Category Archives: Poetry

MOOC! You could be taking this Iowa University poetry course… free!

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. Emphasis on “massive.” More than 3,000 people from across the world registered in the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program’s first poetry MOOC (see a sampling of course videos below). According to their website about it, theirs is the first MOOC to workshop students’ poetry, online.

The course started June 28th and runs to August 9, 2014; they’re still accepting new students. There are no prerequisites and it’s free to join. You can do all the assignments and chat in forums, or you can do what you did in university the first time around: sleep in, goof off, come to every second lecture hung over and borrow the notes from… no one. Ever.

My favourite ambigram.

My favourite ambigram.

The first MOOC came out of the University of Manitoba, in 2008. Since then some American universities copied us and MOOCs have become increasingly popular. The evolution from correspondence, to continuing studies to Open Learning universities to MOOCs is obvious, in the way all things are when you look back lo these many six years. The advantages to taking a MOOC are the same as previous distance-learning courses — do it at your own pace, in your jammies, with no annoying students wasting class time with their whining or see-how-smart-I-am “questions” — and MOOCs go one better: they’re free.

For free you get lectures, assignments, class forums and sometimes faculty feedback. What you don’t get is a formal credit towards a recognized degree program. You are welcome, however, to type “M.O.O.C. Star” after your signature, upon completion of your first MOOC. Or just go ahead and start doing it now, no one will check. Because no one can.

Does this mean that the end of formal college and university education is within (laser-enhanced) sight? Maybe. Probably. I’m going to say Yes, for sure. Let the cerebrations begin.

If you’re curious about what’s available, check out Coursera. The short answer is: just about anything. In many languages. From their website:

Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.

We envision a future where everyone has access to a world-class education. We aim to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.

But back to the Iowa poetry MOOC. There are two videos uploaded to the site each week, on Tuesday and Saturday – you could call these talks, or mini-lectures. Each video, which you can watch at any time that week or thereafter (in your jimjams, at the cottage or while fake-listening to your boring date), runs from 20 to 40 minutes. Experienced poets will appreciate some of the talks as brush-ups, and new poets will stop and start the videos, madly taking notes. Or you could just go to that one woman’s website who told everyone she’d take good notes for her classmates. All 3,000 of them.

You are encouraged to give feedback to other students’ poetic offerings (with the strict proviso that you play fair and keep your mean-spirited ego in check, which, incredulously, the vast majority are managing to do). You can converse with each other about specific poems or about poetry in general. A lucky 10 are chosen by moderators to have their poem “workshopped” (constructive critique) online each week. Moderators, all Iowa University Writing Program graduates themselves, take turns moderating discussions and workshops and, because MOOCs aren’t limited to a particular time zone, something is always happening on the course site, 24/7.

They’re still taking registration, so if you are interested, sign up. Meanwhile, here are links to some of the course videos. If you watch only one, I recommend the first one, for Robert Hass’ idea about the writer’s notebook.

And when you’re looking at their site, note their next MOOC venture!

1. Sketching Techniques (Robert Hass)

2. Collecting and Repurposing Lines (Kate Greenstreet and Lucy Ives)

3. Building a Poem (Daniel Khalastchi)

5. Prosody (Richard Kenney and William Trowbridge)

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Griffin Shortlist Evening: straight to the heart of poetry

I had a most extraordinary experience of silence last Wednesday night at the Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Reading, here in Toronto. In a packed theatre you expect a certain amount of noise — a cough, shoes shuffling, program pages turning — even where there should be none. But it seemed to me there was indeed actual silence between the words and the lines of Anne Michael’s poetry. She read to us with a seriousness and intensity that both dared and demanded our complete devotion.

