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Awards Ceremony Saturday, November 25, 2017 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm Anvil Centre, Room 417 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC

Fred Cogswell

2017 Winners Johanna Skibsrud

THE DESCRIPTION OF THE WORLD (A Bookrider Book/Wolsak and Wynn) 1st Place Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry 2017 JOHANNA SKIBSRUD is the author of two previous collections of poetry, I Do Not Think That I Could Love a Human Being and Late Nights With Wild Cowboys; two novels, Quartet for the End of Time and the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novel The Sentimentalists; and the short fiction collection This Will Be Difficult to Explain and Other Stories. An Assistant Professor of English at the University of Arizona, Skibsrud and her family divide their time between Tucson and Cape Breton.

Timothy Shay

THE DIRTY KNEES OF PRAYER (Caitlin Press) 2nd Place Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry 2017 TIMOTHY SHAY has published in numerous magazines including Fiddlehead, Quarry, West Coast Review, This Magazine, Qwerty, CBC Radio, Rolling Stone. He has two collections of poetry, several chapbooks and has been included in two anthologies. His most recent collection, The Dirty Knees of Prayer was published in 2016 by Caitlin Press

Eva Tihanyi

THE LARGENESS OF RESCUE (Inanna Publications) 3rd Place Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry 2017 EVA TIHANYI was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1956 and came to Canada at the age of six. She has taught at Niagara College since 1989, and currently divides her time between Toronto and Port Dalhousie (St. Catharines).

Fred Cogswell, born in East Centerville, New Brunswick, was a prolific poet, translator, editor and scholar and was dubbed “a Friend of Poets – Amis des Poètes” for his lifelong commitment to poetry and those who write it. He was the author of 33 books of his own poetry and nine books of poetry translation. He also wrote and published many learned articles and reviews. His poetry was published in magazines, journals, anthologies, and textbooks and has been translated into several languages, including Chinese, Romanian, Spanish, and French. In 1958 he founded Fiddlehead Poetry Books, where he published 307 titles. His publishing house is now one of Canada's more important small press publishers, operating as Goose Lane Editions. In addition, Fred Cogswell was a Founding and Life Member of the League of Canadian Poets, a Life Member of both the Association of Canadian Publishers and the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick. Dr. Cogswell was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1981. He spent his final few years in New Westminster.

Candice James; Poet Laureate Emerita New Westminster BC; is author of 13 books; a visual artist; musician; singer/songwriter; literary reviewer and workshop facilitator. She is Past President of both the BC Federation of Writers, and the Royal City Literary Arts Society; Her awards include the Bernie Legge Artist Cultural Award and Pandora’s Collective Citizenship Award. Her poetry and artwork have appeared in national and international anthologies and magazines and over 50 of her songs have been released on independent labels

Thank you to our judge Candice James!

Kathleen Forsythe. A talented and creative educator, she was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for teaching excellence in 2006 for her work in the design of the SelfDesign Learning Community. In her own right, Kathleen has published 6 books of poetry. She is currently working on a novel trilogy, the Aisling of Gaia. She is also a mixed media artist with several awards to her credit.


Annette LeBox

Annette LeBox is an award-winning Canadian poet whose work has appeared in journals across Canada, the U.S. and Australia. Her short stories have appeared in The Dalhousie Review and Grain. She is the author of the novels, Miracle at Willowcreek (Canadian Scholars Press) and Circle of Cranes (PenguinRandomHouse U.S.) and five picture books, including Salmon Creek (Groundwood Press) and Peace is an Offering (PenguinRandomHouse U.S.). Salmon Creek and Peace is an Offering won the BC Book Prize for Illustrated Literature. Peace is an Offering has sold more than 475,000 copies in the U.S. and Canada and has been translated into Chinese and Spanish. An environmental activist, LeBox was a founding member of the Pitt Polder Preservation Society and a major stakeholder in the conservation of two regional British Columbia Parks, Blaney Bog and Codd Wetlands. Many of her books have been inspired by nature. LeBox is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She divides her time between her home in Maple Ridge, British Columbia and a remote cabin in the Cariboo grasslands.

