The Gargoyle’s Left Ear: Writing in Ottawa

The Gargoyle’s Left Ear: Writing in Ottawa presents a unique blend of vignettes, reminiscence, and poetry from well known Ottawa writer Susan McMaster.
How has this town transformed a shy girl into an outgoing performer and prize-winning poet whose dozenplus books and recordings have been featured across Canada and beyond?
“To admit the draw of starlight…” writes a passionate young woman as she wends her way along the Canal. “Red leaves drop brown / from weeks of rain / on a river walled / into a domestic bed…” as she mourns lost love. “Rush wildly, discard this sober step…” as she draws all eyes at the National Arts Centre. “Against the war…” as she reads to thousands on Parliament Hill.
People and places and groups important to this literary town weave in and out of the stories, like Ouroboros (which published her first collection), the Ottawa Poetry Group, Ottawa Independent Writers, First Draft, SugarBeat, and Geode Music & Poetry, and the stages where she presents her work, like the National Library, National Gallery, Great Canadian Theatre Company, Rasputin’s, Tree, Orion, the Ottawa International Writers’ Festival, Ottawa Folk Festival, CBC, CKCU, CHUO, and CHEZ.
We follow McMaster through such projects as Bookware: Ottawa Valley Poets, Waging Peace: Poetry and Political Action, “Random Acts of Poetry,” and “Poetry in the Park”; and sit down beside her in her “blue room” as she picks up her pen. What makes a writer? This genial and engaging narrative offers a rare chance to look inside a poet’s mind as she writes, “mouth full / of roar.”

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