Thursday, April 3, 2014


UPDATE: I accepted the position on the Canada Cuban Literary Alliance:


Honorary member of the CCLA
by President Richard Grove
http://www.canadacubaliteraryalliance.org/

Thank you so much Richard Grove I am deeply honoured. 

All good things,
Donna Allard

Monday, January 13, 2014

REVIEW:

"I Have Never Been to the Atlantic Ocean but Now I Feel I Have", Debbie Okun Hill, past President The Ontario Poetry Society 
Well, I have and I haven’t! Oh, this is so confusing! One of my literary goals on my bucket list is to dip my toes in the Atlantic Ocean and then write a poem about it. I don’t know when I will get there but about three months ago I started reading a poetry book that not only made me feel like I was already splashing through the salty waves in my rubber boots but that I needed to pack up my fishing nets and head to the east coast today and for real! Ready or not, here I come! Books can do that, transport me to locations I have never seen and may never get to in person. My apologies for the late review, long overdue but I was hoping to polish up my French for the trip. That’s on my bucket list too!!

FROM SHORE TO SHOORMAL



By Donna Allard and Nat Hall Broken Jaw Press and BS Poetry Society, 2013, 72 pages ISBN 978-1-55391-111-1

 By Donna Allard and Nat Hall
Broken Jaw Press and BS Poetry Society, 2013, 72 pages
ISBN 978-1-55391-111-1



At first glance, From Shore to Shoormal could easily be described as a poetic travelogue where images of the Atlantic Ocean mesmerize the readers and lure them onto fishing vessels and along barren shorelines where the “high-spirited” raven keeps a watchful eye. In the poem “Treasure Hunt” the instructions are to “Get your map out”… “never lose sight of your compass”…and “Feel the last wave, follow the sun.”… For those who are unfamiliar with the coastal fringe of Acadia’s Shediac Bay and the shoormal of Shetland Islands, Scotland, "I Have Never Been to the Atlantic Ocean but Now I Feel I Have"this book nudges individuals into the salt taste, damp fog, fishy scent and rugged characteristics of these two regions.
However, this collection of 25 bilingual poems by New Brunswick poet Donna Allard and Shetland-based poet and visual artist Nat Hall is more than just another geography lesson. As stated on the back cover this 72-page book is a celebration of the Atlantic connection between two voices: the persona of Allard’s acadianrose cresting like ocean waves in “From Shore” the first section of the book and Hall’s nordicblackbird flying strong in the second part dedicated “To Shoormal”.
While the cover image (Hall’s photo ‘vagabond mood’) appears stark and gloomy, it sets a melancholy tone for the poetic landmarks within.

For example, Acadia’s rich history unfolds as relic puzzle pieces and unearthed memories in Allard’s introductory poem “War Musket Grass (Bay of Fundy) where “they swear the land still smells of powder.” In “Northwest Passage”, the “mornin’ boats dot the water like fag butts” and the “morning sun zips its warm jacket and leaves”. The couplets in this poem and the metaphors throughout this section of the book are like the waves in the ocean, lapping the shore at a steady rhythm. The writing is tight and Allard often uses haunting words when describing the fisherman’s life, beer, his wife’s isolation, “icicled telephone wires”, “ghost ships that/appear at sunset” and eyes either “shipwrecked on déjà vu” or a “glassy reflection of dark tides”.

It is not an easy journey. As Allard states, “There’s not a road on this isle that does not bleed/from shore to shore.” Yet, Pablo’s poetic influence abounds “along the apple pathways of every heart in love.” In another poem, she writes “this memory shall live within me/until that sweet season when we meet again.” Death and love are common themes: “I drown, in the beauty that only the Bay of Fundy can offer.”

In the second section of the book, once the reader is seamlessly transported across the ocean, Hall resumes the Atlantic tour using the image of the raven and the wind in many of her poems. The writing is often gritty, sometimes gentle, written mainly in the first person point of view and is accessible to the general public. However expect some unique twists and turns of phrases. In her poem “On the Tip of My Heart” she taunts the reader “go ask the bird what it feels like inside the gale.” Hall explores the “Lady Mist”, “water washed words”, the turbulent storms of the Atlantic and the lighthouse beacon. In “The Tales from the Tides” she experiments with an acrostic riddle and later humours the audience with the unexpected language of canned fish. One of the most memorable lines of the book appears in the poem “Harva” where Hall states, “I taste the sea…I’m still drinking the Atlantic/like a long shot of/tequila.”

While both sections of the book are written in a free-style format, the addition of French translations and Shetland dialect provides a cultural echo and textured layer to the original English work. As Hall writes in the English version of her closing poem, “I love this sudden switch of tongue/sur toutes les lèvres du St, Laurent!/Now I feel home on either side of the Atlantic.”

