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Poets at Artfest 2021

Poets @ Artfest vii – A 2021 Virtual Event

In its seventh year as part of Artfest Kingston, and the second as a virtual event, this year’s will be a bit different. In its first five years, this multi-day outdoor poetry festival offered readings from over 50 poets drawn from Kingston, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and all places between. Last year’s virtual event featured 35 poets each reading a single poem that could be accessed through a blogspace link.

This year, 40 poets offering longer readings (like those you might have heard at the original live festivals) are being recorded from early June through mid-July. Participating poet’s bios, listed in alphabetical order by first name, can be found below.

The first of these recordings will air July 2nd on finding a voice, a spoken word radio show that airs every Friday afternoon from 4-6pm ET. The show will then air new readings each week over the course of several weeks. You can listen LIVE both worldwide at, or in the Kingston area at CFRC 101.9fm. By 7pm ET, after the show ends each week, it will be uploaded to the blogspace for the radio show.

As a heads up; each Friday, the radio show’s Facebook group page will list what will appear on that day’s show.  

Links you may find helpful:

Radio – CFRC 101.9fm

Livestream –

Facebook’s finding a voice group page --

Blogspace -- finding a voice on cfrc 101.9fm --

2021 Poet Bios:

Alfred Von Mirbach. A long time Perth-area resident, Alfred is happily dipping his toes into poetic waters by lending his voice to Bon Echo. What a treat to be part of creative endeavours with friends.

Allan Briesmaster is a freelance editor and publisher. His two most recent books are The Long Bond: Selected and New Poems (Guernica Editions, 2019) and Windfor (Ekstasis Editions, 2021). He has given readings and talks and organized literary events across Canada for many years, and currently runs his own small press, Aeolus House, specializing in limited-edition books of poetry. He lives in Thornhill, Ontario.

Alyssa Cooper is a Canadian author, poet, and performer currently living in Belleville with her partner, two cats, and a Boston Terrier. She is the author of four novels, a short story collection, and two poetry collections, and has performed at festivals, conferences, and special events from Gananoque to Toronto. She believes in feminism, veganism, and the power of the Oxford comma. 

Anne Archer is a musician and re-emerging poet who is inventing herself.  Her 2021 publications include 3 poems from her sequence, 'For the Birds,' in Entropy Magazine (11 January 2021), and, under the name Archer Lundy, 'Danby Lake' in The Eunoia Review.  ‘Admit Darius' is scheduled to appear in Sledgehammer Lit on 25 August 2021.  Along with Susan Gillis, Barb Secker, and Alfred von Mirbach, she is a member of a performance group, Bon Echo.

Anne Graham describes herself as a life traveler, an observer, and since 2011 a published writer. She loves

spoken word, has participated in slam and open mic events, has self-published five chapbooks, and is working on her autobiography.

Barbara Lorraine Laing is based in Kingston, Ontario. Previously longlisted for the CBC Poetry prize, her writing appears in Room, Grain, The Antigonish Review and The New Quarterly. She teaches in the Bachelor of Education program at Queen's University, where she is also in the final year of a PhD, exploring how adults learn through spiritual encounters. She is currently writing a book about her Canada-wide study. 

Barbara Secker writes poetry among trees, rocks, wetlands and wildlife outside Perth, Ontario. After an academic career in Toronto, she recently returned to her enduring fascination with poetry. What’s new and enlivening is joining a writing community, workshops, and mentors exploring the craft of poetry (special thanks to Susan Gillis!). Barb is a member (with Susan Gillis, Anne Archer and Alfred Von Mirbach) of Bon Echoa group that performs poems composed for multiple voices.

Bethmarie Michalska is a Kingston clinical psychologist & assistant professor of psychiatry at Queen’s University. Her poetry appears in Quarry Magazine which she helped edit, Queen’s Undergraduate Review, and Synergy. Also, in a YouTube reading, and work at the poetry blackboard of Kingston Frontenac Public Library. Anthology inclusions (online): So, What Are You Doing To Make the World a Better Place?,; (in print):  Lake Effect 6, That Not Forgotten, and Inspired Heart for Teens. North Superior Bardo is her first chapbook.