The Griffin Poetry Prize, the most generous poetry prize in the world, awards $65,000 each to a Canadian and an International poet. Each of the finalists gets a cheque for $10,000. And everyone gets a night of hearing some of the best poets in print today (for only $17.50!). Brenda Hillman, this year’s winner in the international category was, like the other finalists, emphatic in her thanks to the audience: “Thank you for coming, thank you for reading poetry.” Brazilian poet Adélia Prado received the Lifetime Achievement Award. I’d never heard of her before but this weekend will search for translations of her work.

“The smallest of poems is a servant of hope.”

~Adélia Prado

All of us at Descant send our congratulations to each of the finalists and especially to Canadian winner Anne Carson, whose “Short Talks” we published in 1991 (Descant 74). On Wednesday night, the tall and regal-looking 63 year-old told the audience that a friend of hers said he liked her (first) book by the same title, but he admitted he thought it was called “Small Cocks.” Through the surprised laughter I heard her say, “I thought I’d called it that, too!”

Of the many beautiful, funny and moving words I heard that night (and Sue Goyette’s line, “the ocean is the original mood ring” is all three), it was that sudden and profound silence that I keep thinking about; a silence borne of words, in between words — made of words. It brought me, in Brenda Hillman’s words, “straight to the heart of poetry.”

Griffin Logo_0As it was Descant volunteer Justin Lauzon’s first time at the event, I’ll let him tell you about it in more detail.


Griffin Poetry Prize 2014

As poetry lovers young and old walked across the second storey bridges in Koerner Hall, we were ushered in by the sound of trumpets playing from one of the balconies of the original brick building. If this sounds pretentious, don’t be fooled. A night at the Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Reading is both intimate and humble, even if sprinkled with a few brass instruments. I was taken aback by the elegant modern design of the Koerner building, which merges the old brick façade of the Royal Conservatory with so much light coming in through the three-storey windows.

The evening began with an introduction by Scott Griffin, the big cheese, during which he announced Margaret Atwood’s retirement from the Griffin’s Trustees. Atwood has been on the board since its inception in 2000, but now, after voluntarily stepping down, has been succeeded by poet Karen Solie and prolific Irish novelist (and poet) Cólm Toibín.

Each writer was introduced by one of the judges, all of whom praised the tough competition this year, which amounted to a whopping 539 book entries, from 40 countries, in 25 languages. Scott Griffin thanked the immense, if not herculean effort of the judges. On stage, there was one less chair than there were people, forcing the writers to play a strategic game of switcheroo musical chairs, each speaker taking the seat of the following one, shifting positions throughout the night, constantly gaining a new perspective.

Image 2

The international poets kicked off the readings, beginning with English poet Rachael Boast (Pilgrim’s Flower, 2013) who said “it’s lovely to see so many people here this evening. The last poetry reading I gave was to six people. Six of my students. In a disreputable pub.” It was a great introduction into the intimacy of the rest of the event; though 1000 people were in attendance, the whole thing seemed very personal. American poet and social activist Brenda Hillman (Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire, 2013) told a moving story of her father in intensive care, who, as a farm boy, chose a pig’s valve instead of a plastic one for his heart surgery. After a few stumbled lines of thank yous, American poet Carl Phillips (Silverchest,2013) stood at the podium and commented, “I don’t say a lot during readings because it usually comes out…stupid.” The audience chuckled as he went on to read the first of four poems that clearly spoke on their own.

Brenda Hillman....

Brenda Hillman, poet and social activist, won in the international category.

But no one sounded stupid, and it was refreshing to hear experienced poets talk about, and read their own work. Hillman spoke of poetry as “an investigation of the mystery of existence.” Canadian poet Sue Goyette (Ocean, 2013) commented on how the environment in the theatre had changed over the course of a couple of hours: “I can feel the air is different now. When we first sat down it was just plain old air, but now it’s fortified with all these poems. I’d be doing a lot of inhaling if I were you.” And when Toronto’s own Anne Michaels finished off the night with an interweaving selection from Correspondences (2013), she closed with a beautiful line that summed up the elusive nature of poetry: “the line break forever [changes] the word above and the word below, altered by breath.”

Anne Michaels was shortlisted for Correspondences.

