Friday, December 17, 2010

Monday 20th December - please come out to 66 King Street, Cobourg to hear Twelve Days of the Infanta Margarita, Eric Winter's song and poem cycle about Velazquez's famous paintings Las Meninas and Rokeby Venus. I'm one of the narrators and it's $20 - for a good cause - and you get cake coffee and an evening's entertainment!

And don't forget to come out to the Mayor's Levee on January 1st at 2.00 pm to hear me read my newly written poem "Levee du Soeil". All in a day's work, my friends! Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My big question of the day is how to entice a depressed dog out of his depression? Ansel is missing his brother and I'm no substitute, I'm afraid.

On the poetry front I am working on a suite of poems that will be a collaborative piece with the percussionist Rick Sacks. Also, PL duties require me to pen a commemorative poem for the Mayor's Levee. First I have to find out what a 'Levee' is! That one will air on January 1st at Mayor Gil's meet and greet in Cobourg.

Finally, on Monday December 20th I have the pleasure of playing one of the narrators in Eric Winter's Twelve Days of the Infanta Margarita at 66 King Street, Cobourg - do come out for a beautiful seasonal celebration!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Last few days have been a whirlwind of activity. A wonderful reading at
Trent University for the students in commemoration of World AIDS Day, followed by a reading from Dark Star Requiem at PARN's Tuesday evening do. Thanks to Dr. Mike Allcott for arranging and hosting! Then to cap off the day, a broadcast of Dark Star Requiem, from the June performance at Koerner Hall, on CBC 2's The Signal.

Yesterday XEXE Gallery hosted the official book launch for Dark Star Requiem where proceeds went to benefit the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Tomorrow, in my official PL capacity, I'll be reading a poem at Mayor Gil Brocanier's inauguration in Cobourg - not one of mine, but I could have written one in the time it took me to research one!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Today's blog brings the sad news of the death of Witkin who went to spirit on Tuesday.

Witkin, champion show dog, beautiful spirit and all around great character, was diagnosed with an abdominal tumour in July. Born July 9th 1998 in Kincardine Ontario, Styrlingsanz Maximum Ice moved to Toronto in September 1998 and took his first city pee on a lawn in Leaside. He yowled so loudly on his first night away from his dog family that a neighbour 2 blocks away came banging on the apartment door. He soon adopted the name Witkin - after the photographer Joel Peter Witkin - rather than having the embarrassment of being named after a beer brand.

Witkin competed in show rings in Ontario and completed his championship as a way to meet females. Through his website and promotional materials he became a model and could be seen in catalogues and fashion shoots with female humans. A life-long hiker and Sierra Club member, Witkin traveled by airplane and car to more places in North America than most humans, traversing the continent several times all the while keeping his amber eyes trained on the landscape in search of possible new and exciting adventures. He has hunted squirrels, run with horses and lounged on couches in homes in Toronto, Kingston, Elora, Guelph, Taos, Sonoma and Santa Fe. Known for his calmness, kindness and beauty, Witkin was a poetry aficionado, attending readings and festivals with rapt attention and sage silence across North America.

Known to his familiars as Witz, he spent his last day strolling in Sunnybrook park and snacking on just about every favourite food including a Rahier pain au chocolate and listening to jazz with his family at home. Witkin will be missed by all who met him and grieved and terribly missed by his brother, Ansel, and his human companion, Jill.
Witkin: July 09 1998 – November 16 2010.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Almost time to burn the effigy of Guy Fawkes! and the evenings are closing in - just right for a snuggly poetry reading! I'll be doing a couple of them in Toronto:

Thursday November 4th, 7:30 pm
Black Swan Tavern
154 Danforth Ave

Sunday November 14th, 12.30 pm
Ontario Poetry Society – Warm Hands, Deep Pockets Poetry Party
The Rivoli
332 Queen Street West

So come and feel cozy! And don’t forget December 1st – Worlds AIDS day – CBC Radio 2 will broadcast Dark Star Requiem on the Signal at 10pm.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Decompressing after the fabulous Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, NJ. Actually quite a lovely little city, and really wonderful weather!! The venues for the Dodge included the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre and churches and hotels around the core, including the lovely old First Baptist Peddie Memorial Church which is full of beautiful wood and a domed ceiling with stained glass 'skylights'.

