FINISHED! Next Poetic Justice Reading is Sun Sep 18 at 3:00 p.m.

If you weren’t there you missed something special. With a nearly full house last Sunday, two seasoned and stellar poets kept us glued to the mic. Heidi Greco and Christopher Levenson, what a professional, playful, and profound duo!

Open mic readers were particularly peerless, too. We’ve said to those open mic’ers who didn’t have the chance to read, they’ll be first up at next month’s reading.

September’s session is promising to be nothing short of mind boggling. All the way from Ottawa, Henry Beissel is rolling into town on his Western Canada book launch. Joining him will be a talented local favourite, Eileen Kernaghan.  Here’s more about them…

Henry Beissel

Henry Beissel

Henry Beissel is a poet, playwright, essayist, translator and editor who lives in Ottawa. His commitment to writing first came to national attention through the controversial political and literary journal Edge which he founded in Edmonton and edited from 1963 to 1969. Since then he has over thirty publications to his credit that have received high critical acclaim in Canada and abroad. His versatility as a writer is evident even in a partial list of them: twenty volumes of poetry; six books of plays, both for adults and young audiences; numerous productions of his plays as well as of his adaptations of plays (most recently Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, 2009, and Sophocles’ Antigone, 2011, both performed to much critical and audience acclaim); translations from the works of Bauer, Huchel, Ibsen, Mrozek, and Dorst; fiction and non-fiction; a book on Canada; a Festschrift for Irving Layton; two anthologies of plays for High Schools. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Eileen Kernaghan (photo courtesy of Julie Ferguson)

Eileen Kernaghan
(photo courtesy of Julie Ferguson)

Eileen Kernaghan’s poetry  has appeared in PRISM international, The Antigonish Review, Room of One’s Own, Acta Victoriana, Wascana Review, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, the anthology  Quintet: Themes & Variations (Ekstasis Editions ) and other publications both mainstream and speculative. Her collection Tales from the Holograph Woods was published in 2009 by Wattle & Daub Books. Eileen has also published nine historical fantasy novels. In 2014 Sophie, in Shadow was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, and for the Sheila Egoff Prize for Children’s Literature.  She lives in New Westminster.

So mark your calendars for 3:00 p.m. on Sunday September 18, and in the meantime consider something you’d like to present at our Open Mic that day. Arrive on time in order to make the list before the cut-off.  Also, don’t forget the last reading at Poetry in the Park goes on Wednesday, August 31 at 6:00 p.m. Don’t miss the finale reading of PiP’s summer series. Check out the line-up here.


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FINISHED! Next Poetic Justice Reading is Sun Aug 21 at 3:00 p.m.

Life isn’t always good — or just. Then sometimes, it is. A week ago our featured poets, John  Barton and Tina Biello, both shared about the dichotomies of life. From the unforgivable behaviour by the British government towards Alan Turing, to the warmth and preciousness of familia, both Island poets held us captive with a couple of wonderfully superb readings.

Poetry is a good thing.

Next month promises to be just as rewarding. On August 21, we have two poets whom we haven’t seen at Poetic Justice in quite some time. Let’s see who’s coming…

Heidi Greco

Heidi Greco

Heidi Greco is a writer, editor, and sometimes-instructor. She and her partner live in a house in Surrey that might as well be nestled in a forest; it’s completely surrounded by trees. She’s a longtime recycler, composter and forager and can be found picking berries or mushrooms, depending on the season. Her poetry, fiction, essays and reviews have been published in a vast array of books, anthologies and literary magazines. In 2015, she had poems that appeared in four anthologies, including The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them. She has a new book forthcoming in 2018.

Christopher Levenson

Christopher Levenson

Christopher Levenson settled in Vancouver in 2007 after 39 years in Ottawa, where he taught English and Creative Writing at Carleton University.  His eleven books of poetry include most recently Night Vision (Quattro Books, 2014), which was short-listed for the Governor General’s Award. First recipient in 1960 of  Britain’s  Eric Gregory Award, he also won Ottawa’s Archibald Lampman Award in 1987 for Arriving at Night, co-founded and was first editor of Arc magazine, and, with Rob Taylor, revived the Dead Poets Reading Series at the VPL. He translates German and Dutch poetry and is enthusiastic about South Asian Literature in English.

