View Toronto Through Poetry

The Toronto Public Library, with the help of poet laureate, George Elliott Clarke, has created a new way to explore Toronto: through the use of poetry.

They’ve created a fun, interactive map of Toronto that marks the locations of important spots in poetry about Toronto. At each location on the map, information about the poems is listed, and details as to which branch of the Toronto Public Library has that poetry book available is also given. There are also many Toronto poems that aren’t associated with any specific locations, and you can find out more about those on the Toronto Poetry Map as well.




 On Wednesday, March 20, 2013 we invite you to the library for a poetry reading by Claudia Coutu Radmore, author of

a minute or two/without remembering.’


Join us for an inspiring and evocative evening as Claudia transports us back in time to 1672 when her first French ancestor sailed to New France!

Walk in their shoes, listen to their stories, and experience history!

A minute or two/without remembering takes us from Claudia’s seventh great grandmother, Marguerite de Laplace, one of the ‘daughters’ of the king of France, sent to New France to marry a fur trader; to the Cottu family’s relation to Louis Riel; through the ten year Iroquois threat when the family moved into Montreal for safety; ending with the heartbreaking Seven Years’ War, and its aftermath.

I have come to discover that Claudia is a multi-facetted and multi-talented woman. Born and raised in Montreal, Claudia has spent her life as an educator, an artist, and not least of all, a very accomplished wordsmith.

In 1984 she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queens University, Kingston.  She has taught elementary school, high school, and adult education in Quebec and Ontario, and trained pre-school teachers as a CUSO volunteer in Vanuatu 1985-1988.

Claudia paints portraits and landscapes in oils, and writes poetry.  She is well known for her Japanese-form poems, as well as for her lyric poetry.  Claudia has edited the Haiku Canada Anthology for several years, is the owner/editor of Bondi Press, and is the president of KaDo, Ottawa’s haiku group.

Author of Your Hands Discover Me (2010), a minute or two/without remembering (2010), and Accidentals (2011), Claudia also edited letters written to her by Leonard Budgell from Labrador, who was a fur trader for the Hudson’s Bay Company, writing the forward to his book “Arctic Twilight” which was published in 2008.  Now retired, Claudia has made Carleton Place her home since 2004. As these are just some of the highlights of Claudia’s career, please visit her website at for more info.

So, please join us Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 7-9 p.m. as we listen to the voices of Claudia’s ancestors.   It’s free – just call 613-257-2702 to reserve your spot!


Is there anything more wonderful that this? This little three year old (he’s probably all of four, now), reciting the poem “Litany” by Billy Collins. Did I mention it was completely by heart, and with feeling? According to his mom, he just loves poetry and loves to memorize.

Listen to the entire thing. It will bring your day to a halt, a smile to your face and a light to your heart.

Are you a poet?

Poetry can be difficult enough to write, but how about a little help from a book?  No, not a poetry lesson book, but an actual book cover. It’s called Book Spine Poetry and all it takes is a few books, a little creativity and a camera. Just choose your books, line them up and voila…poetry!

In the US, April is National Poetry Month and the creative actions behind Michigan librarian Travis Jonker has produced tons of great examples and ideas at his blog called 100scopenotes.

It’s a great idea to use with kids on a rainy afternoon or just something fun to try yourself with the books on your own bookshelf. Even if it isn’t National Poetry Month, you can always do with a little creative boost.  And don’t forget, it doesn’t have to rhyme!

Poetry Slamming at the library!

It’s March Break and we’ve got lots going on at the library this week.  Don’t be surprised if you see hoards of people when you come in….we have programs running while the library is closed. And Monday started off with a bang!  It was a Slam Poetry event with Danielle Gregoire.

What’s slam poetry? Basically, it’s a performance aspect added to the written word.  People write poems that inspire them to get up and perform and Danielle came in to show some of our young attendees just what it was all about.  Here she is (above) starting off with a group poem about McDonald’s.

While everyone started together, eventually Danielle got them into the spirit of writing and performing their own poems. Before each person began, the “audience” welcomed them to the stage with a starting countdown and cheer. Here’s our group (above) getting ready.

The poems were varied and humorous and I was surprised at how well each young person performed! They talked about things like cheese, Florida, St. Patrick’s Day and rain boots, and no one went home feeling like they hadn’t learned something.  It was a great morning and I hope everyone had as much fun as I did watching!  A big thank you to Pauline Fitchett at Arts Carleton Place for arranging everything, and to Danielle Gregoire for her expertise. Maybe you’ll get inspired to try some slam poetry of your own!