In Stepfather’s House __________Annette LeBox his presence reeked. Copenhagen snuff, cigar, beer. You could cut a knife through the rancor. When I entered, windows fogged up. Doors clicked. Corridors twisted. Spiders wove webs of doubt. Stepfather sat at the table, Black tin lunch bucket before him. He wore a blue and white striped railroad cap. Favoured his own bloodline. Named his babies Dodo and Diddums. Named me Persnickety. Mother tuned pianos. Her music ran out of time. A chorus of drones dive-bombed overhead. Ghosts of i lingered in the corridor. Cinderella in a gender-bending narrative. The years dripped by. My half siblings grew tender. The hypotenuse of the triangle buffered the opposing sides. His passing stopped the trains mid-track. There was a vacancy in the house.

Waste __________Annette LeBox “Come my darling,” my mother whispers. “Eat. Just a few more peas. Look how skinny you are.” I, the runt, open my mouth as my stomach quavers. “You coddle her. Spoil her rotten.” I reach for the small glass of milk that topples, soaking my plate piled high with mashed potatoes, peas and small pieces of carefully cut meat now swimming in white that kills all thought of eating. Down on her knees, my mother in tears, wipes desperately, sops up a widening white lake, “What a waste, what a waste." The war. Rationing when nothing could be spilled or lost, my legs still bowed by lack of oranges, butter a luxury only dreamt of. Why do I remember this happening again and again? This depletion, inexhaustible flooding I seemed helpless to prevent.

thin milk __________Annette LeBox i feel the weight of unbaked chocolate chip cookies, herb gardens gone wild and mindless pots of chicken soup. i lack apron crock pot and stew. i never knew the smell of fresh baked bread or fish on Friday, aproned embraces or homemade butter tarts. lunches of anything other than Sandwich Spread spelled love to me yet i mothered.

i learned from Spock and Piaget not from you, mother, my undernourished child. you ate your own mother's bitterness, learned to ration love for there was never enough. i gnawed and tasted loss. do i pass this to my children thin milk thinning bone? the house on Keefer Street still stands cupboards bare.

stepfather __________Annette LeBox is shouting, “Big ears big ears,” i say i don't care about the words think he’s silly, he’s grownup and grownups don’t act that way but i think about his mouth a twisted rusty spring that could tear your flesh and his eyes are bulgy like those cats’ eyes marbles and i wonder if this time he will hit me and dare him with my chin and he wants to oh he wants to curls his fist almost grazes my cheek his hand shaking, “Little twerp, goddamn little twerp,” and my mother watches from a dark corner her nine-year-old wunderkind who believes she can save the kingdom: forty years later, before the man you'd die for leaves you your crybaby heart whimpers, “Big ears, big ears, big ears.”

Alsoomse © Nasreen Pejvack

The road looks dark and daunting. “It must be about five o’clock,” she thinks. She is trying to walk as far as possible away from her little town and reach the main road before daylight. It is early morning, and chilly. She wraps herself in her thin jacket and walks faster to warm up. She looks back and sees the faint lights of her little hometown. She has tears in her eyes, but she knows that she has to leave. As soon as she passes the corner she cannot see the town anymore, so she steps back and has one last look at her birth place, where the people she loves so much are still sleeping. She smiles as she imagines them lying warm under their covers, then continues on resolutely as she knows she has a long way ahead of her and goals to achieve. She starts to run towards the main road and hopes she won’t see anyone from her town there. She sits on a rock near the road, and anytime a car approaches she gets up and looks at the driver. If it is an old man or a woman she puts her thumb out for a ride, but nobody is willing to stop for her. It is now about eleven o’clock, and she is tired, hungry and thirsty – but cautious and aware of her surroundings. Her hands hold pepper spray tightly in one pocket and the soft handle of a little knife in the

other. It’s not a killing knife, but it is good enough as a distraction and for creating an opportunity to run away if she has to. Eventually a car pulls aside. She releases the knife and holds the pepper spray tightly as she approaches the vehicle. The driver is a middle-aged woman, who asks with a kind smile, “Where are you going?” she asks. “Vancouver.” “OK. Get in, that’s where I am headed.” She slips her backpack off her shoulder and gets into the car, setting the pack between her feet; though she quickly puts her hand back into her pocket to grip the knife. “Could you please put your seatbelt on?” “Oh, sure.” She snaps the seatbelt in and then once more returns her hand to her pocket. The woman glances at her, pulls the car onto the road, and then asks her name. “Alsoomse.” “Hmm, you’re Cree, right? And your name means Independent?” “I think so. How do you know?” “I am Cree too, but from Ontario. My name is Aponi.” “But you don’t look like me; you look like white people.”

