Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Birthday to "Winter Gifts" author, Keith Wilkinson

Lipstick Press asked Keith to fill in the Seven of the Proust Questionnaire for his birthday. Here are his answers.


1.What is your idea of happiness?

A dynamic balance amongst all the forces important in my life – desires, needs, deepest values, expression of the various facets of my inborn nature and my acquired preferences. This balance continuously shifts as I move across the complex vector of my life.

2.What is your favourite virtue?

Respectfulness toward the mystery that is in all things. Respect for the reality of each person, but, more broadly, respect for the unexplainable mystery of universe in which we find ourselves – a presence filled with life, physical phenomena, darkness and sub-worlds of thought, feeling and imagination.

3.What is your biggest weakness?

I have many weaknesses and any of them can cause grief for me or others. I include in my list impatience, self-centredness, lack of generosity, and lack of awareness of my effect upon others, but also openness and expressiveness, which in some contexts are not appreciated.

4.Who are your favourite poets?

I like individual poems by a range of poets more than I like all the poems of any poet. My list is quite eclectic, including Basho, bill bissett, William Blake, Charles Bukowski, Hayden Carruth, Leonard Cohen, Lorna Crozier, Mary Oliver, Kay Ryan, Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas. I also like the work of writers whose prose flows and tumbles like poetry and has a deep undertow, writers like John McPhee, Kiran Desai, Joan Didion, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, Peter Carey and Hiroshi Murakami. And there are contemporaries who publish sensitive and insightful haiku, tanka and other micropoetry on Twitter and on blogs. I’m thinking of writers who publish online under real, pen and site names like Claire Everett, @CoyoteSings @tankaqueen and Alexis Rotella Designs.
5.Who are your favourite heroes and heroines in history?

All those people who work without regard for personal gain to make the world a better place for everyone, including the artists who keep perceiving the world anew to keep human wonder awake. I’m also grateful to scientists and scholars who use art and science together for understanding and improving the human condition, and to Lao Tzu for his balance, and to Karen Armstrong for pointing us in modern times toward a path of greater compassion, and to the Inuit people who have historically listened to the large world so carefully and respectfully from their precarious vantage point. 

6. What do you most dislike?

Cruelty—the wilful harming of others for pleasure—a distortion of what is helpful for us as a species. I also dislike human carelessness and disregard for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

7. What is your motto?

My motto changes as needs shift. A good one for me to fall back upon is an old Samurai adage: “I make my mind my friend”.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

League of Canadian Poets: P.K. Page Trust Fund and Benefits Readings

The League of Canadian Poets announces the PK Page Trust Fund in support of poets and poetry in Canada. A series of benefit readings will honour her and initiate the fund.

“PK was one of our own and we want to remember her,” says League President Susan McMaster. “She was a great poet and a great mentor. We hope this new fund will grow into a large endowment that allows the League to support the art and craft of poetry in a number of ways that would have pleased her.”

Born in 1916, PK Page’s artistic and poetic career spanned more than five decades, ending only with her death in 2010. She was made a Life Member of the League in 1987.  Past president, DC Reid revealed  “PK meant a great deal to me personally, for her connection across poetic generations and with English poetry, for her patrician ways and her bright, agile mind. Her book of glosas, Hologram, and her encouragement resulted in an outpouring of this Spanish form from Canadian poets, firmly establishing a new stream in Canadian formalist poetry.”

In 2000, PK, as she was known to her friends, was granted a special honour when the United Nations chose her glosa “Planet Earth for its Dialogue Among Civilizations Through Poetry reading series. The poem — which was the one for which she wanted to be remembered — was read at locations around the globe considered ‘international ground,’ including the United Nations, Mount Everest and Antarctica.

Reading on Gabriola
A benefit reading for the PK Page Trust Fund will be held at Mad Rona’s coffee, (500 North Road, Gabriola) November 6th, 2 pm until 4pm. Featuring League member poets Sandy Shreve and Heidi Greco, the event will open with a reading of “Planet Earth” read by Gabriola’s Naomi Beth Wakan.  Other local poets will have a chance to read a favourite PK Page poem by contacting Janet Vickers (BC/Yukon Rep for The League of Canadian Poets) at

 Suggested donation at the door is $5.  All money collected will go to the PK Page Trust Fund.

