct #2 bus service, and an affordable menu. Look for us upstairs!

 Tuesday, October 25 Tree Reading Series, Gallery 101, 51B Young Street Ottawa, 6:45p Workshop – Speculative Fiction and Place with James Moran  8:00p Readings – Open Mic and Featured Readers  David Stymeist + Richard Harrison More about the poets, videos of previous featured readers and info on upcoming events:


writers festival logoOTTAWA INTERNATIONAL WRITERS FESTIVAL In full swing in October

Monday Oct 3 –Thursday Nov. 17 For a listing of all events and ticket info:



Friday, October 21 LiPS COSTUME S.L.A.M. IN PERTH at Coutts Coffee Roastery & Café 7 PM – 9 PM,  57 Gore St. E., Perth, On   Prize for best costume.   Admission $5.00 Performers get in free


Ouliposter-Badge-Blue-300x300Conclude the project by writing a poem that incorporates words and lines from all of your past 29 poems.

Sounds simple enough, till you try to distill 29 days of Oulipo into a single piece. Well, it’s a draft, as always, and rather fun to revisit the various ideas and images that inspired me or drove me crazy over the past month. I will miss the back-and-forth dialogue with fellow Ouliposters, but I received my Oulipo Compendium yesterday in the mail, all the way from Gloucester in the UK, so I’m looking forward to more of this, without the newspaper constraint. Hope you’ve enjoyed the poems. For more patchworks, please visit the Oulipost blog here:





Winter, mid snowman. City parks bare, a soundscape of static and feedback.
This boggy tip of Newfoundland’s northern landscape, sullen winds hang low,
a cloud of irritation and icy Arctic sky send shivers through indigenous
eyes-locked people. Diamonds locked earth deep beneath limestone fissures,
ET dumped in a hole in Alamagordo. Hogs Back Falls aren’t behavioural.


Hog's Back Falls

Hog’s Back Falls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cheesemakers experimenting.Latest gastronomical experiment: crickets.
A bad-police-car idea to the letter. Check germ level. Net expert levels set.
The diaper had a lot to say, the little packet of cheese too. Saint’s jawbone,
several teeth, the finest strained carrots the size of garbage can lids—
the martyr’s blood liquifies. All assemble into a gelatinous creature,
a Frankenstein’s monster that never comes to life.

Promotional photo of Boris Karloff from The Br...All puffball poke written in weird.
Everyone is guilty of something.
Lest we forget, it’s all about the tulips.

Tall chaw-down mothers run up, up, up, up, Stones-style, bruises,
bumps and beers, along the northern peak outside Belfast,
in shades of moral greys and déjà vu, cinctured with peanut.
Armies win wars, women, and even ice cream in various versions.
Good food and dog excrement blended up together.

Buy pigeons, sell carnivores. They’re going to give us ponchos.
We are on the cusp of the gaffe sizzle of Ottawa, mope-up laws of
fissure-written autobiography, further perfection of extreme evil
in 35 cries and as one dance.

Cigarette lighters mask the toothbrush lumber. Backyards have gone barren.
Inuit seals hunt zombie MPs. Most hunt members of the rodent species,
spring-loaded impalas, barcode wobbly-legged zebras.
Chickens search for grubs through cow pats.  Aimless now; it was aimless then.
Savannah scrubland trees never bend to hear a river, ancient wisdom
taught them music in the soil. Dust of a life cannot kill the crocus.
We cannot remain the seed. If an ash tree falls in your forest, it falls on you.

 The conflicted emotions, the shell-shock job of simply loving someone who dies.
To die, the agonizing job of suicides. Death isn’t inside-out water sieves or

sand dunes, the subsurface shock factor, depressed friend gone to
the dark side: a long suicide attempt involving pills and knives and bleach.
All puny sorrows nuanced; the subsequent overshadowed, insignificant.

Puppet dinosaurs, tiny sweating puppet people and sprawl of drunken louts
know when to take this step. All the heavy stuff happens in music.
It is all the breath that knows practising three hours a day at too steep
an angle to learn more about swooping can rob you of your remnants.
The clinical madness of the occult debris affects 80% of beachcombers,
silliness from trying to make the status quo look rational.

 I tried to come in with a few more lingos. I tried to come in with a smile.

CAS, April 30, 2014


Portrait of Buffalo Bob Smith and Howdy Doody:...

Portrait of Buffalo Bob Smith and Howdy Doody: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Photo credit: State Library and Archives of Florida)


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Ouliposter-Badge-Plum-300x300The name of this procedure is taken from the soft drink marketed as “the champagne of ginger ales.” The drink may have bubbles, but it isn’t champagne. In the words of Paul Fournel, who coined the term, a Canada Dry text “has the taste and color of a restriction but does not follow a restriction.” (A musical example is Andrew Bird’s “Fake Palindromes.”)  Be creative, and write a poem sourced from your newspaper that sounds like it’s been Oulipo-ed, but hasn’t.


English: Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

English: Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok, so what to make of that? Of course, there is a restriction right off: sourcing text from the newspaper. That at once makes it at very least a found poem. I decided to simply go with that, taking lines from the paper that appealed to me, and assembling them more or less in the order found, but I did not maintain that as a constraint at all, since I went back and forth between articles to choose my lines. Here and there I added a word or words that were not from the source, but which I knew were somewhere in the paper. I changed one tense from past to present. This is also more or less a remix. Read my fellow Ouliposters here:

All the Heavy Stuff   

A little midnight car surfing
through those Rocky Mountains at night
forty years on the road, hard miles and
calloused fingertips, Canadian-tough:
a police car bad idea to the letter.

A backhoe shovel plunges into the desert:
14 dump trucks loaded with Atari, ET
dumped in a hole in Alamagordo.

All the heavy stuff happens in the music,
every single detail pays homage
to Robert Johnson and Hank Williams.
combine the two—
That’s rock ‘n’ roll.

CAS, April 29, 2014


Spears, Tom, Car surfers and spectators ticketed in Gatineau, Ottawa Citizen, print edition, April 29, 2014 (C3)   

Robb, Peter, Memories of Canada, Ottawa Citizen, print edition, April 29, 2014 (C5)   

Pileci, Vito, Pop culture fan unearths cache of Atari games, Ottawa Citizen, print edition, April 29, 2014 (C3)







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Ouliposter-Badge-Plum-300x300A text in which each word has one letter less than the preceding one, and the last word only one letter. From your newspaper, select a starting word, and then continue adding words of decreasing length from the same source article or passage. Challenge yourself further by only using words in order as you encounter them in the text.


I was sufficiently challenged by just finding the words that led down to a single character, and took liberties with that, as my choices were a or I, and neither worked well, so I resorted to numbers, and in at least one case stole it from a longer one.


Once I had my source text, I removed all extraneous characters and spaces so I could run it through a tool that sorted by word length. It was getting confused by the commas and quotation marks.  I then reviewed the list and calculated the letter counts for each group.


Here are my resulting snowballs, three of them, each beginning with a 13-letter word:









Jellyfish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jellyfish Float





Underwater Rainbow.

Underwater Rainbow. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Diving Into the Veins




CAS, April 28, 2014


 Spears, Tom, Finding Earth’s huge water reservoir, Ottawa Citizen print edition, April 28, 2014 (B3)


Spears, Tom, Swimming “through the veins of Mother Earth”, Ottawa Citizen print edition, April 28, 2014 (B3)


 Neergaard, Lauran, Unique floating lab showcases ‘aliens of the sea’, Ottawa Citizen, April 28, 2014 (A6)




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