Montreal International Poetry Prize

The Montreal International Poetry Prize is inviting submissions, reaching out particularly the ecopoetics community.

This year’s judge is the Pulitzer Prize winning American poet Yusef Komunyakaa.

The prize offers $20,000 for the winning poem. The submission deadline is June 1st, 2020.

Please follow the link for information:

The Montreal International Poetry Prize has become a truly global competition, supported by its international jury of award-winning poets from North America, the Caribbean, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, Nigeria, and Uganda, and with participants from more than 70 countries. The management prize is hosted Department of English at McGill University.

An Ever River, Ecopoetry from David Russell

Glad to share from a recent collection of ecopoetry from David Russell, An Ever River, published by Palegrave Press.

An Ever River

Prime time, swallowed whole.
Could the universe, just once,
have poured itself into a molecule
so that, thereafter,
nothing could flow?

Never to suckle a broken circuit
for sparking life;
never split by caesarean pangs
of primal punctures.

Black hole never thinned to liquid,
boiling mud, foundation pustules,
turning all to gas.

All words are now compelled to use
the speech synthesizer of the global dish.

So whence the river,
its source in rejection
generating dragging threads –
bubbling, puddling, squelching,
steaming, clouding, drizzling,
splashing process

Where would we be if nothing flowed?
or would the truth be bared
if water found its ends
without the flowing means

* * *

Round every dam,
above all inundations, beyond all droughts
the river bubbles
blobs it             ever on

bleeding out the parched bed’s cracks.

One river is in every river.
every river recycles to one river.
Let all be laminated, superimposed
rising through fired mud beds,
their crystal sheen, chemical, pure
tippling underground,mountain rill;

forked, widened through basin faults,
embracing every swelling,
feeding the clouds to give all back,

siphoned off to feed past plains,
for grains and pulses
stock, rodent, and their plague-guests;

so that the sea, long past greedy
would not devour it all,
sucked off for dams and factories,
vast barriers, shields
for ravaging and wars,

pockets through the centuries
to save and drown –
only at rare junctures diverted.

Once laden, this river dragged its sludge
throttled by pustule settlements,
banked by insect-egg bin-liners,
scummed, frothed and sediment-clouded:
The acrid stout of a fumbling home-brewer

now cleansed, through dereliction,
readmitting life,
a happy adjunct to proclaim

the true mess swept from sight.

Once, far beyond erectus, sapiens, Neanderthal,
it fed, embraced stampedes,
massed reptilian, bird and mammal flesh
in swallowing, fossil-printing beds
suffused meanwhile with blood and effluent.

Then, in our species time,
it flanked massacres,
punctuation marks for ruthless millennia
straddled by canoes, submersibles.

Some bodies floated, bloated to clog downstream,
some helmets loosened,

inverted to build meaningless boats.

Sometimes it flanked great ceremonies, phased into festivals,
got scummed with battered lager cans and sodden wrappers,
mulch-brown and creamed with tack, peppered from abandoned ashtrays.

The dredgers came and went and, present-focused,
the contorted loop

full circle of prehistory from monocellular poison
to strained reaches of torture growth, perverted contents, twisted molecules.

* * *

On revisitation,
with masses under the bridge,

generic memories shrunk and muted, I stand in a clear stretch
where there is no bridge in sight.

Such myriads transitory, one-directional;
some can reverse into the human memory.

Old palaces, monuments crumble into their own façades, mirrored by brash renovation.

The cycles emulate and modulate the tides.

Clean, dirty, overpopulated, vacant squeaky splendor, son et lumière,
beams us back to what we thought things were before the truth unbunged the drain,
emitting odour of perspective,
its trickling blended with the general stream.

Call for Submissions: Poems That Explore Our Impact and Reliance on the Watershed

Below is a call for submissions shared here:

Call for book two in the Refugium Trilogy

Working title: Poems for the Watershed

Caitlin Press is currently accepting submissions from across Canada and beyond for an anthology of poems that explores our impact and reliance on the watershed.

Deadline for submissions is October 15, 2018.

A watershed is an area where water — the necessity of life second only to air — falls, filters and collects.

In Canada the watershed runs into the Pacific, Arctic, Hudson Bay and the Atlantic. This sweet water houses the aquatic ecosystems that feed and nurture not only the people, industries and animals on land but also drains into the world’s oceans. Industries, dams and pipelines threaten the very life force of living species and the land on this plant.

In this second book, following on Refugium: Poems for the Pacific Yvonne Blomer is calling on poets to find the metaphors and language for a new revolution, one that will travel into the thoughts of readers and create openings in them that could lead to change. Without change, poems, music and stories may be the only refugium of these waters and the creatures in them.