So mark your calendars for 3:00 p.m. on Sunday August 21, and in the meantime consider something you’d like to present at our Open Mic that day.  And here’s a shout-out to Poetry in the Park… this Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. It’s going to be good weather all week, so take it in. Check out their line-up here.





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FINISHED! Next Poetic Justice Reading is Sun July 17 at 3:00 p.m.

It was a barn-burner of beautiful poetry at June’s monthly reading. Not only did we have three very diverse but equally talented poets, but Fiona Lam, Jeff Steudel, and Alan Woodland were all superb at delivering their work in a professional and captivating manner. We even had a viewing of our first video poem at Poetic Justice!

In July, it’s going to be an all-Island affair when John Barton from Victoria and Tina Biello from Nanaimo join us. Once again, it will be a Poetic Justice debut performance for these two gifted poets.

John Barton

John Barton

John Barton has published eleven books and six chapbooks of poetry, including West of Darkness: Emily Carr, a Self-Portrait (third bilingual edition, BushcekBooks, 2006), Hypothesis (Anansi, 2001), Hymn (Brick, 2009), For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin: Selected Poems (Nightwood, 2012), Balletomane: The Program Notes of Lincoln Kirstein (JackPine, 2012), Polari (Goose Lane, 2014), and Reframing Paul Cadmus (above/ground, 2016). Co-editor of Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay-Male Poets (Arsenal Pulp, 2007), he is editing The Essential Douglas LePan for Porcupine’s Quill. Born and raised in Alberta, he lives in Victoria, where he edits The Malahat Review.

Tina Biello

Tina Biello

Tina Biello grew up in the small logging town of Lake Cowichan, BC. She studied Theatre at UBC and now finds herself writing. Since 2008 her poems have appeared in chapbook anthologies edited by Patrick Lane. Her first book of poetry, In the Bone Cracks of the Walls (published by Leaf Press) was part of a multi-disciplinary art exhibition of poetry, watercolour and music in Montreal, Vancouver, and Italy. A Housecoat Remains is her second book of poetry published by Guernica Editions in 2015. She also teaches performance mask to students all over Vancouver Island.



So mark your calendars for 3:00 p.m. on Sunday July 17, and in the meantime consider something you’d like to present at our Open Mic that day.  And here’s a shout-out to Poetry in the Park which kicks off its 2016 summer schedule on Wednesday, July 06.  Check out their line-up here.



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FINISHED! Next Poetic Justice Reading is Sun June 19 at 3:00 p.m.

What a superb afternoon of poetry we had during LitFest Week! It was like a summer solstice where the readings, including those from our open mic’ers, reached their zenith.

But we now have to turn our attention to next month’s featured poets, all of whom will be reading at Poetic Justice for the first time. We’re proud and honoured to have this very stellar line-up…

Fiona Lam

Fiona Lam

Fiona Tinwei Lam has authored two poetry books, Intimate Distances and Enter the Chrysanthemum and the illustrated children’s book, The Rainbow Rocket. Her poetry and prose appear in over 24 anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2010 and Slice Me Some Truth: An Anthology of Canadian Non-Fiction.  She co-edited the non-fiction anthology, Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood, and edited The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poetry about Facing Cancer.  Her poems have twice been chosen for B.C.’s Poetry in Transit program.  Her video poems have been screened locally and internationally. She is currently a writing mentor and instructor at SFU Continuing Studies.

Steudel, Jeff ~ Head Shot

Jeff Steudel

Jeff Steudel’s poetry has appeared in several publications including Prism international, CV2, The Fiddlehead, sub Terrain, and Canadian Literature. He has received the Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, and his work was chosen as a finalist for the CBC Literary Awards. Foreign Park, his first collection of poetry, was a finalist for the B.C. Book Prizes. Jeff lives in Vancouver.




