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Brick Books Celebrates Canadian Poetry – The Importance of Reading Poetry

This year to celebrate it’s 40th anniversary, Brick Books put out a request for writers to send in write-ups about poets who inspire, evoke and write great poetry. Of course, I heeded the call and sent in a few write-ups.

The first write-up is published on the Brick Books website now – and how timely, as it’s National Poetry Month!

To read my words on storyteller and poet Marty Gervais, click here.

There are several things I want to talk about in this blog.

The first is that if you’re a poet, you must read poetry. Any poetry. Written in any time period. In any language (sometimes, just seeing the words on the page can inspire you to write your own poetry..even when the words are in a different language!) You must read poetry if that’s what you write. Just like if you want to be a writer in general, you MUST read books. It’s  your practice, if you will. Like an athlete spends hours in a gym or in a pool or on the track, the writer simply must spend hours reading.

Poetry is all around us, I think, we sometimes just don’t see it or hear it. It’s in the music we listen to, it’s in advertising, it’s in the texts and tweets and posts we share. But it’s also in literary magazines, and Canada has some fine literary magazines that showcase poetry – all kinds of poetry! – for us to read. Also in these literary magazines are book reviews and interviews with writers by writers. There is rich history in most of these literary magazines that reach back into the early 60s and 70s when poets gathered in attic apartments to read and argue and better their craft.

I urge you to take some time to research these jewels of poetry and see if you find a voice or a line or a stanza that touches you. I am quite confident that you will. What these magazines also offer is a chance for you to submit or enter contests. It’s a way to break into the ‘being published’ world for a poet who maybe doesn’t have enough poems for a book yet…or perhaps the confidence to send her book out to a publisher or self-publish. Submitting for themed editions typically doesn’t cost money whereas contests often do, but this usually includes a subscription to the magazine. In the end, it’s a good situation even if you don’t get published – you’ll still get a literary magazine in your mailbox and the change to read the craft you’re honing in your writing life.

Here is a link to a list of Canadian literary magazines, if you’re so inclined to get started on being inspired. Of course, there are loads of amazing literary magazines, in print and on-line, as well as loads of blogs that offer lists of submissions/contests.

Here are some of my favourite blogs that list amazing writing opportunities:

New Pages

Quick Brown Fox

Poets & Writers

Writers Digest

I also subscribe to these industry news sites.

Quill & Quire

Shelf Awareness (And Shelf Awareness Pro)

Right now, my favourite literary magazine is out LA, California. It’s called Rattle, and I’m floored by what they publish. I love it.

What magazines, blogs, industry sites/blogs to you follow? Let’s share!

If you could write about your favourite, who would that poet be?

One thought on “Brick Books Celebrates Canadian Poetry – The Importance of Reading Poetry

  1. I do get a daily poem in my email from Rattle, and from Tinywords.
    And then, of course, your blog. Always inspiring!
    This weekend is CV2’s annual 2 Day Poetry Writing Contest. Worth a whirl!


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