Friday, January 28, 2022

January updates

 Pardon my long lapse in blogging activity. 

Autumn was a sorrowing time, with three loved ones passing just weeks apart from one another.

My younger brother Vic passed of lung cancer in Winnipeg. We had a mixed zoom-in person memorial gathering, in-person in Winnipeg hosted by our brother Guy and zoom friends and family from all over.  (Image by Frockstar)

Lee Maracle passed not long after. Lee and I met in the early 90s when we both had books published by Press Gang Publishers, and over time she became my confidante and advisor, the person I turned to when all was not right in my world. She told me, "don't be a slave Joanne!" -- advice she had received from another strong female writer-advisor. (Image by Columpa Bobb)

Ron Hatch was my editor and publisher via Ronsdale Books, he passed a few weeks after Lee departed this world. I was able to attend Ron's memorial, and take in the loving stories of his family and friends. I shared a poem:

This poem was originally published in Mother Time, Poems New & Selected, the first of two books Ron and I worked on together. 

Ron as editor and Ronsdale as the publishing house were recommended to me by my dear friend Connie Fife. Ron mediated a connection with translators in Germany, and Connie and I and our dear friend Garry Gottfriedson were included in the resulting book, Gedichte fuer eine neue Welt, launched at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair. 

Ron presented an update of Ronsdale presentations. See below, a mixed German and English language poetry celebration.

In 2022, I was happy to help Fiona Lam launch her Vancouver Poet Laureate Project, alongside other poets. Welcome the Year of the Tiger with Fiona and friends, January 30th, 2022.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

July updates

If you haven't heard from me recently, you are in good company! The intoxicating mix of hot weather, pandemic, and the joys of aging have rendered me ever more hermit-like, despite all the new ways to keep in touch.

I have been continuing with The Writers Studio's transition to online offerings. My poetry group has completed a very enjoyable term one and is now on vacation til September, hoping to meet up irl over the summer. I'm overdue with my recasting of an in-person one day writing workshop to an online, four week expression to be implemented this fall: nearly there.

On the book-editing side of things, I've worked with Jonina Kirton and Kagan Goh on forthcoming projects in recent months. Two very different manuscripts, both very engaging and emotionally compelling. In the fall I'll begin work on Connie Fife's long-awaited final collection, "Returned," on behalf of her family, under the auspices of a Shadbolt Fellowship.

Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast hosted a series of readings and workshops through the spring months, Exchanging Words, curated by Russell Wallace and supported by Warriors Against Violence and WePress. We are working toward Volume Two of The Salt Chuck City Review, to be provided as an online offering before the end of the year.

I worked for the Indigenous Voices Awards again this year, jurist for unpublished poets and mentor for four mentees with diverse genre interests. Congrats to Nathan Adler (Ghost Lake) and all the winning and short-listed word artists/word freaks. This project is hosted by ILSA: my final link below is to an essay and poem by Daniel David Moses, first created for an ILSA gathering at 6 Nations.

On the family side, the big news is that my youngest, Jules, has graduated from high school: thanks to Marie Radcliffe, Linda Malcholm (photos below), Mike Akiwenzie, Vince Shyong, and all who taught, led, and supported Jules through the process. Photos by Linda Macholm: Jules Among the Flowers, Jules and Faust, May 2021.


Mahmud Kianush Tribute: I have been updating with a mix of personal (from the archives) and public material gleaned through research. There is much in the way of poetry, akkashi images, reminiscence and translations coming up monthly. Giles Goodland and I recorded a joint reading of Mahmud's long poem "Nothing is Eternal," to be published in the near future.

Vera Manuel Tribute: We continue to share Vera's work at readings and events. I posted a short excerpt from her nonfiction essay "Indians and Residential School" (1987) quoting the words of Marceline Paul, under the title "I wasn't trained for anything." Upcoming: 22 October 2021, SFU Mate Program, "'I pass the talking stick to you' Sharing, Reading, Teaching Residential School Stories."