Alan Woodland

Alan Woodland

Alan Woodland is a writer, poet, performer, and newspaper columnist. He has written three books, and his poetry has been featured on radio and television. For many years, he was Chief Librarian for the New Westminster Public Library. In 1993, harpist Lori Pappajohn and Alan co-founded Winter Harp, a concert ensemble of harps, flutes, rare medieval instruments, poetry and song celebrating the Christmas season. Alan has lived in Maple Ridge, British Columbia since 1957. He first met his wife, Pat, almost seventy years ago, and they have been married for close to sixty. They have four children and four grandchildren.


See you all on Sunday, June 19 at three o’clock.  Lately, we’ve been packing out the joint, so get there on time, especially if you want to make it to the Open Mic list.

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FINISHED! The Countdown Has Begun…

…LitFest (and Poetic Justice) are just days away!

Well, it’s almost here.  New Westminster’s annual celebration of the literary arts is just around the corner.  The action kicks off this Friday evening (May 13) with events happening all the way through to the following Thursday (May 19).

LitFest Logo

For us at Poetic Justice, we’re proud and privileged to be part of this year’s LitFest festivities. This Sunday, May 15 at 3:00 p.m. will be PJ’s chance to shine in an exciting week of literary gems. And do we have a line-up for you…

Jane Byers

Jane Byers

Jane Byers lives in Nelson, BC. Acquired Community, her second book of poems, will be released in September, 2016 by Caitlin Press-Dagger Editions. Her debut poetry collection, Steeling Effects, is published by Caitlin Press (March, 2014). She is the recipient of the 2014 Richard Carver Emerging Writer Award and an Honourable Mention in the 2013 Lena Wilson Endicott Poetry Prize. She has had poems and essays published in various literary journals in Canada, the U.S. and England, including Grain, Descant, Plenitude, Antigonish Review, and Rattle. She was also anthologized in Best Canadian Poetry 2014.

Kevin Spenst

Kevin Spenst

Kevin Spenst, a Pushcart Poetry nominee, is the author of Jabbering with Bing Bong, Ignite (both with Anvil Press), and over a dozen chapbooks including Pray Goodbye (the Alfred Gustav Press), Retractable (the serif of nottingham), and Surrey Sonnets (JackPine Press).  His work has won the Lush Triumphant Award for Poetry, been nominated for both the Alfred G. Bailey Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and has appeared in dozens of publications including Prairie Fire, CV2, BafterC, Lemon Hound, Poetry is Dead, and the anthology, Best Canadian Poetry 2014.

Betsy Warland

Betsy Warland

Betsy Warland is the author of 12 books of poetry and creative non-fiction including her best-selling 2010 book of essays on writing, Breathing the Page—Reading the Act of Writing. In March of 2016, Oscar of Between—A Memoir of Identity and Ideas was one of two books that launched Caitlin Press’ new imprint, Dagger Editions. Director of The Writer’s Studio at SFU from 2001-2012, she remains on TWS faculty. She founded and directs the distance program Vancouver Manuscript Intensive in which she is also a mentor. A professional manuscript consultant/editor for the past 25 years, Warland works with writers from across Canada.


Don’t forget to bring your Eventbrite ticket to this special event. You can’t get in without it. We’re sold out for this event but please arrive by 3:00 p.m. at the very latest. Otherwise, you will forfeit your ticket to any standby’s at the door.  So please be early! You won’t want to miss this talented trio.


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FINISHED! LitFest NewWest and Poetic Justice’s Best!

LitFest NewWest: Remember These Dates ~ Fri May 13 – Thu May 19

Well, if you weren’t there at last Sunday’s PJ reading with Juliane Okot Bitek and Timothy Shay, tears — real tears — flowed.  We won’t say who, but a quirky little children’s rhyme brought on the waterworks. 🙂   It has been over 50 years since PJ Co-Manager James Felton last heard Inky Pinky Ponky uttered in his native South Africa.

Both our featured readers delivered some absolutely awesome readings.  Whether you hail from East Africa or the West Kootenays, Juliane and Timothy showed just how versatile,  and yet inclusive, poetry — good poetry — can be.