Descant contributor Anne Michaels was shortlisted for Correspondences. Our evening program was constructed like her beautiful book — accordion architecture that circled back on itself.

As a welcome change, the writers didn’t take themselves too seriously, and some really had fun. After Carl Phillips read one of his solemn final lines, “why do we love at all,” he paused to grab his water, then added wryly, “because it’s actually quite rewarding.” The audience howled. He said that the final line was good at the time, but now seemed a little dramatic. Anne Carson (Red Doc>, 2013) read from Short Talks, and got the audience to participate with a word or line which we recited on cue (“deciduous?” a thousand voices queried enthusiastically).

Anne Carson won the Canadian prize this year and...

Anne Carson won the Canadian prize this year. She also won the inaugural prize in 2001.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Griffin Trustee and former US Poet Laureate Robert Hass presented the award to Brazilian poet Adélia Prado, “a sexy, mystical, Catholic poet.” She came on stage with a translator and read her speech in Portuguese, and at the end gracefully thanked the audience herself with both “thank you,” and “merci,” a simple touch that spoke volumes of her charm.

Brazilian poet Adelio Prado, reading her acceptance speech with the help of her translator.

Brazilian poet Adelio Prado, reading her acceptance speech with the help of her translator.

Maria Rosenthal, who translated Tomasz Rozycki’s Kolonie (2006), did a joint reading with the Polish poet. Four poems were read, in both English and the original Polish, the latter elegantly read by Rozycki, in a near duplicated cadence from the English translation. Rosenthal thanked the Griffin Trust for including translations in the competition because “not everyone understands the art that goes into it.”

To close, Scott Griffin presented each writer with a leather-bound copy of their own book. The final prize was given out the following evening and the poets seemed to enjoy the low pressure of the shortlist reading night. And it’s precisely that atmosphere that will bring me back next year, whoever the nominees may be, for this much needed celebration of poetry.

By Justin Lauzon


Justin Lauzon is one of Descant’s newest volunteers. He has reviewed Texas, Kafka’s Hat and, with Jack Hostrawser, co-authored this review of Rove for us. Justin is a writer and teacher from Oakville, interested in magic realism. He studied fiction at York University and the Humber School for Writers, and is currently working on his first novel. Check out his film blog, “The Alternate Take,” here and follow him on twitter, @JLauzonwrites.

Seamus Heaney: a sunlit absence

Seamus Heaney, 2008. Photo courtesy of Tom Szustek.

Close your eyes and imagine living in a culture where the death of a respected poet commands a standing ovation from a stadium full of sports fans.

Do this even if you haven’t read a poem in years.

Ireland, North and South, is in deep mourning for the loss of Nobel Prize winning poet, playwright, translator and teacher, Seamus Heaney, who died in Dublin on Friday, at age 74. But they are not alone, as admirers from around the world continue to express their sympathies and sense of loss. The number of obituaries is staggering.

Poetry itself isn’t about numbers; but listen to these. On Sunday, two days after Heaney’s death, 80,000 football fans stood and cheered in his honour for three minutes at the All Ireland Gaelic football final. At his funeral in Dublin yesterday, 1,000 people attended. Amongst family and friends were actors, rockers, politicians of various stripes, presidents and prime ministers.

Heaney in a 2012 interview. I chose this photo because of how very Irish he looks here! Photo courtesy of The Royal Irish Academy.

In a tweet for Descant on Friday, longtime co-editor Paul Fowler reminded us of Heaney’s revered translation of Beowulf. Here’s Heaney reading from this translation. Put your feet up and close your eyes:

Heaney wrote about universal themes of family and faith and obligation and death. But he also wrote about what is still euphemistically referred to as “the troubles” in Northern Ireland, where he was born. Even in his books that do not directly address this uncivil war, readers can often feel him grappling with the political, religious, social and cultural divisions that are still working themselves out today.

