poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘New Brunswick Writers’ Federation

out of place

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One of the advantages of belonging to a regional writing group — regular opportunities to refresh the writing mind and put new tools in the writer’s kit.


This past month at WordsFall, an annual event of the New Brunswick Writers’ Federation, I took a course from well-known poet Lynn Davies (author of how the gods pour tea, 2013, Goose Lane Editions, The Bridge That Carries the Road, 1999, Brick Books, and others). Lynn’s course Paper Moon, Paper Shoe: Writing and Collage introduced me to an new idea, using paper collage to inspire and renew.


In a couple of very enjoyable hours, Lynn showed us how to build a collage from magazine images and other paper scraps. She showed us examples of collages she had made and set us to work on our own collage. Her instructions were to select images that appealed to us at the moment and not overthink the choice of images. After the images were glued to a card, we took some time to write about the collage and the ideas it suggested.


Here is the collage I produced and the resulting poem.




out of place


An orange tree

in temperate soil,

among caraway

and dill.

One red tile

in a zigzag

of black and white.


Shoes take me

for a walk

in barley grass

and caraway.

Melon rinds

on size five feet.

Too slippery, too wide.


Garlic and dill

by lantern-light.

Ten after ten

on the hall clock.

Pickles and port

and a splash

of blackberry wine.



when the lights go out,

makes no sense at all.

Dormer rooms

too tight

and me too tall.

Caraway among the dill.


Salt on wounds.

Seeds in pickle jars.

Willow trees scratch

at window glass.

Garlic to banish

grinning skulls,

creep beneath tiles.



Next time you struggle for inspiration, consider generating some new ideas with collage.


All my best,

Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 20, 2018 at 12:38 pm

in the shelter of the covered bridge – update

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Although my blog has been a bit silent this fall, I have been working! Among other projects, I am making great progress on my poetry manuscript ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’.


2015 130


To provide experiences and inventory the plants and animals living in and around covered bridges in the province, my husband and I have visited 28 covered bridges in the drainage basin of the Saint John River and 5 covered bridges in Charlotte and Westmorland Counties.  I have a few more  bridges to visit, but to give a little seasonal diversity to my project, I’ll travel to these in early winter.


Jane reads at WordsFall 2015

Reading at WordsFall 2015, an annual event of the New Brunswick Writers’ Federation (photo by WFNB)


As a result of these bridge visits, I’ve written 60 poems. I read five of these last weekend at two writers’ events: WordsFall (Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick ) and Odd Sundays (a monthly Fredericton reading event). The poems include the results of my work on different poetic forms – in the manuscript I have examples of the sonnet, ghazal, haiku, tanka and villanelle.



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black horse painted in the Quisibis River Covered Bridge (Pont Lavoie)


As I develop the manuscript, and to help organize the poems, I have sorted them into categories:

  • gaps between boards (deterioration and loss)
  • liminal, shore to shore (transitions)
  • grit of a blade (carvings and history)
  • notch of a lily pad (habitat)
  • a blade of grass between thumbs (mystery)
  • heads of timothy (miscellaneous)
  • a loose board rattles (sounds)


Writing these poems has given me a glimpse into the living world of the covered bridge. We may cross a bridge daily but it takes a little time to know a bridge and discover the life there. Most of the animals living in or around a covered bridge are timid or hidden, and avoid human contact. The plants provide the setting for the bridge but there is a pattern to the places they grow and some will only be seen if visitors to the bridge slow down. And carved in the beams are the stories of the humans who have been part of the history of the covered bridge.


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Baker Brook #2 Covered Bridge – a deer and a crow are watching us from the hay field


Copyright 2015 Jane Tims

writing weekend

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This weekend, I will be attending WordSpringWordSpring is the annual spring meeting and workshop of the New Brunswick Writers’ Federation.  I will be reading some of the poetry from my ‘harvesting colour’ manuscript and I will get another eye on part of my novel at a Blue Pencil Café.


Preparations for the weekend made me think of a poem I wrote after the workshop in Saint Andrews a few years ago …



October 9, 2011 ‘Moon through the trees’ Jane Tims



on a windy night

in Saint Andrews, a toad

hop-toddies across the road,



and on Prince of Wales, a deer

pauses on the sidewalk, stares

up the hill, and I hesitate

before driving on


in the Algonquin, a light

switches on, in the room I know is mine

and a couple huddles on the open porch,

and leaves, mottled, skid

along the street



Copyright  2014  Jane  Tims

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