LitFest Logo

Our annual LitFest NewWest event is nearly here

I hope you’re getting ready for LitFest NewWest, because we are! Next month’s Poetic Justice reading is going to happen on Day Three of New Westminster’s annual literary festival. And we have THREE fabulous poets. Jane Byers is coming in from Nelson to join us. Kevin Spenst, who gave us all a scare recently, says he’s well enough to participate. And Betsy Warland is going to round out the trio. Their bio’s will be up here on the site soon.

And if you’re getting anxious as to whether we’ll have an Open Mic that day, rest assured we will.  How can we not include you in LitFest?!

In the meantime, if you want to ensure you are guaranteed to get into this special event, you will need a ticket. This is a one-time process at Poetic Justice.  Because of the popularity of LitFest, and because our venue can only allow 40 maximum, we have no choice but to create this reservation system. It’s the only fair way to give everyone an equal opportunity to attend.

The tickets are free, but you must, must, must order your ticket through Eventbrite. This is the only way you’ll be able to get in for LitFest at Poetic Justice , so please do it quickly.

Get your ticket here

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FINISHED! Next Poetic Justice Reading is Sun May 15 at 3:00 p.m.

We couldn’t have squeezed many more in!

At the last PJ reading, only four seats were left wanting. Yes, it was rainy and gloomy outside but the room was buzzing. We had 11 very wide-ranging readers at Open Mic, followed by the always humorous, ever-engaging Jennifer Zilm, whose first collection, Waiting Room comes out in April. She was followed by yet another younger talent, Rob Taylor, who has been selected as the next Writer-in-Residence at the famed Al Purdy A-Frame cottage near Ameliasburgh in south-eastern Ontario.

In April, we will be bringing you yet another stellar duo…

Bitek, Juliane Okot ~ Head Shot

Juliane Okot Bitek

Juliane Okot Bitek will be joining us after overcoming jetlag on her travels through East Africa. She is a Vancouver poet who has also had short fiction, creative non-fiction and essays widely published online and in print. She is a PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia where her research is centred on identity, citizenship and forgetting. Her latest publication, 100 Days (U. of Alberta Press), is a collection of poetry that negotiates ways to remember the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Timothy Shay

Timothy Shay



Joining Juliane will be Timothy Shay who lives and writes in Vancouver, BC.  He has published poetry in many magazines including Fiddlehead, Qwerty, This Magazine, Quarry, Grain, CVII, anthologies, including Alive at the Centre, contemporary poems from the Pacific North West, on CBC Radio and Rolling Stone and in several chapbooks. His first collection, This Cabin as the SS Titanic (Solstice Books), was published in 1984 and his most recent collection, The Dirty Knees of Prayer was published just last month by Caitlin Press.

P.S.  Remember to come early if you want a seat!  In spite of the cold and rainy weather, things are really heating up at Poetic Justice.

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FINISHED! Next Poetic Justice Reading: Sun Mar 20 at 3:00 pm.

Wow!  What a presentation!

If you weren’t there on Sunday Feb 21, you missed an absolutely stellar reading of Emily Dickinson’s work. But it was much more than that. Renée Bucciarelli was the very embodiment of the reclusive poet. She brought Dickinson alive.

Poetic Justice brings you both dead poets and live ones, too! On Sunday March 20, we are going to wow you again with two poets (who are very much alive) whose work is gaining a lot of attention.

Rob Taylor and Jennifer Zilm are going to be here in New Westminster to take over from Emily Dickinson.  We hope to see you on Sunday March 20!

Rob Taylor

Rob Taylor

Rob Taylor is the author of The Other Side of Ourselves (Cormorant Books, 2011) and one of the coordinators of Vancouver’s Dead Poets Reading Series. His poems have appeared most recently in The New Quarterly, Grain and Lemon Hound.

Born and raised in Port Moody, Rob now lives in Vancouver with his wife and son.

In 2015, he received the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for the Literary Arts (Emerging Artist). Canada’s Poet Laureate, George Elliott Clarke, said, “anyone who can write a good poem – as [Rob] Taylor does – about writing bad poetry, is a poet of talent.”

Jennifer Zilm

Jennifer Zilm

Jennifer Zilm writes poems that have appeared or are forthcoming in journals across Canada, including The Malahat Review, Prism, FreeFall, CV2, Prairie Fire, Grain, Arc, Vallum and the Antigonish Review. Her first chapbook, The Whole and Broken Yellows was published by Frog Hollow Press (2013).