Billie Kearns (aka Billie the Kid) is a K’ai Taile Dené and Nehiyaw spoken word poet and storyteller. Originally from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, she currently resides in Kingston, Ontario, the traditional home of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. Her poetry breathes life into narratives as she explores relationships with family, friends, food, and the dynamic nature of dreams.

Bob MacKenzie’s poetry has appeared internationally in more than 400 journals and anthologies. He’s published seventeen books of poetry and prose-fiction, and released six albums on CD. Besides local and international awards for his writing, Bob’s received grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council, and a Fellowship for the Summer Literary Seminars. Look for Bob’s new book footsteps in the garden online, or ask for it at your library or bookstore.

Bon Echo. Performance group Bon Echo is Anne Archer, Susan Gillis, Barb Secker and Alfred Von Mirbach. Formed in 2019, they perform poems written and arranged for multiple voices. (poet’s bios appear separately)

Bruce Kauffman lives in Kingston and is a poet and editor. His latest collection of poetry, an evening’s absence still waiting for moon, was published in 2019. He facilitates intuitive writing workshops, and hosts  the monthly and the journey continues open mic reading series begun in 2009, and also produces & hosts the weekly spoken word radio show, finding a voice, on CFRC 101.9fm he began in 2010.

Carole TenBrink has been a performance poet and storyteller for about 16 years, mainly in Kingston and Montreal.   She's done two Montreal Fringe shows, 2015 & 2016.  She likes to take performance back to its roots where use of ritual, rhythm and movement can carry audiences to larger awareness.

Carolyne Van Der Meer lives and writes in Montreal, Canada. She has three published books, Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2014), Journeywoman (Inanna, 2017) and Heart of Goodness: The Life of Marguerite Bourgeoys in 30 Poems (Guernica Editions, 2020). A collection of poetry called Sensorial is forthcoming from Inanna in 2021. Carolyne’s poetry and prose have been published internationally.

Chantel Lavoie is an associate professor at the Royal Military College. Her first book of verse was Where the Terror Lies (Quattro Books, 2012), and her second This is about Angels, Women, and Men (Mansfield Press, 2021). She also co-wrote (with Meg Freer) a collection in honour of the Sisters of Providence titled Serve the Sorrowing World with Joy (2020). She lives with two boys, two cats, two dogs, and a man.

Colin Morton. Ottawa writer Colin Morton’s work has received awards for poetry, fiction, and film. His dozen books include The Merzbook: Kurt Schwitters Poems, Coastlines of the Archipelago; The Hundred Cuts: Sitting Bull and the Major, and Winds and Strings. Recent poems have been published in Prism international, The New Quarterly and are forthcoming in Grain. A guest on Algonquin land, he lives in Ottawa.

Dale Tracy is the author of the chapbook The Mystery of Ornament (above/ground press, 2020), the chapbook Celebration Machine (Proper Tales Press, 2018), the chap-poem What It Satisfies (Puddles of Sky Press, 2016), and the monograph With the Witnesses: Poetry, Compassion, and Claimed Experience (McGill-Queen’s, 2017). Her poetry has appeared in publications like filling Station, Touch the Donkey, and The Goose.

David Malone was born and raised in Toronto. Now he lives in Kingston with his family.

Canadian Donna Langevin’s fifth poetry collection, Brimming was published by Piquant Press, 2019. She won first place in The Banister anthology competition 2019 and also in the Ontario Poetry Society Pandemic poem contest 2020. Winner of a second place Stella award, her play, Summer of Saints about the 1847 typhus epidemic is scheduled to be produced by Act 2, Ryerson University, and published by Prometea Press in 2021.

Dorothy Sjöholm is the author of why the telephone stopped ringing, a novella in verse published by Piquant Press in 2019. Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies in Canada, USA, and the UK, and online in The Adirondack Review, Ekphrastic Review, Cede, and Poetry Present. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is a study group and workshopping junkie. 