Tragedy, of course, breeds comedy, especially in the Irish. After his stroke in 2006, Heaney was fitted with a pacemaker. His friend and fellow poet Paul Muldoon tells the story that Heaney loved to quip, “Blessed be the pacemakers.”

Heaney, with family members, at a party in his home in Dublin, 1979. Photo courtesy of Burns Library.

According to his son, Michael, just minutes before he died, Heaney sent his wife, Marie Heaney, a text, in Latin: “noli timere.” Do not be afraid. A moving and reassuring message for his wife, indeed. But the second Irish poet to win the Nobel Prize in Literature (1995) since W.B. Yeats (1923) may have also meant to leave a statement of courage for other poets and thinkers. Speak up; be not afraid.

In June 2012, Seamus Heaney was awarded the Griffin prize for Lifetime Achievement at Koerner Hall in Toronto. It was possibly one of the best-kept literary secrets because as far as I could tell, everyone in the room was surprised when it was announced and Heaney walked onto the stage.

I was there, and I can tell you that we got to our feet almost as fast as those football fans, and we clapped and cheered and stood like that for almost 3 minutes. Later, when I lined up to get his autograph, I saw that he looked tired  so I didn’t try to chat him up. I thanked him for all his years of work and he nodded quietly and signed my poster.


Seamus Heaney was buried yesterday, in Bellaghy, County (London)Derry, Northern Ireland, beneath the kind of turf that his father and grandfather worked, but Heaney never did. Instead, as he explains in this 1994 interview for the Paris Review, “The fact of the matter is that the most unexpected and miraculous thing in my life was the arrival in it of poetry itself—as a vocation and an elevation almost.”

For Mary Heaney


There was a sunlit absence.
The helmeted pump in the yard
heated its iron,
water honeyed

in the slung bucket
and the sun stood
like a griddle cooling
against the wall

of each long afternoon.
So, her hands scuffled
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove

sent its plaque of heat
against her where she stood
in a floury apron
by the window.

Now she dusts the board
with a goose’s wing,
now sits, broad-lapped,
with whitened nails

and measling shins:
here is a space
again, the scone rising
to the tick of two clocks.

And here is love
like a tinsmith’s scoop
sunk past its gleam
in the meal-bin.

(Seamus Heaney, from North, 1975, Faber and Faber, p. ix)

Announcing the Finalists for the Winston Collins/Descant Prize for Best Canadian Poem

On Wednesday, February 20th we will celebrate the memory of Winston Collins by announcing the winner of the 2012/2013 Winston Collins/Descant Prize for Best Canadian Poem. In anticipation of this occasion we’d like to share with you the finalists for the prize, chosen out of the many who have been reviewed.

Here are the finalists (not listed in a particular order):

Richard Scarsbrook: “Fortune”
Laura Lamont: “Night Vision”
Elizabeth Greene: ”Summer’s Children and Their Mother”
Terry Ann Carter: “Letters of War”
Hector Williamson: “Aesthetics Come Slowly”
John Lee: “Bringing the Farmhouse Down”
Margot Maddison-MacFadyen: “The Emergent Seed”
Joan Crate: “Leda”

For more information about the prize please visit our website:

End-of-Summer Thoughts on Dennis Lee’s ‘400: Coming Home’

… You are on the highway, there is a kind of
laughter, the cars pound
south. Over your shoulder the scrub-grass, the fences,
the fields wait patiently as though someone
believed in them …

Descant #39: Dennis Lee Special IssueIt’s been almost 40 years since Dennis Lee’s ‘400: Coming Home‘ was published as the opening piece in Civil Elegies and Other Poems. But Lee’s meditation on the freeway between Toronto and Barrie, the route so many summer vacationers take north from the city, has lost none of its resonance.

