Word Up online April 2022

Poetry Month Panel

National Poetry Month takes place each April, which was introduced in 1996, allows us to change our perspectives and look upon poetry as a rhythmic art of expressing one’s love and thoughts. We’ve invited three poets to talk about why, how and why they write poetry.

Christian Bök

Christian Bök is the author of Eunoia (2001), a bestselling work of experimental literature, which has gone on to win the Griffin Prize for Poetic Excellence. Bök is currently working on The Xenotext — a project that requires him to encipher a poem into the genome of a bacterium capable of surviving in any inhospitable environment. Bök is a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada, and he works as an artist in Melbourne.


  • Eunoia (Coach House Books, 2001)
  • Crystallography (Coach House Books, 2003)
  • The Xenotext – Book 1 (Coach House Books, 2015)
  • The Kazimir Effect (Penteract Press, 2021)

Click here to learn more about him

Panela Mordecai

Pamela Mordecai is a Jamaican-Canadian who writes poetry, fiction for adults and children. She has published/co-published over thirty books including textbooks, anthologies, a reference work on Jamaica, seven collections of poetry (most recently de book of Mary: a performance poem), five children’s books, and a collection of short fiction, Pink Icing, first published by Insomniac Press in 2006 and recently released as an audiobook read by herself in ECW Press’s Bespeak Audio Editions. Her debut novel, Red Jacket, was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Award. On 17 May, A Fierce Green Place: new and selected poems will appear from New Directions and on 1 June, Mawenzi House will publish de book of Joseph: a performance poem. A former language arts teacher and teacher-trainer with a PhD in English, she has also worked in media, especially television. She has three children and a granddaughter and lives in Toronto. 

Video recordings of her first five collections of poetry are archived at https://mordecai.citl.mun.ca

Tanis MacDonald

Tanis MacDonald is the author of six books of creative nonfiction and poetry, including Mobile: poems and the forthcoming essay collection Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female. She has been awarded the Open Seasons Awards for Nonfiction and the Bliss Carman Prize for Poetry, and won the Robert Kroetsch teaching Award in 2017. She is the Editor of the Laurier Poetry Series, run by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, and hosts the podcast Watershed Writers. She is originally from Treaty One territory in Winnipeg, and now lives in Waterloo, Ontario, on the traditional territories of the Neutral, Anishnaabe, and Haudenosaunee peoples. She is currently at work on a poetry manuscript titled Tall, Grass, Girl.

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