Cobalt, Haileybury and New Liskeard alive with the sounds of poetry

11th annual Spring Pulse Poetry Festival held last weekend

Ottawa poet, Susan McMaster, launched her latest book Haunt. Frank Giorno for TheONE.

by Frank Giorno

The shores of Lake Timiskaming, on the traditional lands of the Algonquin People,were alive with the sounds of poetry, music and the occasional sightings of William Drummonds ghost last weekend as the 11th annual Spring Pulse Poetry, Music and Art Festival successfully completed another edition.

On Friday June 1 at 1:00 pm ,Ottawa poet Susan McMaster launched her latest book Haunted at Lumber Baron’s House, 604 Brewster Street in Haileybury. McMaster’s reading was followed by a followed by a writing workshop that offered tips on how to edit poems for unwanted repetition.

In the evening the action moved to the  Paul Penna Cobalt Public Library where Ann Margetson was re-inducted as Poet Laureate and Emma Laughlin was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award.

But the focus of the night was the celebration of Cobalt’s renowned poet Dr. William Drummond, who during the beginning of the 20th century was one of the most read poets in the English-speaking language.

The Envelope Please- and the winners are! David Brydges (left), artistic director, The Ghost of William Drummond (centre) and Cobalt Poet Laureate, Ann Margetson present the winners of the Drummond Poetry Prize. Frank Giorno for the ONE

An hour of selected readings of his poetry preceded the Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Awards Ceremony.

As in past events the ghost of Dr. Drummond roamed delightfully over the celebration

The winners of the 2018 Drummond Poetry Awards are:

First Place : Gypsum Girl by Alia Wall

Second Place: As Rags Become Rugs by Wendy Jean MacLean

Third Place: Open”by Debbie Amirault Camelin

Complete list of winners-honorable mentions and Judges Choice Awards

On Saturday morning a group of 12 poets participated in reading from their works or poems they admited during an open mic event at the Classic Theatre in Cobalt. The participating poets were:

Susan McMaster, Ottawa 

Honey Novick, Toronto, 

Della Dean, Cobalt,

David Brydges, Cobalt

Ann Margetson, Cobalt

Yvonne Francoeur, Cobalt

John Yates, Bowmanville

Victor Zurkowski, Toronto

David Dawson, Sharbot Lake

Linda-Bea Chambers, Cobalt

Frank Giorno, Timmins

Tiffany Stow, New Liskeard

After the conclusion of the open mic readings, the group convened at the Paul Penna Library for the announcement of the Jim Sargent Youth Poetry Writing Awards and  luncheon compliments of the library board, and Marvyn Morrison was inducted into the Poetry Hall of Fame.

The annual Poet’s Parade headed by Haileybury Legion Pipe Band led the poets to the Dr. Pollard Poetry Park where a plaque honouring Marvyn Morrison was placed by a newly planted pine tree.

Induction ceremony of Marvyn Morrison (centre) into the Poet’s Hall of Fame. Frank Giorno for TheONE.


At the Poet’s Park, Marilyn Chevrier-Wills, Timiskaming First Nation elder/teacher along with her husband John Wills plus drummers Carole and Karen performed a welcoming song and opening prayer ceremony.

The afternoon ceremony at Poet’s Park also honoured the Silver Shadow – White Dog of Cobalt  with yellow ribbons remembrance tied to a near by tree close to the White Dog Memorial. The   reminded people to fight against animal abuse or cruelty.

An open mic featuring poetry,music and storytelling was held by the gazebo.

The festivities concluded with an after party at the Meteor Cafe featuring Ottawa folk singer, Vienna D’Amato Hall who performed two sets of original songs plus a few of her favourite songs by others.

Vienna D’Amato Hall performs at the Meteor Cafe. Frank Giorno for TheONE.


An apparition believed to be the ghost of William Drummond spotted at the Meteor Cafe taking in the music of Susan D’Amato Hall. Frank Giorno for TheONE.
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Frank Giorno

Frank Giorno Frank Giorno lives in Timmins, Ontario. He is a graduate of York University (Honors B.A Political Science) and Ryerson School of Journalism (B.A. Journalism). Frank has worked as a city hall reporter for the Brandon Sun; freelanced for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. He is the past editor of and the newsletter of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers. Frank has also worked as Research Director for the Canadian Environmental Law Association; Senior Communications Advisor on Water Quality Issues for the Ministry of the Environment; Public Affairs Associate for Region of Peel Public Works; and Media Relations Officer for Toronto Public Health. In Timmins, he served as the Communications Manager for Mushkegowuk Environmental Research Centre/Five Nations Energy Project on Energy Conservation. He freelanced for Frank is a published author of essays on the internment of Italian-Canadians during World War 2, “Internee 328: Camp Petawawa” co-written with James McCreath appears in “Beyond Barbed Wire” (Guernica Editions 2012). He has published four books of poetry, My Nation is a Train...Wreck (2017, Northern Voices Publications), MoPoPoMo (2016, Northern Voices Publications), “Elvis in America,” and “Arrivederci! Plastic Covered Couch ( 2006, 2008 Lyricalmyrical Press)”.

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