Highlights included a poets laureate conflab between Rita Dove, Billy Collins, Kay Ryan and Mark Strand - and guess what?! same problems for all of us Laureates! Also Amiri Baraka playing with his brilliant band Blue Arc, Rita Dove reading from her new book Sonata Mulattica, Kwame Dawes being Kwame Dawes and Martin Espada talking about craft.

Then a couple of days in Manhattan where I went to see one of my favourite dance troupes, Sankai Juku perform their latest creation 'Tobari' at the Joyce theatre. Check out the review here:

It's always good to get away for a few days, especially when poetry is involved!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Dodge Poetry Festival is looming in the horizon and I'll be tooting down to Newark on Thursday to catch all the fun. It's been a busy time (working for money) but when I return from NY and a good dose of poetry I expect to kickstart my projects - the Malletkat, Dion McGregor, the memoir and finding a husband to put together my IKEA purchases! More as it comes!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I start a new collaborative project next week for marimba and counter tenor. I'll keep you posted on how it goes! But in the next few weeks I am reading around the province.

For you Ottawa peeps I'll be at Vox Femina - a special cabaret with Luna Allison, Adeena Karasick, Sandra Alland and myself - a kind of pre-Kingston Writers Festival event. You can check out the event on the FB page:

And then at the Kingston Writers Festival there is loads of poetry to check out:

Start your poetry week with Bookmark: Bronwen Wallace, a poetic tribute to one of Kingston's most beloved poets, featuring Joanne Page, Lara Bozabalian and Alison Pick, moderated byCarolyn Smart.

Bookmark: Bronwen Wallace, Thursday, September 23, 11:00 am. Tickets $12.50

Festival Friday. Mind-bending poetry

Join poet Jill Battson and break out of the print ghetto in this Festival Writers Studio class. Battson gives pointers on how to expand your craft and audience and perhaps even use poetry for social change.

Poetry Beyond the Page, Friday, September 24, 10:30 am. Tickets $ 25.00

Make the most of Festival Friday with a mind-bending cabaret of spoken word poetry featuring the best performers working in the genre today, including Vancouver's CR Avery, Canada's Sandra Alland and Luna Allison, and from New York/Washington, Adeena Karasick, Regie Cabico, and Todd Colby. Worth staying up late! Hosted by the inimitable Jill Battson. Cash Bar.

Vox Performa, Friday, September 24, 10:30 pm. Tickets $12.50

SaturDay/NightLive. Page poets, performance poets - and you!

Come hear the great debate between spoken word and printed text with Todd Colby, Steven Heighton, Jill Battson, and Regie Cabico. Moderated by poet Genni Gunn.

Poets: Stage vs. Page, Saturday September 25, 3:00 pm. Tickets $12.50

Poet Laureate John Steffler joins Jill Battson, Genni Gunn, and CR Avery and six renowned prose writers including Michael Winter, Miguel Syjuco, and Lisa Moore in a free-flowing night of unforgettable words and music hosted by CBC's Bill Richardson with jazz stylings by Jonathan Stewart's Trio Without Words. Cash bar.

Saturday Night SpeakEasy, Saturday September 25, 8:00 pm. Tickets $12.50

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just a quickie, my friends, to let you know that I'm reading at several locations at the Junction Arts Festival in Toronto this weekend, September 10 - 12th. I'm on the mainstage at 8.15 on Friday and then Poets House on Sunday at 2 pm and then at Pandemonium at 4 pm. More deets on the festival can be found at:

And just a word about an event that's a worthy cause: The Champions' Cabaret at the Music Gallery next Tuesday September 14th. Deets can be found here: and all money goes to the Coalition for Music Education in Canada.

Update on the hair - pink!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Well, friends, time to let you know about some upcoming readings!

Wednesday August 18th, 7pm
Poetry & Co.
RCHA Club (2nd Floor)
193 Ontario Street

Thursday August 19th, 7.30 pm
Meet me at 66 King
66 King Street

Saturday September 11th
Junction Arts Festival
(more info to come)

Friday September 24th, 10.30 am
Poetry Beyond the Page
Kingston Writers' Festival

Friday September 24th, 10.30 pm
Vox Performa
Kingston Writers' Festival

Saturday September 25th, 8.00 pm
Saturday Night Speakeasy
Kingston Writers' Festival

I encourage everyone to check out the Kingston Writers' Festival website at They just announced that Joyce Carol Oates will be reading at the festival. On the poetry side, I've programmed a kick ass group of poets for Vox Performa - Adeena Karasick, Regie Cabico, Luna Allison, Todd Colby, CR Avery and Sandra Alland - now that will be one great performance to stay up past your bedtime for!