Transcultural Academy: No new posts on the blog, but I did have the pleasure of connecting via Zoom with Richard Ali, Beverly Nambozo, Micheal Onsando, and Otoniya Okot-Bitek, and via email catching up with Sophie Alal and Beatrice Lamwaka. Gifted word artists and literary activists all, we met via Richard Rathwell, in a project called variously Transcultural workshops, Transcultural projects, and Transcultural Academy. Regionally and politically diverse, this group of writers is near to my heart.

Chapbooks: 2021 publications (links added when available)

Kurt Trzcinski, Sacred Greens, Alfred Gustav Press

Justyna Krol, You Are Doing Excellent Work, Frog Hollow Press

Steffi Tad-y, Merienda, Rahila's Ghost Press

Catherine Lewis, Zipless, 845 Press

Finds: Hamilton Arts & Letters: Daniel David Moses, "A Ride Like Miss Johnson's 'Wild Cat'"  Issue 12:1 2019

Friday, January 15, 2021

Mahmud Kianush, a giant among us


"Regret" akkashi by Mahmud Kianush

I met Mahmud Kianush online. I was writing and researching love poetry, and I found Persian miniatures for an old long poem online (British Museum), but no translations anywhere. I wrote to three people who might be able to help, one of whom was Mahmud, located through his family’s website ArtArena


Mahmud had translated some shorter poems by the same author (


Mahmud Kianush was born in Mashad, Iran, in 1934. He relocated with his family to Tehran, and married a fellow literary artist, Pari Mansour. He rose in the ranks of literary society, as writer, editor, teacher and translator. 

Pre-revolutionary writers, Pari and Mahmud relocated to UK in 1975. Both continued writing, translating, and publishing, in English and Farsi. 

Mahmud was a broadcaster for decades on BBC’s Persian network. 

One Persian-Canadian writer told me that Mahmud is perhaps the most famous Farsi poet in the world.

Pari passed away in the spring of 2020, after a long illness. Due to the pandemic, Mahmud was not able to attend his wife’s funeral, but his daughter Katy read a poem on his behalf.

Mahmud recently marked his 86th birthday. He has been in lockdown due to the current pandemic. Excepting hospital stays and medical visits, he has been alone for four months and counting (as of Sept 2020).

As a unilingual English speaker and reader, I am more aware of his English writings and translations, and must rely on others’ reports about his Farsi publications. He is a secular poet, highly philosophical, the Persian traditions are strong in his writings and works. He did send me a nice, thick collection of his poetry in Farsi, hardback edition, dedication signed in 2014.

His best-known work in English is probably his introductory text, “Modern Persian Poetry.” Published by Rockingham Press UK, the same publisher who brought us six further books of his poetry in English. His final book, edited by Giles Goodland, was published by Knives Forks and Spoons UK, "The Journey & Other Poems."

In Farsi he established himself as a premiere poet and children’s writer, "founder of children's poetry," and later in life, his contributions to BBC were frequently satirical.

Mahmud passed away 12 January 2021. He succumbed to his pre-existing conditions + covid-19.

My beloved father-in-poetry:

-"Regret" by Mahmud Kianush
-"Mahmud Kianush" his name in Farsi
-"Mahmud Kianush" image, wiki data
-"Mahmud on his 80th birthday"


Tribute space for poet, translator, author, broadcaster Mahmud Kianush (Iran/UK), 1934-2021. 

Includes original poetry, translations, photography and akkashi/photo-painting, reviews and more. Launched 18 February 2021.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

1960 rising up

Welcome to my inaugural post! 

Thanks to Keb Mo & Playing for Change for singing us in.

It's been a busy year and a good one, in many respects. Covid-19 notwithstanding.

Cover art above is detail of a painting by my late husband Nick Zenthoefer, "Bygone."

My upcoming birthday is my 60th, and a Pythagorean Theorem Day

For all of those 1960-born folk celebrating their 60th this year: respect !

Links to my elder portals:

Joanne Arnott too (2016-2020)

Joanne Arnott (2006-2016)

Vera Manuel Tribute (2010-ongoing)

Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast (new website pending)

Transcultural Writers (2014-15)

Old Lady Hunting (2011)

January updates

  P ardon my long lapse in blogging activity.  Autumn was a sorrowing time, with three loved ones passing just weeks apart from one another....