“Yes, and I was raised with them too.” “What? You said you were Cree. Why were you brought up with white people then? Sorry, I hope you don’t mind me asking?” “No, I don’t mind. We have a few hours to drive, we may as well talk.” She smiles at her and continues. “Well, I do not know who my father is and my mother is half-native. My mother’s family were Native American from a reservation south of the border, and I am sure you have read or heard about what was happening those days on those reservations. My grandmother ran off to Canada with my mother, who was only three at the time, thinking life might be better there. They settled with the Cree in northern Ontario and started a new life. My grandmother met a good Cree man, married, and had a few more children, but my mother was my grandfather’s favourite. He knew she had had a tough life. “Soon Canada’s residential school system scooped up local children and took them away from their homes, and that included my mother. She was raped there and had me at the age of fifteen. When the sisters found out she was pregnant, they called her all kinds of names, as they were sure she had been naughty with one of the boys in the school. But then I was born as white as you see now. They took me away from her and gave me to a white family for adoption, and they called me Lisa.”

“O my, that is brutal... did they hit you or call you names too?” “No, no, I have to be honest, they were nice and polite.” Alsoomse laughs hard and finds herself relaxing, letting go of her knife. “What do you mean they were nice and polite?” “Well, they were rather respectful with one another, but did not know how to show affection. They didn’t seem to know how to love and care for each other. Everything was a routine, and naturally they were the same with me: simply nice and polite.” Alsoomse looks at Aponi with a smile, “Well, instead of that, I’ll just say that you are kind and friendly.” “Ha! Thanks for that. How about you? Why you are going to Vancouver?” “I have been accepted into nursing school, and I am headed off to start my program!” “What? Wasn’t there anyone in your family who could drive you there for such a wonderful occasion?” “My mother does have a car, but she doesn’t want me to go. We had a fight last night – again – and I left home sulking. I went to my aunt’s house where I had all my belongings hidden in my cousin’s room, and before dawn I left the house.” “Ah, you are running away from home.”

“No, I am going to school.” Aponi looks at her sadly, with a kind smile. “Well, make sure you visit home when you get your first report card so that your mother can see that you are in the city only to study, and doing great as well.” “Oh, she doesn’t need that,” Alsoomse says. “I graduated as an honour student; top of my class! And not just in grade twelve; all through school. She just fears the city and doesn’t want me to go away. Our little town has no college, so I had to leave.” Aponi glances over at her a few more times, then says, “Well sweetheart, we have a few more hours to drive, and now it’s your turn to tell me about yourself and your family. Why does your mother fear the city so?” Alsoomse looks at her with smile. “OK, sure.” She reaches into her backpack and brings out her water bottle, has a sip and says, “I have two brothers. The older one is smart and studies at U Vic, but of course he’s not as smart as I am.” The two laugh. “Oh, so your mother has no fear for your brother?” “Sure she does, and they fought too. She didn’t want him go either. Then my uncle found a job in Victoria and my brother moved in with him. My younger brother is in elementary school.”

They are quiet for some time, and Alsoomse looks out the window admiring the colourful autumn trees and enjoying the beautiful season. Aponi sighs. “I do not understand your mother’s fear.” Alsoomse says, “Well, she had a tough life; her own mother went to residential school just like yours. After leaving that place she became an alcoholic and died when my mother was very young. My mother thinks cities are dangerous for us, full of the same people that put us in residential schools. She strongly believes that we have to live together and grow stronger as a community.” “Don’t you like to be in your community?” “Of course I like to be there. But I also want to educate myself and then return to my community to help improve it. Anytime we went to Vancouver, I felt as if I was travelling to another country. Our little town is so small and underdeveloped. Our drinking water makes everyone sick and our little clinic looks like something in a third world country. Are we not in the same country as Vancouver? How is that, can you tell me?” She folds her arms and looks sad and confused. “My mother says she needs time to heal and doesn’t want to leave.” They approach a rest stop and Aponi asks if she would like to have a bite to eat. Alsoomse agrees and they stop for some coffee and sandwiches. They bring their food to a table and eat quietly. Aponi