Reading the poem this time of year in Toronto, where much of Civil Elegies is set, its element of tragicomedy is more palpable than ever. In this climate, where our compulsion to take advantage of summer light and heat can reach a frantic pitch, ‘there is a kind of laughter’ amid the ‘swish and thud’ of traffic heading south back to the city. The poem doesn’t offer any particular cause or source for this laughter, but perhaps we can begin to understand the muted joke when we observe our own customs from a distance. On the highway with Lee, what had seemed real and solid suddenly seems arbitrary:

Back in the city many things you lived for
are coming apart.
Transistor rock still fills
backyards, in the parks young men do things to
hondas; there will be
heat lightning, beer on the porches, goings on.
That is not it.

The poem begins and ends with, ‘you are still on the highway.’ We are still on the highway moving toward the idea or ideal of a life and the void on the other side of it. Across the median, the escarpment rises above us and ‘the edges / take care of themselves.’ In this in-between space, an undefined freedom could be another cause for laughter: ‘there is / no strain, you can almost hear it, you / inhabit it.’

Many of the themes that Lee will take up in the nine elegies that form the second part of the book appear subtly here. Among them are materialism, the inertia of routine, our exploitation of the land, and ‘void.’ In ‘400: Coming Home,’ his political concerns are not yet explicit, but the intense spirituality of the poetry is immediate. And as we discover when reading Lee, the political is not divisible from the spiritual.

This poem does much more than appeal to one’s bittersweet experience of the end of summer, one’s nostalgia for the country, or the thrill of the highway—its impact is complex, its voice both serene and troubled. At the time of its writing, Lee was trying to find a new language and a new way of being in colonized space, but the cadence that began to guide his line was more elemental than a nation or way of life (see his essay, ‘Cadence, Country, Silence‘). Four decades on, this cadence still feels new. Though the setting and events in ‘400: Coming Home’ remain very familiar, in the act of reading this poem we also still find ourselves at an uncanny remove from what is habitual and known in our lives.

[Pictured above: Descant #39, the Dennis Lee Special Issue, Winter 1982]

DESCANT Congratulates 23 Poets

Further to our blog entry of February 16th, ambulance we would like to confirm the names of each poet short listed for this year’s Winston Collins Prize for Best Canadian Poem.*

For 2011, our ‘short list’ includes the names of 23 individuals. Their names and poems are as follows:

Wendy Brandts                         Ardent Awakenings

Roger Bell                                Oh Wendy

Barry Butson                            Things I Touch

Terry Ann Carter                       The Call

Joan Crate                                Cherry Jam

Barry Dempster                        A Circle Of White Deck Chairs

Kildare Dobbs                          September 1939

Kate Marshall-Flaherty             Apocalypse of Bees

Susan Glickman                      Things From Which One Never Recovers

Elizabeth Greene                     Planet of the Lost Things

Gillian Harding-Russell             Gerontian Thoughts

Margaret Hollingsworth            Some Sage Said

Sheldon Inkol                          She Does Not Want

Ellen S. Jaffe                           Remembering September Tenth

Ellen S. Jaffe                           Continental Drift

Donna Langevin                      In Lieu of an Obit

Kathy Mac                              Lachesis Descends from the Mountain Alone

Anna Mamcini                        The Treeplanters

Talya Rubin                            Leaving the Island

Renee Sarojini-Saklikar           June 1981

Karen Schnidler                      Brief History

Susan Stenson                       Romantic Poetry

Josh Stewart                          Skeleton Beach

Myna Wallin                          The Self As Both Object And Subject

Descant congratulates each of these poets for their fine contributions to Canadian culture and contemporary literature.

We would also like to thank everyone who participated this year. We invite you all to consider entering our 2012 competition this fall. More details about next year’s event can be found at:

* We wish to confirm that all short listed entries will be clearly cited on our blog and website in the future. This information was not included in our previous blog entry, for which we apologize. Staffing changes this January led, regretfully, to a few items ‘slipping through the cracks.’ Again, we apologize for this temporary oversight.