Sandy Shreve’s most recent poetry collections are Suddenly, So Much (Exile Editions, 2005) and Cedar Cottage Suite (inaugural Gesture series chapbook, Leaf Press, 2010). A new chapbook, Level Crossing, is forthcoming from the Alfred Gustav Press in 2012. Her other books include the anthology In Fine Form – The Canadian Book of Form Poetry (Polestar, 2005), co-edited with Kate Braid. For more information, visit her website at:

Heidi Greco’s poems, reviews and short fiction have been published in books, anthologies, newspapers and magazines in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. Her novella, Shrinking Violets (Quattro Books 2011) won the Ken Klonsky Award. Collections of her poems include Siren Tattoo and Rattlesnake Plantain (Anvil Press), and A: The Amelia Poems (Lipstick Press 2009)  a chapbook about Amelia Earhart. Heidi leads classes, retreats and workshops for adults, students, inmates from Matsqui Penitentiary, and  blogs at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Heidi Greco does Seven of the Proust

Heidi Greco, author of A: The Amelia Poems (Lipstick 2009), has recently published her new novella  Shrinking Violets (Quattro 2011) .

It's a story about a red-head named Reggie - a single mother who works as a cashier. It sounds ordinary but soon turns out to be a gripping tale of dreams and secrets that turn sour.

Heidi agreed to participate in Lipstick's "Seven of the Proust" questionnaire. It asks us to go deeper than the interview about how long you have been writing, to reveal a little of the writer's soul.

Lipstick wishes Heidi every success in her career as novelist, reviewer and poet.

Note: the acronym PQ in this blog means Proust Questionnaire and has nothing to do with the Parti Quebecois.

PQ: What is your idea of happiness?

Heidi: Sitting outside on a summery evening, sharing a meal with those I love. Or, if the weather isn’t cooperating, doing the same thing inside.

PQ: What is your favourite virtue?

Heidi: Charity, especially charitable acts that are done in secret.

PQ: What is your biggest weakness?

Heidi: In general, sweets. To narrow it down, chocolate.

PQ: Who are your favourite poets?

Heidi: Sharon Olds for her honesty. Mary Oliver for her never-preachy connections to the earth. Rhona McAdam for her ability to express the most complex notions with the simplest of words. I can only hope McAdam has a new book out soon, as I’ve worn quite a path in her last one, "Cartography. "

PQ: Who are your favourite heroes and heroines in history?

Heidi: Amelia Earhart, of course. Also Nikola Tesla whose almost magical Tesla coil is probably the closest thing yet to a perpetual-motion machine, or at least a very sustainable power-channelling device. And for each doing their bit to make the world a better place: Kurt Vonnegut, Elizabeth May and Robert Zimmerman.

PQ: What do you most dislike?

Heidi: I’m with Holden Caulfield on this one – phonies. They’re generally so overblown full of themselves.  On second thought, maybe I have to say pumpkin pie.

PQ: What is your motto?

Heidi: Keep at it. It’s the only way you might get there, wherever ‘there’ might be.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Words for Orange by Antony di Nardo

Yeah, right, the eternal flame

a chalk walk around it marked by
displays of skewed sentiments

a single inflatable all orange
swings from the half wall

bunches of flowers
and hands cupping candles

orange cans of Orange Crush
and these words,

“In lieu of flowers,
fight oppression.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hope and Optimism by Janet Vickers

Your hope and optimism
have found us
like two pigeons
on a cedar branch
cooing in the morning's wake.

They flap their slow wings
with the graceful effort
of birds who do not soar
high above the forest
who must submit to gravity
close to earth's prickly shrubs, cliffs
and green meadows.

Hope and optimism are not light and airy
they are creatures of blood and bone
picking through grit and dirt
for anything they can use.