looks at her from time to time sadly, not knowing what to say to this young, smart, beautiful and ambitious girl. She knows the young lady is right about how there are many reserves that are run down and have poor drinking water and other issues. And yes, people also need to heal, yet at the same time for how long? Aponi’s thoughts are making her face gloomy, and Alsoomse says, “Did I say something wrong? You look unhappy.” “Oh, no, no, you didn’t say anything wrong; as a matter of fact I am so happy to have met such a smart and determined young lady. At the same time I feel for your mother. Many of our people believe the system is still out to get us, and somehow eliminate us. They don’t even know who’s out to get them or how. But as you said, the quality of life in our communities is in such a desperate state that people there don’t trust or believe in anybody but themselves and their own people. And those communities are so poor.” “Well, yes, and that’s why I want to leave and take advantage of the programs out there; I want to educate myself and bring my skills back to my community. When we sit there and try to heal, nothing changes. But if we educate ourselves, learn from the past and demand our rights, we can heal much faster, because we will be seeing transformations along the way. But my mother’s fears won’t let us move on, it seems.”

Aponi nods her head, then looks at her watch, gets up, and says, “OK let’s go.” As they pull out onto the highway once again, Aponi asks Alsoomse if she has a place to stay. “Oh yes, through my registration I have applied for a dormitory, so I am all set.” After a pause she says, “You see how many immigrants and white people are in all the colleges and universities. Why not us? If we do not go and use what is ours, it is our fault. I didn't have any trouble getting accepted when I sent in my application. I have a right to be there too, and study what I want. And be who I want to be.” She is tired and angry, and Aponi reaches over to caress her beautiful, long and thick black hair. “I am so proud of you. And I am sure your mother will come around as well. You set up your program all by yourself and you are determined to go to school and have a skill. Oh girl, you are a dream for any mother. I’m sure your mother loves and appreciates you, and that’s why she is so afraid that something might happen to such a wonderful kid as you.” Alsoomse sighs, “If she could only trust me; I would not go out with anyone bad and naughty. I just want to study and make a difference. That is how I’ll heal: by showing who I am; by showing that I’m not the stereotype they have about our people.” They sit quietly as Aponi drives and soon Alsoomse falls asleep. Eventually they get to Vancouver, but Alsoomse does not wake up. She looks like she needs the sleep, so Aponi stops the car and sits

quietly for some time, until eventually the young woman wakes up. “Ah, we are here.” “You didn’t tell me where your dorm is, so I had to wait for you to wake up.” Alsoomse smiles and reaches into her backpack pocket to take out the address and give it to Aponi. She looks at it and says they are not far. As she resumes driving, Aponi wishes Alsoomse all the best in her studies. “Thanks so much, I’m really looking forward to it. And thank you for driving me here. Could I contribute some money for your gas?” “Ah, no darling, you just promise to do as you said. And in a few days call your mother and let her know where you are. What is her name by the way?” “Sokanon!” “How beautiful; Vancouver’s weather. Hah!” “Yes, her name means “Rain.” It’s a beautiful name and I miss her already. I will call her in a few days, for sure! Would you like to come and meet her?” “Oh, I would! I would love to meet the wonderful woman who raised you: a truly independent, strong young lady such as you. I would love to meet her. Ah, we’re here now. Let me give you my number. Make sure you call me!”

They exchange numbers, and Aponi is happy that she knows where Alsoomse lives and that she is safe enough. They hug and say farewell and go their separate ways. Aponi stops the car just around the corner and waits a bit to make sure Alsoomse gets into her building. She is so pleased to have met her and is so proud of her. She thinks: I will make sure she has everything she needs, and that will be my own healing to help our young, motivated girl along her way. With a happy smile of satisfaction, she drives away.