Kingston WritersFest logo September 22 - 26, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hello, my friends, on this rainy Sunday afternoon!

A perfect day to stay in and get some writing done towards my next production. And maybe a poem or two before I totally forget what being a poet is all about.

Last week I had a really interesting discussion with the South Carolinian poet Kwame Dawes for an article I'm writing about him for the New Mexican's Pasatiempo. Where to start? and what to focus on for the 1200 words I'm allowed! I'm most interested in his Hope's Hospice project. Find it here: and check it out - it's a great use of poems for crisis reporting and highlights the good work the Pulitzer Center is doing.

And more about on Dodge Poetry Festival, this year in Newark: I'm taking a bunch of people on the so-called Poetry Express. Leave your worries - and your car - at home and embrace four poetry-packed days! contact me for deets. It's very cost-efficient!

My PL duties are coming along. The local paper, Northumberland Today, may finally be getting the hang of running a regular poetry column. So far we've had 4 poems published and more to come. Check it out every Thursday (the paper's free on that day!)

And finally, catch me reading at the Pivot on Wednesday 11th August, 8pm. at the Press Club, 850 Dundas Street West.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm working away on the final edits of my new poetry manuscript due out in the Fall of 2011 with Guernica Editions. I don't even remember writing some of these pieces, but they seem good!! If you want to hear some of these poems, together with some new work from Dark Star Requiem, you can catch me at some of these upcoming performances:

Saturday, July 31st 11am and 1pm
Victoria Hall
- as part of James Cockburn Day
(and one of my PL duties - with perhaps a new poem!)

Wednesday, August 11th, 8pm
The Press Club
850 Dundas Street West

Wednesday August 18th, 7pm
Poetry & Co.
RCHA Club (2nd Floor)
193 Ontario Street

Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sitting in the airport at Halifax waiting for my Porter flight back to Toronto after a very successful Free Verse and Poets Laureate gathering organised by Shauntay Grant, Halifax's PL. Ten of us talked about the challenges and opportunities of being a PL, engaged in workshops and discussions for the public and performed at the Halifax Jazz Festival's Words + Music. A big shout out to Shauntay for all her hard work n putting it all together!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Well friends,

Here I am at the edge of the Atlantic with a cool sea fog drifting over the city of Halifax. Dropped in on Porter Airlines - gotta love the service and the stewardesses uniforms - very retro!

I'm here thanks to the good folks of the Cobourg Poetry Workshop who rallied together and sent cash support to underwrite my trip and make sure Cobourg and its poet laureate are represented here at the poet laureate pow wow! If you're here in Halifax or its environs do stop by our performances and workshops starting tomorrow at 9 pm at The Company House, 2202 Gottingen Street : PLs Linda Rogers (Victoria), Hugh MacDonald )PEI), Pierre DesRuisseaux (Canada) and Ann Margetson (Spring Pulse Poetry Festival) and of course, the organiser of the whole kit and kaboodle - Shauntay Grant who is the PL of the fine city of Halifax.

More as it comes!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I'm still celebrating all the great reviews for Dark Star Requiem! Here's a shot of my collaborator, Andrew Staniland, and I at the Luminato party.

My friend, and previous poet laureate of Cobourg, Eric Winter gave me a large portion of his old Times Literary Supplements and London Review of Books, so that's what I'm doing this rainy Saturday morning! On the poetry front the Cobourg Poetry Workshop folks are canvassing funds for me to get to Halifax July 13 - 16th for the Poet Laureate Pow Wow - curated by Shauntay Grant (Halifax's PL) - hopefully I'll join 11 other PLs in that fair city!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Well friends, the fat lady has sung, so to speak.
Dark Star Requiem opened to pretty damn good reviews! Koerner Hall was filled with Beth Kates and Ben Chaisson's beautiful staging, Tom Diamond's great direction, Wayne Strongman's wonderful conducting and magnificent performances from the Elmer Iseler Singers, Peter McGillivray, Marcus Nance, Neema Bickersteth, Krisztina Szabo, the Gryphon Trio and percussionists Ryan Scott and Mark Dugan. Phew! it was great!!
There are some great articles on Tapestry's FB page:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Getting Set for Dark Star!