Mortal in pain
immortal in flight.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Silence for Jack by Antony di Nardo

one solemn bagpipe drones
two beats of silence between guns

a child cries alone
a crowd applauds

the bells of the Peace Tower sing
an anthem

Imagine …
an ellipsis of notes of steel rings

for words won’t move
his body forward to its hearse

where the media roll its ready visuals
with a tenor in Hi Def

a distinct nation in self-surround
and for a serious moment

all the rest is silence
for Jack

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dream no little dreams (from an Indigenous prayer, spoken at the funeral) by Ellen S. Jaffe

Bagpipes play their strange sad lament –
TV lets us see everything without being there:
Olivia’s strained face, baby Beatrice,
the silent surging crowd.

This morning I cleaned my kitchen cupboards,
touched up the orange paint (Colorado Dawn) –
death does this, makes us clean, straighten, see, listen, and touch –
loved ones, flowers, household clutter.

Rise Up – Amazing Grace – Hallelujah –
O Canada, how can we lose this man, who gave a voice to the voiceless,
home to the homeless, a song of hope to people in need –
not a saint, but a very human being.

I regret I did not know you, met you
only once – an NDP meeting – shook your hand,
saw your smile. The political is personal,
the personal political – you knew this by heart.

Now you go from the ordinary world – bike paths,
jam sessions, elections – into the mystic...
Into The Mystic, where we can’t yet follow.
All our love goes with you – love is all
we need to keep your dreams alive.

Ellen S. Jaffe

Monday, August 29, 2011

For Jack Layton, d. August 22, 2011 by Penn Kemp

Jack Layton, photo taken from Facebook page

Now it feels significant to let Jack free to dance
or rest in peace, after such a monumental fight.

Somehow I feel he has won the war; I feel him
triumphant. As for the NDP, I have a vision of

not one leader rising to replace him, but a collective
of MPs riding the national swell of love for Jack.

Now Canadians in experiencing such devastating loss
will recognize his value and the values of the NDP. 

At last. This may be his greatest gift to us. The time
has come not for another charismatic leader to see us

through but for the collective tribe to work in unity for

You can hear Penn being interviewed at Sound Therapy Radio and on CBC's Ontario Morning.

September 1, 6-6:30 pm.

The Spirit of a Leader with Penn Kemp in honour of Jack Layton on her show, Gathering Voices, CHRW FM, 94.9 FM. (Repeated September 8, 6:30-7:00 am).

Listen live on First interviewed by Jay Peachy on .

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Yesterday, for Jack Layton (1950-2011) by Waldemar Ens

a carved wooden cane called cancer
              came out of nowhere and
                            whacked us in the solar plexus

but when Jack carried it he used it like a
magically inspiring the different strands to tie together

reaching out and hooking us in
poking prodding the soft underside of

pointing out a better way down
a clearer road

helping us walk that road
even with our broken hips

a gentle wooden cane
             fell out of nowhere
                            at our feet

waiting for us to pick it up

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Among Today’s Dead and Sorely Missed by Penn Kemp

photo by Heidi Greco

So there’s Jack, standing at the gates with Jerry
Leiber, who co-wrote 'Hound Dog,' 'Stand By Me,'
and 'Jailhouse Rock’. Sure hope Jack managed
to smuggle up his guitar. Wonder which song
he’s singing first. A duet I wish we could hear.
By this irreverent ditty, Jack would be chuffed.

You can hear Penn being interviewed at Sound Therapy Radio and on CBC's Ontario Morning.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Last Line is Yours by Penn Kemp

Penn & Jack reading a poem for peace

I dream Jack Layton is sitting up in bed
joyously celebrating his win, beaming,
radiant: his indomitable optimism seeing
him through cancer and out the other side.

I know the game’s over. He understands
what we won’t till we too join him across
that last finishing line. Wherever you are,

Jack, we love you. Thank you for all you
won for us now that you are one with all.

His last line? “And we’ll change the world.”

You can hear Penn being interviewed at Sound Therapy Radio and on CBC's Ontario Morning.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Up and At 'Em, for Jack by Penn Kemp

Who is always hip!

Hip enough to lean left,
very left of centre and
perfectly well balanced.

Hip enough to call down
injustice when he sees it.

Hip enough to calm down
doubt and call out for all

those whose voices are
silenced. Hip enough to
know when the next
election is called for.

Hip to the latest outrage
fraud too easily lent.

Hip enough to lead
opposition into power:

Our next Prime Minister
surely. In confidence.