Copyright Nasreen Pejvack

RCLAS Fall 2017 Events

RCLAS Writing Workshop: Perfectly Imperfect Facilitator: Valerie Adolph Saturday October 14, 2017 Location: Anvil Centre, New Westminster Host: Nasreen Pejvack Photos by Janet Kvammen

RCLAS Writing Workshop: The Dynamic Presenter Facilitator: Ben Nuttall- Smith Date: Saturday October 28, 2017 Location: Anvil Centre, New Westminster Photos submitted by Nasreen Pejvack

RCLAS presents “Tellers of Short Tales” Feature Author: Patricia Sandberg Date: Thursday November 2, 2017 Location : Anvil Centre, New Westminster Host: Nasreen Pejvack Photos by Murray Hill and Janet Kvammen

RCLAS “In Their Words: A Royal City Reading Series� Featured Readers: Cynthia Sharp reads Timothy Findley Deborah Kelly reads Rumi Pauline Probyn reads Patricia Highsmith

Host: Alan Girling

Date: Thurs, November 16, 2017 Location: Anvil Centre, New Westminster In Their Words happens on the 3rd Thursday of every other month. Feature speakers present their favourite author from any genre in poetry, fiction, non-fiction or drama. A short Q&A follows each presenter. Photos by Janet Kvammen.

MY PROMISE Š Jerena Tobiasen

Jerena with veteran Percy Howard at Juno Beach

Remembrance is a word that was instilled in me from the time I was a small child. Two of my uncles served during World War II. The one who saw action in France returned a changed man. Although he never spoke to me of his experiences, I loved him unconditionally, and respected his service to the people of Canada. In elementary school, my classmates and I attended Remembrance Day ceremonies, and I grieved for the men who died in both World War I and World War II. It mattered not that I had been born many years too late to have known them. That need to remember was ingrained deep within me, so deep that, although I might have missed attending a Remembrance Day ceremony from time to time, I always stopped at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to say a prayer, to grieve and to remember. In all those years of remembrance, I rarely thought about opposing sides or other wars. On reflection now, my schooling on this matter was sorely lacking.

§ In late May of 2004, I travelled to France to visit World War I and World War II battle sites. I joined a bus tour that included four motor coaches, not only to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the second world war, but also to honour my uncle and other members of the Regina Rifles with whom he had served. Most of the passengers on that tour were Canadians who, like me, had felt compelled to be in Normandy for the commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day, which was to be held on Juno Beach on June 6th. About thirty percent of the passengers were veterans of the second world war, and some had participated in battles conducted on the very sites we visited. During our first week together, we visited battle sites, cemeteries and museums dedicated to the first war, including Verdun Memorial Museum, Beaumont-Hamel Memorial Park, Menin Gate, Flanders, and Vimy Ridge. As the days passed, we came to know our fellow travellers and listened to stories of war, many of which had never been shared before. One day, I stood viewing a re-enacted battle scene in a room of the Verdun Memorial Museum when an elderly gentleman approached me. “I nearly lost my eye during the battle for Verrières Ridge,” he said, catching my attention. I looked around to see to whom he spoke. He stepped closer to me, the only other person in that room.

“The percussion of a mortar shell hit me so hard that it popped out.” His voice was matter of fact as he continued. “I was alone, you see. Isolated from the others. No one could help me. We were all under fire. I lay there, with my eye resting on my cheek, wondering what to do.” His gaze rested on the open palm of his right hand. “So, I took my hand, and pushed it back into the socket. Like this,” he said, raising his hand to his face. A single tear trickled down his weathered cheek, “I’ve never told that to anyone before.” I didn’t know how to respond to his story, so I waited while he collected himself, then I thanked him for sharing his story. As the minutes ticked by and we shared the quietude of that empty room, he said, “I have been haunted by that war for more than sixty years. I came here to find peace, and now perhaps I will. Thank you for listening.” § Sometime during the second week of travel, we stopped at Langemark Cemetery, drove along the Somme River, visited Dieppe, Puis, Pourville, Verrieres Ridge, Caen and Courseaullers, and, once again, we honoured the veterans at Juno Beach. When we stopped at Langemark Cemetery, I was struck with a new level of awareness. That cemetery marked the deaths of fallen soldiers as well, German soldiers. They too had died during the bloody battles of World War II.