Whether the reader is French or English speaking, it is not necessary to be bilingual to appreciate the depth of emotion and multi-layers of meaning in these poem treasures. Rather, here is a book that dares people to step outside their boundaries, to take a closer look and celebrate these strong voices that make the Atlantic coast so special.

For additional “official” information about the book, click here.

Debbie Okun Hill
Past President The Ontario Poetry Society (TOPS)
OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF DEBBIE OKUN HILL - REVIEW CLICK HERE

Saturday, October 26, 2013

ARTS EAST artseastonline@gmail.com / twitter: @artseastonline / facebook: Arts East

  October 26th 2013

http://www.brokenjaw.com/catalog/pg135.htm
From Shore to Shoormal ~ D’un rivage à l’autre
Poems by Donna Allard & Nat Hall
Broken Jaw Press
Two prolific poets/poètes share a fascination for language; an attention to minute detail lyrically explored to become worlds of their own; a geographical and spiritual connection to the Atlantic Ocean and its offshoot waterways…Donna Allard and Nat Hall combine their works, inspired and penned from their Shediac Bay (New Brunswick) and Shetland Island (Scotland’s northern archipelago) homes, to create a collaboration: From Shore to Shoormal (D’un rivage à l’autre).
Each poet embraces her own expressive style and observations, and yet their mutual bond is genuinely apparent throughout the entire tome. It is as if you can picture Allard and Hall standing each on her own shore or shoormal communicating to the other with timeless messages dug up from somewhere deep inside. Appropriately Hall writes in “Atlantic Home”:
Oh, wow, I found a bottle in the sea.
Water-washed words,
it spoke of shores,
my horizon can imagine…
From Shore to Shoormal transcends expected descriptions of natural landscapes to yield a cornucopia of themes: navigation and battles, heartache, memories and love, pollution and extreme weather, history, culture and livelihood. For instance, a whole story is told in Allard’s “Northwest Passage”. An excerpt reads:
eerie
like a Steven King novel, all roads leading to the wharf,
clogged with fog, dreamlike…
footsteps
cigarette lit, deep sigh, a distant horn heard…
ball cap removed, reshaped
The fact the poems are presented in both English and French is a real treat; some are even written in the Shetland dialect, and others incorporate expressions of Hall’s home. Even without being fully versed in each language, it is intriguing to explore the changes in rhythm and sound, even slight meanings, when comparing the translations. It is equally satisfying to read each version aloud feeling your tongue move in novel ways to produce melodious or elegiac tones.
Hall writes that words hide in stones. Both poets have successfully quarried verse and visions for many a reader—perhaps while sitting on their own shoreline—to enjoy and ponder. ~ Michelle Brunet
http://donnaallard.blogspot.ca/
Posted by
   Salty Sounds Cafe
 October 26th 2013
Chatam, N.B. Canada
@ Raymond Fraser 
Launch / Signing 
of
'BLISS'


Gosh will I ever take a good photo lol. Did anyone notice how tall I am...
lol Joe is sitting on a table so we don't look like mutt and Jeff.. 

I spent the afternoon at Salty Sounds Cafe/Kitchen Party place Chatam NB with author Raymond Fraser at his 'Bliss' signing. So many people dropped over, amazing little place! We traded books Ray is a very sweet person I can't wait 
to hear him read later in Fton. Had a photo op too. 
My publisher Joe Blades, Broken Jaw Press, was wonderful as usual 
and showed me all the photos he took when he launched our book, 
'From Shore To Shoormal' at the Shetland Islands UK last August 
with coauthor Nat Hall. 

What a beautiful island it is! And the beer is really good I hear.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

NB FILM CO-OP

NBFC Artist of the Week for NB -
Donna Allard
 Writer/Poet, Aldouane NB

ARTS

View Feature Artist HERE



Friday, August 30, 2013


YOUR INVITATION TO
the book launch
at 
WORDPLAY 2013

Sunday 1st September 2013

12:30*

at Mareel, screen 2

Lerwick, Shetland, UK



let there be poetry & music from both sides of the Atlantic – we are looking forward
to seeing you there!


(*Please bear in mind this event is ticketed by Shetland arts)


(* Unfortunately Donna Allard cannot attend this event. But we are having a Soundcloud reading.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Temp 100' F

Dear blog members,

We hope summer is to your liking and you are not getting to burned!

I wish to thank everyone who supported my gruelling attempt to sign books this weekend in temp's of 100'F or more. Your support and encouragement is much appreciated, except for that one woman who said, "these books are used". Puzzled at her out burst I figured she had heat stroke!

LOL - I don't accept the invisible flame of ignorance!

I wish to apologize for not being able to attend signings at several venues due to circumstances out of my control and I wrote a letter to all explaining the situation. All is good! :)

If you see me around and wish a copy of, 'From Shore to Shoormal', just drop over and ask. There is always an extra copy in my purse. 

Now lets enjoy this summer to its fullest!

All good things,
Donna Allard