Time is escalating towards the opening night of Dark Star Requiem at Luminato!!! Andrew came into town on Wednesday and rehearsals have been in full swing for a week! Beth and Ben, our fabulous designers, are planning some really beautiful visuals. The singers (all 24 of them!) sound fantastic and our director, Tom Diamond, is running around directing and looking pleased with everything. Exciting times!!!! I just have to find the right outfit!

We open on June 11th and if you haven't already, you can get your tix here:
More as it comes!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yesterday I was in rehearsal for the Now and Then reading at Victoria Hall in Cobourg. On May 29th at 2pm you get three poets (including myself) reading poems from the period in which Victoria Hall opened (1850) as well as contemporary poets. On my list are Emily Bronte, Emily Dickenson, Pauline Johnson, Christina Rossetti - and those are just the oldies! If you're in Cobourg next Saturday come to Victoria Hall's court room and check us out!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Exciting times at Jill's PoetBureau! My enigmatic friend David Bateman is launching his collaborative poetry book Wait Until Late Afternoon at the Women's Bookstore on Friday May 14th at 7pm.

On Saturday the 15th I am presenting at the Arts for Social and Environmental Justice Symposium in Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory.

And, if you're not sick of hearing me read, I'm featured with some other kick-ass women : Maureen Hynes, Kate Marshall Flaherty (with the sultry voice) and Anna Swanson at this month's Plasticine Reading Series hosted by my official number one fan, Michael Fraser. Check out the deets here:

And remember...... Dark Star Requiem is less than a month away.....

Monday, May 3, 2010

We are in the final stages of getting the book Dark Star Requiem - which comes out with Folded&Gathered Press: on June 1st - to bed. It's all very exciting!!! The book will be available as a limited edition of 50, with a beautiful, especially commissioned print inside by Micah Lexier:, and also as a trade edition which - knowing Aurelie and Neil (my hard-working F&G peeps) - is going to be a little artful (and art-full) gem all in itself. I highly recommend buying one of each!! Stay tuned for more news of that as it comes!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hello Friends,

I am writing this from my brand new MacBook Pro which is absolutely going to make my writing flow off the desktop!! No excuses now, I can even write in the dark using the illuminated keyboard! Cool!

In the world of poetry, citizens of Hamilton can see me read this Sunday evening as part of the very lively LitLive. Here's my performance schedule for the next little while:

Sunday, May 2 7:30 pm Lit Live, Hamilton
Sunday, May 16 – 6:00 pm Plasticine Reading Series, The Central, 603 Markham St. Toronto
Saturday, May 29
As Cobourg's Poet Laureate, I'm reading with Eric Winter, Poet Laureate Emeritus and Patrick Gray (This Grace of Light) at Victoria Hall as part of the 150th anniversary of the opening of that Cobourg landmark.
Friday, June 11
– Dark Star Requiem, Luminato Festival, Toronto
Saturday, June 12
– Dark Star Requiem, Luminato Festival, Toronto
Thursday, June 17
I'm the emcee for The 3rd Thursday Reading in Cobourg. Barry Dempster is the featured poet with Deborah Panko and Linda Hutsell-Manning.
July 14 - 17 Poet Laureate gathering at the Atlantic Jazz Festival, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coming up this weekend in my new hometown (where I am also the Poet Laureate :)) of Cobourg, is the POW Festival. Three days of readings, films and workshops - including PerformaPoem which I'm facilitating. Check out the POW site at: and be sure to watch out for quick PL readings at a lot of the events, or at least a queen-like wave!
If you can't wait till the weekend for your Jill fix, then check me out at the Hot Sauced Words series on Thursday night.
How do you like my new head shot? My friend Edie Steiner made it! she's at:

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Next Thursday, April 15th I will be reading alongside another poet laureate, Brantford's own John B. Lee, at Hot Sauced Words This fabulous monthly reading series takes place at the Black Swan Tavern, 154 Danforth Avenue in good ol' Toronto. 8:00 p.m. Always good to see a crowd, so come on out!