When a hip poem is called for,
a hip poem responds,
comes out swinging.

Hip, Hip, Hooray! 

(March 6, 2011)

You can hear Penn being interviewed at Sound Therapy Radio and on CBC's Ontario Morning.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sleepless by Elsie K. Neufeld

Blackberries, taken by Elsie Neufeld
Elsie says "This poem was written on Monday, August 22, before I heard the news that Jack had died. I had him in mind, as well as the wife of a friend who was diagnosed with cancer at the time that Jack made his last public announcement. Therefore this, and the other poem I submitted, is for Jack and others recently diagnosed, and being taken from life by cancer. There is no "Battle". Some cancers are bigger than life and human efforts." 

for Jack and others, and especially for their loved ones.

this morning at five
streetlamps illumined
the dark wet ground. Light
arrowed down from
shadowy posts, shone
upward and out from
rain-mirrored asphalt.
Each puddle a mine of
refractions. Elsewhere,
unnoticed, hanging on
roadside or field, a hard
green berry will soften. Turn
black. What eye doesn't
need such glossing, beauty
of blackberry and light

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

just jack by Joe Blades

no aide
no entourage
no bodyguard
just jack
at the entrance
to moe’s
in dorval
make that
pierre elliott trudeau
a plane or
between flights
and jack goes
to the bar
not a table
like the one
for two i’m
at alone with
mug of beer
and empty
sandwich plate
while jack gets
a build your own
montréal smoked
meat platter
et un verre
de vin rouge
looking out
over the tarmac
gates and
the endless
of silver birds
and domestic

Poems for Jack Layton - memories, thanks, sadness, grief at Canada's loss ...

On August 8th I thought there were no more poems coming for Lipstick Press blog and so I thanked all who had submitted, in effect closing up the project.

Now that Jack Layton has died there is a renewed call for this outpouring of grief.

If you would like to contribute, please send your unpublished work to with "Poems for Jack Layton" in the subject line. And please confirm that the poem is yours, written by you and is not being considered by another publishing outlet.

Lipstick Press thanks you for your time and your art.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jack Layton 1950 - 2011

Jack Layton died today, of the cancer that stopped his meteoric rise as leader of the opposition.  Below is a collection of poems of healing thoughts to Jack, submitted by Canadian poets.

I believe Jack was a leader in that sense that he worked for the greater good.  May we pick up the torch and carry his energy, his spirit and vision towards the kind of world he would be fighting for if he were still with us. 

May we find the optimism that Jack had, through our own work for social justice, and may Jack's family be comforted by this shift in Canadian consciousness.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Daniela Elza's Review of Robert Martens "Poltergeist"

This first appeared on Daniela's website Strange Places. Re-printed with permission.

I just finished reading Robert Marten’s chap book Poltergeist (published by Lipstick Press, 2011). I had the opportunity to listen to Robert read from Poletrgeist at the Harrison Hot Springs Arts Festival, where we ended up performing in the same show.

After I put the book down I found it circling around my head. Echoes calling me back to contemplate what was stirred, what was raised. The Poltergiest became my own history haunting my present. (As if I needed more encouragement.) And the doors of my wardrobe, or shall I say wordrobe started to rattle.

I found a shared space with the stories told, the way Robert weaves the present and the past. There were even moments that remind me of instances in my travel poems. Of layers, of juxtapositions. That was spooky. But, really, more joyful to find a sensibility which resonates, one that is not afraid of time
travel. Or raising things up…

(Aside: I was also reminded how during the time I lived in Bulgaria poltergeist stories were a staple. I worked with a producer on a documentary about a family who drew media attention for having a poltergeist in their house. I am a skeptic by nature, but when the carpet flipped and the washing machine stood on its edge and no rationalizing or reasoning could help me, I started to listen. (Then I contrast that with my life here in North America. How often do you hear people sharing stories of ghosts and poltergeists?)) That too is spooky.