Winston Collins Winner and Honourable Mentions of 2011


On February 8, 2011 Descant announced the winner and two honourable mentions for this year’s 2011 Winston Collins/Descant Prize for Best Canadian Poem at Supermarket, Toronto. The night went off wonderfully with a speech from Descant’s editor-in-chief, Karen Mulhallen. We were lucky enough to have readings from Linda Woolven, Elisabeth de Mariaffi, Giovanna Riccio and R. Brian Rigg, as well as our three finalists who also read their winning poems (Pamela Porter read via a uTube video).

The winner of the Winston Collins Prize and $1,000 in prize money was Barbara Schott, with her poem Thin Ice. The judges described this winning poem: “This poet has turned a winter drowning into a rumination on our own personal descent into a cold wet world…’Thin Ice’ works on the surface as an accounting of failure, of childhood promise that is doused and expectations disappointed. Yet the beauty of the world surrounds us, our final breath is full of the sight of it…It is a humble poem about the ego and about ego’s loss, and while we submerge into the icy depths we read the poem – it is about us! – scrawled on the bridge above.”

Honourable mention, winning $250 in prize money, was Carla Hartenberger, with Naked in the Sun. The judges spoke highly of this poem, “By the last words of this poem the reader may be filled with such a sense of loss and heartbreak that they may not be sure whether it was the poem that effected them so… That is because the summer that the poet recalls having spent in her youth with a sweetheart resonates so strongly that it will undoubtedly remind the reader of a summer they too had at some time. The poet uses a breathless, frolicking stream of consciousness to achieve this.”

Honourable mention, also winning $250 prize money, Pamela Porter with The Place of Feathers. The judges said this about her poem: “The author sees a landscape covered in feathers and allows herself to come to the conclusion that it was a multitude of angels that passed this way. This short poem describes the way that the natural world can transport us into the realm of myth and narrative. ‘The Place of Feathers’ takes an arresting moment and essentially arrests it, holding us there to feel that moment over and over again.”

The competition was fierce in its fifth anniversary, approximately 100 submissions came in from across Canada—from Victoria, British Columbia to Chateau Guay, Quebec; from Whitehorse, Yukon to Goulds, Newfoundland; from Canadians living as far away as Australia. Two rounds of judging narrowed the list down to 27 contenders, then to the final three.

The event was also for the launch of D151: Winter Reader, which is available in stores now. Descant would like to congratulate Kathleen Painter on organizing a wonderful evening and producing an enchanting issue. If you would like to have one delivered to your home, then please subscribe today by clicking here

Descant would also like to congratulate the three winners, as well as all those who made it onto the short list. We would also like to thank those came to the event on Tuesday 8th, we hope you had an enjoyable evening.

The Scream Literary Festival 2010: July 6 — 12


Get ready for this year’s The Scream Literary Festival — six exciting days of literary events across Toronto!

Now in its 18th year, The Scream is a tribute to all that is radical, provocative, and new in literature. Events of all kinds will be happening throughout next week, all leading up to the massive main attraction: The Scream in High Park, a super-sized poetry reading in the beautiful outdoors.

Find a list of this year’s happenings (with links to their respective Facebook event pages) below! And you can visit The Scream’s website for even more details.

Welcome to the Carnival: An Evening with Steve McCaffery and David Antin (Tuesday, July 6 @ 7 pm) The first event of the festival features readings by “two of literature’s greatest provocateurs” (in fact, one of them, Steve McCaffery, is a past DESCANT contributor!).

Choose Your Own Poetic Adventure: A Scream Pub Crawl (Wednesday, July 7 @ 7 pm) A huge, sprawling poetry-reading event — featuring past DESCANT contributors Gary Barwin, Michael Knox, Nathaniel G. Moore, Emily Schultz, Daniel Scott Tysdal — former Now Hear This! S.W.A.T writer and DESCANT blogger Zoe Whittall — and many, many more writers!

The Centre for Sleep & Dream Studies (Wednesday, July 7 @ 11 pm) Poetry, sound and dream diagnosis are combined in the work of Canadian poet and artist a.rawlings!