The 15th also happens to be the day when the general public (that's probably you..) can order their tickets for the Luminato Festival shows. Skip Rufus Wainwright, skip John Malkovich, and go straight for this link: and get your lovely tickets for Dark Star Requiem, Andrew Staniland and my oratorio with the Gryphon Trio, the Elmer Iseler Singers, 4 wonderful soloists and 2 kick-ass percussionists!!! Not to be missed. Especially the venue! Andrew and I will be lurking in the audience and will gladly accept drinks, money, praise or (in my case) young men after the performance(s) June 11 and 12!!!! 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

After many weeks of procrastination - if you are a writer of any kind you will know how important it is to clean the fridge, iron clothes, do the grocery shopping BEFORE any writing can be done - I have started work on a new piece of writing. No title, no ultimate plan, but it originates from the experience of losing all my worldly goods back in November. Right now it's a kind of memoir, but we'll see how it progresses!! I'm not a pack-rat, but I do attach a lot of emotion to objects. Thank goodness I didn't lose my lovely poochies Witkin and Ansel

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hello my friends!
An exciting evening yesterday. Our small but vibrant poetry community here in Cobourg persuaded the Mayor and his counselors that I would be an ideal candidate for the town's second Poet Laureate, and last night the town pronounced it so!!! Many thanks to our first Poet Laureate, Eric Winter, who held the post for 12 years and paved the way for this to happen. As I said in my acceptance speech, it is an enlightened city or town that has a poet laureate - ones that recognize that poetry is important to our culture. So, here I go - Ms. Poet Laureate !!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

If you haven't already got your tickets for Opera to Go, you need to rush off and buy them because TOMORROW is the day!! And I'll be on hand to introduce mine and Andrew Staniland's piece Ashlike on the Cradle of the Wind. I'll be the one with the purple hair! Opera to Go runs through Friday, so if you like it on Wednesday, you'll love it by then. 

On Friday I'll be in Kingston, Ontario, on the grounds on Queen's University hosting the Grad Club Slam. Ah....the world of Slam! Bring your 3 minute poem, your performing chops and five bucks and pit your poetry luck against 11 other performers in the competition to end all competitions! Fun, mayhem, and hopefully some pretty good poems. Our featured readers are the Sharp Tongues, three slamming chicks who'll bring the house down. Remember - "The points are not the point, the poetry is the point!" - that'll be our mantra for the night and I'll be your slam mistress for the evening.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nothing like a Sunday evening in small town Ontario!! 
Probably a good time to let you all know what's coming up on the readings front so you'll have a chance to sample the poetry! And don't forget - this week: Opera To Go!!!

Thursday April 15th, 8:00 pm
Hot Sauced Words
Black Swan Tavern
154 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
Saturday April 17th
PerformaPoem (workshop) with Jill
POW Festival
Cobourg, Ontario
Sunday May 2nd, 7:30 pm
Lit Live
Hamilton, Ontario
Sunday May 16th, 6:00 pm
Plasticine Reading Series
The Central
603 Markham Street, Toronto

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This evening I am sitting down to go through the final draft of the Dark Star Requiem manuscript - my new book coming out in June with Folded&Gathered Press. Thanks to super editor Allan Briesmaster for the great copyediting job which will make me sound even better than I already do!

The book is the first for F&G and it's going to be magnificent!! Anstey Book Binding is making the books, so you know they are going to be brilliant. A trade edition with a great design and some beautiful touches, and 50 editions of a special art book which will contain a limited edition Micah Lexier print and many more goodies. Collectable and groovy. All thanks to Aurelie and Neil!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Great news arrived in my email box today! I've been invited by OSEA to speak at their Arts for Social and Environmental Justice Symposium on May 15th! I'll be presenting a paper : Dark Star Requiem: Sliding AIDS education into popular culture - based on the creation/production of Dark Star Requiem which will premiere at the Luminato Festival of Arts + Creativity in June. Who said poetry is just in books??

Thursday, March 18, 2010

hello dear reader...

...and welcome to my blog! I woke up this morning thinking I should have a blog! and so - here it is! 

Next week Tapestry New Opera will celebrate 30 years with a special anniversary performance of five of their favourite operas. And guess what?! I'm in it!!! Ashlike on the Cradle of the Wind is a collaboration between the composer Andrew Staniland and myself (on words). Ticket details (because I know you're all dying to get there) are on line:
We made this piece for Opera to Go about three years ago and it's a really nice segment into our new collaboration Dark Star Requiem, which will premiere as part of this year's Luminato festival - but more about that later.