Though the book begins with

i don’t like to tell
 this story, i sd, &
 sipped my coffee
 black, because people
 will think i’m
 crazy, & i smiled,
 but maybe, i sd,
 maybe i should write
 a poem about it,
 sure why not, she
 sd, because they
 think you’re crazy
 for writing poems

Robert does tell the stories through his poem. As he goes through Childhood, Rome, Barcelona, Ukraine etc. He tells them well using the tools of poetry to enhance the story, the moment, and its significance.

I loved it when the children in Sunday School ask their teacher: “will there be cougars in heaven?” The urgency of their questions, the curiosity of their young minds, challenging the adult world, the rigid ideologies that it gets wrapped in.

Do you hear your poltergiest rattling in your words, in your house, in your bones? Listen.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Message from the League of Canadian Poets and a Poem by Susan McMaster

photo by Elsie Neufeld
Dear Jack Layton -- You may remember we met some years ago on the Hill, when you kindly accepted a poem and book from me for Random Acts of Poetry. I'm now the president of The League of Canadian Poets, and wish to express for all of us our very deep appreciation of your integrity, passionate belief in the importance of community and humanity, and longterm, active commitment to the arts. We join in offering our warmest sympathy and support to you and Olivia and your family.

And as a personal offering, here is a poem of mine that can be read as a prayer or as a thought (depending on the shades of your stance on such matters!). I wrote it when my 15-year-old daughter was in serious danger of death from a ruptured appendix. She recovered completely and is now a happy and healthy 30-year-old. Sent with love and hope.

for a morning
not yet frayed
for every mourning
night endured
that wakes to ease
in the breathing chest
warmth of joints
taste of rest
that wakes
to the sky
blue silk
of day

Susan McMaster

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jack Layton by Michael Anstead

Mike she asked why are you crying
Because he is so suddenly sick and I
well maybe this is the last time we will see him
It’s a time for hope she said
That man is Jack Layton

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Prayer for a Jack of New Lantern by Stevens Taeho Han

A White Ox walks over the speaking moon.
An angry soul stands under the weeping tree.
A birch king, lost his red tongue cut in half,
Goes back to the cave where a bear lady waits no more.

O Jack, you can lay tones of humane Samsara causation
Off the new democratic people, who always whimper
Their hungry desires, more & more for their umbras.
God only knows he’s not a Jack of all trades or destinies.

O Let’s pray the king could toss away his pine cane soon
To wave a new scepter before he yields to ulcerated cells.
Angels could show him the way to the Palace before the sunset.
My fellow, arise and push off to bask on the sea before too late.

You know the sun is still green and fresh for a New Day Party.
Even they twist your chicken neck, the new dawn will brighten up!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Below and Above (poem for Jack) by Sho Wiley

This buglia flower looks almost like a moustache

Jack L's moustache lives
eyes too wise for final sighs
smile ever rises, wins

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Poem for Jack: by Janet Vickers

We have walked particles of the whole
breathing circle in and out
becoming and having been ordained
in our DNA—a species of this rarefied perplexity

earthbound shooting stars we are
flashes of nebulous necessity and grounded humility
plain and beautiful—how we feel so much
deeply, abundantly, affirming the yes of every question
we can’t say no to as if there can ever be such a thing
as nobody to prove against

so rest now and let the body heal its lesions
let it knit back together what has unravelled
and let the mind manage the mending
of that which we cannot measure

so be it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

In these moments (for Jack and others just diagnosed) by Elsie K. Neufeld

whir of a fan as it turns
on its stand, sideways and
back, blades blowing out
long, cool breaths like a
metronome’s path. Even
the cat's fur is ruffled
as table’s green cover rises
and falls like a chest. Puffs
of air trembling a fresh
arrangement of orange
orchids, lemon bright
callas that, shaded, furl
into scrolls, open again
in summer's blue

light. a skirt of salal
brushed briefly aside
from neck of glass vase.
Low hum unsettled
by scrape of a card
that will not be
felled by a gust as those
already toppled from
shelf. It is evening, it is
morning, the blades are
a story spun over and
over like alarm bells tested
today in the hall as if
saying it once, twice – to
the nth degree – will
make it all right.

A gull on the edge
of a high rise stands
on one leg, scratching
its bent head and chest.
A pigeon on opposite
end spins like a dervish.
Is seeing believing?
Cloud wafted past window
isn’t a cloud, it is
the dust of men drilling
concrete or maybe a white
snippet of hair, cut and
swept up in a draft.