Eric Folsom is a longtime resident of Kingston, Ontario, originally from New England. A retired library worker with the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, he has published three chapbooks and four books of poetry, and served as Kingston’s Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2014. He is happily bisexual and working towards the creation of a new Queer Caucus within the League of Canadian Poets.

Honey Novick is a singer/songwriter/voice teacher/poet.  She was recently on the International Poetry Cafe (Vancouver, B.C.) honouring U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.  She has been invited to be published (full trade book) by the Taj Mahal Review (India) and is working on her 10th chapbook Bob Dylan, My Rabbi to be published by Secret Handshake publications.  She sings with bill bissett, teaches Voice Yoga and is artist resource with the Friendly Spike Theatre Band.

Jason Heroux is grateful to live as an uninvited guest upon the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Anishinabek Nation where he is currently the Poet Laureate for the City of Kingston. His most recent book is the novel Amusement Park of Constant Sorrow (Mansfield Press, 2018).

Jennifer Verardi has been acting for stage and screen in the community for about 18 years, but her first love was music. In early 2020, she began preparing her 4th poetry book and was also re-acquainting herself with her music. Suddenly, she started writing songs again and it grew to a full album. She hopes to have it completed and released in early 2022. She is grateful for all of the support along the way, and is excited to share these stories! 

Judith Popiel is an interdisciplinary artist whose writing is inspired by diverse childhood memories; her observations of the natural world, and current controversial events that evoke passion and consideration for thought. Published in anthologies: Inspired Heart for Teens; Canada’s 150th; and First Tuesday Muse. Monthly recitations at finding a voice (CFRC 101.9fm). Directed documentary film: Ellen Merrin’s Kitchen that premiered opening night at the 2016 Kingston Canadian Film Festival. Degrees: Fine Arts, Dance (York); M.Ed (Queen’s).

Kate Marshall Flaherty’s latest books are Radiant, Inanna Publications and Reaching V, Guernica Editions. Shortlisted for Tifferet Journal’s Poetry Prize 2020 and Arc’s Poem of the Year 2019, she’s been published in Vallum, Room Magazine, Malahat Review, Grain Magazine, Saranac, Trinity, Windsor Reviews, Descant and more. She guides StillPoint Writing Workshops and types up spontaneous “Poem Of the Extraordinary Moment”s (P.O.E.M.s) for people. See her performance poetry at

Kate Rogers’ poetry has appeared in the Quarantine Review, the Sad Girl Review: Muse, Heroine and Fangirl; the Trinity Review; Poetry Pause (League of Canadian Poets); the Montreal International Poetry Prize Anthology and World Literature Today, among other journals and anthologies. Kate’s creative non-fiction essay “The Accident” is out in the spring issue of The Windsor Review. You can read her work at: 

Kathy Keenan. Poet and artist of Belleville, ON, Keenan first started flexing her poetry muscles with the First Tuesday Muse poetry group of Tweed, ON and various other local open mics. Inspired Heart for Teens, by editor Bruce Kauffman includes two of her works. “If I Could Speak” a piece written about her son who was differently abled was included in the online anthology, 100 Thousand Poets for Change.  Keenan’s writing from the heart is sure to move.

Leena Rahusaar has always loved words; she especially likes the full mouth satisfaction of a well penned phrase read aloud. She has written poetry for decades and has had a poem longlisted for Canada Writes. Recently retired, after a 33-year teaching career, Leena moved to Perth in hope of finding a creative community to call home. She is thrilled to have found The Humm, Winterwords, and Poets@Artfest.

Mary Cameron lives near Skeleton Park, Kingston.  Her book of poems, clouds without heaven, is at the public library, where she too spends most of her time.

Mary Lee Bragg grew up in Calgary and now lives in Ottawa. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in literary magazines and ezines in Canada, the United States and Cuba. She has also published a novel titled Shooting Angels, and two poetry chapbooks, How Women Work and Winter Music.  Mary Lee's first full-length poetry collection, The Landscape That Isn’t There, was short-listed for Ottawa's Archibald Lampman award in 2020.

