International Beat Poet Laureate
An impressive achievement and recognition. The Scribbler is beyond pleased to have Donna as our guest this week. She has agreed to a 4Q Interview and sharing some of her work.
I am the voice of my life.
Donna Anne Allard is a Canadian author based in New Brunswick, Canada. Beginning at a young age, Donna began to explore her rural countryside―first on road trips with her parents, then on her own by van. The landscape, with its roadside truck stops, restaurants, and wanderers, figure prominently in her poetry. She is the author of 8 books of poetry.
Donna Allard’s poetry has appeared for the past thirty years in literary publications across Canada, as well as a number of other countries around the world. She is the founder and organizer of the Sojourner Literary Festival - next festival 3rd weekend July 2020 theme - “perfect vision”.
Donna Allard: “acadianrose”—Acadian-born, New Brunswick-based poet, and peacemaker. She became inspired by Canada's Peoples' Poet Milton Acorn, and poet-editor Libby Oughton. Her mentor was poet-activist Valerie LaPointe.
Donna can be found at https://riverbonespress.wixsite.com/beatpoetlaureate.
4Q: It is wonderful to have your work recognized by the National Beat Poetry Foundation whose roots go back to the 1940’s. Tell us about this Donna.
DA: Well Allan I was surprised, shocked, and humbled to be nominated by such a prestigious organization. Apparently, they were watching my every move online for a few years. When the Co-founder Colin Haskins wrote I said yes without hesitation. It is very difficult to get recognition in our own country so I jumped like a salmon for the fly! On Valentine's Day 2019 I received an email stating I was accepted. What a lovely gift! I cried because I was about to quit writing 100% by March 1st. I cannot say how proud I am to be the 1st and maybe the only person to represent Canada, and of course, my small fishing town of Richibucto. Even now I am still in disbelief lol.
National Beat Poetry Laureate Foundation Inc., CT, USA http://nationalbeatpoetryfoundation.org/
4Q: You will soon be publishing your 7th book of poetry titled Ghost in the Window, a poetic journal. What can you tell us about it?
DA: Yes, my 7th book of poetry and a few more manuscripts awaiting to be published. ‘Ghost at the Window’, was difficult to write, since I usually keep my personal life private. There maybe another two books to follow this one with the same theme. I am too close to it to say how I feel so here are my editors' words...
In this personal collection Donna Allard provides her readers with a snapshot of her years growing up, time missed with parents while away at high school during her mother’s battle with cancer and the continuing love that both demonstrated during moments of reprieve. There is a sense of the everlastingness that comes from moments when her memories flood in and then abate repeatedly. She doesn’t shy away from addressing the awkwardness of youth or the feeling of sometimes being talked about and watched, perhaps judged, by people who have no business doing so.
The entire collection can be read as a chain-work of thought as life progresses and is presented in an interesting mixture of poems and prose that read much like a journal.
As the editor, I found this book a joy to read and work through, very nearly coming to tears of my own at one point where I not only related but experienced a certain depth of the despair Donna must have felt at that point in her life. It’s a very intimate offering!
~ Ronda Wicks Eller journalist & publisher
4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.
DA: Summer excerpt:
...She was a very strong woman with a dry wit, clever as a
fox, loving and kind and a great cook. It was difficult
to see her in her favorite chair– she used to tower over it
at 5’ 10” but now she sat like a child awaiting an abusive
That is what cancer is…
4Q: You are the founder and organizer for the Sojourner Literary Festival. The next festival is scheduled for 2020. What can you tell us about this?
DA: Yes Allan, 3rd weekend in July - Sojourner Literary Festival 2020 “perfect vision”. Held during the Scallop Festival. I received a lot of slack for picking these dates, as I see it scallops, fireworks, arts & crafts, music... poets and writers from around North America can see what we have to offer and savor the deliciousness of our piece of God’s country.
Sojourner Official Website (best viewed on a laptop/computer):
4Q: Who is your favorite poet(s) and who or what inspires you?
DA: Canada’s Peoples’ Poet Milton Acorn who I met when I lived in Charlottown, PEI. After he passed away, I was asked by the National Milton Acorn Festival to be a board member, I said YES... that salmon & fly thang....
I met so many poets it is hard to pick just a few but I will try: Rita Joe, Harry Thurston, Richard Doiron, bill bissett, Yukon Poet Laureate PJ Johnson, Poet Laureates George Wallace & Ron Whitehead, Paulette Dube, Nicole Brossard, Sheree Fitch & Ronda Wicks…. I can go on and on lol. GG Award winner Don McKay (I attended a workshop with him in the 90’s), editor Libby Oughton and poet-activist Valerie LaPointe inspired me.
(Copyright is held by the author. Used with permission)
war musket grasses (Bay of Fundy)
1st Place Award Canadian Poetry Association 2006
I see no soldier’s uniform as I walk along these shores
but fresh blood cliffs, musket grasses,
and a labyrinth of our relics,
the unfolding of this puzzle to figure out a broader picture,
as rose clashed with la fleur de lys…
like an arcane shared by a friend
who said to follow water trails
like a pirate in search of chest, as magnet speaks closer to sand…
He said many have found treasures under the sheet of their own graves.
Yet I favour its peaceful clay to dye denim & origin,
as I connect with those who fell for their flower & sleep inside
this bay of mud.
Today hooves flirt in Fundy sun,
safe & watchful over my eyes
and I wonder if that story was ever passed to their offspring's,
since man conquers on a saddle.
Come walk with me, sense a presence, their memory
dancing with tides, like a final oratory
along red cliffs & grassy shores.
Let me retreat from time & fog, as I fear ghosts & bellwalkers,
they swear the land still smells powder.
Dedicated to my sister Victorine who passed away 2008
Tu as vu ma soeur dans la mer
Ses yeux bleus et verts
Sa bouche boit l'océan
un soleil se glissant dans le feutre des
rivages déserts rouges
Tu as vu ma soeur explosive
Ses yeux oranges et rouges
à présent un oiseau [pohénix?]
garde le ravage
Ma Soeur Océanne © 2009 Donna Allard
Thank you, Allan for this opportunity to share to my community. So many have wondered what I have been up to so now they know.
Thank you, Donna, for taking the time to be our guest. Wishing you continued success with your writing.
For you readers interested in knowing more about Donna and her work, please follow these links;