Soon, the black
barges will burst open
the night sky and
Celebrate Light, but
now, in these moments
the tide of traffic on
Beach Ave. echoes
the waves' wild break
and recoil. Pigeons
lift off to the sound
of their own wings’
clapping. The gull
drops its leg and turns
like a fan to face  
another direction.
Still breathing.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dear Jack by Franci Louann

hearts break across Canada     for your pain  
we hold them together     for your strength  

you, who’ve done so much for so many  
all the good fights     let us win this with you  

dare we say you’ve inspired us?
lest we compare     the incomparable  

not since Terry Fox     has the C-word
hurt so many in this country  

Dear Jack     may you be a strong leader again  
or just be Grandpa     for your Beatrice  

we stand united for your strength    your triumph   
one more win for Canada

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Poem for Jack: by Honey Novick

photo by Heidi Greco
Your courage, concern and humanity will always lead.
I am fervently praying for you and Olivia and Mike and your whole family.
There is strength in tears and tears in life.
My hopes, dreams and prayers are with you constantly
as you have been there for us, the Canadian people.
Run Jack, run.
That's how I see you -- running and now you are running for your life.
Take very good care,
You are not only admired but loved by many.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Poem for Jack: Healing Breezes by Heidi Greco

evening wind begins to rise
bringing cool relief

moiréed curtain breathes
such steady rhythm

in and out
its hem

a running wave
along the wooden sill

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Poems for Jack Layton

Although this site, has in the past, been exclusively for Lipstick Press publications, about the author's reading and writing news, I propose something which moves into the political. I do this very cautiously, because I don't wish to venture into a partisan argument.

Jack Layton - taken from Facebook profile
What I ask is, for poets to write and submit to, short poems of healing thoughts to send to Jack Layton.  No, Lipstick Press is not venturing into spiritual healing right now, other than the kind of healing that comes with a flood of letters and cards showing deep concern when someone's plans are interrupted with a critical health issue.

Jack Layton is now battling a cancer separate from the prostate cancer that he had previously overcome.

Having worked passionately in a hostile environment that barely yields any thanks from the electorate, the media, and business, do we have any words to convey to Mr. Layton as he courageously faces this battle? If so, please send your own, previously unpublished poems to the above mentioned email address with "Poems for Jack Layton" in the subject heading,  and those that we feel are appropriate will be posted on this blog.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happy Birthday to Elsie Neufeld

Author of Grief Blading Up has a birthday today. Wishing her (and us) more of her poems.

Elsie is a big supporter of emerging writers and poets. She grew up with stories that brought home the ghosts of her ancestors who never made it out of Russia. As a young girl she would write to family she had never met, and couldn't expect to meet, as they were in Siberia and Germany.

Grief Blading Up sold out pretty quickly, so we regret to say we have none left, but we are looking forward to her next book.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Poetry Survey

Reading or writing poetry? If you are reading this site you are likely doing one or the other or both. Please would you take our very short survey?

This is really a test for Lipstick Press and the first survey we have done. If it looks amateurish that's why.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Martens and others at Literary Cafe: July 11 at Harrison Memorial Hall

 Cheryl Isaac, director of  Continuing Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley, proudly presents this year's Literary Cafe ...

7:30 to 9 pm, Monday, July 11, at the Harrison Memorial Hall, 280 Esplanade Ave., Harrison Hot Springs. (Doors open at 7:15)
Tickets: $12 at the door or in advance at 604-796-3664
Alt-country singer: Franklyn Currie


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Birthday to the author of The Picket Fence Diaries - Al Rempel

As well as The Picket Fence Diaries, Al Rempel’s work includes  understories, published by Caitlin Press (April 2010), has appeared or is forthcoming in The Malahat Review, GRAIN, CV2, and Event. Al’s poetry has been published in various on-line publications and anthologies, including 4 Poets, Rocksalt, Half in the Sun, and The Forestry Diversification Project, and can be seen in Vancouver  through Poetry in Transit. Al is currently an alternate teacher in Prince George.

