Poetry Workshops

2022-2023 No Workshops

Please note: due to logistical challenges, we are not offering pre-reading workshops this season.

2021-2022 Zoom Workshops

Usually at 6pm, one hour before poetry readings. Enrollment is limited. Please register by email.


downstairs at the Landon Branch library, 167 Wortley Rd.
6:00pm (one hour prior to each Poetry London featured reading)

Prior to each of our readings, the Poetry London workshop coordinator facilitates a discussion of selected poems by the evening’s featured poets, and also the work of two workshop participants. Those interested are encouraged to bring a poem – poems are looked at on a rotating basis amongst the participants.

Non-writers will benefit from the discussion too! Please come out – we’re a friendly bunch!

Free, and no registration required.

Have a look at some poems from past workshoppers…

October 24, 2012

bristol fashion
by Fabienne Calvert Filteau

her dad left her his beautiful old
fifty-foot long seaworthy boat, hand-
painted, home-welded elephant the size of a fist
fastened to the bow – a first mate from that promised land
still dropping out of sight with each horizon’s dusk

run up on shore not far from the harbour
where, for years now, winter storms
lick the wooden hull like a dog
to a wound

so on this june day when she walks
around the beached boat at low tide, propeller looming beyond reach
of her upstretched arm, her hand strokes the boat’s sleek side like she knows
no tide can set it free

all along the sagging hull she feels
for the softest place, and humming a farewell lullaby
rams her fist through the oily rot
’til she’s shoulder-deep in the heaving dark
groping for a heart
where the engine should be

November 23, 2011

Then I saw the Vatican
by Stan Burfield

All of us mistook it for some sort of Heaven.

We paid our fees and streamed in,
and by the thousands poured down the heavenly halls,
glimpsing, above the churning river of our bodies,
gold, enthroned Madonnas done in oils,
frescos of classical motifs, onlooking cherubs,
Popes in robes surrounded by angels,
all proclaimed under high arches
held aloft by Roman columns,
each inch worked to the highest art,

but the bodies behind us pushed us on,
our tour guide somewhere calling.
If I could just stop,
absorb all this
I might think of a prayer
or at least a good thought. But no,
under that grand girth of power and glory
we were ground down like polished stones.

Then I discovered this small painting
by a little-known artist named Crespi.
in the old, neglected Castle Saint Angelo.

Alone, in a silent room,
I stood for a long time,
just inches from the face
of a man worshipped for two millennia,
ever since the long moment of horror
he still seemed to live in.

I was held by his unhurried eyes.
They accepted
the armoured brute
who was forcing him forward
amid splashes of blood-red spray
into the room I was in.

October 19, 2011

by Frank Beltrano

We know doubtless
we know all will die
from this tragedy, from that disease
sooner or later and yet
when it comes to my plate
I find it hard to swallow
that an uncle or an aunt,
each facing their fate
a brother-in-law is struck down of late.
A knot in my throat preoccupies me
I wonder about— my own mortality.
A crow caws in an old oak tree.
A crow flies at the death of me.
I am that black wing— flying into eternity,
into the dark night doubtless.

February 16, 2011

Another Flower from the Void

by Michael Farwell

“Lie to me…”
– Tom Waits

The broom purred across the coffee shop
floor as Nike’s held to her tight corduroy.
The dust drew my attention away
from the physics of a friend
to something better than Aphrodite,
something suggested behind a skin of corduroy,
something shaved smooth, firm and curved –
but far enough away from my planetary gaze
(and palms laced with dust)
suspended from the collapse of her personal gravity
upon seat cushions of soft sofas in still life rest,
just as a closed book covers over a breathing chest,
or the smashed drink silence between riot sets
(or even the elongated lens of Picasso’s canvas
sleeping the sleep of early museum dreams)

where is the evidence of these second-hand senses
in the aesthetics of this transient presence?

In absence.
It is in absence we have admired art
in all its abstract manifestations;
accepting its nature of separations –
looming like a grid of guardians
(or even a tight pair of brown corduroys).

But it must be said that her bending backside
left the impression of something lifted from a landscape.

Perhaps only the after-image of birds
uncorking a liquor of deceptive skies.

October 20, 2010

Heart Attack
by Martin Hayter

Their children saw them touch so little
that they wondered how they fit between them
and began to doubt their substance:
perfumes and colognes mixed in the air, scents
impossible to separate, like trying to decide
which stars were first in a lost count.

Outside their bedroom doors and down
the hall each night, the children heard
calm voices caressing the silence, trying
to keep its story quiet.

Accidental hands brush each other hanging pictures
(eyes glance off each other in their reflections),
and he lifts the fridge magnet to keep working
on the list where she has left off.

When his heart attacked their life, she lost
the room, she had to feel for a place to sit
after a blinding fist cleared the mantle-piece
of almost all her anger. And he emptied himself

into a child, a child beyond the touch
of mothering, empty, growing insubstantial, wired
to heavy machines (his fate in their scales),
and he stared across, from the hospital bed,

at nothing in the balance. He touches her hand:
its armed with the edges of the blanket, still holding
dreams at the end of memories, where she refuses
to let this man fall asleep without her.

April 7, 2010

Spirit Rain
by Peggy Fletcher

It falls
on the faithful
with blue and white fervor
its shimmering magic
caught somewhere
between sunlight
and the place
where rainbows are born.
It speaks its own language
of gods unrecognized
or dismissed as pagan
sentinels of sin.
In its full regalia
of silver raindrops
it cascades around us
like a flood of glory.
of such magnitude
we cannot touch
its weeping heart
minds tuned to greatness
we celebrate the names.


April 7, 2010

Through the Window
by Ron Stewart

It’s a sparse room,
not much there,
just an old chair.
There’s a man
standing in front
of the window
looking down
the dusty road
life’s highway
winding to the horizon.
Ah yes, the crossroads,
when he was nineteen,
and now.
Maybe the road less traveled
should have been his chosen path.
But commitment and responsibility
dragged him down
that freeway.
Accelerating to old age.
Slowly and sadly
he shakes his head,
and sits back down in his chair.

October 21, 2009

3 Encounters in 15 Minutes
by Michelle Doege

My entrance into this verdant park,
Trinity Park Square in downtown Toronto
is disturbed by a homeless man
who sits cross-legged on the cement,
leans against the old cold stone
of the Church of the Holy Trinity.
Outstretched arm, cup in hand,
ragged shirt the colour of dirt. He asks:
“Hey miss, can you spare some change?”
Obviously, I can spare some change
but decide to move on.
Drawn to the labyrinth on my left.
Left with his question echoing
in my now stiff body.

A labyrinth – a circular
winding, walking path
with only one entrance,
one way to the centre,
encourages us to shift
from the outside world
to the quiet in ourselves.
I step onto the path,
place one foot slowly
in front of the other.
Walk thoughtfully
moving in circles
into the stillness
to the centre of this labyrinth
to the silence in myself.

The burst of light in the Eaton Centre
leaves me blinded to the outside world.
Bright yellow lights and pink neon signs
persuade me to look at Swiss watches,
cell phones, the latest iPod.
Suave models with silky straight hair
entice me to consider a new pair of pants
a sexy new dress, a bust-building bra.
I am dizzy in the middle of this
swirling, twirling around in my head,
back to the labyrinth,
back to walking slowly in circles
back to dropping some change
into the homeless man’s cup.