Meg Freer grew up in Montana and lives in Kingston. She worked in book publishing, and now teaches piano and enjoys being outdoors year-round. Her photos and writing have appeared in journals such as Ruminate, Vallum, Arc Poetry, and Eastern Iowa Review. She co-authored with Chantel Lavoie a chapbook of poems, Serve the Sorrowing World with Joy (Woodpecker Lane Press, 2020). Her poems have won awards in several contests in the U.S. and Canada.

Michael e. Casteels is the author of the poetry collections The Man with the Spider Scar (Puddles of Sky Press, 2020) and The Last White House at the End of the Row of White Houses (Invisible Publishing, 2016), as well as dozens of chapbooks and ephemera. He is editor, publisher, designer, and bookmaker at Puddles of Sky Press in Kingston.

Nathalie Sorensen has spent a lifetime reading poetry and now enjoys writing it. She is published in literary magazines and anthologies. She studied English literature and education and taught English at St. Lawrence College. She lives in Kingston where she writes, gardens, takes photographs, and spends time with her family at their weekend house on the Salmon River.

Nicholas Power performs in wild places with The River Poets. His published books include Tin Dittos, Melancholy Scientist, and No Poems. And his work has appeared, as well, in journals and anthologies including The Boneshaker and Canada’s 150th. He’s been part of Poets @ Artfest - Kingston, the Ottawa International Writers Festival, and the 2017 International Festival of Authors in Toronto. He is the publisher of Gesture Press where his poetry and one-poem appreciations can be found at:

Nuard Tadevosyan is an Armenian poet and artist, with roots in Kemrakuch, Tatev, Gavar, and Karin. She currently lives in Tkaronto, the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. Her writing has most recently appeared in Witches Mag, Hyebred Magazine, and SWANA Ancestral Hub: Family + Elder + Ancestor Stories. You can find her on Instagram at @nvardist.

Pat Connors’ first chapbook, Scarborough Songs, was released by Lyricalmyrical Press in 2013, and charted on the Toronto Poetry Map. Other publication credits include: Spadina Literary Review; Tamaracks; and Tending the Fire, released last spring by the League of Canadian Poets. His first full collection, The Other Life, is newly released by Mosaic Press. 

Ron Chase is a Kingston area poet whose work can be read in various literary journals and anthologies and he can often be found late at night hunched over a tiny black desk writing truths that hide during the day or testing new work at open mic nights and literary events.

Sarah Wells, a creative trailblazer, emerges into the field of the potential. She improvs melodies and is unconventional in her written and sung abilities. 2020 awardee of CSARN (Canadian Senior Artist Resource Network) mentorship program and she is published by award winning Friendly Spike Theatre Band, Hidden Book Press, and Open-Door Poetry.

Susan Gillis is a poet and editor living in the country north of Kingston. Find her at

Susan McMaster is a poet, literary editor, and performance poet from Ottawa. Her publications include poetry books, anthologies, translations, and wordmusic recordings with First Draft, SugarBeat, Geode Music & Poetry, and Solstice. She is the founding editor of Branching Out, the first national feminist/arts magazine, and a former president of the League of Canadian Poets.

Tim Murphy has been writing poetry since he was six, at that time with the assistance of his mother as recipient of dictation. He has lived in Kingston for 41 of his 54 years, so by now it's home. He is writing away at a genre-defying, though sort of mystery, linked-story thing, and hopes to have it done by 2022. Now he knows how Stephen King feels with these 7-year pregnancies.

Tom Gannon Hamilton. Urban Folk Art Salon Founder/Curator/Host, Tom Gannon Hamilton has been published extensively in Canada and abroad. Tom’s poem suite El Marillo (2018) took first prize in the Big Pond Rumours Chapbook Contest and his critically acclaimed full collection Panoptic (Aeolus House 2018) was followed by The Mezzo Soprano Dines Alone (Aeolus House 2021). Dr. Hamilton’s scholarly works include an MA Thesis (Inside the Words) and PhD dissertation (A Poetics of Possibility).