The Hand That Feeds (Thursday, July 8 @ 7 pm) A celebration of Canadian arts policy that features past DESCANT contributor RM Vaughan, as well as NOW HEAR THIS! S.W.A.T. writers Angela Szczepaniak and Natalie Walschots!

My Voice Says So: The 25th Anniversary of bpNichol’s Zygal (Thursday, July 8 @ 11 pm) A gathering to celebrate the work of bpNichol – the well-known Canadian poet who was featured in DESCANT’s second-ever issue in 1971 (and again in 1988)!

A Prairie of the Appetite: Margaret Christakos’ Excessive Love Prostheses (Friday, July 9 @ 7 pm) A book-length dinner reading inspired by the work of past DESCANT contributor Margaret Christakos.

Wax & Comb: The Scream’s Moustache Gala (Saturday, July 10 @ 7 pm) Featuring live music and contests for the most innovative and impressive facial hair — start growing ASAP!

YouthTube: User (Re)Generated Content (Sunday, July 11 @ 4 pm) A digital presentation of poetry that encourages participation and contribution from the audience.

Old School vs. New School (Sunday, July 11 @ 5:30 pm) A panel of experts on the written word debate the meaning — and the future — of “radical” literature.

The Scream in High Park (Monday, July 12 @ 7 pm) The main event — featuring past DESCANT contributor Michael Lista along with many other talented writers reading at the Dream Stage in High Park!

HEAR/HEAR Reading Series – Wed Apr 21!

HEAR/HEAR Reading Series

Wednesday, April 21 (doors at 6:30pm, readings at 7pm)

@ The Free Times Cafe (320 College St.)

Descant excitedly invites you to HEAR/HEAR Reading Series! For its first installment of the year, NOW HEAR THIS! Toronto’s arts-based literacy organization is bringing the community together for an ALL AGES Reading Series to celebrate writers getting involved with youth and encourage the support of local authors right here in Toronto.

On Wednesday, April 21st at 7pm NOW HEAR THIS! will be showcasing their extremely talented Writers-in-Residence. Featured writers include: Andrew Daley, Adrienne Gruber, Rebecca Rosenblum and Julia Tausch who will be sharing their evening with the community reading exciting new works. This event will be held at The Free Times Cafe located at 320 College St. A comfortable new dig for the HEAR/HEAR readings; the cafe promotes music and art in a cozy atmosphere for friends and artists to share their passions.

Help us celebrate with NHT! and start the new season in support of their upcoming projects and literacy program. Feel free to come a little early for dinner and drinks! Also featuring a special door prize give-away sponsored by This Ain’t the Rosedale Library, you won’t want to miss out – we know Descant won’t!
Please visit:

Save the Date: DESCANT 148 Launch!


Descant 148: The Search for Happiness / Descant Spring Issue Launch

Monday, April 19, 2010 / 7:30pm
The Victory Cafe (581 Markham Street, 2nd Floor)

It’s that time again, literary ladies and gents! Descant is launching its 2010 spring reader at The Victory Cafe, featuring readings by contributors Emi Benn, Roo Borson, David Day, Larry Frolick and Alex Pugsley.

Entitled The Search for Happiness, this issue tackles one of life’s greatest struggles for the unobtainable through poetry, fiction, memoirs and travel essays. Can a person ever obtain genuine satisfaction? Contributing editors Mark Kingwell and Rosemary Sullivan delve thoughtfully into the topic, while long-time Descant writer Larry Frolick offers up his memoir-in-progress, “Dark Side of the Moon.” Descant 148 also features portfolio and cover art from acclaimed artist Anitra Hamilton, and portfolios from American sculptor Jim Hake and Canadian media-artist John Massey.

Expect another bang-on event of delectable ideas and riveting readings! Don’t forget to RSVP to the Facebook event.

You can catch a sneak peek of our beautiful new issue on our website HERE.