May your day be lyrical.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Poltergeist by Robert Martens

i don't like to tell
this story, i sd, &
sipped my coffee
black, because people
will think i'm
crazy, & i smiled,
but maybe, i sd,
maybe i should write
a poem about it,
sure why not, she
sd, because they
think you're crazy
for writing poems

We are all haunted by the past, but for some, the past is so close to the present, it invades the future. Robert Martens playfully locates the unseen trickster, the poltergeist that hide in the corners of Ukrainian rooms, Bavarian towns, the Vedder Canal, the village of Yarrow, the Sunday School class,  the zoo, the restaurant in the city.

In this collection of poems we travel through the halls of academia and across two continents weighing the ghosts against reality. Throughout this thread the Mennonite church promises stability for the people (whose history of persecution is remembered personally) as they search for a place to settle in peace. Yet no matter how certain the voice from the pulpit delivers its wisdom, that peace is never guaranteed. The boy of the Fraser Valley may not be persecuted like his grand-father or great-uncle in Russia, but the skin's memory of the terrible past still invades the pastoral landscape.

Martens' skilfully transcends his particular cultural knowledge locating the ghosts across Europe that shape-shift into the luminous eyes of fascist young men looking for foreign bones to break. This is where the menacing allusions of these poems will provoke us all to think about the poltergeist in our politics and to wonder if there is anything anywhere that is not haunted.

The cover image titled "Ghosts" is a watercolour by the gifted, award winning painter Chiu Ming Chiang. Born in Taiwan, Chiu Ming spent much of her time as a child, drawing. Her grade one teacher spotted her talent and sent one of her paintings to the World's Children Drawing Competition in Germany, where it received second place. Later Chiu-Ming went on to study Chinese brush painting at the National Defense University in Taiwan and received her Fine Arts degree in 1981.

 Chiu-Ming has exhibited her work in shows throughout Abbotsford, Mission, Port Coquitlam, and the Canadian Society of Painters of Watercolour’s Open International Juried Art Exhibition at the Calgary Leighton Art Centre.

Lipstick Press
767 Chelwood Road, RR #1
Gabriola BC V0R 1X1

ISBN: 978-0-9781204-9-8

Cover image "Ghost" watercolour © 2011 Chiu Ming Chiang
28 pages

$8 plus shipping
To order send an email to

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lipstick Books available at Renaissance and Page's Resort & Mariner

Renaissance Books #43 - 6th Street, New WestminsterB.C. V3M 2Z1. Phone: 604-525-4566

Page's Resort and Marina bookstore, 3350 Coast Road, Gabriola Island, British Columbia
V0R 1X7. Phone: (250) 247-8931. Fax: (250) 247-8997.

Thanks to book shop owners everywhere - they are the custodians of culture.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Heidi Greco

Author of A: The Amelia Poems, Rattlesnake Plantain and many other poems found in various journals and anthologies has a birthday today.  May your travels bring us more of your literary clarity.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Birthday greetings to rob mclennan

Happy birthday to rob mclennan, author of  how it is I am not married / I want to sleep in the runcible spoon, and tireless educator, promoter, and publisher of the contemporary craft, has a birthday today.

There are still copies of his book available at Lipstick - $8.00 plus shipping.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Franci Louann

Poet Franci Louann, creator of Beach Cardiology, has a birthday today. Hope it's a beach.

For her birthday on March 5th, she is asking her friends and family for a special gift: help her raise $650 for Unitarian Universalists Respond to Christchurch Earthquake.
She chose Unitarian Universalists Respond to Christchurch Earthquake because she met their UU minister (in the Cathedral Cafe) in December 2009.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Franci Louann reads from Beach Cardiology January 30th

Sunday January 30th
2:30 pm  
at Renaissance Books
43 6th St New Westminster
(just up from Columbia station)

Books available for purchase at the reading - $8 each
Come out and buy a coffee - and a book or two

Also at this location: Poetic Justice at 4pm
featuring Marc Creamore
hosted by Ruth Kozak
open mic after Marc's reading, until 6pm

Lipstick Press is not publishing books now

Dear Poets Sorry to let you know we have not been publishing chapbooks since 2010. We did some online publishing - mainly for social iss...