I was struck by the size of the cemetery: small in comparison to the Canadian ones, and dark. While the individual grave sites of Canadian soldiers formed neat, far-reaching rows marked with pristine white stone, the mass graves of the German soldiers were marked with black, moss-covered stone. I began to wonder: Why were the stones black? Why was the cemetery so small? Why did the occupants have to share space with their peers? Who had built this cemetery for the fallen German fathers, brothers and sons? As I had done at the Canadian cemeteries, I placed poppies on the black stones, said a prayer, grieved, and remembered. § While the days passed and the buses made other stops, I met other elderly veterans and listened to the stories they felt compelled to share. After a particularly long, hot afternoon spent at the Canadian War Cemetery, Beny-Sur-Mer, I spotted Sergeant Ernest “Smokey� Smith, a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, sitting quietly in his wheelchair, waiting as folks lined up to have their photograph taken with him. When a travelling companion asked that I take his photograph with Smokey, we joined the line. As we waited, I listened to the folks around me describe in hushed awe what it was that he

had done to merit such recognition. My amazement grew as each sweltering moment passed. When it was finally our turn, my companion introduced himself to Smokey, while I focused my camera. “Hey!” Smokey asked my companion, “Where’d ya find such a good-looking babe!” There was no need to say “cheese” for that photo. § As the June 6th commemoration date drew near, anticipation of the celebration on Juno Beach amplified. The atmosphere around the four buses was electric. By that time, I had been befriended by two veterans. One had spent the duration of the second war in the merchant marines, patrolling the east coast of Canada. The other was a younger air force pilot, who had not seen battle.


travelled together, without family, and invited me to sit with them and the other veterans during the ceremony. I was both honoured and humbled by their generous invitation. We sat near the front of crowd, close enough to be greeted by Queen Elizabeth when she strolled passed, followed by then-Prime Minister







Clarkson, and Prince Philip. I had no idea what to expect that day, and was in awe of the respect and honour given to our Canadian veterans. I was impressed by the words of the guest speakers, the fly-over of vintage

aircraft, which included a Hurricane, a Lancaster and a Spit-Fire, and by the Last Post. All of those experiences paled, though, in comparison to the final event listed of the day’s program: the march of the veterans. The audience stood to watch as hundreds of veterans, primarily from World War II and including the two by whom I’d been adopted, made their way to the beach to remember, and to pay their respects to their fallen comrades. We watched their progress – some sauntering, some shuffling, some in wheel chairs - on a giant television screen. When at last they reached the beach, we saw raw emotion crease their faces, and shed our own tears with them. § I have so many memories of that tour, but the one that stood out the most was the plea from those whom I had befriended: “You must come back . . . to remember. We’re old now. Most of us won’t live to see the seventieth anniversary. If you don’t come, we will be forgotten. Don’t forget us, or our efforts will be for not.” I promised that I would. Because of my privileged encounter with the veterans whom I met in 2004, I am bound to keep my promise, to remember, every year on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. At the same time, I reflect on war, and why it happens. What we as a people of the world can do to stop it. How we as a people of the

world can engage in peace and understanding, instead of war, hatred and greed. In May of 2014, I once again travelled to Normandy, to fulfill my promise to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of D-Day on Juno Beach. I joined a tour hosted by the same company that guided the 2004 tour. We travelled together in two motor coaches, not four, and among us we counted only four veterans. Those veterans have all passed on now, but, before that tour ended, they too shared their stories. The questions that I posed at the Langemark Cemetery in 2004 continue to linger. Only recently, I learned that the circumstance of that cemetery is haunted by politics and money. But, it was my experience there that lead me to understand the greater picture, about humanity, compassion, understanding, love, and so much more. This year, as every year, I will gather with other like-minded folks on November 11th to remember. And, God willing, I’ll be standing on Juno Beach in 2024 to commemorate the eightieth anniversary, alongside others who have made the same promise that I made, and with all of the Canadian soldiers whose hearts tary on that beach. Together, we will recite the words of Robert Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen, and “We will remember them.” Copyright Jerena Tobiasen

Smokey Smith, Age 91, 2004 2

Veterans of the 2004 tour - 60th anniversary commemoration, Vimy Ridge

Juno Beach, 2004 Photos by Jerena Tobiasen

Unharvested Field Š Ruth Hill wind soughs thru the trees sways the grass every time we pass an unharvested field we bow our heads and sigh in sorrow the tractor works the fuel is full but friends and family have vanished this field sown with love in every furrow shows a farmer on forever furlough

Suburbia © Melana Yang Pale pink stuccoed houses — stoic soldiers in a row. Hide a myriad of secrets — that struggle to remain unknown. The angst in the mother's heart — the wander in the father's eye. — The family unit plugged in, devices consume energy dry. Get togethers, parties; — excuses to let down their guards. But beyond the tinkling glasses — all is simply a house of cards. As they retreat to their prisons — the houses that own them, — the buzz wears off, they settle in and allow their lights to grow dim.

