National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. This year’s theme is ‘Time’…  Join us, every school day throughout the month of April, for a feature poem on the theme.

Our poem of the day for today is: Hall of Mirrors by American poet Ted Berrigan.

We miss something now
as we think about it
Let’s see: eat, sleep & dream, read
A good book, by Robert Stone
Be alone

Knew of it first
in New York City. Couldn’t find it
in Ann Arbor, though
I like it here
Had to go back to New York
Found it on the Upper West Side

I can’t live with you
But you live
here in my heart
You keep me alive and alert
aware of something missing
going on

I woke up today just in time
to introduce a poet
then to hear him read his rhymes
so unlike mine        & not bad
as I’d thought another time

no breakfast, so no feeling fine.

Then I couldn’t find the party, afterwards
then I did
then I talked with you.

Now it’s back
& a good thing for us
It’s letting us be wise, that’s why
it’s being left up in the air
You can see it, there
as you look, in your eyes

Now it’s yours & now it’s yours & mine.
We’ll have another look, another time.

Ted Berrigan.  Born in Rhode Island, Ted Berrigan is considered a major figure of the “second generation” of the New York School of poetry. His work is conversational and expansive, and he often collaborated with other New York poets such as Ron Padgett, Joe Brainard, and Anne Waldman.


National Poetry Month: Griffin Poetry Prize

Week 3 of National Poetry Month has come to a close.

For Week 4 we are pleased to announce another Poetry Contest for member of the ESA Community.  The wonderful folks who run the Griffin Poetry Prize – who are the very same folks behind Poetry in Voice – are running a contest to Guess the Winners of the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prizes.

  • Winners will be randomly drawn after the deadline – June 8th 2017 – and each will receive a copy of the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology.

The ESA Library is running a parallel contest.

  • Everyone who enters the ‘real’ Griffin Poetry Contest should also advise the ESA Library as to their choices using this Google Form.
  • We will draw randomly from everyone who submits to our parallel contest… and the winner will go home with their own personal copy of the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology.
  • You must enter the ESA Library parallel contest by the end of the day Friday June 8th to be eligible.
  • Should it turn out that anyone – or more – who enters our contest correctly chooses both winners…  then we will, a second time, randomly draw names… and that winner will go home with a copy of the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology.


REMEMBER also to enter the 4th Annual ESA Library Student Poetry Contest.

Poems must:

  • be on the theme of time;
  • be titled;
  • not have been previously published;
  • be formatted for 8.5″ x 11″ paper; and,
  • be no longer than 50 lines.

All entries must be submitted by no later than Friday April 28th.

  • Entries should be submitted via e-mail to Ms. Wray, in the Library.
  • E-mail:

The top three entries will each receive a collection of poetry, as well as publication on the ESsays Creative Writing Blog.

  • Publication in, and a personal copy of, the print edition of ESsays is also included.

Good luck…

Poetry in Voice: National Finals Update

A great day here in Vancouver…  where the forecasted rain held off and while the sun was not shining, it was all in all a pretty decent weather day.

This morning we had the English Qualifiers.  Sadly ESA’s Katie Beale is not moving on to  the Grand Finale tomorrow night, but Katie excelled at her job here in Vancouver.  Her recitations were top notch, presented with grace and poise.

The competition was stiff and it was anybody’s guess as to who would move on.  Everyone here in Vancouver is a winner.  24 students from across the country… chosen from over 500 hopefuls.  Phenomenal.

This afternoon everyone took a break from the pressure of the event, and explored ‘Poetic Vancouver’ on the Great Recitation Race.  Lots of zany tasks, improv poetry, writing haikus, and more saw the teams of teachers and students criss-crossing everywhere from the CBD, to the Chinatown Gate, to the Vancouver Art Gallery, to Granville Island – via the AquaBus – with a final stop at the Vancouver Public Library.  If we weren’t all ready for a nap earlier – thank you jet lag! – we certainly are now.


Reminder that you can still tune in to more exciting happenings from Vancouver tomorrow:

Then be sure to tune in on Thursday, April 20 at 10:00pm Eastern Daylight Time

  • Whether you’re in Hay River or Antigonish, Grosse Île or Moose Jaw, join us at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre via our livestream as we celebrate the power of poetry, name our 2017 National Champions, and award over $25,000 in prizes.

Poetry in Voice: National Finals… and Library Hours the week of April 18th

Ms. Wray and Gr 10 Drama Major Katie Beale  are off to Vancouver this week…  where Katie will be competing at the National Finals for Poetry in Voice.

  • Support Katie by using #2017poetryinvoice or #recite2017

Don’t miss out on any of the action. Watch online:

Then be sure to tune in on Thursday, April 20 at 10:00pm Eastern Daylight Time

  • Whether you’re in Hay River or Antigonish, Grosse Île or Moose Jaw, join us at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre via our livestream as we celebrate the power of poetry, name our 2017 National Champions, and award over $25,000 in prizes.


On account of Ms. Wray’s absence this week…

  • The Library will be not be open, in the mornings, until sometime around or after 8:00am.
  • The Library will be closing early – at 3:45pm – each day after school (Tues/Wed/Thurs).
  • The Library will not be open – as indeed it usually is not – after school on Friday.

The Library will return to regular before and after school hours the week following – when Ms. Wray is back – but there are a number of special events during the day the last week of April which will see the Library open only by invitation at certain times.

  • Details of these events will be posted next weekend.


Poetry in Voice: GTA Team Regionals

What a fabulous morning listening to 24 students from 8 schools across the GTA recite poems spanning the centuries from Shakespeare and Blake to some of Canada’s finest contemporary poets like Damian Rogers and Elizabeth Bachinsky.

Some truly exception performances, especially from 4 young ladies who are all heading to the National Finals in Vancouver in April.

The winning team was from the Toronto French School, while ESA’s team – Renee Withnell, Sama Konateh and Katie Beale – place a solid second.

Thanks to everyone who helped make the event a success… from our brilliant tech crew, to our great house band, to our delightful hosts, and everyone else who came out to cheer on the students.

Even though you can’t be in Vancouver to cheer ESA’s Katie Beale on in person, I want to remind everyone that the Poetry In Voice National Finals for individual competitors will be held on April 19th and 20th in Vancouver. They will be live streamed on Poetry In Voice’s YouTube channel, so be sure to tune in.  I will be sure to post again closer to the date with a link.


Poetry in Voice: Vancouver, here we come…

We have just received word regarding the results of the Poetry in Voice Online Semi-finals.
While our Bilingual champion, Isabel Wleugel is not moving on, our English champion, Katie Beale, has been invited to attend the National Finals in Vancouver in April.
I wish to extend, again, my congratulations to both young ladies for their hard work and wonderful recitations, and special good wishes to Katie as she prepares for Vancouver.

Poetry in Voice: In-School Finals

The day has finally arrived.  Join us after school – on Valentine’s Day – to cheer on the contestants participating in Poetry in Voice.

Two students – one in the English stream and one in the Bilingual stream – will move on to the on-line semi finals, competing for the chance to participate in the National Finals in Vancouver BC in April.

  • Bring a mug and a sweet tooth.
  • Recitations scheduled to begin promptly at 3:20pm in the ESA Library.