She lives in East Vancouver, has a collection of Bibles, and works in libraries and social housing.

Her manuscript Waiting Room was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and will be published by BookThug in the Spring of 2016. A second collection will be published by Guernica Editions in 2018.


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FINISHED! Next Poetic Justice Reading: Sun Feb 21 at 3:00 pm.

She’s alive!  Emily Dickinson’s alive!

Well, not really, but Renée Bucciarelli is going to be channeling Emily Dickinson later this month and you’ve just got to be there.


Renée Bucciarelli worked twenty years in New York theatre as a professional actor, teacher, and administrator before relocating to BC. Her acclaimed educational program, The Shakespeare Playground (for kids of all ages), has been hosted by Shakespeare festivals, schools, and arts centres in both Canada and the United States for nearly two decades (and returns to the Anvil Centre this spring). As artistic director of City Stage New West, she commissioned and produced the Ovation-award-nominated musical STUMP CITY STORIES, based on the diverse history of New Westminster, as well as its professional cast recording donated as a cultural legacy to our City (also available for purchase at Brick & Mortar Living). She has portrayed Emily Dickinson in the acclaimed one-woman show The Belle of Amherst at several Vancouver theatre venues.

This will be our first reading at our new home, New Westminster’s Boston Pizza. We are suggesting a $5 admission donation for this and all future Poetic Justice readings.

Your Host for this special event will be Poetic Justice’s Co-Manager, Franci Louann.

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FINISHED! Next Poetic Justice Reading: Sun Jan 31 at 3:00 pm.

What a riotous array of readings last Sunday!  And every darned one of them superb. Whew!  Still recovering.  This week, another trio of talents awaits you, as we say goodbye to our host venue, Original’s.  Come and find out where we’ll be in February, but first come and support these fine poets…

Featured Poets:  Navaro Franco, and Keith Garebian (Debut!) and Alan Hill

Host:                     Franci Louann

Navaro Franco

Navaro Franco

Navaro Franco has devoted her life to studying tribal music, dance and earth-based traditions. Beginning in 1981, she studied and apprenticed with renowned teachers in Africa and North America, and since 1990 has been performing in these disciplines ever since.

Music and dance are, for her, a path of health, healing, and connecting with truth and beauty. A lifetime practice of yoga and dance also deeply inform Navaro’s musical work, giving her a special emphasis on embodied rhythm.

On her literary side, she constantly reaches for essence and the ecstatic state. Navaro believes words are ‘spells’ that create, but the disciplines of music and ecstatic dance continue to inform her writing.

Today her focus is predominantly in the literary world. She is part of a vibrant writing group that includes fine local writers Aline La Flamme, Marilyn Meden, and Jungian therapist, Lynette Johnston.

Navaro believes that writing is a solitary act, but the words truly come alive once shared.

Keith Garebian (Photo: Elisabeth Feryn)

Keith Garebian
(Photo: Elisabeth Feryn)

Keith Garebian’s poetry collections include Frida: Paint Me As a Volcano; Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems; Children of Ararat; Moon on Wild Grasses, and Georgia and Alfred.

Among his numerous poetry awards are a Scarborough Arts Council Poetry Award, W.H. Drummond Poetry Award, the Surrey International Writers Conference Poetry Award, and a CAA (Niagara Branch) Poetry Award.

He has been shortlisted for the FreeFall magazine award and the Gwendolyn MacEwen-Exile Poetry Award for Best Single Poem from a Suite. He has also won a Canada Council Grant for Non-Fiction and two Ontario Arts Council Awards for Work in Progress, one for non-fiction and another for poetry.  Keith lives in Mississauga.

Alan Hill


Alan Hill is the author of two collections of poetry, The Upstairs Country and The Broken Word. 

He has also been published in over forty periodicals in Canada, the UK and the USA.

Alan emigrated to Canada from England in 2005 and is a proud resident of New Westminster. He is currently working on his third collection of poetry, A Fire in a Winter Field.

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