Closed on Holiday Long Weekends


Board of Directors President: Nasreen Pejvack Vice–President: Janet Kvammen Secretary/Treasurer:Antonia Levi Director at Large: Aidan Chafe Director at Large: Alan Girling Director at Large: Alan Hill

RCLAS Board Assistants

Deborah L. Kelly (Membership, Workshop Host) Lisa Strong (Website Management)

RCLAS Upcoming Events Info: RCLAS presents “Fred Cogswell Award For Excellence In Poetry” Awards Ceremony” Date: Saturday November 25, 2017 Time: 3:30pm – 5:00pm Location: Anvil Centre, 4th Floor, RM 417, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster Description: Awards presentations featuring 2017 judge Candice James, Poet Laureate Emerita and Kathleen Forsythe, daughter of Fred Cogswell. RCLAS presents “Songwriters Open Mic Night” Date: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Free admission. Location: The Heritage Grill, Backstage Room, 447 Columbia St, New Westminster, BC Hosts: Enrico Renz, Lawren Nemeth and Poul Bech More info Description: Original music only, performed by the songwriters! Great venue: good sound, food, beverages and a friendly, supportive audience that actually listens. Every First Tuesday of the Month. RCLAS presents “Wordplay” with Alan Girling Date: Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017. 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Free admission. Location: Buy-Low Foods Community Room, 555 – 6th Street, New Westminster Host: Alan Girling More info Description: Wordplay is our monthly idea-generating drop-in series for writers of all kinds. Find new approaches to your writing; unlock that treasure chest in your head! This group generates some fabulous first drafts; all you need to bring is writing tools, paper, and a ready mind. This is not a critique group; let’s have some fun! RCLAS presents “Tellers of Short Tales” Date: Thursday Dec 7, 2017. 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Free admission. Location : Anvil Centre, Room 411, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster Host: Nasreen Pejvack, featuring a different author each session. Feature Author: Ruth Kozak Open Mic Sign Up

More info Description: A program of monthly readings designed to engage fans of the short story genre with emerging and published short story writers. Also, an open microphone will be available for writers who would like to share their stories. RCLAS presents “Poetry New Westminster” Sunday Afternoons (except Holiday Weekends) Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm, Free admission. Location: The Heritage Grill, Backstage Room, 447 Columbia St, New Westminster, BC Hosts: Rotating Each Sunday features two poets and Open Mic. Facebook:

RCLAS Holiday Party/Membership Drive Saturday Dec 16, 2017 at Anvil Centre, RSVP


Janet Kvammen, RCLAS Vice-President/E-zine Antonia Levi

RCLAS Members Open Call for Submissions No theme required to submit. Upcoming Themes — Deadline January 15 Winter/ Snow/ Love / Haiku Ongoing Submissions for upcoming a “New Westminster” Theme Special Feature. Poetry, Short Stories, Book excerpts, articles & lyrics are all welcome for submission to future issues of Wordplay at work. Submit Word documents (Please include YOUR NAME and Title on document name) to

Thank you to our Sponsors & Venues 

City of New Westminster

Anvil Centre

Arts Council of New Westminster

Buy-Low Foods

The Heritage Grill

New Westminster Public Library

Judy Darcy, MLA

Renaissance Books

Don’t give up The beginning is always the hardest.

See upcoming events at

Facebook November 2017 Wordplay at work ISSN 2291- 4269 Contact: RCLAS Vice-President/ E-zine

November 2017 Ezine Wordplay at Work Issue 49  

ISSUE 49 ISSN 2291- 4269, 64 pages. November 2017 Feature Writer of the Month: Annette LeBox. Contributing RCLAS Members: Nasreen Pejvack,...

November 2017 Ezine Wordplay at Work Issue 49  

ISSUE 49 ISSN 2291- 4269, 64 pages. November 2017 Feature Writer of the Month: Annette LeBox. Contributing RCLAS Members: Nasreen Pejvack,...