Please submit up to two poems to:

Yvonne Blomer
Poems for the Watershed
1101 Glenora Place Victoria BC V8P 2C2

Or email as pdf or word attachments or in the body of an email to

refugium.watersheds at gmail dot com

Please note the following:

  1. contributors are invited to read Refugium: Poems for the Pacific, the original, for a better understanding of the poetic ecosystem the editor is creating in the trilogy;
  2. the editor especially encourages Indigenous writers, writers of colour, writers from the LGBTQ2S community, writers with disabilities and women-identifying authors to submit their work for consideration;
  3. contributors should ensure that their name, mailing address, citizenship, phone number and email are in the cover letter along with the titles of the poems;
  4. contributors will receive some remuneration;
  5. expected publication date: fall 2019 (not guaranteed);
  6. previously unpublished poems preferred but published will also be accepted

Yvonne Blomer, Victoria’s poet laureate, will edit the anthology. Blomer has published three collections of poetry, most recently As if a Raven (Palimpsest Press) and a travel memoir titled Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur. In 2017 she edited Refugium: Poems for the Pacific (Caitlin Press, 2017) and also co-edited in 2013 Poems from Planet Earth (Leaf Press).Her first book, a broken mirror, fallen leaf, was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. She won Leaf Press’s Overleaf Chapbook Contest in 2017 for her poems Elegies for Earth.

You’re invited!

Our ecopoetics group has partnered with Christi Kramer on the Vancouver launch of an exciting new book, Ghost Fishing: An Eco Justice Poetry Anthology. This event will take place on the summer solstice, June 21st at 7pm at the Historic Joy Kogawa House.

Please refer to the attached poster for details: Ghost Fishing

Margaret: Walking Pacific Spirit Park

Walk quiet among quiet trees

and dog, airplane, helicopter

projectile turbo muffler, but

without wind, trees are quiet


Four kiddy children nimbly scale

a fence that guards the brook’s fish fry

to play in the still brook with a stick

“Jack, Amy don’t get muddy shoes”


Man on a bicycle, grey ponytail

and his voice fly behind and ahead

Sing a trumpet song to quiet trees

Trees are quiet, there is no wind


Raven wings stir a whistling wind

above a quiet walk among quiet trees

One raven and two, small exchange

and a nest, rough but silver inside


Sunshine lifts moss laden lower

branches, green fire huffed alight

Sun hums in long shadows, floor

laden with staff lines sings


Walk quiet among quiet trees

Blue sky barks and sunshine

roars. A still brook laughs giddy

photosynthesis trumpets and I sing

Curbing the coast condo

I never think of people on the coast living in condos

even though I sleep seven floors above a false creek.


We deserve dirt pathways, or gravel, but

not that stuff crumbled down by us and trucked in from elsewhere.


Line us up along the shore to squat where we

can smell new salt.


Let them see us shucking our oysters,

our children diving into blue bushes to gorge on real sugar.


Seagulls will bark overhead, drop their stale snacks. Those wings

mix the wind, put on a show.


Leave it to the birds to export the organic seeds; we

will stay grounded.

Photosynthesis, poem read on the eco-poetic walk in Pacific Spirit Park, March 24, 2018


Carl Leggo

when I write

a poem I begin

by laying down

letters and words

even though I

seldom know

where the words

will take me


I am always on

a Winnie the Pooh

meandering explore

that might lead

somewhere but

probably will not


I must be patient:

how many colors

of green are there?

can the colors

of green be counted?


Rita’s photo does not

call my attention

to a punctum


instead I am lost

in the maze     maelstrom

chaos     except I am not

really lost     I feel

a sense of belonging

here     a sense I cannot

make simple sense

of this image composed

of shadow lines colors


I see the sunlight

in the gaps     I gasp

because I also see

the light in the leaves


I can almost see

photosynthesis at work

the leaves convert

light energy into

chemical energy

and oxygen for

sustaining life

on Earth     I want

to attend to light

I want to know

synthesis     I want

to acknowledge

how the parts are

put together     made

wonder     full

like art and poetry


I will learn to breathe

with the tree like

pulmonary veins

carry oxygen

from lungs to heart


I will linger

with Rita’s art

so I can see with

the heart how all

of life is created

connected     sustained

by intricate networks

of communication

steeped in love


Triumfal Tangent

by Kyle Stooshnov

A particle strayed into the woods
Away from its electromagnetic course
An escape from collision and fission
To where unobserved it observes
Sunlight and shadow moving freely
A playful chase between branches and leaves
While deep below water connects with root
All set by the massive world’s own spin
That allows each element to settle down.
Away from concrete walls and cyclotrons,
A probabilistic reality charted out
On messy whiteboard based upon
Some as-of-yet unconfirmed theory.
Its entangled pair may stay in its place
While particle A shakes off its
Undignified designation and returns
To the natural process from where it came.