September 5, 2016 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Troy Holden



Penn Kemp






Flute notes shatter to ricochet off

concert ceiling— coloured balls in

a game of electric pool. The noise

of new music splatters to harmony.


The mezzo meets her match to climb

a patterned range beyond the scale,

resplendent in corresponding gown

till the senses bounce back and laugh.


Outside in the very cold, crystal still

dances in light gusts of ice flakes

descending from darkness in clusters

to sweetly melt on cheek, on tongue


and ring in our ear, ring in the year.








Filling the Cart



I lose my breath in shopping

malls and can’t tell where


to find it. So many others

bustle about breathing just


fine but my chest cave slumps

crunched, compressed to less


than half capacity. So I cling

to the cart to keep upright,


shop quickly, buy this and that

on impulse, trusting the clerk


not to cheat me when I am

numb to numbers


and clear out fast to parking lot

in hope of cleaner air.








Giving Your Word



How do you deliver your poems? Do

you fix the audience with a glare and stare


or stuff your nose into the book? Do

you memorize, mumble, murmur, bellow,


read, recite? Better think of a replacement

for ‘recites’: How about Tells? Poetry tells.


Poetry is telling, is told. And the noun tell

means the riches of midden. Suggests

strategies to soundly spread our chosen

patter/n of fertilizing speech.


From now on, we will be telling,

so the word will be heard in layers

laid out, laid down, laden in strata to


unearth as we will.










Penn Kemp

London Ontario poet, activist and playwright Penn Kemp is the League of Canadian Poets 2015 Spoken Word Artist of the Year. She received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for service to arts and culture. As inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of London, she presented poetry at many civic functions. Her latest works are two anthologies she edited for the League of Canadian Poets, launching them at The Writers’ Summit, Toronto, in June. Her new book of poems, Barbaric Cultural Practice (Quatrro Books), will be launched in October.


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